The League of Professional Theatre Women to Present Theatre Women Awards in March

This event, which is open to the public, will be both in-person and online, and celebrates women for their exemplary work and dedication in their chosen theatrical field.

By: Jan. 30, 2023
The League of Professional Theatre Women to Present Theatre Women Awards in March
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The League of Professional Theatre Women will present its annual Theatre Women Awards on March 27th from 1 to 3 p.m., at a Midtown Manhattan location to be announced.

This event, which is open to the public, will be both in-person and online, and celebrates women for their exemplary work and dedication in their chosen theatrical field.

"In this, LPTW's 40th Anniversary year, we have focused on giving awards to our amazing members, turning the spotlight on their enormous talents and achievements: Melody Brooks, Lenore DeKoven, Tess Howsam, Yvette Heyliger, Lorca Peress and Amy Stoller,'' said LPTW Co-President Katrin Hilbe.

Sign up here to receive the ticket link 24 hours before tickets officially go on sale to the public, on Feb. 14, for LPTW's 40th Anniversary Theatre Women Awards event on March 27.

The ceremony and luncheon is a highlight of LPTW's 40th Anniversary Celebration -- bringing together women of all backgrounds and their supporters as LPTW awards the following:

Josephine Abady Award: Given to honor the memory of Josephine Abady, to a mid-career director, producer, or creative director of cultural diversity who has worked in professional theater for at least five years.

The Josephine Abady Award will be given this year to Jacquelyn Bell, who formed Bell Arts, a commercial theatre and live event producing entity in 2015. She received a 2020 Special Tony Award as founder of Broadway Advocacy Coalition. Bell is currently an Associate at The Nederlander Organization where she recently Co-Produced the Lena Horne Theatre Dedication Renaming Ceremony.

Previously, Bell served as the Director of Investor Relations at Visceral Entertainment and is a producer of the Drama Desk nominated Emojiland the Musical, a New York Times Critics' Pick.

Bell is best known for the acclaimed productions of Broadway for Black Lives Matter #Bway4BLM, and Summertime. She is the 2018 Commercial Theater Institute Fred Vogel Scholar, a Fellow of the Broadway League, and currently sits on the League's EDI committee. Bell stands firmly for equity and inclusion throughout the theatre industry. Notable collaborations include Broadway: The Band's Visit, King Kong, The Prom, and Moulin Rouge (Foresight Theatrical); and Off-Broadway: Life Sucks and Curvy Widow. Bell has a passion for public speaking and has been featured in Forbes, NBC News, PBS, and BET.

Lee Reynolds Award: Given in honor of Lee Reynolds, an award-winning producer who mentored and developed writing talent. This award is given annually to a woman (or women) active in any aspect of theatre whose work has helped to illuminate the possibilities for social, cultural, or political change.

This year's recipient of the Lee Reynolds Award is Melody Brooks, founder and Artistic Director of New Perspectives Theatre Company (NPTC) and an award-winning producer, director and dramaturg who has worked in the professional theatre and various educational institutions for 40 years.

Brooks leads NPTC's Women's Work Project (WW), developing award-winning and critically acclaimed scripts since 1994. She was dramaturg for She Calls Me Firefly by Teresa Lotz (Winner 2019 NYITA Best Short Play), co-produced by NPTC and Parity Productions, for NPTC's OOBR-winning The Taming of the Shrew, and currently for How to Melt ICE, developed in the WW LAB and a NYC Women's Fund grant recipient.

Brooks received the "Trailblazing Women and Arts Institutions Award" from Rhythm Color Associates and the "Spirit of Hope Award" from Speranza Theatre Company for her support of women theatre artists. In 2019 NPTC was named a "Cultural Architect" by The Jubilee for pioneering work in DEIA. Brooks is a member of Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas (LMDA) and has co-produced the triennial LPTW Gilder/Coigney International Theatre Award since 2014.

Lucille Lortel Grant: Given to an aspiring artist who shows creative promise, and is deserving of recognition and encouragement. This year's recipient is Tess Howsam, an international director and installation artist.

An artistic maverick, Howsam has worked as a multi-hyphenate artist, director, and curator in NYC for over a decade. Central to Howsam's work are questions of gender roles, audience integration, and building collaborations across artistic mediums.

Howsam is a reoccurring Co-Director on projects with a German company Das Letze de Klinode.

As Founding Artistic Director of the interdisciplinary immersive theater company Exquisite Corpse Company (ECC), Howsam leads the development of ekphrastic immersive theater. ECC's interactive piece, ZOETROPE, was a New York Times Critic's Pick and was featured in The New Yorker Magazine.

Howsam has held artist residencies at Guild Hall (East Hampton), El Centro de las Artes de Querétaro (CEART) Querétaro, Mexico, and Town Stages (NYC). Her work has been featured throughout NYC at venues such as The Barrow Group, Governors Island, SoHo Rep, and HERE arts center. She has an MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts from Goddard College, Washington, and a BA in Theater from Bard College, New York.

Ruth Morley Design Award: Given annually in honor of leading designer Ruth Morley, costume designer for Annie Hall, Inherit the Wind, and Deathtrap and a former LPTW board member, this award is for outstanding work in the field of theatrical design.

This year's recipient of the Ruth Morley Design Award is Amy Stoller, who has been helping performers suit words to actions since 1995. She has provided dialect design, frequently with dramaturgy, for nearly 40 productions at the award-winning Mint Theater Company.

