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Drama League to Honor Mike Nichols, BMI Workshop and Billy Rose Theatre Collection - Tickets on Sale Now

The Drama League is proud to announce the recipients of its three annual specialty awards which will be presented at the 71st Annual Awards Ceremony and Luncheon on Friday, May 13. Director Mike Nichols (Spamalot) will be honored with the Julia Hansen Award for Excellence in Directing, The Billy Rose Theatre Collection at the NY Public Library at Lincoln Center will receive the Unique Contribution to the Theatre Award and The BMI Musical Theatre Workshop will receive the Distinguished Achievement in Musical Theatre Award.

Monty Python vet and Spamalot creator Eric Idle will be on hand to present Mike Nichols with his award. Award-winning composer Maury Yeston (Nine) will present the award for Distinguished Achievement in Musical Theatre and composers Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx (Avenue Q) will accept on behalf of BMI. The award for Unique Contribution to the Theatre will be accepted on behalf of The Billy Rose Theatre Collection by Jacqueline Davis, Executive Director of the Performing Arts Library at Lincoln Center, and Billy Rose Theatre Collection Curator Bob Taylor.

The Drama League is also pleased to announce that for the first time in the history of the awards, tickets for the ceremony will be available to the general public. Tickets are $150 each (non-table seating). The ticket price includes a one-year Drama League membership (an $85 value). For tickets to The 71st Annual Drama League Awards, please call The Drama League at 212-244-9494 ext. 5.

The 71st Annual Drama League Awards and Luncheon will be hosted by Cherry Jones. Long considered the theatre season's most festive award ceremony, The Drama League Awards pays tribute to the season's best performers by including the nominees of The Distinguished Performance Award on a dais. This year's awards ceremony will feature over 50 stars from the

2004-2005 Broadway and Off-Broadway season, including co-chairs John Lithgow (Dirty Rotten Scoundrels), Jesse Tyler Ferguson (Spelling Bee), Frances Sternhagen (Steel Magnolias), Lea Delaria (Happy Days), Leslie Uggams (On Golden Pond) and Sutton Foster (Little Women).

In addition to its three specialty awards for exemplary career achievements in theatre, musical theatre and directing, The Drama League honors distinguished productions, both on and Off-Broadway, as well as a singular performance from the current theater season. These five awards (Distinguished Production of a Play and Musical, Distinguished Revival of a Play and Musical, Distinguished Performance) are determined by the Drama League's 3,000 members, making them the only National Theatre honors that are decided by theatergoers themselves.

Last season, Drama League Awards were given to Hugh Jackman (Distinguished Performance), I Am My Own Wife (Distinguished Production of a Play), Wicked (Distinguished Production of a Musical), Henry IV (Distinguished Revival of a Play) and Assassins (Distinguished Revival of a Musical). The Drama League's specialty awards were presented to Donna Murphy (Distinguished Achievement in Musical Theatre), City Center Encores! (Unique Contribution to the Theatre) and George C. Wolfe (The Julia Hansen Award for Excellence in Directing).

The first Drama League Award was presented to actress Katharine Cornell in 1935, making it the oldest National Theatre honor, predating the Tony Awards by twelve years.

Biographies

Mike Nichols is an eight-time Tony Award winner. His work in stage, film and television has also garnered him an Oscar, two Emmys and a Golden Globe. Perhaps best known for his film The Graduate and the recent HBO miniseries Angels in America, his lengthy stage career includes Barefoot in the Park, Hurlyburly, The Real Thing, The Apple Tree and this year's smash hit musical Spamalot.

The Billy Rose Theatre Collection at the New York Performing Arts Library is internationally recognized as one of the largest and most comprehensive archives devoted to the theatrical arts. Formally established in 1931 and named for the legendary lyricist and producer, The Collection's holdings illuminate virtually every form of performance, from street corner to stage to studio, and include drama, musical theatre, film, television, radio, circus, magic, vaudeville, and puppetry. Its unique strength lies not only in its unparalleled collection that is openly available, free of charge, to the public, but also its pioneering efforts to videotape major theatrical productions nationally for future generations.

The BMI Musical Theatre Workshop was started more than three decades ago by BMI and the late Lehman Engel to provide new writers for the musical theatre with a creative setting to hone their craft and is considered the foremost training ground for new composers and lyricists. The Workshop played an instrumental part in the creation of A Chorus Line, Little Shop of Horrors, Nine, Avenue Q and Ragtime, and its impressive alumni roster includes Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick , John Kander and Fred Ebb, Elton John, Maury Yeston and Alan Menken.

The Drama League was founded in 1916 as an association of theatre professionals and patrons dedicated to encouraging the finest in professional theatre and has since then developed into the theatre's premiere service organization. The Drama League provides an unparalleled training program for emerging theatre artists through The Directors Project, which encourages and trains young talents while providing much-needed exposure and essential connections to the professional theatrical community. The Drama League's Audience Project is dedicated to building strong, passionate audiences for the American theatre, providing discounted tickets for its members to the best Broadway, Off-Broadway, and regional productions across the United States while enhancing the theatergoer's understanding and experience of live theatre through its informative panels, luncheons and discussions with leading figures in the field.


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