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Heidi Schreck, Diedre Murray, Jim Nicola & Linda Chapman Surprised with 2015 Lilly Awards

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The Lilly Awards Foundation, celebrating and honoring women of distinction in American theater, held their 6th Annual Lilly Awards Ceremony last night, June 1, 2015 at Playwrights Horizons (416 West 42nd Street) that was hosted by twice nominated 2015 Tony Award nominee Lisa Kron (Fun Home).

Last night's Sixth Annual Lilly Awards celebrated partnership and collaboration beginning with honoring two-time Tony Award-winner Chita Rivera (Chicago; Kiss of the Spider Woman; Bye, Bye, Birdie; West Side Story), currently starring on Broadway in the new Tony nominated musical, The Visit, for which she received a 2015 Tony Award nomination, with the first-ever Legendary Lilly Award presented by four-time Tony Award-winner Terrence McNally (The Visit; Master Class; Ragtime; Love! Valor! Compassion!), and veteran Broadway producer Daryl Roth (Clybourne Park; August: Osage County; Kinky Boots) who received the Lilly Lifetime Achievement Award.

The Lilly Awards Foundation presented four surprise awards to honorees including Heidi Schreck (Grand Concourse), who received the Stacey Mindich $25,000 Go-Write-a-Play Prize; Pulitzer Prize Finalist Diedre Murray (You Don't Miss Your Water, Running Man,) who received the Lilly Composer Award by surprise presenter, award-winning poet and Diedre Murray collaborator Cornelius Eady; Artistic Director of New York Theater Workshop Jim Nicola received the Miss Lilly Award for supporting women in theater by surprise presenter and Associate Artistic Director of NYTW Linda Chapman, who, in turn, was surprised by Marsha Norman, Julia Jordan and Jim Nicola by the first ever Mizz Lilly Award for her contributions to gender parity in the American Theater.

The 2015 Lilly Awards also honored choreographer and director Graciela Daniele with the Lilly Award in Choreography; Playwright Lisa D'Amour (2015 Tony nominee, Airline Highway; Detroit) with the Lilly Award in Playwriting; Beloved actor Deirdre O'Connell was given the Lilly Award for Distinguished Service to Playwrights; Founding Artistic Director of the Musical Theatre Factory Shakina Nayfack received the Lilly Award for Working Miracles and a $5000 cash prize; Quincy Tyler Bernstine was honored with the Lilly Award in Acting, and Boo Killebrew was presented with the Leah Ryan Prize.

Guest presenters included Lynn Ahrens, Lynne Meadow, Rebecca Naomi Jones, Jordan Roth, Cusi Cram, Zoe Sarnak, Heidi Schreck, Julia Jordan, Stacey Mindich, Marsha Norman and Lisa Kron.

The ceremony was streamed live by HowlRoundTv and can be seen on the Lilly Awards Website and included performances by FIVE PLAY, the sister group of the world-renowned all-female jazz ensemble DIVA, costumes by the legendary Ziegfeld Club, and a special announcement of the Billie Burke Ziegfeld Award for a woman composer or lyricist.

The Lilly Awards are made possible by generous grants from The Dramatists Guild and The New York Women's Foundation, and sustaining assistance from the Lilly Awards Leadership Circle.

The Lilly Awards were founded in the spring of 2010, by Julia Jordan, Marsha Norman and Theresa Rebeck to honor the work of women in the American Theater. The awards are named for Lillian Hellman, who famously said to be a female playwright, "You need to write like the devil and act like one too when necessary."

The Honorees were chosen by over 100 theater professionals. Previous winners of Lilly Awards include Mary Rogers, Dominique Morrisseau, Kristen Anderson-Lopez, Jeanine Tesori, Liesl Tommy, Kelli O'Hara, Pam MacKinnon, Leigh Silverman, Anne Kauffman, Sarah Ruhl, Kristin Chenoweth, Annie Baker, Susan Stroman, Lynn Ahrens, Tina Fallon, Amy Herzog, Nina Arianda, Diane Paulus, Katori Hall, Tina Howe, Estella Parsons, Lynne Meadow, Ntozake Shange, Jessica Hecht and Lois Smith. Previous winners of the much-coveted Miss Lilly award, for outstanding contribution to the lives of women, include Tim Sanford, Todd London, Gary Garrison, and David Ives.

For additional information about The Lilly Awards (including a list of all past recipients), visit www.thelillyawards.org.

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