Since 2007 she has served as dialect coach on many projects with and by Anna Deavere Smith, including Let Me Down Easy and Notes from the Field, both on stage and screen. She works regularly on New York, regional, and touring productions, including the Broadway hit Beautiful (Tony Award, Jessie Mueller as Carole King). Screen credits include Zola (Colman Domingo as X); Selma (Carmen Ejogo as Coretta Scott King); Dietland; Mozart in the Jungle; Nurse Jackie, and Dora the Explorer. Amy is an officer of the Voice and Speech Trainers Association, and a member of Literary Managers & Dramaturgs of the Americas. For more information on Amy Stoller, visit:

Lifetime Achievement Award: Given, on occasion, to a woman for outstanding achievements over the course of her career. This year's recipient is Lenore DeKoven, whose career as director, author, producer and educator has spanned both east and west coasts and includes theatre, film and television.

DeKoven has held executive positions at the Mark Taper Forum, Los Angeles; the N.Y. Shakespeare Festival; Lincoln Center Repertory Theater; the National Repertory Theatre; and Roundabout Theatre in New York, and was former Chairperson of the Board of Theatre West, L.A.

In addition to directing many plays in New York City and L.A., she has been a free-lance director on ANOTHER WORLD and TEXAS, NBC TV and produced a pilot for a series written by Charles Fuller and starring Ossie Davis and Maureen Stapleton for NBC.

DeKoven was a grant recipient of the American Film Institute's Directing Workshop for Women, directing the film TAPS, TREMORS AND TIME STEPS starring Betty Garrett.

DeKoven is the Artistic Director of OUR WORKSHOP EAST, a development gym for actors, writers and directors.

A member of Columbia University's Graduate Film Division for twenty years, DeKoven has also taught on the faculties of UCLA's Theatre Department and NYU's Theatre and Film Divisions. She has conducted master classes in New York City, at the AFI in L.A., at FAMU in Prague, as well as in Montreal, Ottawa and Cologne.

She has written two short plays, both of which have been produced in short play festivals in New York. She has been a Vice President and member of the Board of the League of Professional Theatre Women, is a Special Adviser for the N.Y. Coalition of Professional Women in the Arts & Media and was co-founder and former Vice President of N.Y. Women In Film and TV. She is listed in WHO'S WHO IN ENTERTAINMENT.

LPTW Special Award: Given, on occasion, to a woman, or women, who have demonstrated extraordinary service to the LPTW Community or theatre community, generally.

This year there will be two LPTW Special Award recipients: Yvette Heyliger and Lorca Peress.

Yvette Heyliger is a playwright, producing artist, activist, and author of What a Piece of Work is Man! Full-Length Plays for Leading Women. She has contributed to many theatrical anthologies including On Holy Ground: Plays from the National Black Theatre Festival; ARTemis Arts Wisdom Anthology; She Persisted: 30 Ten-Minute Plays by Women Over 40; She Persisted: Monologues from Plays by Women Over 40; The Children of the People: Writings By and About CUNY Students on Race and Social Justice, and Performing #MeToo: How Not to Look Away.

She has also penned industry-related articles for HowlRound and Black Masks. Yvette's plays have been presented by Billie Holiday Theatre, United Solo Theatre Festival, and National Black Theatre Festival among others, as well as by Twinbiz.

Her awards include Advance Gender Equity in the Arts Legacy Playwright Grant Finalist; AUDELCO Recognition Award for Excellence in Black Theatre's August Wilson Playwright Award; National Black Theatre Festival Emerging Producer Award, and Best Playwright nomination NAACP's Annual Theatre Awards.

Current Service: Honor Roll!, Dramatists Guild's DEIA, and LPTW Rachel Crothers Leadership Award® committees. Memberships include: Dramatist Guild, AEA, SDC, and AFTRA-SAG. Yvette teaches at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts.

Lorca Peress is a director, writer, and MultiStages Founding Artistic Director. Her Off Broadway credits include director/producer/co-creator of the Puerto Rican/Taino musical Temple of the Souls (2017 NYMF Acorn Theatre at Theatre Row; NYIT Nominations; and HOLA Zaldivar Outstanding Award).

Selected Credits include: Romy Nordlinger's Garden of Alla (solo tour); SPEAKOUT: Protest Plays & More (MultiStages virtual fest); Black Girl You've Been Gentrified (Joe's Pub/ Public Theatre); 24-hour plays at the Public, Lucille Lortel, Signature Theatre. She has also produced/directed over 60 plays, musicals and operas.

Selected Awards include LMCC Creative Engagement; La Mama Playwriting Inky; Institute of Puerto Rico Extraordinary Award; Taino Areito in Drama; National Opera Association; and Collaboration Honorable Mentions (Women in Arts & Media Coalition).

Memberships include LPTW (co-president 2011-14), SAG-AFTRA, AEA, SDC, NTC, Creative Network - NY Regional Office of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration (2013-15). She is a graduate of Bennington College (BA in Drama), NTI, and Strasberg Institute. Faculty: NYU Tisch Strasberg Studio; Strasberg Institute.;


The League of Professional Theatre Women (LPTW) is a membership organization championing women in theatre and advocating for increased equity and access for all theatre women. Our programs and initiatives create community, cultivate leadership, and increase opportunities and recognition for women working in theatre. The organization provides support, networking and collaboration mechanisms for members, and offers professional development and educational opportunities for all theatre women and the general public. LPTW celebrates the historic contributions and contemporary achievements of women in theatre, both nationally and around the globe, and advocates for parity in employment, compensation and recognition for women theatre practitioners through industry-wide initiatives and public policy proposals. LPTW is celebrating its 40th Anniversary in 2023.