Rivera is 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!) presents Rivera with the award.
The Lilly Awards honor the contributions made to the American theatre by women; the evening also features the announcement of the winners of the $25,000 Stacey Mindich Prize, which funds a new work by a female playwright, and the Leah Ryan Prize, which awards an annual cash prize to an emerging woman playwright and produces a reading of the winning play in New York City.
2015 Lilly Award winners include 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). Additionally, three surprise winners are announced during the ceremony.
The ceremony includes 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 annual Miss Lilly Award, given to the man who has done the most in any given year to make the theatre a better place for women, is also announced.
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.