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Patti LuPone, Sutton Foster, Ben Vereen, and More to Present at the 2022 DRAMA LEAGUE AWARDS Hosted by Frank DiLella
Posted by: Official_Press_Release 01:10 pm EDT 05/17/22

Emmy Award Winner Frank DiLella To Host

The 88th Annual Drama League Awards

Alongside Special Presenters

Patti LuPone, Ben Vereen, Sutton Foster, Shoshana Bean, Gabby Beans, Lear de Bessonet, and more

(New York, NY) The Drama League (Artistic Director, Gabriel Stelian-Shanks; Executive Director, Bevin Ross) is thrilled to announce that Emmy Award-winning journalist Frank DiLella (NY1 On Stage; PBS Great Performances "Reopening: The Broadway Revival") will be hosting the 88th Annual Drama League Awards alongside theatrical legends and Tony Award winners, Patti LuPone (Company, Evita, Gypsy), Ben Vereen (Pippin, Fosse, Wicked), Sutton Foster (The Music Man, Anything Goes, Thoroughly Modern Milly), and freshly-minted 2022 Tony Award Nominated Actresses Shoshana Bean (Mr. Saturday Night, Wicked) Gabby Beans (Skin of Our Teeth, "Succession," "House of Cards"), and Lear deBessonet (Encores! Into The Woods, Hercules, Miss You Like Hell) will present the esteemed awards.


The 88th Annual Drama League Awards will be presented in person at The Ziegfeld Ballroom (141 W 54th St, New York, NY) on Friday, May 20, 2022, at 12:00PM. More information about the ceremony and how to attend can be found at dramaleague.org/2022awards. The 2022 Awards will recognize eligible Broadway and Off-Broadway (non-virtual only) productions that began preview performances between March 16, 2021, and April 23, 2022.


Keeping in the tradition of honoring the outstanding accomplishments of the theatrical community, as they have since 1935, Drama League Awards will be bestowed in the following categories, in addition to new competitive directing categories:

Distinguished Performance Award

Outstanding Production of a Play

Outstanding Production of a Musical

Outstanding Revival of a Play

Outstanding Revival of a Musical

Outstanding Direction of a Play *new*
Outstanding Direction of a Musical *new*
The Distinguished Performance Award will be presented by LuPone and Outstanding Direction of a Play and Outstanding Direction of a Musical will be presented by deBessonet. The Drama League previously announced the 2022 Special Recognition Award Recipients: Tony® Award winner Hugh Jackman will receive the Distinguished Achievement in Musical Theater Award, which will be presented by Foster; director Lileana Blain-Cruz will receive the Founders Award for Excellence in Directing, presented by Beans; Tony® Award winner Billy Crystal will receive the Contribution to the Theater Award, presented by Beans; and Tony® Award winner Willette Murphy Klausner will receive the Gratitude Award, presented by Vereen.
In keeping with the spirit of generosity for which Willette Murphy Klausner is being honored, Willette and Manny Klausner have also announced a significant gift to The Drama League. All proceeds from The Drama League Awards, first presented in 1922 and formalized in 1935, support The Drama League, an arts organization that has provided vital support to the field and its artists for over a century. The organization's mission provides the nation's only full-time, lifelong creative home for stage directors and the audiences that enjoy their work across the world. The previously announced 2022 expansion of The Drama League's core program, The Directors Project, marks a critical investment in the career development of emerging and mid-career directors.
The Drama League is grateful for support from its generous donors, including the 2022 Drama League Awards Gold Sponsors: BroadwayHD, John Gore Organization, Nederlander Organization, Joseph & Lauren Pizza/Sceneworks Studios, and Iris Smith; and Silver Sponsors: Kirk Iwanowski & Steven Cohen and Mary Dunn, Mary Jain, Christine Rendano, and The Shubert Organization. For a complete list of productions and performers that have won Drama League Awards in the event's history, as well as all past honorees, visit dramaleague.org/awards.

ABOUT THE DRAMA LEAGUE:
The Drama League advances American theater by providing life-long artistic resources for directors and a platform for dialogue with audiences. Founded in 1916, as one of the longest-running arts service organizations in the country, we continuously adapt to meet artists' needs in the expanding entertainment landscape. We enable directors to make the most powerful, impactful work possible, expand their skill across multiple mediums to reach broader audiences, and build thriving, sustainable careers. Uplifting directors of all economic classes, races, abilities, genders, and identities is a cornerstone of this mission. We provide support to directors throughout their artistic lives, and our work in education offers continued learning to professionals and introduces the skills of directing to young people. Underpinning our work is the support of our members, a community of ardent theater fans and industry professionals whose commitment to advancing the art form helps develop the careers of the talented directors we champion.

