Feature: The VIPS Behind The Curtain at the Ziegfeld Ballroom!

The Drama League Awards Luncheon and VIP Reception!

By: May. 20, 2024
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The 2024 Drama League Awards were held on May 17th at the Ziegfeld Ballroom in New York City, marking a spectacular celebration of theatrical excellence. This prestigious annual event, the oldest of it's kind, now in its 90th year, honors the finest achievements in Broadway and Off-Broadway productions, showcasing the vibrant diversity and creativity that defines the American theater landscape.

The Drama League Awards are unique because the Members and audience decide them—thousands of members, avid theatergoers, and professionals nationwide. This year, the awards saw a particularly fierce competition, a testament to a season rich with groundbreaking performances and innovative productions.

Recap of the Wins!

The most coveted award, the Distinguished Performance Award, was awarded to Sarah Paulson for her powerful portrayal in “Appropriate.” Paulson's win adds to her already impressive list of accolades, solidifying her status as one of the most celebrated performers in the industry. The Distinguished Performance Award is notable because it can only be won once in an actor's lifetime, underscoring Paulson's exceptional contribution to theater.

"Stereophonic" won the award for Outstanding Production of a Play. The play has resonated deeply with audiences and critics alike. The Outstanding Production of a Musical award went to Alicia Keys’s "Hell’s Kitchen." The musical's inventive choreography, spirited performances, and heartfelt mother-daughter story made it a standout in a season entirely of strong contenders.

Stephen Sondheim’s "Merrily We Roll Along," a gripping and beautifully staged revival, took home the Outstanding Revival of a Musical award. Its compelling narrative, powerful score, and stellar performances have breathed new life into this classic work. “Appropriate" received the award for Outstanding Revival of a Play. This latest production has been lauded for its fresh perspective and profound emotional impact, making it a worthy recipient of this honor.

The Drama League and Directors Project Fellows!

The 2024 Drama League Awards not only celebrated the excellence of the past season but also underscored the enduring power and relevance of live theater. The Drama League Awards Luncheons are filled with reflection on the season's productions and camaraderie between the actors. The comments often speak to The Drama League's mission as an artistic home for directors.

Many of The Drama League’s Directors Project alums nominated this year were in the ballroom to celebrate each other’s work. Artistic Director Gabriel Stelian Shanks introduced the newest group of Directors Project fellows to the theater community at the event. This year’s fellows include Zoë Adams, Irvin Mason, Jr., Emma Denson, Karl Michael Iglesias, Britt Berke, Stefan Dezil, Jess McLeod, Danny Sharron, Lauren Keating, Morgan Green, Rosalind Bevan, Devin Haqq, Martavius Parrish, Sarah Hughes, Colm Summers, Dina Vovsi, Arin Arbus, Jaime Castaneda, and Desdemona Chiang.

Frank DiLella hosted, and Board President Bonnie Comley and Darin Oduyoye co-chaired the Drama League Awards  Luncheon. Board Members Jonathan Lonner, Townsend Teague, Kumiko Yoshii, Sarah Hutton, Fred Siegel, Stan Ponte, Mary Jain, Irene Gandy, Paula Kaminsky Davis, and Trish Chambers mingled with the attendees acting as ambassadors for the Drama League programs. The ballroom theater industry VIPs included Ben Platt, John Gore, Sonia Frieman, Charlotte St. Martin, Bee Carrozini, Stewart F. Lane, Kevin McCollum, Thomas Schumacher, Kurt Deutsch, Fran & Barry Weissler, Wendy Orshan, Robert Boyett, George Lane, Jeffrey Richards, Laura Michele Talbot, Doug Reside, Aki Harimoto, Rachel Sussman, Jill Furman, David Babani, among others.

