The 2016 Drama League Awards are Announced (and the Winners are…!)

The 2016 Drama League Awards are Announced (And Here are the Winners!) and Here’s What I have to Say About That

by Ross

This week the 2016 Drama League Awards were announced, and it’s quite the batch.  (Last Friday the winners were announced. They are in bold and starred) It’s a fascinating mixed bag and a very different kind of gathering. The Drama League organizes itself a bit differently then the others.  For the first few categories, it offers up 10 nominations mixing off-Broadway with on-Broadway, in the categories of Best New Play Production, Best Revival Production, and Best New Musical Production, lumping in together the whole creative team; director, book and play writers, lyricists, song writers, and producers.  Best Revival of a Musical Production just had five nominations.

The bigger difference is the acting category, where everyone, male/female, off and on broadway, play and musical, are all listed together in one large group.  And whomever wins, that will be the first and the last Drama League Award for that actor.  Once you win a Distinguished Performance Award, you are ineligible to be nominating again, and will forever more be listed in the Honorable Mention category.  But I will say that being in the company of these fine and talented actors is not anything to be down in the dumps about.  Quite an honor I would say for anyone. Just ask this year’s honorable mentions: James Earl Jones (The Gin Game), Patti LuPone (Shows For Days), Frank Langella (The Father), Mary-Louise Parker (Heisenberg), Mark Rylance (Nice Fish), and Sam Waterston (The Tempest). Good company indeed.



0 Out Of 12  By Anne Washburn

Directed by Les Waters  / Soho Rep

Eclipsed  By Danai Gurira

Directed by Liesl Tommy  / John Golden Theatre

The Father  By Florian Zeller Translated by Christopher Hampton

Directed by Doug Hughes  / Manhattan Theatre Club

Gloria  By Branden Jacobs-Jenkins

Directed by Evan Cabnet  / Vineyard Theatre

Hir  By Taylor Mac

Directed by Niegel Smith  / Playwrights Horizons

**The Humans By Stephen Karam

Directed by Joe Mantello  / Helen Hayes Theatre

King Charles III  By Mike Bartlett

Directed by Rupert Goold  / Music Box Theatre

Marjorie Prime  By Jordan Harrison

Directed by Anne Kauffman  / Playwrights Horizons

The Royale  By Marco Ramirez

Directed by Rachel Chavkin  / Lincoln Center Theater

Skeleton Crew  By Dominique Morisseau

Directed by Ruben Santiago-Hudson  / Atlantic Theater Company

So four out of the ten are Broadway shows, and I’m guessing all four will be included in this years Tony Award nominations which will be announced Tuesday morning, May 3rd. Will the fourth play be Thérèse Raquin or maybe the equally not-so-great My Mother’s Brief Affair. My favorite is still King Charles III but I’m wondering if that was just too long ago to be remembered fondly enough to win any of these contests.  It’s no surprise that The Humans won.  It seems to be on track to win this year’s Tony Award.  It’s winning everything as it steamrollers to May 12th.  I still believe it’s an imperfect play, especially when compared to King Charles III, but I think I’m in the minority.

Regarding the off-broadway plays, Hir and Marjorie Prime were definitely two of my favorite plays (both left off the Outer Critics Award nominations), but I was sad to not see my other favorites, The Event, Familiar (which did get a OCA nomination), Grounded, and Heisenberg which both showed up in the acting categories.



Awake and Sing!  By Clifford Odets

Directed by Stephen Brown-Fried  / National Asian-American Theatre Company

Blackbird  By David Harrower

Directed by Joe Mantello  / Belasco Theatre

Cloud Nine  By Caryl Churchill

Directed by James MacDonald  / Atlantic Theater Company

The Crucible  By Arthur Miller

Directed by Ivo van Hove  / Walter Kerr Theatre

The Gin Game By D.L. Coburn 

Directed by Leonard Foglia  / Golden Theatre

Long Day’s Journey into Night  By Eugene O’Neill

Directed by Jonathan Kent  / Roundabout Theatre Company

A Midsummer Night’s Dream By William Shakespeare

Directed by Eric Tucker  / Pearl Theatre Company (a co-production with the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival)

Noises Off  By Michael Frayn

Directed by Jeremy Herrin  / Roundabout Theatre Company

Sense and Sensibility  By Jane Austen, adapted for the stage by Kate Hamill

Directed by Eric Tucker  / Bedlam

**A View from the Bridge  By Arthur Miller

Directed by Ivo van Hove  / Lyceum Theatre

Ivo van Hove has certainly made a strong impact on this years revival play category (he also will be honored with the The Founders Award for Excellence in Directing), and I’m guessing both will be honored with Tony nominations this year.  Blackbird and Long Day’s Journey… will probably join those two, but I’m betting that Noises Off, which I just loved (and I was also so excited to see Megan Hilty included in the list of performances), will not make the Tony cut. (I was wrong. It did, and I couldn’t be more happy about it’s inclusion) Will it be Fool for Love, like the OCA nominations? or will it be Old Times from Roundabout? Sorry Sylvia, I don’t think you’ll make it on any lists this year.

