Drama League Awards Announces 2021 Nominees and Special Recognition Recipients

Awards   Drama League Awards Announces 2021 Nominees and Special Recognition Recipients
 
The organization will honor digital theatre, audio plays, virtual concerts, and more in its 87th annual ceremony.
<i data-rte2-sanitize="italic">The Last Five Years, Circle Jerk</i>, and <i data-rte2-sanitize="italic">Heroes of the Fourth Turning</i>
The Last Five Years, Circle Jerk, and Heroes of the Fourth Turning

For the 87th annual Drama League Awards, the organization has established five new categories to honor the achievements of artists across the nation who created digital and socially-distanced theatrical productions during the COVID-19 theatre shutdown.

The nominees include The Last Five Years from Out of the Box Theatricals, Michael Breslin and Patrick Foley’s Circle Jerk from Fake Friends, Will Arbery’s Heroes of the Fourth Turning at Wilma Theatre, and Ratatouille: The TikTok Musical.

There are five categories of distinction: Outstanding Digital Theater, Individual Production; Outstanding Digital Theater, Collection or Festival; Outstanding Interactive or Socially-Distanced Theater; Outstanding Audio Theater Production; and Outstanding Digital Concert. Thirty-three productions were nominated from over 400 submissions. Eligible productions premiered between March 12, 2020–March 15, 2021.

Winners, as previously reported, will be announced May 21 at 7 PM ET in a live stream presentation. Voting is now open for Drama League members through April 16.

The Drama League Awards’ 2021 Special Recognition Honorees are: Iris Smith, who will receive the inaugural Gratitude Award for her support of the The Drama League and the theatre community at large; Liesl Tommy, who will be presented with the Founders Award for Excellence in Directing for her work on stages across the country and commitment to mentorship in the field; father-daughter duo Richard Weitz and Demi Weitz, who will be honored with the Distinguished Achievement in Musical Theater Award for their creation of the Quarantunes series; and The Actors Fund, recipient of the Unique Contribution to Theater Award for its emergency relief efforts through COVID-19 this past season and its ongoing commitment to providing resources for artists.

“In this most difficult time, when stages across America were forced to darken, theatre artists responded with light, producing bold new work in ways most of us never dreamed of,” said Drama League Artistic Director Gabriel Stelian-Shanks. “Thanks to the artists who are alumni of The Drama League’s programs, we’re thrilled to be able to celebrate a few of the extraordinary productions made in the last year—pieces that exemplify inspiration, innovation, and imagination.”

Last year's Drama League Awards, also impacted by the coronavirus shutdown, were rebranded as the Gratitude Awards to honor heroes in the theatre community.

Check out the full list of this year's nominees below.

OUTSTANDING DIGITAL THEATER, INDIVIDUAL PRODUCTION
Belly of the Beast
Directed by Lisa Rothe
Written by Margaret Vandenburg
Daniel Dae Kim/3AD, in partnership with TodayTix and New York Theatre Workshop

Circle Jerk
Conceived and Written by Michael Breslin and Patrick Foley in Collaboration with Cat Rodriguez and Ariel Sibert
Directed by Rory Pelsue
Produced by Caroline Gart
Fake Friends

Disclaimer
Written by Tara Ahmadinejad
Directed by Jeff Wood & Tara Ahmadinejad
Created by Piehole
The Public Theater

Don't Stay Safe
Book and Lyrics by Cheryl L. Davis, Music by Douglas J. Cohen
Directed by Christina Franklin
Prospect Theater Company

Duchess! Duchess! Duchess!
Written by Vivian J.O. Barnes
Directed by Weyni Mengesha
Steppenwolf Theatre Company

The Great Work Begins: Scenes from Angels In America
Written by Tony Kushner
Directed by Ellie Heyman
Presented by amfAR (The Foundation for AIDS Research)

GRIMMZ Fairy Tales
Written by Christopher Parks, Rahsheem Shabazz, and Ron Lee McGill
Directed by Christopher Parks
Children's Theatre of Charlotte (Charlotte, NC)