The Drama League Awards Luncheon was supported by donations from J. P. Morgan, Darin Oduyoye, BroadwayHD, Creative Artists Agency, RB Theatricals, Jay Alix, Lakeview Productions, Ambassador Theatre Group, City Cowboy Productions, Mary Jain, Una Jackman, Talu Productions, John Gore Organization, Paula Kaminsky Davis, Lincoln Center Theater, Donald Nolan, Stan Ponte, Purlie Victorious LLC, Roundabout Theatre Company, Second Stage Theater, The Shubert Organization, Womens Independent Producer Network, City National Bank, Ken Davenport, Manhattan Theatre Club, The Nederlander Organization, The Public Theater, Teague Theatrical Group, Ticketmaster and WME.

For more information on The Drama League and a complete list of nominees, see www.DramaLeague.org

Photos below are by Eugene Gologursky, Jillian Nelson & Catalin Stelian include winners, nominees and VIPS! Check them out!

Feature: The VIPS Behind The Curtain at the Ziegfeld Ballroom!
Aki Harimoto
Feature: The VIPS Behind The Curtain at the Ziegfeld Ballroom!
Bevin Ross, Gabriel Stelian Shanks & Bonnie Comley 
Feature: The VIPS Behind The Curtain at the Ziegfeld Ballroom!
Board and Steering Committee Members: Top Row - Jonathan Demar, Jonathan Lonner, Townsend Teague, Frank DiLella, Sarah Hutton, Fred Siegel & Stan Ponte,
Bottom Row - Bevin Ross, Mary Jain, Irene Gandy, Paula Kaminsky Davis & Trish Chambers 
Feature: The VIPS Behind The Curtain at the Ziegfeld Ballroom!
Bonnie Comley, Stewart F. Lane & The Drama League Winner, Sarah Paulson!
Feature: The VIPS Behind The Curtain at the Ziegfeld Ballroom!
Drama League Nominees Daniel Radcliffe & Lindsay Mendez with Distinguished Achievement In Musical Theater Recipient, Jonathan Groff
Feature: The VIPS Behind The Curtain at the Ziegfeld Ballroom!
Emily Elliott, Bonnie Comley & Laura Michele Talbot
Feature: The VIPS Behind The Curtain at the Ziegfeld Ballroom!
Fred & Barby Siegel
Feature: The VIPS Behind The Curtain at the Ziegfeld Ballroom!
Gabriel Stelian Shanks, Lila Neugebauer & Bonnie Comley
Feature: The VIPS Behind The Curtain at the Ziegfeld Ballroom!
Gabriel Stelian Shanks
Feature: The VIPS Behind The Curtain at the Ziegfeld Ballroom!
Gratitude Award Recipient, Kandi Burruss, LaTanya Richardson Jackson & Founders Award for Excellence in Directing Recipient, Schele Williams
Feature: The VIPS Behind The Curtain at the Ziegfeld Ballroom!
Lear deBessonet
Feature: The VIPS Behind The Curtain at the Ziegfeld Ballroom!
Directors Project Fellows 2024: Top RowMartavius Parrish, Emma Denson, Karl Michael Iglesias, Gabriel Stelian-Shanks, Bevin Ross, Nilan, Bonnie Comley, Colm Summers & Irvin Mason
Bottom Row - Stefan Dezil, Devin Haqq, Zoë Adams, Britt Berke, Dina Vovsi & Sarah Hughes 
Feature: The VIPS Behind The Curtain at the Ziegfeld Ballroom!
McLean Mills & Aki Harimoto
Feature: The VIPS Behind The Curtain at the Ziegfeld Ballroom!
Sara Scholnick, Marla Ostroff, Gianna DiPasquale & Sarah Hutton
Feature: The VIPS Behind The Curtain at the Ziegfeld Ballroom!
Thomas Schumacher & Founders Award for Excellence in Directing Recipient, Schele Williams
Feature: The VIPS Behind The Curtain at the Ziegfeld Ballroom!
Townsend Teague & Liesl Lar 
Feature: The VIPS Behind The Curtain at the Ziegfeld Ballroom!
Trish Chambers & Bonnie Comley
Feature: The VIPS Behind The Curtain at the Ziegfeld Ballroom!
Nicole Rosky & James Blinken
Feature: The VIPS Behind The Curtain at the Ziegfeld Ballroom!
Jeff Wilson, Robert Boyett & Wendy Orshan 



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