“Hamilton” and “In Jackson Heights” Named 2016 Brendan Gill Prize Winners

May 5, 2016  |  New York, New York

The Municipal Art Society has named Hamilton: An American Musical and In Jackson Heights as the winners of the 2016 Brendan Gill Prize. Representatives from both teams will be presented with the prestigious award by MAS President Gina Pollara and Board Chair Frederick Iseman during the organization’s Annual Meeting on Wednesday, May 11. The event, announced on April 19, will be held at the Ford Foundation office and is oversubscribed.

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Hamilton cast members perform musical selections at the White House, 2016. L-R: Lin-Manuel Miranda, Phillipa Soo, Leslie Odom, Jr., and Christopher Jackson. Photo: The White House, Amanda Lucidon.
Photo: The White House, Amanda Lucidon.

“We are delighted to honor these twin works of art from 2015 that celebrated the role of immigrants in shaping the history and culture of New York City,” said MAS President Gina Pollara. “The brashly revolutionary Hamilton: An American Musical and the quietly profound In Jackson Heights together reaffirm New York’s identity as the birthplace of the American dream and a city that is made ever stronger by its diversity.”

About Hamilton: An American Musical

A masterpiece that marries hip-hop and musical theater, Hamilton ignited newfound excitement about New York City’s role in the American Revolution with the compelling story of our only immigrant founding father, Alexander Hamilton. By combining brilliant stage production, sensational soundtrack, a diverse cast, innovative choreography, and Ham4Ham free performances, the musical celebrates the important impact immigrants have had on the history of our city and country.

About In Jackson Heights

This thought-provoking and illuminating documentary depicts with great dignity the daily life of people living in New York City’s most ethnically and culturally diverse neighborhood. America’s story of immigration, assimilation, and integration is captured here in a new light through lively conversations and deeply personal recordings that give voice to the New Yorkers of all backgrounds who call Jackson Heights ‘home.’

About the Gill Prize

The Brendan Gill prize was established in 1987 by fellow MAS board members Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Helen Tucker, and Margot Wellington to honor the creator of a building, book, essay, musical composition, play, film, painting, sculpture, choreographic work or landscape design, accomplished in the previous year that best captures, “the energy, vigor and verve of our incomparable city.” Past recipients include Kara Walker, Michael Kimmelman, Louis Kahn, John Morse, Michael Van Valkenburgh, and Mike and Doug Starn.

This annual cash award is administered by MAS and named for longtime New Yorker theater and architecture critic, champion preservationist, and civic booster Brendan Gill. The recipient is chosen by the Brendan Gill Jury from nominations submitted to MAS.

About MAS

The Municipal Art Society, founded in 1893, is five years older than the consolidated City of New York itself. For more than 120 years, MAS has advocated for excellence in urban planning and design, and demonstrated its commitment to historic preservation and the arts. It has had a profound impact on the built environment of New York City and counts among its successes the memorable efforts to save Grand Central Terminal and the lights of Times Square as well as the establishment of groundbreaking land-use and preservation laws that have become national models.

Ranging from its current campaigns to push for a bold, comprehensive vision for Penn Station, call attention to the cumulative impacts of the new super-tall buildings, impel equitable zoning amendments, and educate and empower local communities to affect positive change in their neighborhoods, MAS remains at the forefront of New York’s most important efforts dedicated to advancing the city’s economic vitality, cultural vibrancy, and social diversity in the public realm.

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