Award-winning composer-lyricist Ryan Scott Oliver is working on a new musical framed around a notorious event involving Truman Capote. Titled “Party of the Century,” the musical is sourced from the book of the same name by Deborah Davis.
“It’s based on Truman Capote’s infamous Black and White Ball at the Plaza in 1966 and full of queerness and betrayal and murder — it was kind of crazy,” Oliver told Broadway News at the ceremony celebrating him as the winner of the 2023 Kleban Prize for Most Promising Musical Theatre Lyricist. Oliver has just started writing “Party of the Century” with book writer Kirsten Guenther. The two previously collaborated on the musical “Mrs. Sharp.”
Oliver and Guenther are developing the piece with the support of FourthWall Theatrical, which acquired the rights to Davis’ book. According to Oliver, the musical “has a Broadway trajectory.” Fourth Wall, consisting of partners Jana Bezdek and Jen Hoguet, was a part of the producing team for Broadway’s “Jagged Little Pill.”
Though Oliver’s work has not yet been produced on Broadway, his name is well-known in musical-theater circles. In addition to the Kleban Prize, he previously earned a Jonathan Larson Grant, Richard Rodgers Award and multiple honors from the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers. Oliver’s select works include “35mm,” “Jasper in Deadland” and “We Foxes.”
The combination of the Kleban Prize, “Party of the Century” and a few other commissions has been reinvigorating, said Oliver. “I was very lucky to have a lot of success really early, and then it was sort of existing for a few years, and I really did feel that,” he said. “I told Richard Maltby [Jr.]: I feel like I’m back on the freeway.”
Correction: An earlier version of this report misstated the name of the production company. It has been corrected.