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LuPone, McAnuff, and Seldes Awarded Drama League Honors May 5, Tickets Onsale

The Drama League (Jano Herbosch, President) is proud to announce the recipients of its three annual specialty awards which will be presented at The 72nd Annual Awards Ceremony and Luncheon on Friday, May 5, 2006 (12 p.m.). Patti LuPone (Sweeney Todd) will receive the Distinguished Achievement in Musical Theatre Award, Des McAnuff (Jersey Boys) will be honored with the Julia Hansen Award for Excellence in Directing, and Marian Seldes (Dedication or the Stuff of Dreams) will receive the Unique Contribution to the Theatre Award.

Legendary theater composer Stephen Sondheim will be on-hand to present the Distinguished Achievement in Musical Theatre Award to Patti LuPone. Ms. LuPone is currently appearing as Mrs. Lovett in the Broadway revival of Sondheim's Sweeney Todd at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre.

Emmy and Golden Globe Award winner Aaron Sorkin will present the Julia Hansen Award for Excellence in Directing to Des McAnuff. McAnuff, currently represented on Broadway with the musical Jersey Boys, is slated to direct Sorkin's new stage drama, The Farnsworth Invention, at La Jolla Playhouse in 2007.

Award-winning playwright Terrence McNally will present the Unique Contribution to the Theatre Award to Marian Seldes. Ms. Seldes appeared in McNally's Dedication or the Stuff of Dreams at Primary Stages earlier this season.

Tickets for the 72nd Annual Drama League Awards Ceremony and Luncheon are now available. Tickets are $150-$450. For more information, please call The Drama League at 212-244-9494 ext. 5 or visit www.dramaleague.org.

The awards ceremony and luncheon will be hosted by Alan Cumming (The Threepenny Opera).

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.

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 Norbert Leo Butz (Distinguished Performance), Doubt (Distinguished Production of a Play), Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (Distinguished Production of a Musical), Twelve Angry Men (Distinguished Revival of a Play), La Cage Aux Folles (Distinguished Revival of a Musical), The BMI Musical Theatre Workshop (Distinguished Achievement in Musical Theatre), The Billy Rose Theatre Collection at the NY Public Library at Lincoln Center (Unique Contribution to the Theatre) and Mike Nichols (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. In recent years, the Distinguished Performance Award has been accorded to a roster of theatre legends such as RoseMary Harris, Christopher Plummer, Sir Ian McKellen, Bernadette Peters, James Earl Jones, John Lithgow, Stockard Channing, Glenn Close, Bebe Neuwirth, Cherry Jones, Mary Louise Parker, Liam Neeson and Harvey Fierstein, among others.

BIOGRAPHIES

Patti LuPone is currently appearing on Broadway as Mrs. Lovett in the revival of Stephen Sondheim's Sweeney Todd. New York stage: Passion, Candide, Can-Can, Noises Off, Matters of the Heart, Sweeney Todd, The Old Neighborhood, Master Class, Patti LuPone on Broadway (Outer Critics Circle Award), Pal Joey, Anything Goes (Drama Desk Award, Tony Award nomination), Oliver!, Accidental Death of an Anarchist, The Woods, Edmond, The Cradle Will Rock, Evita (Tony and Drama Desk Awards), Working, The Water Engine, The Robber Bridegroom (Tony Award and Drama Desk nominations) and three sold-out concerts at Carnegie Hall. London stage: Matters of the Heart, Master Class, Sunset Boulevard (Olivier Award nomination), Les Misérables and The Cradle Will Rock (Olivier Award). Films include City by the Sea, David Mamet's Heist and State and Main, Just Looking, Summer of Sam, Driving Miss Daisy, Witness. TV includes the Emmy Award-winning PBS telecasts of "Passion" and "Sweeney Todd," "Oz," the TNT film "Monday Night Mayhem," PBS' "Evening at the Pops" with John Williams and Yo Yo Ma, "Frasier" (Emmy nomination), "Law & Order," "The Water Engine," "L.B.J." and the ABC series "Life Goes On." Recordings include Sweeney Todd (NY Philharmonic's Special Editions label), Matters of the Heart, Pal Joey, Heatwave with John Mauceri and the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, Patti LuPone Live and upcoming The Lady With the Torch.

Des McAnuff is a two-time Tony Award-winning director and writer and the artistic director of La Jolla Playhouse. Under his leadership, La Jolla Playhouse has won more than 200 theatre awards, including the 1993 Tony Award as America's Outstanding Regional Theatre. Recent productions directed at The Playhouse include Zhivago ('05); Palm Beach, The Screwball Musical ('05); Private Fittings ('05); Tom Donaghy's Eden Lane ('03); Molière's Tartuffe ('02); and The Collected Works of Billy the Kid ('01). Playhouse-to-Broadway credits: Jersey Boys (Playhouse '04, Broadway '05); Billy Crystal's 700 Sundays (Playhouse '04; Broadway '04, Tony Award); Dracula: The Musical (Playhouse '01, Broadway '04); How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying (Playhouse '94, Broadway '95), The Who's Tommy (director/co-author with Pete Townshend; Playhouse '92, Broadway '93, Tony Award for Best Director of a Musical, London Olivier Award for Best Director '94), A Walk in the Woods (Playhouse '87, Broadway '88, Moscow and Lithuania '89-'90); and Big River (Playhouse '84, Broadway '85, seven Tony Awards including Best Director of a Musical and Best Musical). Film credits include Cousin Bette (director), Iron Giant (producer), The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle (director), Quills (executive producer).

Marian Seldes. Broadway: Dinner at Eight, Ring Round the Moon (Tony noms.); 45 Seconds From Broadway, Deathtrap, Ivanov, The Merchant, Equus, Father's Day (Tony nomination, Drama Desk Award), Before You Go, A Delicate Balance (Tony Award), Tiny Alice, The Milk Train Doesn't Stop Here Anymore, A Gift of Time, The Wall, The Chalk Garden, Ondine, The High Ground, The Tower Beyond Tragedy, That Lady, Crime and Punishment, Medea. Off-Broadway: Dedication or the Stuff of Dreams, Beckett/Albee, Play Yourself, Helen, The Play About the Baby, The Butterfly Collection, The Torch-Bearers, Three Tall Women, A Bright Room Called Day, Dear Liar, Mercy Street, Richard II, Richard III, Painting Churches (Outer Critics Circle Award), Isadora Duncan (Obie Award), The Ginger Man (Obie Award). Juilliard Faculty, 1967-1991; Fordham Faculty, 2001; Theatre Hall of Fame, inducted 1996; Sustained Achievement Obie Award, 2001. She is the author of two books, The Bright Lights: A Theatre Life and Time Together.

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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