I think at the Tony Awards, it will be a battle between A View and Long Days. My guess is on May 12th, the Tony will go to the other revival, Long Days.  So enjoy your win here View, you are much deserving of this.

And I’m sad to say that I didn’t see any of this years nominations that were off-broadway. I need to work on that next theatre season.



American Psycho  Book by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa  / Music and Lyrics by Duncan Sheik

Directed by Rupert Goold  / Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre

Bright Star  Music, Book and Story by Steve Martin  / Music, Lyrics and Story by Edie Brickell

Directed by Walter Bobbie  / Cort Theatre

Dear Evan Hansen  Book by Steven Levenson  / Music and Lyrics by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul

Directed by Michael Greif  / Second Stage Theatre

Futurity  Music by César Alvarez with The Lisps  / Lyrics and Book by César Alvarez

Directed by Sarah Benson  / Soho Rep and Ars Nova

**Hamilton  Book, Music and Lyrics by Lin-Manuel Miranda

Directed by Thomas Kail  / Richard Rodgers Theatre

iOW@  Book by Jenny Schwartz  / Music by Todd Almond  / Lyrics by Todd Almond and Jenny Schwartz

Directed by Ken Rus Schmoll  / Playwrights Horizons

On Your Feet!  Book by Alexander Dinelaris  / Featuring Music Produced and Recorded by Emilio Estefan, Gloria Estefan and Miami Sound Machine

Directed by Jerry Mitchell  / Marquis Theatre

School of Rock, The Musical  Book by Julian Fellowes  / Music by Andrew Lloyd Webber  / Lyrics by Glenn Slater

Directed by Laurence Connor  / Winter Garden Theatre

Tuck Everlasting  Book by Claudia Shear and Tim Federle  / Music by Chris Miller  / Lyrics by Nathan Tysen

Directed by Casey Nicholaw  / Broadhurst Theatre

Waitress  Book by Jessie Nelson  / Music and Lyrics by Sara Bareilles

Directed by Diane Paulus  / Brooks Atkinson Theatre

It is a bit surprising that they even had this category of nominations as the winner will most likely be Hamilton.  I kid. Part of me would love to say it’s over-hyped, but it really is not.  (Not surprisingly, Hamilton won the award, and will win the Tony as well.)  It truly is a masterful piece of musical theatre, and I’ll applaud it all through this award season.  Thankfully for these other musicals, they will get some notice and praise by just having the honor of being nominated now and on May 3rd.  Waitress and Bright Star were two of my favorites along with the off-broadway Dear Evan Hansen.  I also enjoyed School of Rock much more then I thought I might (These three did get Tony nominations!), and I am seeing Tuck Everlasting tomorrow (so I’ll re-edit this tomorrow night).  On Your Feet didn’t interest me much, and American Psycho didn’t work for me at all.  I found it disappointing to say the least. Glad American Psycho didn’t get a Tony nomination, but sad that Tuck didn’t get one either, because I just loved it.

iOW@ and Futurity I didn’t get to see.  To be honest,  I never even heard of either show, so I’ll take a pass on any comment.



**The Color Purple  Book by Marsha Norman  / Music and Lyrics by Brenda Russell, Allee Willis and Stephen Bray

Directed by John Doyle  / Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre

Dames at Sea  Book and Lyrics by George Haimsohn and Robin Miller  / Music by Jim Wise

Directed by Randy Skinner  / Helen Hayes Theatre

Fiddler on the Roof  Book by Joseph Stein  / Music by Jerry Bock  / Lyrics by Sheldon Harnick

Directed by Bartlett Sher  / Broadway Theatre

She Loves Me  Book by Joe Masteroff  / Music by Jerry Bock  / Lyrics by Sheldon Harnick

Directed by Scott Ellis  / Roundabout Theatre Company

Spring Awakening  Book and Lyrics by Steven Sater  / Music by Duncan Sheik

Directed by Michael Arden  / Brooks Atkinson Theatre

Four of these musicals are  destined to be nominated for a Tony in the next few weeks.  Surprisingly, Dames at Sea keeps making the list as well (it was also nominated for a OCA earlier this week). The others are all award worthy and I loved each and everyone. (All four did get Tony nominations) Spring Awakening was just so moving and inventive (Deaf West Theatre will receive the Unique Contribution to the Theater Award).  The Color Purple and Fiddler on the Roof were also equally lovely and moving, with some amazing performances that were singled out, but my favorite was She Loves Me, which is just plain perfect in just so many ways.  The musical does have a special place in my heart as it was the first professional musical I had ever seen at the Grand Theatre in London, Ontario, and I loved it then, as I love it now.  (Sadly She Loves Me is not winning any awards.  I knew it would be a race between that and The Color Purple.  I thought it would split the awards between Best Actress and Best Revival, but it’s looking like Color will take them both, as it won the award here)

Sheldon Harnick, currently connected to the revivals of Fiddler on the Roof and She Loves Me, will receive the Distinguished Achievement in Musical Theater Award.



