2021 Drama League Nominees Includes Margaret Vandenburg’s BELLY OF THE BEAST, Qui Nguyen’s OUTTAKES, Mike Lew’s TIGER STYLE!, MYTHS & HYMNS, RATATOUILLE: THE TIKTOK MUSICAL and More

The Drama League has just announced the 2021 Nominees and Special Recognition Honorees for The 87th Annual Drama League Awards. Keeping in the tradition of honoring the outstanding accomplishments of the theatrical community, as they have since 1935, this year the organization has established five unique categories to honor the extraordinary achievements of artists across the nation who created digital and socially-distanced theatrical productions during this challenging year of suspension for live arts. The list of nominations follows; voting is now open for Drama League members, through April 16. The 87th Annual Drama League Awards will be streamed on Friday, May 21, 2021 at 7:00PM ET.

André De Shields (center), (Clockwise) Blake Rouse, Raymond J. Lee, Sophia James, Gabbi Bolt. via Ratatouille The Musical

The 33 nominated productions were selected from submissions by 400+ directors and theatre professionals who are the alumni of The Drama League’s support programs for directors. 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. Eligible productions premiered between March 12, 2020 -March 15, 2021.

The Drama League Awards’ 2021 Special Recognition Honorees are: Iris Smith, who will receive the inaugural Gratitude Award for her fearless support of the The Drama League and the theater community at large; Liesl Tommy, who will be presented with the Founders Award for Excellence in Directing for her extraordinary work on stages across the country and commitment to mentorship in the field; father-daughter duo Richard & Demi Weitz, who will be honored with the Distinguished Achievement in Musical Theater Award for their creation of the “Quarantunes” series, which provides a virtual platform for musical theater artists and generated over $20 million in funds for nonprofits across the country; and The Actors Fund, recipient of the Unique Contribution to Theater Award for its emergency relief efforts through COVID-19, the Winter Storms, and Oregon Wildfires 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, theater artists responded with light — producing bold new work in ways most of us never dreamed of,” said 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. Thanks to all of them, from all of us, for the joy and hope they created all over the world.”


NOMINATIONS FOR THE 2021 DRAMA LEAGUE AWARDS

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 (New York, NY)

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 (New York, NY)

Disclaimer
Written by Tara Ahmadinejad
Directed by Jeff Wood & Tara Ahmadinejad
Created by Piehole
The Public Theater (New York, NY) 

Don’t Stay Safe
Book and Lyrics by Cheryl L. Davis, Music by Douglas J. Cohen Directed by Christina Franklin
Prospect Theater Company (New York, NY)

Duchess! Duchess! Duchess!
Written by Vivian J.O. Barnes
Directed by Weyni Mengesha
Steppenwolf Theatre Company (Chicago, IL)

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 (Philadelphia, PA)

Last Gasp
Written by Lois Weaver and Peggy Shaw Directed by Lois Weaver
Split Britches (New York, NY)

The Last 5 Years
Written and Composed by Jason Robert Brown Directed by Jason Michael Webb
Out Of The Box Theatrics (New York, NY)

What Do They Call Us
Created and Directed by Qween Jean
Ars Nova (New York, NY)

Brian Quijada in Where Did We Sit on the Bus? Photo: Joel Maisonet

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 (Louisville, KY)

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 (New York, NY) 

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 (New York, NY)

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 (Princeton, NJ)

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 (Bethesda, MD) in association with McCarter Theater Center (Princeton, NJ); Conceived by Nicole A. Watson

Theater in Quarantine
Created by founder Joshua William Gelb (New York, NY) and Katie Rose McLaughlin (New York, NY)

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 (New York, NY)

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
With guest artists Jason Aguirre (tech facilitator), Jamie Salinger (stage manager), Haydee Zelideth (costume consultant), and Sebastian Zuniga (performer)

*Trigger warning – references to racial violence
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 (Fort Worth, TX)

Package Play
Created and Performed by Katie Farmin Tricklock Company (Albuquerque, NM) 

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 (Miami Beach, FL)

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

Wild Thyme
Written by Liz Duffy Adams
Produced by West Hyler and Shelley Butler Artistic Stamp (New York, NY) 

BEST AUDIO THEATER PRODUCTION

G.O.A.T.
Written by Ngozi Anyanwu
Directed by Whitney White
Playing On Air (Hillsdale, NY)

OUTTAKES
Written by Qui Nguyen
Directed by May Adrales
Playwrights Horizons (New York, NY) 

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

Prime: A Practical Breviary
Written, Composed and Performed by Heather Christian
Playwrights Horizons (New York, NY) 

Tiger Style!
Written by Mike Lew
Directed by Moritz von Stuelpnagel
Huntington Theatre Company and WGBH Radio (Boston, MA) 

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, NYC

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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