The awards, which honored Tony-winning actress Chita Rivera and acclaimed Broadway producer Daryl Roth, were presented at Playwrights Horizons. Following the ceremony, guests and honorees attended a cocktail reception at the West Bank Cafe. Tony Award nominee Lisa Kron (Well, Fun Home) hosted.
The awards ceremony also included surprise presentations: Heidi Schreck (Grand Concourse) received the Stacey Mindich $25,000 Go-Write-a-Play Prize, and Pulitzer Prize finalist Diedre Murray (You Don’t Miss Your Water, Running Man) received the Lilly Composer Award by surprise presenter, award-winning poet and Murray collaborator Cornelius Eady. Jim Nicola, artistic director of New York Theater Workshop, received the Miss Lilly Award for supporting women in theatre by surprise presenter and associate artistic director of NYTW Linda Chapman; and Chapman was surprised by Marsha Norman, Julia Jordan and Jim Nicola by the first-ever Mizz Lilly Award for her contributions to gender parity in the American theatre.
Rivera was presented with the first-ever Legendary Lilly Award. Currently starring in The Visit, for which she received a 2015 Tony Award nomination, Rivera's Broadway credits also include Chicago; Kiss of the Spider Woman; Bye Bye Birdie; and West Side Story. Four-time Tony Award winner Terrence McNally (The Visit, Master Class, Ragtime, Love! Valor! Compassion!) presented Rivera with the award.
Roth, who was given the Lilly Lifetime Achievement Award, has produced It Shoulda Been You, Clybourne Park, August: Osage County and Kinky Boots, among others. Her son, producer Jordan Roth, presented the award.
2015 Lilly Award winners also included choreographer and director Graciela Daniele (The Visit, Chita Rivera: The Dancer's Life); Tony-nominated playwright Lisa D'Amour (Airline Highway; Detroit); Deirdre O'Connell (Magic/Bird, The Front Page); founding artistic director of the Musical Theatre Factory Shakina Nayfack; Boo Killebrew (The Play About My Dad); and Quincy Tyler Bernstein (Grand Concourse, Mr. Burns). Guest presenters included Lynn Ahrens, Lynne Meadow, Rebecca Naomi Jones, Jordan Roth, Cusi Cram, Zoe Sarnak, Heidi Schreck, Julia Jordan and more.
The ceremony included performances by FIVE PLAY, the sister group of the world-renowned all-female jazz ensemble DIVA, and a special announcement by the Ziegfeld Club.
The Lilly Awards honor the contributions made to the American theatre by women.
Previous winners of the Lilly Award include Mary Rogers, Dominique Morisseau, Kristen Anderson-Lopez, Jeanine Tesori, Liesl Tommy, Kelli O'Hara, Pam MacKinnon, Leigh Silverman, Anne Kauffman, Sarah Ruhl, Kristin Chenoweth, Annie Baker, Susan Stroman, Lynn Ahrens, Tina Fallon, Amy Herzog, Nina Arianda, Diane Paulus, Katori Hall, Tina Howe, Estelle Parsons, Lynne Meadow, Ntozake Shange, Jessica Hecht and Lois Smith.
(3) Plays from the Kilroys' List: A Reading Series, a collaboration with the activist group The Kilroys, was presented by the Lilly Awards in March 2015.
The Kilroys is named after the graffiti left by World War II soldiers and others to make their presence known.
They distributed The List in June 2014 after asking 127 playwrights, dramaturgs and artistic directors to recommend plays written by women that were among the best they had seen or read over the previous year but had one or no productions. Of the more than 300 plays that were recommended, 46 were selected.
Founded by Marsha Norman, Julia Jordan and Theresa Rebeck, the Lilly Awards Foundation's mission is to promote gender parity at all levels of theatrical production and develop and celebrate the work of women in the theatre.
Playwrights Horizons is located at 416 West 42nd Street. Visit thelillyawards.org for more information.