Patti LuPone, Audra McDonald & André De Shields to be Honored by The Theatre World Awards, Hosted Online by BroadwayWorld

The ONE-NIGHT ONLY Special Gala Benefit will celebrate 75 years of the Theatre World Awards and the drive to keep the Theatre World Award legacy alive and thriving.

By: Jun. 23, 2021
Patti LuPone, Audra McDonald & André De Shields to be Honored by The Theatre World Awards, Hosted Online by BroadwayWorld

A night of legends! The Theatre World Awards, Board of Directors, Dale Badway, President, in association with Tom D'Angora, Michael D'Angora and Tim Guinee, announced today, as a departure from the annual awards ceremony, will present a one-night only virtual event to honor Broadways best with a Special Gala Award Benefit to help raise funds for the prestigious Theatre World Awards. The 2021 Special Honorees include Patti LuPone, Audra McDonald, and André De Shields.

The ONE-NIGHT ONLY Special Gala Benefit will be a celebration of 75 years of the Theatre World Awards and a passionate heartfelt fundraising drive to keep the Theatre World Award legacy alive and thriving for generations to come. Directed by Tom D'Angora and Michael D'Angora, the evenings entertainment will call upon an array of Theatre World Alum who will share their thoughts about their breakout debut performance, or about what it felt like to be honored with a Theatre World Award. All proceeds from the event will go toward presenting and celebrating the theatre community with the much anticipated in person, in theater annual ceremony, the 76th Theatre World Awards, in June 2022.

The special event will be hosted virtually by on Sunday evening, July 11, 2021 beginning at 7:00PM. Free stream available at

The producing trio Tom D'Angora, Michael D'Angora, and Tim Guinee recently stepped up to help raise much needed funds for The York Theatre Company, West Bank Cafe and Birdland Jazz Club. The trio, who are donating their time, have taken on The Theatre World Awards as their next project.

The Theatre World Awards relies on the support and contributions of its alumni and donors. Donations may be made by visiting the Go Fund Me link at

This year The Theatre World Awards will honor Patti LuPone and André De Shields (Hadestown) with the 8th Annual John Willis Awards for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre_ for their ongoing excellence and contribution to the theater.

Patti LuPone has a versatile career that spans across film, television, and theatre. On television, LuPone has made memorable turns on Netflix's "Hollywood," Showtime's "Penny Dreadful," the HBO series "Girls," and the FX drama hits "American Horror Story" and "Pose." Additional television credits include "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend," "Law & Order: SVU," "30 Rock," "Army Wives," "Ugly Betty," "Will & Grace," and "Oz," among others. She has voiced characters on the animated series Steven Universe, "Vampirina" and "Bojack Horseman."

Patti has appeared in numerous feature films, most notably the Academy Award-winning Driving Miss Daisy alongside Morgan Freeman and Jessica Tandy, Witness with Harrison Ford, Brian De Palma's Wise Guys opposite Danny DeVito and Harvey Keitel, Taylor Hackford's The Comedian alongside Robert De Niro, Spike Lee's Summer of Sam and most recently, Paul Feig's Last Christmas.

Most recently, Patti starred in the hit Broadway rendition of Company, for which she won the Olivier Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role in a Musical in the West End Production. Previously, LuPone starred as 'Helena Rubenstein' in the Broadway musical War Paint (after creating the role at The Goodman Theatre in Chicago). For her performance, she received Tony, Drama Desk and Outer Critic's Circle Award nominations. She led the company of Douglas Carter Beane's new play Shows For Days under the direction of Jerry Zaks. Patti's most recent Broadway credits include David Mamet's The Anarchist and Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, for which she was nominated for Tony, Drama Desk, and Outer Critics Circle Awards. She won the Tony for Best Actress in a Musical twice, once for Evita in 1980 and again in 2008 for her performance in Gypsy. She also won two Grammy Awards for Best Classical Album and Best Opera Recording for The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny.

