The 2013 recipient of the Kleban Prize for Most Promising Musical Theater Lyricist in the American musical theatre, composer and lyricist Daniel Maté discusses winning the prestigious prize, lyric-writing, his own music, and more, with Joseph Planta.
Text of introduction by Joseph Planta:
I am Planta: On the Line, in Vancouver at TheCommentary.ca.
In my office here at home, down the hall that leads to my library, hangs some lyrics by Edward Kleban—his song ‘Self Portrait.’ It’s not a well known lyric by the man who wrote the lyrics to the music of Marvin Hamlisch for A Chorus Line, for which they won the Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize. Kleban died in 1987, and in his will was the provision that an annual prize be awarded to the most promising lyricist and librettist in the American musical theatre. It was recently announced that $100,000 each would go to Daniel Maté, as the Most Promising Musical Theater Lyricist, and Alan Gordon, as the Most Promising Musical Theater Librettist. Previous recipients of the Kleban Prize include some noted individuals who are responsible for such works as Shrek the Musical, Parade, Pacific Overtures, Assassins, Grey Gardens, and Avenue Q, among many others. Daniel Maté joins me now. He’s also received the Jonathan Larson Grant, and ASCAP’s Cole Porter Award. He’s written the lyrics for the Will Aronson composed, The Trouble with Doug, a comedic musical inspired by Kafka’s The Metamorphosis. He’s also written the book, music and lyrics for The Story of Jo-Beth, a modern-day American retelling of the Book of Job. Mr. Maté is also a teaching artist, who’s got degrees from McGill and NYU. He was born and raised in Vancouver, where he founded the In the House Festival, which celebrates its tenth anniversary this month. We’ll talk about this remarkable prize, his work as a lyricist, composer, musician and more. I can’t get enough of his song ‘February’s Coming.’ Man, it’s just a great song about dealing with a broken heart. The lyrics are so sharp; they’re funny, they capture the zeitgeist. Do yourself a favour and listen to it; it’s a fine song. You can hear some of his music on his website, www.danielmate.com, which showcases just what a prodigious talent he is with words and music already. Please welcome to the Planta: On the Line program, Daniel Maté; Mr. Maté, good morning.