2014 Helen Hayes Award Nominations Announced; Read the Full List!
Tonight, a crowd of almost 200 theatre professionals, supporters, and members of the media gathered on the stage of the National Theatre to hear the names of the nominees for the 30th Annual Helen Hayes Awards.
Named for native Washingtonian and First Lady of American Theatre, the Helen Hayes Award is one of the most prestigious theatre honors in the country.
theatreWashington board member Glen Howard hosted the event and live webcast. National Theatre Corporation Executive Director Tom Lee welcomed guests to the historic playhouse, which has embarked on recent renovations and new partnerships with JAM Theatricals and SMG in the past year.
Kurt Crowl, newly elected Chairman of the theatreWashington Board of Directors, sharing a glimpse into the breadth and scope of Washington theatre, said, "We are so proud to be celebrating our 30th Anniversary this year, but our Board, staff, and the entire organization is squarely focused on the next 30 years."
theatreWashington President & CEO Linda Levy reflected on Helen Hayes' inspiration to generations of theatre artists that followed in her footsteps - which was punctuated by an energetic and electric retrospective (created by videographer James Gardiner) of the 2013 Washington theatre season.
Similarly, the diversity of theatres--and the magnitude of their work--was echoed in the nominations of 155 artists, ensembles, and productions in 27 categories from 62 productions from 27 theatres. During the 2013 season (January - December 2013), 49 professional theatre companies produced 186 productions that met Helen Hayes Awards eligibility requirements. From these shows, 143 were plays, 43 were musicals, 15 were visiting productions, 15 were Theatre for Young Audiences, and 37 were world premieres (28 new plays and nine new musicals).
Fifty-eight judges, specifically endorsed by a panel of Washington-area artistic directors, submitted 23,023 scores in consideration of 2,697 pieces of work (performances, designs, productions, direction, etc.). Of the work considered, 1,362 were acting performances alone.
Before reading the nominations, Levy noted that that there have been revisions to the Helen Hayes Awards process that will debut at the 2015 awards presentation. However, three future transitions have been incorporated this year into the 2014 nominations: The award for Outstanding Choreography has been expanded into two awards -- Outstanding Choreography for a Musical and Outstanding Movement for a Play.
Additionally, the nomenclature for productions known as "non-resident" has changed and will now be called "visiting" productions - out of respect for the part that work plays in the fabric of Washington theatre.
Crowl also announced this evening that the 2014 Helen Hayes Tribute Award (sponsored by the late JayLee Mead) will be presented to Victor Shargai, longtime theatreWashington Board Chair and dedicated theatre supporter across all of Washington. In September 2013, Shargai passed his gavel as board chair to Kurt Crowl, who now leads the theatreWashington Board of Directors. He will join theatre notables such as Kevin Spacey, Derek Jacobi, and Edward Albee in receiving this honor.
"There is no more devoted champion and advocate of the importance of Washington theatre than Victor," said Levy. "His contributions to building and shaping theatre in Washington as we now know it are significant."
The nominations announcement was webcast live, drawing close to 10,000 views over the course of the evening. The webcast can be seen at www.theatreWashington.org.
The 30th Annual Helen Hayes Awards will be held on Monday, April 21, 2014 at the National Building Museum. For more information about the Awards, visit www.theatreWashington.org or call 202-337-4572.