Winners Announced for 2021 Drama League Awards


The organization honored digital theatre, audio plays, virtual concerts, and more in its 87th annual ceremony.

Digital and socially distant theatre was celebrated May 21 at the 2021 Drama League Awards. Among the winners were amfAR’s The Great Work Begins: Scenes from Angels In America, the site-specific and New York-bound 7 Deadly Sins, and the Williamstown Theatre Festival and Audible co-production of Shakina Nayfack’s Chonburi International Hotel and Butterfly Club.

The virtual presentation featured appearances by Nayfack, Raúl Esparza, Telly Leung, Gloria Estefan, and more, in addition to the 2021 Special Recognition honorees. Iris Smith received the inaugural Gratitude Award for her support of the The Drama League and the theatre community at large, Liesl Tommy was presented with the Founders Award for Excellence in Directing for her work on stages across the country and commitment to mentorship in the field, father-daughter duo Richard Weitz and Demi Weitz were honored with the Distinguished Achievement in Musical Theater Award for their creation of the Quarantunes series, and The Actors Fund received the Unique Contribution to Theater Award for its emergency relief efforts through COVID-19 this past season and its ongoing commitment to providing resources for artists.

The Drama League established five new categories to honor the achievements of artists across the nation who created work in the middle of an unprecedented era: 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.

Winners in bold below.

Courtesy of The Drama League


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)

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

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


Written by Tara Ahmadinejad

Directed by Jeff Wood & Tara Ahmadinejad

Created by Piehole

The Public Theater

Don’t Stay Safe

Book and Lyrics by Cheryl L. Davis, Music by Douglas J. Cohen

Directed by Christina Franklin

Prospect Theater Company

Duchess! Duchess! Duchess!

Written by Vivian J.O. Barnes

Directed by Weyni Mengesha

Steppenwolf Theatre Company

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

Last Gasp

Written by Lois Weaver and Peggy Shaw

Directed by Lois Weaver

Split Britches

The Last 5 Years

Written and Composed by Jason Robert Brown

Directed by Jason Michael Webb

Out Of The Box Theatrics

What Do They Call Us

Created and Directed by Qween Jean

Ars Nova

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

Courtesy of The Drama League


Theater in Quarantine

Created by founder Joshua William Gelb and Katie Rose McLaughlin

Collaborators: Ian Axness, Eric Berryman, Chris Bell, Liza Birkenmeier, Heather Christian, Alex Falberg, Madeleine George, Sanaz Ghajar, Afra Hines, Sunny Hitt, Veronica Jiao, Raja Feather Kelly, Jon Levin, Johnny G. Lloyd, Nehemiah Luckett, Josh Luxenberg, Grace McLean, Lee Minora, Karen Olivo, Dan O’Neil, Erin Ortman, Gavin Price, Dito Van Reigersberg, Krit Robinson, Scott R. Sheppard, Matt Stevens, The Westerlies , Alex Weston, Ellen Winter and many others.


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

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

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

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 in association with McCarter Theater Center; Conceived by Nicole A. Watson

Renata Eastlick and the company and staff of Miami New Drama, the team behind <i>7 Deadly Sins</i>.” src=”×1081%2B0%2B0/resize/970×546/quality/90/?”></img><figcaption><span>                 Renata Eastlick and the company and staff of Miami New Drama, the team behind <i>7 Deadly Sins</i>.                                      <span>Courtesy of The Drama League</span>                              </span>         </figcaption></figure>

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

Greed directed by Moisés Kaufman

Wrath directed by Jade King Carroll

Miami New Drama

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

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

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

Package Play

Created and Performed by Katie Farmin

Tricklock Company

A Thousand Ways (Part One)

Created by 600 HIGHWAYMEN | Abigail Browde & Michael Silverstone

ArKtype/Thomas O. Kriegsmann, Executive Producer

Wild Thyme

Written by Liz Duffy Adams

Produced by West Hyler and Shelley Butler

Artistic Stamp

Shakina Nayfack
Shakina Nayfack Courtesy of The Drama League


The Chonburi International Hotel and Butterfly Club

Written by Shakina Nayfack

Directed by Laura Savia

Williamstown Theatre Festival and Audible


Written by Ngozi Anyanwu

Directed by Whitney White

Playing On Air


Written by Qui Nguyen

Directed by May Adrales

Playwrights Horizons

Prime: A Practical Breviary

Written, Composed and Performed by Heather Christian

Playwrights Horizons

Tiger Style!

Written by Mike Lew

Directed by Moritz von Stuelpnagel

Huntington Theatre Company and WGBH Radio

Paul Wontorek, Raul Esparza, and Bill Curran
Paul Wontorek, Raul Esparza, and Bill Curran Courtesy of The Drama League


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)

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

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

Courtesy of The Drama League


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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