Drama League Awards


The 82nd Annual
Drama League Awards Ceremony and Luncheon

Hosted by Megan Hilty and Zachary Levi

Friday, May 20, 2016
Marriott Marquis Times Square
New York City
11:30am - 3:00pm




First awarded 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.  The membership includes 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 Playbilland 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 Drama League recently announced the 2016 recipients for Distinguished Contributions and Achievements in the Theatre, as follows: Deaf West Theatre (David J. Kurs, Artistic Director) will receive the Unique Contribution to the Theater Award; Tony®, Grammy®, and Pulitzer Prize winnerSheldon Harnick will receive the Distinguished Achievement in Musical Theater Award; and Olivier® Award winner Ivo van Hove will receive The Founders Award for Excellence in Directing

The Drama League presents five competitive awards: Outstanding Production of a Play, Outstanding Production of a Musical, Outstanding Revival of a Play, Outstanding Revival of a Musical, and the Distinguished Performance Award. For a list of previous winners, click here

The 82nd Annual Drama League Awards Ceremony will be held held on Friday, May 20, 2016 at the Marriott Marquis Times Square in New York City beginning at 11:30am. Tables and tickets are now on sale. CLICK HERE FOR TABLE AND TICKET PURCHASES.

National Life Group is the proud Centennial Season Sponsor of The Drama League. The Drama League Awards Sponsors include Delta Air Lines, the Official Airline of The Drama League, and MAC Cosmetics, the Official Make-Up Partner of The Drama League. We gratefully thank them for their support. 

For questions about the event, please call (212) 244-9494, Ext. 101.


Centennial Season Sponsor



2016 Awards Sponsors






Unique Contribution to the Theatre

Deaf West Theatre

Deaf West Theatre (David J. Kurs, Artistic Director) productions are renowned for weaving ASL with spoken English to create a seamless ballet of movement and voice, thereby creating a fully inclusive theatrical experience for deaf, hard of hearing and hearing audiences. Spring Awakening marked DWT’s fifth musical production: it went from a 99-seat theater (Ovation Award for Best Small Musical) to the Wallis Annenberg Center for Performing Arts (Ovation Award for Best Large Musical) and then to Broadway. The company's Big Riverreceived Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle and Backstage Garland awards for Best Musical in its L.A. premiere, then went on to garner a Tony nomination and four Drama Desk Awards when it transferred to Broadway. Pippin was produced at the Mark Taper Forum in a co-production with Center Theatre Group, and Sleeping Beauty Wakes, also a co-production with CTG, was presented at the Kirk Douglas Theatre. DWT's production of Oliver! was honored with an Ovation Award for Best Musical. Other award-winning productions from Deaf West includeCyrano (a co-production with the Fountain Theatre – Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Production) and A Streetcar Named Desire (Ovation Award for Best Play). In 2005, DWT was selected to receive the Highest Recognition Award by the Secretary of Health and Human Services for its “distinguished contributions to improve and enrich the cultural lives of deaf and hard of hearing actors and theater patrons.” 


Founders Award for Excellence in Directing

Ivo van Hove

photo by Jan Versweyveld

Broadway: A View From the BridgeThe CrucibleOff-Broadway: Lazarus,Alice in BedMore Stately Mansions (Obie Award), A Streetcar Named DesireHedda Gabler (Obie), The Misanthrope, and The Little Foxes. Other theatre:Roman TragediesCries and WhispersOpening NightAngels in America,AntigoneKings of War, and The Fountainhead. Opera: Brokeback Mountain,The Clemency of TitusIdomeneoMazeppaMacbethIolantaThe Makropulos CaseLulu, and The Ring Cycle. Van Hove is the General Director of Holland’s leading theatre company, Toneelgroep Amsterdam.


Distinguished Achievement in Musical Theatre 

Sheldon Harnick

Sheldon Harnick was born in Chicago in 1924. Following his service in World War II, he earned a Bachelor of Music Degree at Northwestern University, majoring in violin. After working as a professional musician in and around Chicago, he moved to New York in 1950 to pursue a career in the musical theater. Harnick's first song for a Broadway show was the hilarious "Boston Beguine" for New Faces of 1952. He then contributed songs to the revuesTwo's Company (starring Bette Davis), John Murray Anderson's 'Almanac' andThe Littlest Revue. His collaboration with composer Jerry Bock produced such Broadway classics as Fiorello (1959): Pulitzer Prize, Tony Award;Tenderloin (1960); She Loves Me (1963): Grammy Award; Fiddler on the Roof (1964): Tony Award; The Apple Tree (1966) and The Rothschilds (1970). Other collaborations include A Christmas Carol with Michel Legrand (1981); Rex with Richard Rodgers (1976); A Wonderful Life with Joe Raposo (1986) andThe Phantom Tollbooth with Arnold Black (1995). For Dragons and Malpractice Makes Perfect, he provided book lyrics and music, He has written songs for the films The Heartbreak Kid (1972) and Blame It On Rio (1984) both with music by Cy Coleman; and Aaron's Magic Village (1995) with Michel Legrand. In the 1970's Mr. Harnick expanded his field of activities by translating L'Histoire du Soldat (Stravinski), L'Enfant et les Sortileges (Ravel), Bizet's Carmen and Lehar's The Merry Widow. This latter translation was commissioned for the New York City Center production starring Beverly Sills. Ms. Sills' recording won a Grammy Award as the year's best-recorded opera. Mr. Harnick also translated Michel Legrand and Jacques Demy's film Les Parapluies de Cherbourg for the stage. The 1970's also saw Mr. Harnick's entry into the world of opera. With composer Jack Beeson, he has provided the librettos for Captain Jinks of the Horse Marines (1975), Dr. Heidegger's Fountain of Youth (1978) andCyrano (1994). Other operas include Love in Two Countries with Thomas Shepard (1991) and Coyote Tales with Henry Mollicone (1998). Mr. Harnick has won a Pulitzer Prize, two Tony Awards, two Grammy Awards, two New York Drama Critics Circle Awards, three gold records and a platinum record. He and his wife Margery have a published book entitled "The Outdoor Museum (Not Your Usual Images of New York)", featuring her photographs and his poetry. This spring saw the release of "Sheldon Harnick: Hidden Treasures". This two CD set includes songs written for 17 of his shows and includes more than 50 songs from rare demos. It features performances by Harnick and composer Jerry Bock, Audra McDonald, Brian d'Arcy James, Hugh Martin, Margery Gray Harnick, Charlotte Rae and more.  In 2015, Mr. and Mrs. Harnick will celebrate their golden wedding anniversary. They have two children, Beth and Matthew. Mr. Harnick is a long time member of both the Dramatists Guild and the Songwriters Guild of America and his poetry.



