The 86th Drama League Awards Will Be Streamed To The World

The 86th Drama League Awards Will Be Streamed To The World

Tom Sturridge and Jake Gyllenhaal Photo by Genevieve Rafter Keddy

The Drama League (Artistic Director, Gabriel Stelian-Shanks / Executive Director, Bevin Ross) has announced the 2020 Drama League Awards Nominees for Outstanding Production of a Play, Outstanding Revival of a Play, Outstanding Production of a Musical, Outstanding Revival of a Musical, and the much- coveted Distinguished Performance Award. The nominations were announced this evening during The Gratitude Awards by Beetlejuice’s Alex Brightman and Leslie Rodriguez Kritzer. Voting is open for Drama League members from May 1 – May 22. Award winners will be announced via livestream in June

The broadcast included special cameos from previous Distinguished Performance Award recipients Bernadette Peters, Bryan Cranston, and Patti LuPone, and the 86th Annual Drama League Artistic Awards Nominations presented by Beetlejuice’s Alex Brightman and Leslie Rodriguez Kritzer. 

Other recognitions include Marianne Elliott as the recipient of the Founders Award for Excellence in Directing and James Lapine as the recipient of the Distinguished Achievement in Musical Theater Award.  

Terrence McNally
Terrence McNally

The Drama League honored the five-time Tony Award® winning Terrance McNally with the organization’s lifetime achievement award – “The Unique Contribution to Theater Award”   at this year’s Drama League Awards. However, because of McNally’s  unfortunate passing on March 24, 2020 due to complications from COVID-19 and New York City’s guidelines against large gatherings, The Drama League has had to make changes to their annual awards nomination ceremony this year.  Tom Kirdahy accepted on behalf of Mr. McNally and a special tribute film was presented by Jeff Kaufman and Marcia Ross (producers of the documentary film Terrence McNally: Every Act of Life).

Nathan Lane

The Drama League announced that the spirit of The Gratitude Awards will live on via a new honorary category for the 87th Annual Drama League Awards starting in 2021 with The Gratitude Award, for a person or organization who has shown fearless support and kindness to the theater community.

Missed the broadcast? Watch the archive HERE

Here are the nominees for 86th Annual The Drama League’s five competitive categories for this year:


Signature Theatre Cambodian Rock Band By Lauren Yee Directed By Chay Yew Songs By Dengue Fever

Cambodian Rock Band: Directed by Chay Yew, written by Lauren Yee, Signature Theatre Company

Dana H.: Directed by Les Waters, written by Lucas Hnath, Vineyard Theatre

Grand Horizons: Directed by Leigh Silverman, written by Bess Wohl, Second Stage/Helen Hayes Theater

The Hot Wing King: Directed by Steve H. Broadnax III, written by Katori Hall, Signature Theatre Company

The Inheritance: Directed by Stephen Daldry, written by Matthew Lopez, Barrymore Theatre

The Michaels: Written and Directed by Richard Nelson, Public Theater

Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow: Directed by Trip Cullman, written by Halley Feiffer, MCC Theater

One in Two: Directed by Stevie Walker-Webb, written by Donja R. Love, The New Group

Sea Wall/A Life: Directed by Carrie Cracknell, written by Simon Stephens/Nick Payne, Hudson Theater

Seared: Directed by Moritz von Stuelpnagel, written by Theresa Rebeck, MCC Theater

Slave Play: Directed by Robert O’Hara, written by Jeremy O. Harris, New York Theatre Workshop/John Golden Theatre

Stew: Directed by Colette Robert, written by Zora Howard, Page 73


Girl From The North Country
Girl From The North Country

Girl from the North Country: Directed by Conor McPherson, book by Conor McPherson, music and lyrics by Bob Dylan, Belasco Theatre

Jagged Little Pill: Directed by Diane Paulus, music by Alanis Morissette and Glen Ballard, lyrics by Alanis Morissette, book by Diablo Cody, Broadhurst Theatre

Moulin Rouge!: Directed by Alex Timbers, book by John Logan, music and lyrics by Various Artists, Al Hirschfeld Theatre

Octet: Directed by Annie Tippe, written by Dave Malloy, Signature Theatre Company

The Secret Life of Bees: Directed by Sam Gold, book by Lynn Nottage, music by Duncan Sheik, lyrics by  Susan Birkenhead, Atlantic Theater Company

Sing Street: Directed by Rebecca Taichman, book by Enda Walsh, music and lyrics by Gary Clark and John Carney, New York Theatre Workshop


Six: Directed by Lucy Moss and Jamie Armitage, written by Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss, Brooks Atkinson Theatre

Soft Power: Directed by Leigh Silverman, book and lyrics by David Henry Hwang, music and additional lyrics by Jeanine Tesori, Public Theater

A Strange Loop: Directed by Stephen Brackett, book, music and lyrics by Michael R. Jackson, Playwrights Horizons

Tina: The Tina Turner Musical: Directed by Phyllida Lloyd, book by Katori Hall, Frank Ketelaar and Kees Prins, music by Various Artists, Lunt-Fontanne Theatre


Betrayal: Directed by Jamie Lloyd, written by Harold Pinter, Jacobs Theatre

for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf: Directed by Leah C. Gardiner, written by Ntozake Shange, Public Theater

Fires in the Mirror By Anna Deavere Smith Direct By Saheem Ali Michael Benjamin Washington