Heroes of the Fourth Turning
Written by Will Arbery
Directed by Blanka Zizka
Wilma Theater

Last Gasp
Written by Lois Weaver and Peggy Shaw
Directed by Lois Weaver
Split Britches

The Last 5 Years
Written and Composed by Jason Robert Brown
Directed by Jason Michael Webb
Out Of The Box Theatrics

What Do They Call Us
Created and Directed by Qween Jean
Ars Nova

Where Did We Sit on the Bus?
Written by Brian Quijada
Directed by Matt Dickson
A digital creation by Satya Chávez and Matt Dickson
Actors Theatre of Louisville

OUTSTANDING DIGITAL THEATER, COLLECTION OR FESTIVAL
1MOVE: DES19NED BY...
Created by Alan C. Edwards, Brittany Bland, Christopher Darbassie, Dominique Fawn Hill, Kameron Neal, Mika Eubanks, Nehprii Amenii, nicHi douglas, Nikiya Mathis, Qween Jean, Ramaj Jamar, Taylor Lilly, Teniece Divya Johnson, Teresa L. Williams, Twi McCallum, Ao Li, Chen-Wei Liao, Dina El-Aziz, Edurne Fernandez, Kimie Nishikawa, María Feuereisen, Megumi Katayama, Ntokozo Fuzunina Kunene, Omar Madkour, Reza Behjat, Riw Rakkulchon, Rodrigo Muñoz, Stefania Bulbarella, Wenzheng (Wen) Zhang, and Yee Eun Nam
Co-Curated by Dede Ayite, Stacey Derosier, Clint Ramos, Cha See, and Paul Tazewell
The Movement Theatre Company

AFO Solo Shorts (Round 1 and 2)
Written, created, and directed by Veronica Barron, Beaudau Karel Banks, Eliza Bent, Ellarose Chary, Jody Christopherson, Jasmine Eileen Coles, Kendra Cui, Darian Dauchan, Toni Ann DeNoble, Tayna Everett, Gina Femia, Nela Fortunato, Raz Golden, Nathan Gebhard, Charles Gershman, Kathryn Grody, Brandon James Gwinn, Katie Melby, Matthew Paul Olmos, Erika Sheffer, Casey Alexander Smith, William Steinberger, Melissa Tien, Rhys Tivey, Emily Waters, Sybil Wigglesworth, Zonia, Tsang Lok Sze
All For One Theater

The Manic Monologues
Originally Created by Zachary Burton and Elisa Hofmeister
Virtual Experience Conceived and Directed by Elena Araoz
McCarter Theater Center in collaboration with Princeton University Health Services, The 24 Hour Plays, and Innovations in Socially Distant Performance at the Lewis Center for the Arts

The Work of Adrienne Kennedy: Inspiration and Influence
Written by Adrienne Kennedy (Sleep Deprivation Chamber by Adam P. Kennedy and Adrienne Kennedy)
Directed by Raymond O. Caldwell, Timothy Douglas, Valerie Curtis-Newton, and Nicole A. Watson
Round House Theatre in association with McCarter Theater Center; Conceived by Nicole A. Watson

Theater in Quarantine
Created by founder Joshua William Gelb and Katie Rose McLaughlin

OUTSTANDING INTERACTIVE OR SOCIALLY-DISTANCED THEATER
American Dreams
Written by Leila Buck
Directed by Tamilla Woodard
Created and developed by Leila Buck and Tamilla Woodard with Jens Rasmussen, in collaboration with Osh Ghanimah, Imran Sheikh, and the company
Working Theater

Carla’s Quince
Created by The Voting Project (Ashley Alvarez, Galia Backal, Yadira De La Riva, Jorge Donoso, Estefanía Fadul, Michael León, María Peyramaure, Camila Pérez Santiago, and Christina Watanabe)
Directed by Estefanía Fadul

