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Audra McDonald and Will Swenson Set to Host 83rd Annual Drama League Awards

The Drama League (Executive Artistic Director, Gabriel Stelian-Shanks) has announced today that Broadway husband-and-wife royalty -- 6-time Tony Award winner Audra McDonald (Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill) and Tony Award nominee Will Swenson (Hair) -- will host the upcoming 83rd Annual Drama League Awards Ceremony and Luncheon. The event includes a nominees cocktail reception, luncheon, and awards presentation, to be held at the Marriott Marquis Times Square in the Broadway Ballroom (1535 Broadway) on Friday, May 19, 2017 beginning at 11:30 a.m. Tickets are available by calling (212) 244-9494 or visiting www.dramaleague.org.

Ms. McDonald and Mr. Swenson join a roster for The Drama League Awards that includes the recently-announced 2017 Drama League Special Award Recipients: Grammy and Emmy Award-winning icon Bette Midler will receive the Distinguished Achievement in Musical Theater Award; Bill Berloni will receive the Unique Contribution to the Theater Award; and Tony Award-winner Michael Greif will receive The Founders Award for Excellence in Directing.

These honors are in addition to the five competitive categories for Outstanding Play, Outstanding Revival of a Play, Outstanding Musical, Outstanding Revival of a Musical, and the much-coveted Distinguished Performance Award, who winners will be announced during the ceremony. The nominees for these categories will be announced on Wednesday, April 19, 2017 at 11:00 AM in New York City in a special presentation at Sardi's featuring Tony Award-winners Bebe Neuwirth (Chicago) and Patina Miller (Pippin), and via live stream on BroadwayWorld.com.

Audra McDonald is unparalleled in the breadth and versatility of her artistry as both a singer and an actress. The winner of a record-breaking six Tony Awards, two Grammy Awards, and an Emmy Award, she was named one of Time magazine's 100 most influential people of 2015 and received a 2015 National Medal of Arts from President Barack Obama. Raised in Fresno, California, the Julliard-trained soprano is equally at home on Broadway and opera stages as she is in roles on film and television. Of her many roles, her favorites are those performed offstage: passionate advocate for equal rights and homeless youth, wife to actor Will Swenson, and mother to her children. She received the Drama League's Distinguished Performance Award in 2012 for her performance in The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess.

Will Swenson was last seen on Broadway in Disaster!: The Musical. Prior to that he starred on Broadway as Inspector Javert in the hit revival of Les Misérables and in Priscilla: Queen of the Desert (Drama League Nomination); he received a Tony, Drama League and Drama Desk nomination for his performance as Berger in the Broadway revival of Hair. He also played the role on London's West End. Other Broadway credits include: 110 in the Shade, Lestat, and Brooklyn: the Musical. Off Broadway: Little Miss Sunshine, Murder Ballad, Rock of Ages, Pericles directed by Trevor Nunn, ...It's a Bird, It's a Plane, It's Superman, Two Gentlemen of Verona, Adrift in Macao, The Slugbearers of Kayrol Island, and Camelot with the New York Philharmonic. Tours include: Miss Saigon, We Will Rock You, and Fame! Film credits include: The Switch, Gods Behaving Badly, This is Where I Leave You, and the upcoming The Greatest Showman. Television credits include: "The Good Wife", "Law & Order" (SVU and CI), "No Tomorrow", and "6 Degrees". Will is also a film maker. His first film Sons of Provo about a clueless Mormon Boy-Band, which he directed, co-wrote and starred in, won several film festivals. He is married to the most talented woman who ever lived, Audra McDonald.

Resolution Life is the proud Lead Season Sponsor of The Drama League. Delta Air Lines is the Official Air Line of The Drama League. MAC Cosmetics is the Official Make-up Partner of The Drama League. The Chairpersons of the 83rd Annual Drama League Awards are Bonnie Comley and Jano Herbosch.

First awarded in 1922 and formalized in 1935, The Drama League Awards are the oldest theatrical honors in America. The Drama League Awards recognize distinguished productions, performances, and exemplary career achievements. The first Drama League Award was presented to Katharine Cornell in 1935; since then, the Distinguished Performance Award has been accorded to a roster of theatre legends such as Lin-Manuel Miranda, Chita Rivera, Neil Patrick Harris, Nathan Lane, Audra McDonald, Liam Neeson, Hugh Jackman, Patti LuPone, Glenn Close, Liev Schreiber, Sir John Gielgud, Harvey Fierstein, Cherry Jones, Alec Guinness, James Earl Jones, Helen Hayes, Jeremy Irons, Mary-Louise Parker, Sir Ian McKellen, Bernadette Peters, and Christopher Plummer.

For more information about the Drama League Awards, visit www.dramaleague.org.

Photo Credit: Walter McBride / WM Photos



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