Zachary Levi

Zachary Levi’s exuberance and charm have made him a Hollywood first pick and a favorite among his devoted fans. Levi is currently starring on Broadway in Roundabout Theatre Company’s revival of She Loves Me. He previously did a theater run in his Broadway debut opposite Krysta Rodriguez in the witty musical First Date. The play received critical acclaim as did Levi for the run of the show.  

Levi recently delighted fans in the NBC series “Heroes Reborn,” the revamp of the fan favorite show. “Heroes Reborn” premiered to excited audiences in the fall of 2015. This marked a return to NBC for Levi, who portrayed the beloved “Chuck” for five seasons. Additionally, Levi hosted and produced “Geeks Who Drink,” a game show based on the pub trivia contest of the same name, for SyFy Network.

On the big screen, Levi appeared most recently in the Marvel film Thor 2 as the role of Fandral the Dashing.  Levi also appeared as the lead role opposite Mandy Moore in Disney's twist on its classic Rapunzel; entitled Tangled. The Oscar nominated film was a huge success at the box office and DVD release. Other notable big screen appearances include the 20th Century Fox film Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel which broke box office records in its Christmas release, the independent feature film Spiral with Amber Tamblyn, and a starring role in the franchise film Big Momma's House 2 with Martin Lawrence.

Levi grew up in Ventura County, CA. He began acting in theater at the early age of six, performing lead roles in regional productions such as GreaseThe Outsiders, Oliver, Godspell, The Wizard of Oz, Big River, and Marvin's Room. It was this early training that ultimately brought him to the attention of Hollywood. 

Levi devotes much time and energy doing philanthropic work as an ambassador for Operation Smile, through his company The Nerd Machine and his annual comic con event NERD HQ that has raised close to a million dollars for the charity to date. Levi currently resides in Los Angeles.



Megan Hilty

Megan Hilty is most recognizable for her portrayal of seasoned triple-threat Ivy Lynn in NBC’s musical drama “Smash.” She followed up the series with a starring role on the comedy “Sean Saves the World.” In March 2013, Hilty released her debut solo album, “It Happens All The Time,” which included fresh interpretations of compositions by contemporary songwriters and producers. This spring, Hilty received critical acclaim for her role of Brooke Ashton in the Roundabout Theater Company’s revival of Noises Off. She also recurred on Bravo’s dramedy “Girlfriend’s Guide to Divorce.” In May, she will release a new live album comprising of songs from her recent tour. She will also take up residency at New York’s Café Carlyle, where she previously performed last spring.

Hilty starred as Lorelei Lee, the diamond-loving blonde made famous by Carol Channing, in the Encores! production of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, to which she earned rave reviews. Additionally, her voice was featured as Rosetta in Disney's Tinker Bell: Secret of the Wings. She has also recorded vocals in Disney's “The Secret Life of Magic Gourd,” “Phineas & Ferb,” “Glenn Martin DDS,” “American Dad,” “Tinker Bell and the Pixie Hollow Games,” “Robot & Monster” as well as singing as Snow White in the film Shrek the Third. Hilty can be heard in the animated film Dorothy of Oz with Kelsey Grammer, Hugh Dancy and Lea Michele. She can also be heard alongside Placido Domingo on the opera star’s duet album.

A native of Seattle, Hilty moved to New York City after graduating from the prestigious Carnegie Mellon University, and quickly made her Broadway debut as Glinda in Wicked.  She went on to perform the role in both the national tour and in Los Angeles.

After receiving high praise for her portrayal of Doralee Rhodes in Broadway’s 9 to 5: The Musical, Hilty was honored with nominations for Lead Actress in a Musical at the Drama Desk Awards, Outer Critics Circle Awards, the Drama League Awards and L.A. Stage Alliance Ovation Awards. Hilty has previously performed at Carnegie Hall with the New York Pops, the National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center, the New York Philharmonic at Lincoln Center, the Boston Pops, the Cincinnati Pops, the Houston Symphony, the Phoenix

Symphony among many others. She was also featured on TNT’s 2012 Christmas in Washington special and continues to perform at prestigious venues nationwide. Megan is a frequent guest on PBS’ televised Live from Capital Hill concerts.  Her solo concert concerts continue to sell out and receive critical acclaim across the country.

Her television credits include guest-starring roles in “Melissa & Joey,” “Bones,” “The Closer,” “Desperate Housewives,” “CSI,” “Shark,” “Ugly Betty,” “Eli Stone” and “The Suite Life of Zach & Cody.” Among Hilty’s film credits are The Bitter Feast, the short film The Happiest Man Alive, opposite Justin Chambers and the upcoming Untitled Warren Beatty Project.