Patti is also author of the New York Times bestseller Patti LuPone: A Memoir.

André De Shields is the triple-crown winner of the 2019 awards season, having won the Outer Critics Circle, Drama Desk, and Tony Awards for best featured actor in a musical for his critically acclaimed performance as Hermes in Hadestown. The Actors' Equity Foundation followed suit with the Richard Seff Award, honoring veteran stage actors' best supporting performances of the year. In 2020, Mr. De Shields received the 2020 Grammy Award for Musical Theater Album for Hadestown, the 2020 AUDELCO for Lifetime Achievement, and an honorary Doctor of Arts Degree from Boston Conservatory at Berklee. In 2019, he received the 2019 Project1Voice Lifetime Achievement Award, the 2019 SAGE Joyce Warshow Lifetime Achievement Award, The York Theatre Company's 2019 Oscar Hammerstein Award for Lifetime Achievement in Musical Theatre, and was inducted into the Theater Hall of Fame. He received the Key to the City of Baltimore from Mayor Bernard C. "Jack" Young in August, 2019. Prior to his Tony Award win, Mr. De Shields was best known for his show-stopping performances in four legendary Broadway productions: The Wiz, Ain't Misbehavin' (Emmy Award), Play On! (Tony Nomination), and The Full Monty (Tony Nomination). In a career spanning fifty-one years, he has distinguished himself as an unparalleled actor, director, and educator, receiving in 2018 the 8th Annual Off-Broadway Alliance Legend Award, and the 33rd Annual Bob Harrington Life Achievement Bistro Award. Among his other accolades are the 2009 National Black Theatre Festival's Living Legend Award and the 2007 Village Voice Obie Award for Sustained Excellence of Performance. His film and TV projects include Anton Ego in Ratatouille: The TikTok Tok Musical, the Algebra Tutor in "John Mulaney & The Sack Lunch Bunch" on Netflix, Chubby in "Katy Keene" on the CW, and as Wyndham on "Almost Family." He can next be seen as Gavin Plimsoll in Charles Busch's new film, The Sixth Reel. De Shields is a proud member of AEA, SAG-AFTRA, and SDC.

The John Willis Award is given for lifetime achievement in the theatre to honor the man who created and maintained the Theatre World tradition for 66 years, encouraging new talent in an often challenging business. The John Willis Award is presented annually by the Theatre World Awards, Inc. Board of Directors to an individual whose lifetime achievements and personal generosity to the Theatre Community merit special recognition and acknowledgement. Previous recipients of the John Willis Award include Nathan Lane (2019), Victor Garber (2018), Glenn Close (2017), Bernadette Peters (2016), Chita Rivera (2015), Christopher Plummer (2014), and Alan Alda (2013).

It was also announced, Theatre World Alum Audra McDonald (Carousel) will receive the Dorothy Loudon SPECIAL Award for Excellence in the Theater to honor her overall excellence and contribution to the theater world.

Audra McDonald is unparalleled in the breadth and versatility of her artistry as both a singer and an actor. The winner of a record-breaking six Tony Awards, two Grammy Awards and an Emmy, in 2015 she received a National Medal of Arts from President Barack Obama and was named one of Time magazine's 100 most influential people. She won Tonys for her performances in Carousel, Master Class, Ragtime, A Raisin in the Sun, The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess and Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill, which also served as the vehicle for her Olivier-nominated 2017 West End debut. On television, McDonald won an Emmy as the official host of PBS's "Live From Lincoln Center;" she can currently be seen as Liz Lawrence in "The Good Fight" on Paramount+; and she stars in Spectrum's pandemic-themed drama, "The Bite." Her film credits include Disney's live-action Beauty and the Beast and MGM's 2021 Aretha Franklin biopic, Respect. A Juilliard-trained soprano, McDonald maintains a major career as a Grammy-winning recording and concert artist. Her latest solo album, Sing Happy, was recorded live with the New York Philharmonic for Decca Gold. A founding member of Black Theatre United, board member of Covenant House International, and prominent advocate for LGBTQAI+ rights, her favorite roles are those performed offstage, as an activist, wife to actor Will Swenson, and mother.

