Drama League Awards Announces This Year’s Special Recognition Honorees

Drama League Awards Announces This Year’s Special Recognition Honorees

February 28, 2023

EXCLUSIVE: New York’s Drama League has named Tony winner Andre DeShields, the theater district Drama Book Shop and Encores! artistic director Lear deBessonet as this year’s Special Recognition Honorees.

The special honors will be presented at the Drama League Awards annual luncheon on Friday, May 19.

Nominations for the 89th Annual Drama League Awards, covering the 2022-23 Broadway and Off Broadway season, will be announced on Tuesday, April 25.

DeShields, a Tony winner for Hadestown most recently seen on Broadway in Death of a Salesman, will receive the Drama League’s Distinguished Achievement in Musical Theater Award for “his “outstanding work on stage as part of the musical theater community.”

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The Drama Book Shop, a long-running theater district book store, gathering spot and performance space that was saved from closure in 2020 when Thomas Kail, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Jeffrey Seller, and James L. Nederlander took ownership, will be honored with the Contribution to the Theater Award, “for its unwavering commitment to furthering the art of the American theater, through the stewardship of a vital, century-long creative home for artists to thrive.”

Encores! Artistic Director and Public Works founder Lear deBessonet, whose Into The Woods was a success both in its Encores! run and a Broadway transfer, will be honored with the Founders Award for Excellence in Directing “for her incredible contributions to the field of directing.”

The annual Gratitude Award will be presented to JP Morgan Chase CCO Darin Oduyoye, in recognition of his leadership and commitment to the theater industry, through the support of many productions and his work on the board of Beyond the Stage Door, a comprehensive educational program dedicated to guiding students from diverse backgrounds into theater management careers.

The annual luncheon ceremony at The Ziegfeld Ballroom will be hosted by Emmy Award winner Frank DiLella of NY1’s On Stage. Nominations for the 2022-23 Broadway and Off Broadway season to be announced on Tuesday, April 25, will include categories for performances, productions and direction.

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