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2017 Helen Hayes Award Winners Announced!

2017 Helen Hayes Award Winners Announced!

The 33rd Annual Helen Hayes Awards proved a powerful celebration of the Washington theatre community and a reminder of the transformative power of the arts, with Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg making a special appearance to honor actor Ted van Griethuysen. Produced and administered by theatreWashington, this evening's gala event celebrated 236 Helen Hayes Award nominees and 49 award recipients, drawn from 200 eligible productions presented in 2016. Folger Theatre and Signature Theatre went home with the most awards, with classics and creative adaptations represented on the Folger roster, and musicals helping to cement Signature's national reputation in that genre. Theater Alliance'sproduction of Word Becomes Flesh received five awards, the most of any single production. Running a close second with four awards each were Signature Theatre's Jelly's Last Jam, Folger Theatre's Sense and Sensibility, and Ford's Theatre's pre-Broadway run of Come From Away, now a Tony Award nominee for Best Musical. (For a full list of award recipients see document links listed below.)

Presenting the prestigious Helen Hayes Tribute, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg noted that van Griethuysen "brought tears, laughter, sadness and joy, engaging my mind and heart countless times" and that he "has been enchanting, intriguing, absorbing D.C. audiences at the Lansburgh, Harman Hall, and Studio Theatre for three decades." Van Griethuysen's long collaboration with Shakespeare Theatre Company and Studio Theatre resulted in 16 nominations and seven Helen Hayes Awards, a theatrical history honored by Studio's former artistic directorJoy Zinoman in her introduction of a video tribute.

The John Aniello Award for Outstanding Emerging Theatre Company, one of the most coveted in the evening's line-up, was given to Mosaic Theater Company of DC. Headed by three veterans of the Washington theatre scene - Jennifer L. Nelson, Ari Roth, and Serge Seiden - the company is focused on intercultural productions, community dialogue, and being "a model of diversity and inclusion at every strata, on stage and off." Established in 2008, the Aniello Award is named for the late John Aniello Jr., a theatre enthusiast lovingly remembered for his personal support of both emerging and established theatre artists in the Washington area. Other theatres eligible for the award this year were Convergence Theatre, InterAct Story Theatre, Nu Sass Productions, and Rainbow Theatre Project.

Actors E. Faye Butler and Lawrence Redmond returned to host the celebration, accompanied by the American Pops Orchestra under the leadership of Luke Frasier. The after party was held just blocks away at the legendary 9:30 Club. Award presenters were drawn from arts leadership across the region, including Helen Hayes Award founder Bonnie Nelson Schwartz, theatreWashington founding chair Victor Shargai, Alex Levy of 1st Stage, Michael Bobbitt of Adventure Theatre MTC, Seema Sueko of Arena Stage, Allison Arkel Stockman of Constellation Theatre Company, Jenny McConnell Frederick of Rorschach Theatre, Michael Dove of Forum Theatre, Hugo Medrano and Rebecca Medrano of GALA Hispanic Theatre, Jason Loewith of Olney Theatre Center, Patti Kalil and David Lloyd Olson of Pointless Theatre, Ryan Rilette of Round House Theatre, Adam Immerwahr of Theater J, Deb Gottesman and Buzz Mauro of Theatre Lab, Bill Largess of Washington Stage Guild, Howard Shalwitz of Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, and Tom Prewitt of WSC Avant Bard, along with philanthropist Carl Nash, and Kay Kendall of the DC Commission of the Arts and Humanities.

For the third year, the Helen Hayes Awards were given in parallel tracks determined by the ratio of Actors' Equity contracts involved in an individual production. Productions and artists were thus recognized as recipients in either the "Helen" or "Hayes" categories. Award decisions are the result of 40 carefully vetted judges considering 2,853 individual pieces of work, such as design, direction, choreography, and acting.

