Over 1,600 theatre-makers and theatre supporters attended the event at The Anthem
ON YOUR FEET! From GALA Hispanic Theatre Was the Night’s Big Winner with 9 Awards
WASHINGTON, DC – On May 22, 2023, the 2023 Helen Hayes Awards took place at The Anthem on the District Wharf, with over 1,600 theatre-makers and theatre supporters in attendance. Esteemed Washington theatre artists Naomi Jacobson, Erika Rose, Holly Twyford, and Christopher Michael Richardson hosted an evening showcasing the vibrant and diverse community of professional theatre artists in the Washington region. They were joined by a performance ensemble of Quadry Brown, Carolyn Burke, Drake Leach, and Kanysha Williams and special guest star Michael Urie, with additional performances by Frenchie Davis and Solomon Parker III. Recognizing work from 131 eligible productions presented in the 2022 calendar year, awards were given in 41 categories. Productions under consideration in 2022 included 39 musicals, 97 plays, and 38 world premieres. For the seventh year, the Helen Hayes Awards were given in parallel tracks determined by the ratio of Actors’ Equity contracts involved in an individual production, recognized as recipients in either the “Helen” or “Hayes” categories. For the first year in 2022, performers were adjudicated as gender inclusive (vs. gender segregated “actor” and “actress”), with ten nominees and two recipients in each performance category.
Topping the list of theaters receiving Helen Hayes Awards this year was GALA Hispanic Theatre, which received a total of 11 awards for work in 2022, including nine for their production of ON YOUR FEET! La historia de Emilio y Gloria Estefan ¡En español! (Musical, Helen), one for REVOLTOSA (The troublemaker) (Musica, Helen), and one for La casa de la laguna (The House on the Lagoon) (Play, Helen). Going home with four awards for The Color Purple (Musical, Hayes) and two awards for She Loves Me (Musical, Hayes) was Signature Theatre. Olney Theatre Center received three awards for Meredith Willson’s The Music Man and one each for The Joy That Carries You (Play, Hayes) and A.D. 16 (Musical, Hayes).
Outstanding Productions in 2022 went to Guys and Dolls from The Kennedy Center (Visiting Production), Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed: The Rock Experience (Theatre for Young Audiences), ON YOUR FEET! from GALA Hispanic Theatre (Musical, Helen), The Color Purple from Signature Theatre (Musical, Hayes), Host & Guest from Synetic Theater (Play, Helen), and John Proctor is the Villain from Studio Theatre (Play, Hayes).
The 2023 Helen Hayes Tribute honored Bonnie Nelson Schwartz, Founder of the Helen Hayes Awards and a fixture of Washington’s cultural community. Nelson Schwartz is a Tony and Emmy-nominated producer of Broadway theatre, television, and concerts, with over 100 plays, films, television programs, and concerts in Washington, DC, New York, London, and South Africa to her credit.
The two recipients of the John Aniello Award for Outstanding Emerging Theatre Company were ExPats Theatre and Prologue Theatre. Prologue Theatre received two additional awards for their production of The Revolutionists (Play, Helen) — Outstanding Supporting Performer Fabiolla Da Silva and Outstanding Director Jessica Lefkow.
This year’s award show was supported by a variety of hosts and sponsors. Angie M. Gates, President and CEO of Events DC, served as this year’s honorary chair alongside event chair Jan Du Plain. Producers included Andrew Ammerman, Jan Du Plain, Meg and John Hauge, Craig Pascal, and Alan J. Savada and Will Stevenson. Co-Chairs included Terry O. Brackett, Michael Burke & Carl Smith, Myrna Fawcett & Michael Singer, Karina Hou, Christie Johnson, Abel Lopez, Shahin D. Mafi, Lola C Reinsch of the Reinsch Pierce Family Foundation, and Sammy and Annie Totah Family Foundation. Honorary Committee Hosts included Congressman Don Beyer (US Representative from VA-8), Mrs. Megan Beyer (Director of the Office of Art in Embassies at the U.S. Department of State), Senator Adam Ebbin (Senate of Virginia – District 30), Suzan E. Jenkins (Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County), Congressman Jim Moran (Former US Representative from VA-8) and Brooke Pinto (Ward 2 Councilmember, District of Columbia). This year’s host committee included: Terri Allen (CAPPA), Jeffrey Allen & Stacie Lee Banks, Sherrie Beckstead, Susan & Dixon Butler, Claire Carlin, Laura Einstein & Helene Madonick, Gary Fontaine & O’Shelya Brown, Holly Hassett, Barbara Hawthorn, Kevin Hennessy, Frank F. Islam & Debbie Driesman, Rebecca Klemm, Renée Klish, Jacqueline Mars, Howard Meneker & Patrick Gossett, Carl & Undine Nash, Michelle Pendoley, Bonnie Nelson Schwartz, David & Rita Sirignano, Dana M. Smith, Carol & Tom Wheeler.
The 2023 Helen Hayes Awards were also supported in part by Arctos Technology Solutions, Destination DC, Monty Hoffman, Hoffman and Associates, Share Fund, TodayTix, and Everything Legendary.
Produced and administered by Theatre Washington, the Helen Hayes Awards honors excellence in professional theatre in the greater Washington area. A full list of award recipients is available on theatrewashington.org or at these links:
Named for actor Helen Hayes – a Washington native and legendary First Lady of the American Theatre – the Helen Hayes Awards has honored excellence in professional theatre throughout the Washington region for more than three decades.
About Theatre Washington
Through collaborative partnerships and programs, Theatre Washington supports the Washington, DC-area’s professional theatre community to celebrate artistic achievement, strengthen the theatrical workforce, support institutional growth and advancement, and cultivate collective action. Theatre Washington’s core programs include: the Helen Hayes Awards, Theatre Week, Theatre Summit, Theatre Work, and the Taking Care Fund.