Tony winner Brian Stokes Mitchell has been named the recipient of the 10th Annual John Willis Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre, which will be presented June 5 at the annual Theatre World Award ceremony.
Mitchell won 2000 Tony, Outer Critics Circle, and Drama Desk awards for his performance as Fred Graham/Petruchio in Kiss Me, Kate, and his other Broadway credits include Shuffle Along; King Hedley II; Ragtime; Love/Life; Kiss of the Spider Woman; Jelly's Last Jam; Oh, Kay!; Mail; and the City Center Encores! presentations of Do Re Mi, The Band Wagon, and Carnival. Mitchell, who is Chairman of the Board of the Actors Fund, is also the recipient of the 2016 Isabelle Stevenson Tony Award.
The John Willis Award is given to honor the man who created and maintained the Theatre World tradition for 66 years. As previously announced, Funny Girl's Julie Benko will receive the 14th Annual Dorothy Loudon Award for Excellence in the Theater, while 2023 Special Award Honorees include Six's Marilyn Caserta for Outstanding Swing and Dale Badway for Outstanding Contribution to the theatre world.
The 77th Annual Theatre World Awards ceremony, to be held at Circle in the Square Theatre, will be hosted by theatre journalist Peter Filichia and produced by Badway. Tom D’Angora and Michael D’Angora will direct with Michael Lavine as musical director. An after party will follow at Hurley's NYC.
The previously announced 2023 Theatre World Award winners, celebrated for an Outstanding Debut Performance in a Broadway or Off-Broadway production, will also be honored June 5.
The 2023 Honorees include the following artists:
Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Topdog/Underdog
Hiran Abeysekera, Life of Pi
Amir Arison, The Kite Runner
D’Arcy Carden, The Thanksgiving Play
Jodie Comer, Prima Facie
Callum Francis, Kinky Boots
Lucy Freyer, The Wanderers
Caroline Innerbichler, Shucked
Ashley D. Kelley, Shucked
Casey Likes, Almost Famous
Emma Pfitzer Price, Becomes A Woman
John David Washington, The Piano Lesson
The Theatre World Awards, founded by the late Willis, were first presented in 1945. They are given annually to honor 12 significant debut performances in a Broadway or Off-Broadway production. The ceremony is a private event where previous winners serve as the presenters.
The Theatre World Award honorees are chosen by the Theatre World Awards Committee: Linda Armstrong (Amsterdam News), David Cote (The Observer), Joe Dziemianowicz (New York Theatre Guide), Peter Filichia (Broadway Radio), David Finkle (New York Stage Review), Elysa Gardner (The New York Sun), Harry Haun (Observer.com), Cary Wong (The Interested Bystander), and Frank Scheck (New York Stage Review/ The Hollywood Reporter).
The Theatre World Awards, Inc. Board of Directors is headed by Badway (President) with Tom Lynch (Vice-President), Michael Kostel (Vice-President), Stephen Wilde (Secretary), The Honorable Ilene Zatkin-Butler (Treasurer), James Sheridan, and Karen Johnston.