The Helen Hayes Awards are sponsored by TodayTix, a ticketing platform on a mission to connect the next generation of culture lovers to theater by making it more accessible, easy, and fun. Operating in the world's most iconic theater markets, TodayTix's free mobile apps for iOS and Android secure the best discounted and full price tickets available for the hottest shows in the DC Metro Area, New York City, London's West End, the San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, Connecticut, Philadelphia, and Seattle. Life-long friends and Broadway producers Merritt Baer and Brian Fenty launched TodayTix in New York City in December 2013 and the company now has partnerships with more than 450 theater institutions around the world.

The Lincoln Theatre, built in 1922, is the cultural center of the dynamic U Street neighborhood. Washington natives Duke Ellington and Pearl Bailey performed on its stage, along with such acclaimed artists as Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holliday, Nat King Cole, Cab Calloway, Louis Armstrong, and Sarah Vaughn. The 9:30 Club has an equally stellar history. Its stage has been home to the likes of R.E.M., the Go-Go's, Cyndi Lauper, 10,000 Maniacs, Bob Dylan, Rufus Wainwright, Adele, and David Bowie.

theatreWashington and the Helen Hayes Awards are supported in part by the DC Commission of the Arts and Humanities, The Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation, The Max and Victoria Dreyfus Foundation, The Share Fund, Prince Charitable Trust, and Craig Pascaland Victor Shargai.

See the full list of winners below!


Outstanding Choreography, Musical-Hayes
Christopher d'Amboise, "Evita," Olney Theatre Center
Kelly Devine, "Come From Away," Ford's Theatre
Parker Esse, "Carousel," Arena Stage
Jared Grimes, "Jelly's Last Jam," Signature Theatre***WINNER
Sergio Trujillo, "Carmen: An Afro-Cuban Jazz Musical," Olney Theatre Center

Outstanding Choreography, Play-Hayes
Alexandra Beller, "Sense and Sensibility," Folger Theatre***WINNER
Dody DiSanto, "An Iliad," Taffety Punk Theatre Company
Robb Hunter, "An Octoroon," Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company
Kelly King, "Phaeton," Taffety Punk Theatre Company
Erika Chong Shuch, "A Midsummer Night's Dream," Folger Theatre

Outstanding Choreography, Musical-Helen
Rachel Leigh Dolan, "American Idiot," Keegan Theatre
Rachel Leigh Dolan, "Catch Me If You Can," NextStop Theatre Company***WINNER
Ilona Kessell, "Urinetown," Constellation Theatre Company
Mark Minnick, "Hairspray," Toby's Dinner Theatre
Mark Minnick, "Sister Act," Toby's Dinner Theatre

Outstanding Choreography, Play-Helen
Casey Kaleba, "The Lonesome West," Keegan Theatre
Sabrina Mandell, Mark Jaster, "Moxie: A Happenstance Vaudeville," Happenstance Theater
Tony Thomas, "Word Becomes Flesh," Theater Alliance
Irina Tsikurishvili (choreographer), Ben Cunis and Vato Tsikurishvili (fight choreographers), "The Man in the Iron Mask," Synetic Theater
Cliff Williams III, "Girl in the Red Corner," the Welders***WINNER

Outstanding Musical Direction-Hayes
Jay Crowder, "110 in the Shade," Ford's Theatre
Ian Eisendrath, "Come From Away," Ford's Theatre
Darius Smith, "Jelly's Last Jam," Signature Theatre
Paul Sportelli, "Carousel," Arena Stage***WINNER
Markus Williams, "The Christians," Theater J

Outstanding Musical Direction-Helen
Robert Eisenstein, "The Second Shepherds' Play," Folger Theatre
Karen Hansen, "Moxie: A Happenstance Vaudeville," Happenstance Theater***WINNER
Jake Null, "Next to Normal," Keegan Theatre
Jake Null, "Urinetown," Constellation Theatre Company
Mike Winch, "King Ubu," Pointless Theatre

Outstanding Costume Design-Hayes
Dede M. Ayite, "Jelly's Last Jam," Signature Theatre***WINNER
Jess Goldstein, "The Little Foxes," Arena Stage
Murell Horton, "The Critic & The Real Inspector Hound," Shakespeare Theatre Company
Frank Labovitz, "Cloud 9," Studio Theatre
William Ivey Long, "Born for This: The BeBe Winans Story," Arena Stage

