Drama League Awards




The 84th Annual
Drama League Awards

Friday, May 18, 2018

Congratulations to this season’s winners!
















These five awards were presented at the 84th Annual Drama League Awards Luncheon and Ceremony on May 18, 2018, in the Broadway Ballroom at the Marriott Marquis Times Square.  For the full list of nominees in all five categories, click here; and to see which productions and performers have won these awards so far in the event’s history, as well as all of our past honorees, click here.

The Drama League also presented three special honors at the Annual Awards – this year’s recipients were:

IDINA MENZEL: Distinguished Achievement in Musical Theater

CASEY NICHOLAW: Founders Award for Excellence in Directing

NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR THE ARTS: Unique Contribution to the Theater

The festivities were co-hosted by Taylor Louderman, Ashley Park, and Kate Rockwell – the title trio of Broadway’s Mean Girls – and the 2018 Drama League Awards winners were revealed by actor Norbert Leo Butz, who appeared in this season’s My Fair Lady at Lincoln Center Theater as well as The New Group’s Whirligig

Scroll down for more information about all three honorees, or check out the event’s commemorative journal here.  And don’t forget to connect with The Drama League on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to see photos of them, the nominees, the winners, and the many illustrious guests at the big event! 



First presented in 1922 and formalized in 1935, The Drama League Awards are the oldest theatrical honors in America. They are the only major theatrical awards chosen by the ENTIRE theatre community – specifically, by the thousands of Drama League members nationwide who attend Broadway and off-Broadway productions.  League members include award-winning actors, designers, directors, playwrights, producers, industry veterans, critics and dedicated audiences from across the nation.

At the height of the theatrical season each May, The Drama League Awards are presented in a star-studded luncheon ceremony. Lauded as “a wonderful, notoriously swanky affair” by Playbill and as “the best party on Broadway” by John Lithgow, the Awards Luncheon is considered by many to be the most intimate and friendly event of the awards season.

The 2018 Drama League Awards were made possible by MAC Cosmetics, the official make-up partner of The Drama League.  The Awards Luncheon was chaired by Bonnie Comley.

For questions about the event or to become a voting member for next year’s Drama League Awards, please call (212) 244-9494, Ext. 101.


Idina Menzel (Distinguished Achievement in Musical Theater Award).  The career of Tony Award-winning icon Idina Menzel traverses stage, film, television and music. Menzel voiced Elsa in Disney’s Academy Award winning film “Frozen,” from which the song “Let It Go,” sung by Menzel, became an international phenomenon. During the Academy Awards in 2014 Menzel performed “Let It Go,” which won for Best Original Song. The track reached #5 on the Billboard Hot 100, making Menzel the first artist with both a Billboard Top 10 hit and a Tony Award for acting. Idina also reprised her role as Elsa in the animated short sequels “Frozen Fever” and “Olaf’s Frozen Adventure.”

A skillful songwriter, Menzel’s prolific recording career includes multiple cast albums and the solo albums Still I Can’t Be Still, Here, I Stand, and idina. In 2014 Menzel released the Christmas album Holiday Wishes, which debuted at #1 on Billboard’s Holiday Albums chart and gave Menzel a Top 10 album on the Billboard Top 200 Album Chart. Menzel received the Breakthrough Artist of the Year Award at Billboard’s annual Women in Music event in 2014 and recently completed a worldwide tour that included Asia, the UK and North America. Also, Menzel sang the National Anthem at Super Bowl XLIX.

Her additional film credits include “Enchanted,” “Rent” and “Ask the Dust.” On television, Menzel starred in Lifetime’s remake of “Beaches,” in which she portrayed the role of CC, made famous by Bette Midler in the feature film, and she appeared in the recurring role of Rachel’s biological mother on the series “Glee.”

Menzel reached superstardom on Broadway with her Tony Award-winning performance as Elphaba in the blockbuster “Wicked,” and in her Tony Award-nominated role as Maureen in the Pulitzer Prize winning “Rent.” Menzel earned her third Tony nomination in the original production of “If/Then,” after which she participated in the musical’s nationwide tour. Additionally, Menzel starred as Amneris in the Broadway production of “Aida.” She received the Theatregoers Choice Award for Best Actress in a Musical when she reprised her role in “Wicked” when the show premiered in London’s West End. Her Off-Broadway credits include the musical “See What I Wanna See” at The Public Theater, the pre-Broadway production of “Rent,” “The Vagina Monologues” and the role of Sheila in the Encores! production of “Hair.”

In 2012, Menzel released the CD and DVD “Idina Menzel Live: Barefoot at the Symphony,” a live concert at The Royal Conservatory’s Koerner Hall in Toronto, Canada, with an orchestra led by legendary composer/conductor Marvin Hamlisch, which aired nationally on PBS stations. Her international concert tour has included sold-out performances at Carnegie Hall and Radio City Music Hall, and a New Year’s Eve 2012 performance at the Walt Disney Concert Hall.

Philanthropy is important to Menzel, who, in 2010, co-founded A BroaderWay Foundation (www.abroaderway.com), an organization dedicated to offering girls from underserved communities an outlet for self-expression and creativity through arts-centered programs as a means of building self-esteem, developing leadership qualities and fostering personal and social achievements. Her work with the organization resulted in Menzel being named one of Variety’s Power of Women honorees.


Casey Nicholaw (Founders Award for Excellence in Directing) is currently represented on Broadway as director and choreographer of Mean Girls (2018 Tony nominations for Best Direction of a Musical and Best Choreography; Outer Critics Circle nomination for Outstanding Director of a Musical; Drama Desk nomination for Best Choreography) and Disney’s Aladdin (2014 Tony®, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Award nominations for Best Choreography), as well as co-director and choreographer of The Book of Mormon (2011 Tony®, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards as co-director with Trey Parker receiving the same nominations for choreography as well as an Olivier award). Currently represented on the West End as director and choreographer of Dreamgirls. Other Broadway credits as director and choreographer: Tuck Everlasting, Something Rotten (2015 Tony® nomination for Best Director), Elf: The Musical; The Drowsy Chaperone (2006 Tony®, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle nominations); Monty Python’s Spamalot directed by Mike Nichols (2005 Tony®, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle nominations for Best Choreography). Additional New York credits: for City Center Encores! – the highly acclaimed productions of Most Happy Fella, Anyone Can Whistle and Follies (direction/choreography).


National Endowment for the Arts (Unique Contribution to the Theater Award).  Established by Congress in 1965, the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) is the independent federal agency whose funding and support gives Americans the opportunity to participate in the arts, exercise their imaginations, and develop their creative capacities. Jane Chu is the 11th chairman of the NEA and has led the agency since 2014. Through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector, the NEA supports arts learning, affirms and celebrates America’s rich and diverse cultural heritage, and extends its work to promote equal access to the arts in every community across America. Visit www.arts.gov to learn more about the NEA.

For five decades, the NEA has encouraged creativity through support of performances, exhibitions, festivals, artist residencies, and other arts projects throughout the country. Since 1966, the NEA has awarded $346 million through theater and musical theater programs, offering grants for the production or presentation of traditional or classical repertoire, new plays and musicals, development laboratories, showcases, artist residencies, work for young audiences, experimental work, community-based work, outdoor historical dramas, and puppetry.

The NEA’s Musical Theater Songwriting Challenge—a partnership with American Theatre Wing in collaboration with Playbill, Inc. and Disney Theatrical Productions—expanded to a national program in 2017-2018. This competition is available for high school students who have a passion for writing songs that could be part of a musical theater production.

In 2016, the NEA received a Tony Award for its “unwavering commitment in paving the road” between Broadway and cities throughout the U.S.