By Matthew Blank
03 Jun 2014
Following the ceremony, surprise guests and honorees performed in a Cabaret that celebrated women of distinction in musical theatre at the West Bank Cafe.
The 2014 Lilly Award winners include Kristen Anderson-Lopez, Susan Bernfield, Johanna Day, Winnie Holzman, Joyce Ketay, Mary Mitchell Campbell, Rebecca Naomi Jones, Dominique Morisseau, Tony nominee Kelli O'Hara, Jen Silverman, Tony nominee Jeanine Tesori and Liesl Tommy.
Holzman (book writer of the Tony Award-winning musical Wicked) is recognized with the Lifetime Achievement Award, and the cast of A Raisin in the Sun honors the life of the late playwright Lorraine Hansberry.
The award presenters included Neena Beber, John Doyle, Branden Jacobs Jenkins, Julia Jordan, Anne Kaufman, Lisa Kron, Tony Kushner, Kwame Kwei-Armah, Justin Levine, Audra McDonald, Marsha Norman, Steven Pasquale and Stephen Schwartz.
Additionally, Stacey Mindich presented a special award of $25,000 to fund a new work by a female playwright.
Founded by Julia Jordan, Marsha Norman and Theresa Rebeck, the Lilly Awards were started in spring 2010 as a way to honor the work of women in the American theatre. The awards are named for Lillian Hellman, a pioneering American playwright who said, "You need to write like the devil and act like one when necessary."
Previous winners include Mary Rodgers, Pam MacKinnon, Leigh Silverman, Anne Kauffman, Sarah Ruhl, Kristin Chenoweth, Annie Baker, Susan Stroman, Lynn Ahrens, Tina Fallon, Amy Herzog, Lisa Kron, Nina Arianda, Diane Paulus, Katori Hall, Tina Howe, Estella Parsons, Lynne Meadow, Ntozake Shange, Jessica Hecht and Lois Smith.
Visit thelillyawards.org for more information.