Fires in the Mirror: Directed by Saheem Ali, written by Anna Deavere Smith, Signature Theatre Company

Frankie and Johnny in the Claire de Lune: Directed by Arin Arbus, written by Terrence McNally, Broadhurst Theatre

Judgment Day: Directed by Richard Jones, written by Ödön von Horváth, adapted by Christopher Shinn, Park Avenue Armory

Medea: Directed by Simon Stone, written by Simon Stone after Euripides, Brooklyn Academy of Music

Native Son: Directed by Seret Scott, written by Nambi E. Kelley, based on the novel by Richard Wright, The Acting Company

Rose Tattoo Marisa Tomei

The Rose Tattoo: Directed by Trip Cullman, written by Tennessee Williams, Roundabout Theatre Company

A Soldier’s Play: Directed by Kenny Leon, written by Charles Fuller, Roundabout Theatre Company

The Woman in Black: Directed by Robin Herford, written by Stephen Mallatratt, based on the novel by Susan Hill, The McKittrick Hotel


Enter Laughing: Directed by Stuart Ross, book by Joseph Stein, music and lyrics by Stan Daniels, York Theatre Company

Little Shop of Horrors

Little Shop of Horrors: Directed by Michael Mayer, book and lyrics by Howard Ashman, music by Alan Menken, Westside Theatre

Rock of Ages: Directed by Kristin Hanggi, book by Chris D’Arienzo, music and lyrics by Various Artists, New World Stages

Beth Malone The Unsinkable Molly Brown

The Unsinkable Molly Brown: Directed by Kathleen Marshall, book and new lyrics by Dick Scanlan, music and lyrics by Meredith Willson, The Transport Group

West Side Story: Directed by Ivo van Hove, book by Arthur Laurents, music by Leonard Bernstein, lyrics by  Stephen Sondheim, Broadway Theatre


David Acton, Ben Porter

David Acton, The Woman in Black

Jeffrey Bean, Dublin Carol

Ato Blankson-Wood, The Rolling Stone and Slave Play

Christian Borle, Little Shop of Horrors

Danielle Brooks, Much Ado About Nothing

Danny Burstein, Moulin Rouge!

Bobby Cannavale, Rose Byrne

Rose Byrne, Medea

Len Cariou, Harry Townsend’s Last Stand

Patrice Johnson Chevannes, runboyrun & In Old Age

Liza Colón-Zayas, Halfway Bitches Go Straight to Heaven

Kate del Castillo, the way she spoke

Edmund Donovan, Greater Clements

Raúl Esparza, Seared

Francesca Faridany, The Half-Life of Marie Curie

Halley Feiffer, The Pain of My Belligerence

Danyel Fulton

Danyel Fulton, Broadbend, Arkansas

Annie Golden, Broadway Bounty Hunter

Donnetta Lavinia Grays, Where We Stand

David Alan Grier, Blair Underwood, Billy Eugene Jones Photo by Joan Marcus

David Alan Grier, A Soldier’s Play

Jonathan Groff, Little Shop of Horrors

Jake Gyllenhaal, Sea Wall/A Life

Tom Hiddleston, Betrayal

Paul Hilton, The Inheritance

Kathryn Hunter, Timon of Athens

Galen Ryan Kane, Native Son

Brittney Mack

Brittney Mack, Six

April Matthis, Toni Stone

Susannah Millonzi, The Crucible

Kate Mulgrew, The Half-Life of Marie Curie

Joe Ngo, Cambodian Rock Band

Deirdre O’Connell, Dana H.

Brenock O’Connor, Sing Street

Okwui Okpokwasili, for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf

Karen Olivo, Moulin Rouge!

Larry Owens, A Strange Loop

Lauren Patten, Jagged Little Pill

Chris Perfetti, Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow

Ben Porter, The Woman in Black

Isaac Powell, West Side Story

Eileen Atkins, Jonathan Pryce Photo by Joan Marcus

Jonathan Pryce, The Height of the Storm

Elizabeth Rodriguez, Halfway Bitches Go Straight to Heaven

Michael Shannon, Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune

Tom Sturridge, Sea Wall/A Life

Marisa Tomei, The Rose Tattoo

Blair Underwood, A Soldier’s Play

Michael Urie, Grand Horizons

Adrienne Warren, Tina: The Tina Turner Musical

Michael Benjamin Washington, Fires in the Mirror

Portia, Stew

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

Harvey Fierstein, Bella Bella

Mary-Louise Parker, The Sound Inside

Audra McDonald, Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune

The Drama League Awards, which recognize outstanding achievements on and off Broadway, is a tradition we have been honored to provide since 1935. 

All proceeds raised during the program will go towards The Ghost Light Campaign, which supports our 2020-2021 cohort of Directing Fellows & Residents, New Visions / New Voices after-school directing mentorship program for NYC high school students, as well as a portion allocated directly to our micro re-grant program, the Directors Emergency Relief Fund. In the meantime you can donate here. 


Suzanna, co-owns and publishes the newspaper Times Square Chronicles or T2C. At one point a working actress, she has performed in numerous productions in film, TV, cabaret, opera and theatre. She has performed at The New Orleans Jazz festival, The United Nations and Carnegie Hall. She has a screenplay and a TV show in the works, which she developed with her mentor and friend the late Arthur Herzog. She is a proud member of the Drama Desk and the Outer Critics Circle and was a nominator. Email:

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