Outstanding Costume Design-Helen
Sabrina Mandell, "Moxie: A Happenstance Vaudeville," Happenstance Theater***WINNER
Jeffrey Meek, "James & the Giant Peach," Adventure Theatre MTC
Kendra Rai, "Journey to the West," Constellation Theatre Company
Ivania Stack, "King Ubu," Pointless Theatre
Erik Teague, "The Man in the Iron Mask," Synetic Theater

Outstanding Lighting Design-Hayes

Christopher Akerlind, "Othello," Shakespeare Theatre Company
Colin K. Bills, "The Nether," Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company
Andrew R. Cissna, "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof," Round House Theatre
Dan Covey, "The Glass Menagerie," Ford's Theatre
Keith Parham, "Hand to God," Studio Theatre
Jen Schriever, "Guards at the Taj," Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company
Grant Wilcoxen, Jelly's Last Jam," Signature Theatre***WINNER

Outstanding Lighting Design-Helen
Christopher Annas-Lee, "Cervantes: El Último Quijote (The Last Quixote)," Gala Hispanic Theatre
Colin K. Bills, "Journey to the West," Constellation Theatre Company
William K. D'Eugenio, "Word Becomes Flesh," Theater Alliance***WINNER
Michael Lincoln, "Constellations," Studio Theatre
Kris Thompson, "Moxie: A Happenstance Vaudeville," Happenstance Theater

Outstanding Set Design-Hayes
Daniel Conway, "Hand to God," Studio Theatre***WINNER
Daniel Conway, "Jelly's Last Jam," Signature Theatre
Paul Tate DePoo III, "Titanic," Signature Theatre
John McDermott, "Sense and Sensibility," Folger Theatre
Meghan Raham, "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof," Round House Theatre

Outstanding Set Design-Helen
Silvia de Marta (set designer), Alvaro Luna (video designer), "Cervantes: El Último Quijote (The Last Quixote)," Gala Hispanic Theatre
Regina Garcia, "El Paso Blue," Gala Hispanic Theatre
A.J. Guban, "Journey to the West," Constellation Theatre Company
Kathryn Kawecki, "Proof," 1st Stage
Hana Sooyeon Kim, "The Emperor's Nightingale," Adventure Theatre MTC***WINNER

Outstanding Sound Design-Hayes
John Gromada, "The Glass Menagerie," Ford's Theatre
Palmer Hefferan, "Guards at the Taj," Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company
Gareth Owen, "Come From Away," Ford's Theatre
Sarah Pickett (Sound Designer and additional music), Andre Pluess (composer), "A Midsummer Night's Dream," Folger Theatre***WINNER
Eric Shimelonis, "The Flick," Signature Theatre

Outstanding Sound Design-Helen
Palmer Hefferan, "Equus," Constellation Theatre Company
Nick the Ida, "Word Becomes Flesh," Theater Alliance
Ryan Rumery, "Constellations," Studio Theatre
Justin Schmitz, "I Call My Brothers," Forum Theatre
Tom Teasley, "Journey to the West," Constellation Theatre Company***WINNER

Outstanding Direction, Musical-Hayes
Christopher Ashley, "Come From Away," Ford's Theatre***WINNER
Will Davis, "Evita," Olney Theatre Center
Matthew Gardiner, "La Cage aux Folles," Signature Theatre
Matthew Gardiner, "Jelly's Last Jam," Signature Theatre
Molly Smith, "Carousel," Arena Stage

Outstanding Direction, Play-Hayes
Mitchell Hébert, "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof," Round House Theatre
Michael Kahn, "Cloud 9," Studio Theatre
Ethan McSweeny, "Moment," Studio Theatre
Joanie Schultz, "Hand to God," Studio Theatre
Eric Tucker, "Sense and Sensibility," Folger Theatre***WINNER

