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

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