The Dorothy Loudon Award for Excellence in the Theater honors an Outstanding Performance in a Broadway or Off-Broadway production. Dorothy Loudon, who had the unique talent of being able to make audiences laugh and cry, made her Broadway debut in Nowhere to Go But Up for which she received a Theatre World Award for her performance. She received a Tony® Award for her incomparable performance as 'Miss Hannigan' in Annie, and went on to triumphs originating roles in Noises Off, West Side Waltz, and Michael Bennett's Ballroom. Previous recipients of the Dorothy Loudon Award for Excellence in the Theater include Hampton Fluker (2019), Ben Edelman (2018), Katrina Lenk (2017), Nicholas Barasch (2016), Leanne Cope (2015), Celia Keenan-Bolger (2014), Jonny Orsini (2013), Susan Pourfar (2012), Seth Numrich (2011), Bobby Steggert (2010), and Susan Louise O'Connor (2009).

The Dorothy Loudon Award for Excellence in the Theater is chosen by the Trustees of The Dorothy Loudon Foundation, Lionel Larner, Executive Director, together with recommendations from the Theatre World Awards Committee.

Lionel Larner, Executive Director of The Dorothy Loudon Foundation, has been an agent for over fifty years representing a cavalcade of stars that have included Eve Arden, Anne Baxter, Larry Blyden, Barry Bostwick, Bette Davis, Mia Farrow, Jose Ferrer, Tony Goldwyn, Judd Hirsch, Glenda Jackson, Lynn Redgrave, Dame Diana Rigg, and the great Dorothy Loudon, among others. In 1968, Dorothy Loudon met Mr. Larner that began, for want of a better word, a love affair between agent and client. They developed a close friendship that lasted until her death in 2003. In her will she named him as Trustee and Executive Director of a Charitable Foundation to be formed. As "keeper of the flame" Mr. Larner works diligently to fulfill the mission of the Dorothy Loudon Foundation and at the same time to keep the memory of her talent fresh in people's minds and to familiarize younger Broadway talent and audiences with her legacy. In addition to funding the arts, the Foundation has supported the disadvantaged both locally and internationally, AIDS research related charities, and disaster-relief programs.

It was announced earlier this year, the 76th Theatre World Awards Ceremony, postponed due to the pandemic in 2020, will take place in June 2022. Hosted annually by well-known theater journalist, Peter Filichia, the historic 76th Annual Theatre World Awards Ceremony will be produced by Theatre World Awards, Inc. Board of Directors.

"When the universe allows, we will bestow Theatre World Awards to twelve New York stage newcomers who made their significant debuts On or Off-Broadway in the 2021-2022 season, with special honors to those who made their debuts in 2019- 2020," stated Mr. Badway. "The 8th John Willis Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre and the Dorothy Loudon Award for Excellence in the Theater, triumphantly celebrate the ongoing excellence in theatre during these challenging times.". Badway closed by stating, "We look forward to celebrating the world of theatre at our _76th Theatre World Awards Ceremony_ in June 2022."

In what has become a highly entertaining and often touching tradition, 12 previous winners serve as the presenters, and often relive moments from past ceremonies and share wonderful stories rarely heard at other theatrical awards. Many people feel that this is the most fun and enjoyable awards show of the Broadway season! The historic 76th Theatre World Awards Ceremony will celebrate past and present honorees showcasing the historic heritage of our organization.

Hosted annually by well-known theater journalist, Peter Filichia, the historic 76th Annual Theatre World Awards Ceremony will be produced by Theatre World Awards, Inc. Board of Directors.

For additional information about the Theatre World Awards, visit

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