Outstanding Direction, Musical-Helen
Michael Baron, "James & the Giant Peach," Adventure Theatre MTC
Evan Hoffman, "Catch Me If You Can," NextStop Theatre Company
Mark A. Rhea, Colin Smith, "Next to Normal," Keegan Theatre***WINNER
Jason Schlafstein, "You, Or Whatever I Can Get," Flying V
Allison Arkell Stockman, "Urinetown," Constellation Theatre Company

Outstanding Direction, Play-Helen
José Luis Arellano, "Cervantes: El Último Quijote (The Last Quixote)," Gala Hispanic Theatre
Mark Jaster, Sabrina Mandell, "Moxie: A Happenstance Vaudeville," Happenstance Theater
David Muse, "Constellations," Studio Theatre
Psalmayene 24, "Word Becomes Flesh," Theater Alliance***WINNER
Serge Seiden, "Jumanji," Adventure Theatre MTC

Outstanding Ensemble in a Musical-Hayes
"Carousel," Arena Stage
"Come From Away," Ford's Theatre***WINNER
"Jelly's Last Jam," Signature Theatre

Outstanding Ensemble in a Play-Hayes
"The Flick," Signature Theatre
"Hand to God," Studio Theatre
"Sense and Sensibility," Folger Theatre***WINNER

Outstanding Ensemble in a Musical-Helen
"American Idiot," Keegan Theatre
"James & the Giant Peach," Adventure Theatre MTC***WINNER
"Next to Normal," Keegan Theatre

Outstanding Ensemble in a Play-Helen
"Cervantes: El Último Quijote (The Last Quixote)," Gala Hispanic Theatre
"Moxie: A Happenstance Vaudeville," Happenstance Theater
"Word Becomes Flesh," Theater Alliance***WINNER

Outstanding Performer, Visiting Production
Adam Langdon, "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time," Kennedy Center
Felonious Munk, "The Second City: Black Side of the Moon," Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company
Shawn Pfautsch, "The Mikado," Olney Theatre Center
Darick Pead, "Into the Woods," Kennedy Center
Jack Willis, "Sweat," Arena Stage***WINNER

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Musical-Hayes
Joel Hatch, "Come From Away," Ford's Theatre
Rodney Hicks, "Come From Away," Ford's Theatre
Chad Kimball, "Come From Away," Ford's Theatre
Nick Lehan, "Titanic," Signature Theatre***WINNER
Sam Ludwig, "Titanic," Signature Theatre
Joseph Monroe Webb, "Jelly's Last Jam," Signature Theatre

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Musical-Hayes
Ann Arvia, "Carousel," Arena Stage
Jenn Colella, "Come From Away," Ford's Theatre***WINNER
Kendra Kassebaum, "Come From Away," Ford's Theatre
Alyssa Wilmoth Keegan, "Come From Away," Ford's Theatre
Kate Rockwell, "Carousel," Arena Stage
Q. Smith, "Come From Away," Ford's Theatre
Astrid Van Wieren, "Come From Away," Ford's Theatre

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Musical-Helen
Matt Dewberry, "Urinetown," Constellation Theatre Company
David Landstrom, "Next to Normal," Keegan Theatre***WINNER
Christian Montgomery, "Next to Normal," Keegan Theatre
Ethan Van Slyke, "Caroline, or Change," Creative Cauldron
Doug Wilder, "You, Or Whatever I Can Get," Flying V

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Musical-Helen
Jenna Berk, "Urinetown," Constellation Theatre Company
Teresa Danskey, "Sister Act," Toby's Dinner Theatre
Maggie Donnelly, "Floyd Collins," 1st Stage
Caroline Dubberly, "Next to Normal," The Keegan Theatre
Noelle Robinson, "Hairspray," Toby's Dinner Theatre
Tiara Whaley, "Caroline, or Change," Creative Cauldron***WINNER

James MacArthur Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Play-Hayes
Philippe Bowgen, "Cloud 9," Studio Theatre
Akeem Davis, "District Merchants," Folger Theatre
Rick Foucheux, "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof," Round House Theatre***WINNER
Jon Hudson Odom, "Angels in America, Part 1: Millennium Approaches," Round House Theatre/Olney Theatre Center
Justin Weaks, "The Christians," Theater J

