Del Hughes Awards Honorees for Lifetime Achievement in the Art of Stage Management, The Founders Award & Special Recognition Award Revealed

Learn more about the honoress here!

By: Jun. 20, 2024
Del Hughes Awards Honorees for Lifetime Achievement in the Art of Stage Management, The Founders Award & Special Recognition Award Revealed
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The Stage Managers’ Association (SMA) has announced its annual Del Hughes Awards for Lifetime Achievement in the Art of Stage Management.  The distinguished 2024 honorees are theatrical Production Stage Managers Lloyd Davis, Jr., Ed De Shae, and Denise Yaney.  In addition to these Lifetime Achievement Awards, the SMA will honor Mary Hunter with The Founders Award for her careers both in Stage Management and as a leading educator.  This year’s Special Recognition Award will shine the spotlight on David J. McGraw and The Stage Manager Survey. 

The Del Hughes honor is awarded to those who represent the finest qualities and artistic achievement in Stage Management throughout their lifelong career.  Instituted in 1986, the award was named for Del Hughes, who from 1933 to the 1970s had an illustrious career as a Broadway and television Stage Manager as well as a TV director.  From nominations submitted by industry members, honorees are chosen each February by the Awards & Recognition Committee represented by Stage Managers from across the country: Patreshettarlini Adams, Robert Bennett, Katrina Herrmann, Claudia Lynch, Melissa Nathan, Robin Rumpf, Tree O’Halloran, Matthew Stern, Joel Veenstra, and Cheryl Mintz (Chair).  The SMA thanks Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS for their leading sponsorship of The Del Hughes Awards Event.  This year’s event will take place on Monday, October 28th, 2024.  Details to be announced.

About the Honorees

Lloyd Davis, Jr’s 40+ year career spans Broadway, Off Broadway, national and international tours, regional and summer stock theatres.  He feels blessed to have had such an auspicious career working alongside playwrights and directors that he had once only dreamt of working with, including Sam Shepard, Edward Albee, Stephen Sondheim, Richard Wesley, Ntozake Shange, Estelle Parsons, Wynn Handman, Ellen Stewart, A.R. Gurney, Graciela Danielle, George Faison, Joseph Chaiken, Ed Bullins, David Hare, Scott Ellis, Joe Morton, Calvin Trillin, William Carden and Mark Lamos.  At the American Place Theatre, where he was Resident Production Stage Manager, he also served as its Director of Theatre Education and was recognized by Pace University/NYC Board of Education for Excellence in Arts Education for his work with Ellen Kirshbaum’s NYC Public School Repertory Company.  

California based Ed De Shae’s career has spanned locally with Center Theatre Group and Pasadena Playhouse, across the country at the Kennedy Center and Broadway, and internationally to Nigeria, South Africa, Trinidad, Barbados and Edinburgh.  Pivotal companies in his career include DC Black Repertory Company, National Black Theater Festival, and the Negro Ensemble Company.  Ed, a decorated Vietnam Veteran, broke barriers as the 1st African American member of the United States Air Force’s Pararescue.  He presented President Obama at the Opening Ceremonies of the Organization of American States, 5th Summit of the Americas, as well as Queen Elizabeth II, at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting.  Ed was the recipient of the National Black Theatre Festival’s inaugural Outstanding Achievement in Stage Management Award.

Denise Yaney began stage managing at Circle Repertory Company in 1984. Over the next 36 years she has stage managed or assisted on 77 productions on and off Broadway and regionally. These include plays by Lanford Wilson, David Lindsay-Abaire, Sarah Ruhl, Wendy Wasserstein, Donald Margulies, Richard Greenberg, William H. Hoffman, Paula Vogel and Christopher Durang and directors Marshall W. Mason, Daniel Sullivan, Michael Wilson, Pam MacKinnon, Bartlett Sher, Jack O’Brien, Joe Mantello, Anne Bogart, Gloria Muzio and Nicholas Martin. She has worked most closely with Stage Managers Roy Harris and Robert Bennett (both Del Hughes Lifetime Achievement honorees), Jane Grey and Fred Reinglas.  This year, with Denise’s prolific career-long role as a Broadway Assistant Stage Manager, the SMA celebrates the position of the Assistant Stage Manager.


Mary Hunter joined AEA in 1974 and built a lifelong career as a Production Stage Manager, Production Manager, and Educator.  With a focus on regional theatre and touring across the USA and Canada, she has worked with notable theatres such as The Guthrie Theater, American Repertory Theatre, Denver Center for Performing Arts, Santa Fe Festival Theatre, The Seattle Repertory Theatre, NY Theatre Guild, Jim Walsh Productions and, in Canada, for The National Arts Centre in Ottawa, and the Stratford Festival.  In 1996, Mary was appointed Chair of the Stage Management Department at the Yale School of Drama, retiring after 23 extraordinary years.  She is the very proud mom of Ruby Mei Hunter.

David J. McGraw started The Stage Manager Survey in 2006 to examine Stage Managers’ practices, education and training, working conditions, and employment.  The 2023 edition recorded responses from 1,979 Stage Managers in 32 countries (available in English, French, Mandarin, and Spanish), making it the largest study of Stage Managers in the world.  The SMA has supported this study since its inception and over 30 stage management students at the University of Iowa and now Elon University have assisted in the nine editions of this study.  David’s heart has been in regional stage management for 31 years, but he is also proud of all the Stage Managers and Stage Management educators he has taught over the past two decades.

About the Stage Managers’ Association

The Stage Managers’ Association of the United States (SMA) is the only national professional organization for working Stage Managers across the United States.  Our mission is to recognize, advocate for, and provide continuing education and networking opportunities, creating community for Stage Managers across the USA and connecting them with the world through our International Cohort.

Celebrating its 42nd anniversary year, the Stage Managers’ Association is a pivotal resource for Stage Managers nationwide in all areas of live performance.  With a growing national membership, the SMA promotes networking opportunities through its many initiatives such as Operation Observation, Collaborative Connections, and A View from the Wings Symposia.  SMA members include top Broadway, Off Broadway, Corporate, Regional, Dance, and Opera Stage Managers as well as students and those just beginning their careers. 

The Stage Managers’ Association strives for equity, fairness, diversity and inclusion.  As Stage Managers we are discreet in our dealings with Productions, Producers and employers.  We respect and value diverse life experiences and heritages, strive toward equitable treatment of our members, and support members who nurture diversity and equity in their places of work and in their broader communities.

Learn more about the Stage Managers’ Association at


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