One winner is selected from this category.  The recipient can only receive this award once during his or her career.  I’m going to put a + in front of those performers who particularly made me smile. There are quite a few on this list that gets my star beside their name.  It was a good year, and I saw some fantastic performances.  I thank you all for giving me that smile and that emotional impact.

(No surprise here. Miranda took this award, maybe not for his performance, but for the whole package of writing, creating, and performing in Hamilton. I’m hoping the Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical will go to someone else, as Miranda will most likely take Book, Score, and Best Musical.  I’m thinking the Tony will go to Odom, but I could be wrong.)

Fool-for-Love-Rockwell-Arianda+Nina AriandaFool for Love 

Annaleigh AshfordSylvia 

+Laura BenantiShe Loves Me 

Reed BirneyThe Humans 

+Alex BrightmanSchool of Rock, The Musical 

+Danny BursteinFiddler on the Roof 

Timothée ChalametProdigal Son 

Kelley CurranThe Dingdong 

+Carmen CusackBright Star 

06JEFF2-articleLarge+Jeff DanielsBlackbird 

Khris DavisThe Royale 

Daveed DiggsHamilton 

Georgia EngelJohn 

+Cynthia ErivoThe Color Purple 

Jesse Tyler FergusonFully Committed 

Lynda GravattSkeleton Crew 

Michael C. Hall, Lazarus 

+Anne HathawayGrounded 

noises-off-superJumbo+Megan HiltyNoises Off 

Jackie HoffmanOnce Upon a Mattress 

+Jayne HoudyshellThe Humans 

Jennifer HudsonThe Color Purple 

Marin IrelandIronbound 

+Andrew Keenan-BolgerTuck Everlasting 

Leslie KritzerThe Robber Bridegroom 

Jessica Lange, Long Day’s Journey into Night 

Judith LightThérèse Raquin 

09HIR-master675+Zachary LeviShe Loves Me 

**Lin-Manuel Miranda, Hamilton 

+Jessie MuellerWaitress 

+Kristine NielsenHir 

+Lupita Nyong’oEclipsed 

+Sophie OkonedoThe Crucible 

Annette O’TooleSouthern Comfort 

+Tim Pigott-SmithKing Charles III 

+Ben PlattDear Evan Hansen 

Phylicia RashadHead of Passes 

mar_selects-carousel-2.png__960x480_q85_crop_upscale+Sam Rockwell, Fool for Love 

Thomas Jay Ryan10 Out of 12 

Michael ShannonLong Day’s Journey into Night 

Jennifer SimardDisaster! 

+Lois Smith, Marjorie Prime and John 

++Mark StrongA View from the Bridge 

Cicely TysonThe Gin Game 

Michael UrieShows for Days 

Ana Villafañe, On Your Feet! 

Saoirse-Ronan-and-Ben-Whishaw-in-THE-CRUCIBLE-directed-by-Ivo-van-Hove-photo-by-Jan-Versweyveld-630x420Benjamin WalkerAmerican Psycho 

+Nicola WalkerA View from the Bridge 

+Ben WhishawThe Crucible 

Michelle WilliamsBlackbird 


The Drama League also wishes to acknowledge the previous recipients of the Distinguished Performance Award who appeared in New York productions this season.  As the Award can only be won once in a performer’s lifetime, they are ineligible this season.  Their exemplary work, however, is recognized and applauded.


showpostersfd2.jpg__284x50000_q85_subsampling-2James Earl Jones, The Gin Game

+Patti LuPone, Shows For Days

+Frank Langella, The Father

+Mary-Louise Parker, Heisenberg

+Mark Rylance, Nice Fish

Sam Waterston, The Tempest




The Drama League previously announced the 2016 Special Recognition Awards Recipients, as follows:


Deaf West Theatre (David J. Kurs, Artistic Director), represented on Broadway this season with the lauded revival of Spring Awakening, will receive the Unique Contribution to the Theater Award


Tony®, Grammy®, and Pulitzer Prize winner Sheldon Harnick, currently represented on Broadway with hit revivals of Fiddler on the Roof and She Loves Me, will receive the Distinguished Achievement in Musical Theater Award


Olivier® Award winner Ivo van Hove, director of this season’s productions of Antigone at BAM, Lazarus at NYTW, and the acclaimed Broadway revivals of A View From the Bridge and The Crucible, will receive The Founders Award for Excellence in Directing.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s