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Play-Hayes
Lisa Birnbaum, "Sense and Sensibility," Folger Theatre
Shannon Dorsey, "An Octoroon," Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company
Nicole Kang, "Sense and Sensibility," Folger Theatre
Dearbhla Molloy, "Moment," Studio Theatre
Dorea Schmidt, "Collective Rage: A Play in Five Boops," Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company***WINNER

James MacArthur Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Play-Helen
Louis E. Davis, "Word Becomes Flesh," Theater Alliance
Clayton Pelham, Jr., "Word Becomes Flesh," Theater Alliance
Gary Perkins III, "Word Becomes Flesh," Theater Alliance
Ryan Tumulty, "Journey to the West," Constellation Theatre Company
Justin Weaks, "Word Becomes Flesh," Theater Alliance***WINNER

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Play-Helen
Teresa Castracane, "Broadway Bound," 1st Stage
Kari Ginsburg, "When the Rain Stops Falling," 1st Stage***WINNER
Megan Graves, "Redder Blood," Hub Theatre
Kashayna Johnson, "for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf," Theater Alliance
Justine Moral, "Journey to the West," Constellation Theatre Company
Soraya Padrao, "Cervantes: El Último Quijote (The Last Quixote)," Gala Hispanic Theatre

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Musical-Hayes
Brent Barrett, "La Cage aux Folles," Signature Theatre
J.P. Coletta, "Million Dollar Quartet," Infinity Theatre Company
Nicholas Rodriguez, "Carousel," Arena Stage
Bobby Smith, "La Cage aux Folles," Signature Theatre***WINNER
Bobby Smith, "Titanic," Signature Theatre

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Musical-Hayes
Heidi Blickenstaff, "Freaky Friday," Signature Theatre
Felicia Boswell, "Jelly's Last Jam," Signature Theatre***WINNER
Felicia Curry, "OLIVERio: A Brazilian Twist," Kennedy Center
Tracy Lynn Olivera, "110 in the Shade," Ford's Theatre***WINNER
Christina Sajous, "Carmen: An Afro-Cuban Jazz Musical," Olney Theatre Center

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Musical-Helen
Hasani Allen, "Sister Act," Toby's Dinner Theatre
Matt Hirsh, "Catch Me If You Can," NextStop Theatre Company***WINNER
Sam Ludwig, "Monsters of the Villa Diodati," Creative Cauldron
Christian Montgomery, "American Idiot," Keegan Theatre
Lawrence B. Munsey, "Hairspray," Toby's Dinner Theatre

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Musical-Helen
Iyona Blake, "Caroline, or Change," Creative Cauldron***WINNER
Kari Ginsburg, "Next to Normal," Keegan Theatre
Ashley Johnson, "Sister Act," Toby's Dinner Theatre
Eben Logan, "American Idiot," Keegan Theatre
Katie McManus, "City of Angels," NextStop Theatre Company

Robert Prosky Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Play-Hayes
Evan Casey, "The Flick," Signature Theatre
Liam Forde, "Hand to God," Studio Theatre***WINNER
Jamie Smithson, "Sense and Sensibility," Folger Theatre
Tom Story, "Angels in America, Part 1: Millennium Approaches," Round House Theatre/Olney Theatre Center
Jack Willis, "All the Way," Arena Stage

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Play-Hayes
Staceyann Chin, "Motherstruck," Studio Theatre
Margaret Colin, "The City of Conversation," Arena Stage
Alyssa Wilmoth Keegan, "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof," Round House Theatre***WINNER
Erin Weaver, "A Midsummer Night's Dream," Folger Theatre
Holly Twyford, "Cloud 9," Studio Theatre

Robert Prosky Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Play-Helen
Mark Jaster, "Moxie: A Happenstance Vaudeville," Happenstance Theater
Matthew J. Keenan, "The Lonesome West," Keegan Theatre
Tom Patterson, "Constellations," Studio Theatre***WINNER
Dallas Tolentino, "Journey to the West," Constellation Theatre Company
Alex Vernon, "Moxie: A Happenstance Vaudeville," Happenstance Theater