Fort Worth Lynching Tour: Honoring the Memory of Mr. Fred Rouse
Concept and Choreography: Adam W. McKinney
Director: Daniel Banks
App Design: Digital Ant Media
Music by: Third Wind Productions/Maritri Garrett and David Winder
Graphic Design: Troy Lambert
Tintype Photography: Will Wilson
Guest Artists: Edykah Chilome, Julienne Greer, Sedrick Huckaby, Jordan Jones, Opal Lee, Pastor Kyev P. Tatum, Sr.
Associate Producer: Jiles King; Production Associate: NaTasha Thompson; Production Manager: Jamelyn Ebelacker; Production Assistant: Lauren Huynh; Sound Engineering: Michael Billow and Gregg Powers
A DNAWORKS Production

Package Play
Created and Performed by Katie Farmin
Tricklock Company

7 Deadly Sins
Written by Hilary Bettis, Nilo Cruz, Moisés Kaufman, Rogelio Martinez, Dael Orlandersmith, Carmen Pelaez, and Aurin Squire
Conceived and directed by Michel Hausmann
Miami New Drama

A Thousand Ways (Part One)
Created by 600 HIGHWAYMEN | Abigail Browde & Michael Silverstone
ArKtype/Thomas O. Kriegsmann, Executive Producer

Wild Thyme
Written by Liz Duffy Adams
Produced by West Hyler and Shelley Butler
Artistic Stamp

BEST AUDIO THEATER PRODUCTION
G.O.A.T.
Written by Ngozi Anyanwu
Directed by Whitney White
Playing On Air

OUTTAKES
Written by Qui Nguyen
Directed by May Adrales
Playwrights Horizons

The Chonburi International Hotel and Butterfly Club
Written by Shakina Nayfack
Directed by Laura Savia
Williamstown Theatre Festival and Audible

Prime: A Practical Breviary
Written, Composed and Performed by Heather Christian
Playwrights Horizons

Tiger Style!
Written by Mike Lew
Directed by Moritz von Stuelpnagel
Huntington Theatre Company and WGBH Radio

OUTSTANDING DIGITAL CONCERT PRODUCTION
BREATHING FREE, a visual album featuring excerpts from Beethoven’s Fidelio, Negro Spirituals, and songs by Harry T. Burleigh, Florence Price, Langston Hughes, Anthony Davis, and Thulani Davis
Heartbeat Opera

Myths and Hymns (Chapters 1 and 2)
Music and Lyrics by Adam Guettel
Conceived and supervised by Ted Sperling
Directed by Greg Anderson, Sammi Cannold, Anthony Roth Costanzo, Lear deBessonet, Khristian Dentley, Doug Fitch, Anne Kauffman, and Ted Sperling
Presented by Mastervoices

Ratatouille: The TikTok Musical
Conceived by The #RatatouilleMusical Community
Featuring Work by Danny Bernstein, Gabbi Bolt, Kevin Chamberlin, RJ Christian, Nathan Fosbinder, Emily Jacobsen, Sophia James, Katie Johantgen, Daniel Mertzlufft, Alec Powell, Blake Rouse and Jessica Siswick
Adapted for the stage by Michael Breslin and Patrick Foley
Directed by Lucy Moss
Presented by Seaview

Take Me To The World: A Sondheim 90th Birthday Celebration
Music and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim
Produced by Stephen Sondheim, Mary-Mitchell Campbell, Bill Curran, Raúl Esparza, John Gore and Paul Wontorek
Directed by Paul Wontorek
Benefit for ASTEP (Artists Striving to End Poverty)

2021 SPECIAL RECOGNITION DRAMA LEAGUE AWARDS
Gratitude Award Honoree
Iris Smith

The Founders Award for Excellence in Directing Honoree
Liesl Tommy

Distinguished Achievement in Musical Theater Honoree
Richard & Demi Weitz

Unique Contribution to Theater Award Honoree
The Actors Fund

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