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Play-Helen
Lily Balatincz, "Constellations," Studio Theatre***WINNER
Sabrina Mandell, "Moxie: A Happenstance Vaudeville," Happenstance Theater
Susan Marie Rhea, "An American Daughter," Keegan Theatre
Jenna Sokolowski, "Redder Blood," Hub Theatre
Holly Twyford, "Blackberry Winter," Forum Theatre

Outstanding Play or Musical Adaptation
Ruth P. Watson (book), Thomas W. Jones II (book and lyrics), William Knowles (music), "Blackberry Daze," MetroStage
Moisés Kaufman (book and lyrics), Eduardo Machado (book), Arturo O'Farrill (music), "Carmen: An Afro-Cuban Jazz Musical," Olney Theatre Center
Jeffrey Hatcher (The Critic), "The Critic & The Real Inspector Hound," Shakespeare Theatre Company
Aaron Posner, "District Merchants," Folger Theatre***WINNER
Bridget Carpenter (book), Tom Kitt (music), Brian Yorkey (lyrics), "Freaky Friday," Signature Theatre
Sandra Eskin, Michael J. Bobbitt, "Jumanji," Adventure Theatre MTC
Jonelle Walker, "TAME." WSC Avant Bard

Charles MacArthur Award for Outstanding Original New Play or Musical
Stephen Spotswood, "Girl in the Red Corner," the Welders***WINNER
Audrey Cefaly, "The Gulf," Signature Theatre
Happenstance Theater, "Moxie: A Happenstance Vaudeville," Happenstance Theater
Gwydion Suilebhan, "Transmission," the Welders
Vaughn Irving and Steve Przybylski (music), Suzanne Edgar, Vaughn Irving, Farrell Parker, Steve Przybylski, Jason Schlafstein, Doug Wilder (book and lyrics), "You, Or Whatever I Can Get," Flying V

Outstanding Production, Theatre for Young Audiences
"James & the Giant Peach," Adventure Theatre MTC
"Jumanji," Adventure Theatre MTC***WINNER
"The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe," Adventure Theatre MTC
"The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane," Imagination Stage
"OLIVERio: A Brazilian Twist," Kennedy Center

Outstanding Visiting Production
"Into the Woods," Kennedy Center***WINNER
"The Lion," Arena Stage
"The Object Lesson," Studio Theatre
"The Mikado," Olney Theatre Center
"Moby Dick," Arena Stage

Outstanding Production, Musical-Hayes
"Carousel," Arena Stage
"Come From Away," Ford's Theatre***WINNER
"Jelly's Last Jam," Signature Theatre
"La Cage aux Folles," Signature Theatre
"Titanic," Signature Theatre

Outstanding Production, Play-Hayes
"Cat on a Hot Tin Roof," Round House Theatre
"Hand to God," Studio Theatre
"Moment," Studio Theatre
"Motherstruck," Studio Theatre
"Sense and Sensibility," Folger Theatre***WINNER

Outstanding Production, Musical-Helen
"American Idiot," Keegan Theatre
"Catch Me If You Can," NextStop Theatre Company
"Next to Normal," Keegan Theatre***WINNER
"Sister Act," Toby's Dinner Theatre
"Urinetown," Constellation Theatre Company

Outstanding Production, Play-Helen
"Constellations," Studio Theatre
"Equus," Constellation Theatre Company
"King Ubu," Pointless Theatre
"Moxie: A Happenstance Vaudeville," Happenstance Theater
"Word Becomes Flesh," Theater Alliance***WINNER

Helen Hayes Tribute
Ted Van Griethuysen

John Aniello Award for Outstanding Emerging Theatre Company (eligible companies)
Convergence Theatre

InterAct Story Theatre
Mosaic Theater Company of DC***WINNER
Nu Sass Productions
Rainbow Theatre Project

Photo Credit: Matthew Murphy

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