Frank DiLella is the three-time Emmy Award winning host of "On Stage" on Spectrum News NY1, the news channel's weekly half-hour theater program. DiLella's celebrity interviews, along with his in-depth reporting of the theatrical scene, have helped make him a trusted friend and confidant within the theater and entertainment communities in New York City and around the globe. Over the years, DiLella has acted as a contributing correspondent for the Tony Awards, the Olivier Awards at London's Royal Albert Hall, Playbill, MANHATTAN Magazine and Broadway Direct, and has given lectures on entertainment and journalism at Hofstra University and The American Theatre Wing. He has also appeared as an entertainment correspondent for "Morning Joe", BBC, The Tamron Hall Show, "Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen", AOL BUILD Series, Sirius XM, CBS, NBC, CTV, and Al Jazeera TV. In January of 2022, Frank executive produced and hosted the documentary – "Reopening: The Broadway Revival" for Great Performances on PBS. He's made multiple big and small screen appearances as "himself" including – Ryan Murphy's "The Prom" – opposite Meryl Streep (NETFLIX), "Smash" (NBC), "The Little Voice" (APPLE TV+), "Gossip Girl" (HBO MAX) and "The Forty-Year-Old Version" (SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL / NETFLIX). A strong advocate of arts education, DiLella currently serves on the board of The Roger Rees Awards and is a part of the selection committee for the annual Clive Barnes Award and Foundation – which honors talented young professionals in the artistic fields of dance and theater. DiLella received a degree from Fordham University at Lincoln Center and has since returned to his alma mater as an adjunct professor teaching theater journalism.

Patti LuPone is a past recipient of the Drama League's Distinguished Performance Award for her performance as Madame Rose in the 2008 production of Gypsy and is a 2022 Tony Award nominee for her portrayal of Joanne in Marianne Elliot's current production of the Stephen Sondheim-George Furth musical Company. A two-time Tony Award winner for her performances in Evita and Gypsy, her New York stage credits include War Paint (Tony, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle Award nominations); Shows for Days; The Seven Deadly Sins (as guest soloist with the NY City Ballet); Company (NY Philharmonic); Woman on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (Tony, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle Award nominations); Sweeney Todd (Tony, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle nominations); Noises Off; The Old Neighborhood; Master Class; Anything Goes (Tony nomination, Drama Desk Award); Oliver!; Accidental Death of An Anarchist; The Water Engine; and The Robber Bridegroom (Tony nomination). Opera: The Ghosts of Versailles (LA Opera), To Hell and Back (SF Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra), The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny (LA Opera-debut), Regina (Kennedy Center). Her upcoming film credits include Disappointment Boulevard opposite Joaquin Phoenix and The School for Good and Evil. Ms. LuPone's recent television include the Netflix limited series Hollywood; Pose; Crazy Ex-Girlfriend; and Penny Dreadful (Critics Choice nomination). A graduate of the first class of the Drama Division of New York's Juilliard School and a founding member of John Houseman's The Acting Company, she is also the author of the NY Times bestseller Patti LuPone: A Memoir.

Ben Vereen is an accomplished and versatile entertainer. Ben recently wrapped the Chuck Lorre series " B Positive" and earlier this spring, completed multiple episodes of "The Good Fight", playing Frederick Douglas, both on CBS. Ben appeared in "Magnum P.I." and "Bull" for CBS, multiple episodes of "Star" for Fox, and the BET Series "Tales". Ben also co-starred with Richard Gere in Time Out of Mind, Chris Rock in Top Five, and was featured as Dr. Scott in the re-imagined The Rocky Horror Picture Show for 20th Century Fox. Bryan Cranston picked Ben to costar in Sneaky Pete for Amazon. Ben continues to tour the country with his concert act, motivational lectures, master classes. He performed sold out runs at Jazz at Lincoln Center, as well as in Toronto, Los Angeles, San Diego, Las Vegas, Pittsburgh, as well as a lecture at Tuskegee University for Black History Month He won a Tony Award/Drama Desk for Pippin, starred in such musicals as Jesus Christ Superstar, Fosse, Hair, Jelly's Last Jam, Chicago, Wicked, I'm Not Rappaport, to name a few and is remembered for films like Sweet Charity, All That Jazz, and the Emmy winning role of Chicken George in the iconic "Roots". Ben is an active member of Americans for the Arts, the largest advocacy group of the Arts in America. Recently, Ben recorded a new song/video for Ukraine: "We Sing for Ukraine" which will benefit both UNICEF and Abundance International, money for the children of Ukraine. Ben produced an event for Care For The Homeless, served on Ballet Florida's Board of Directors, worked with the American Red Cross and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome Association, and The Actors Fund. Ben spearheaded his own organization, Celebrities For A Drug Free America which raised money for drug rehabilitation centers, educational programs and inner city community-based projects. Ben has received a number of awards including Israel's Cultural and Humanitarian Awards, three NAACP Image Awards, an Eleanor Roosevelt Humanitarian Award and a Victory Award. He has received honorary doctorates from the University of Arizona, Emerson College, and Columbia College in Chicago. The Community Mental Health Council awarded Ben with their 2004 Lifeline Celebration Achievement Award Scholarship for the Performing Arts, and in 2004, he received an Achievement in Excellence Award from his alma mater, the High School of the Performing ArtsBen has also been inducted into The Theatre Hall of Fame, the Dance Hall of Fame, and has received various Emmy and Golden globe nominations. In, New York City he received the Broadway World Cabaret Award for "Best Celebrity Male Vocalist" and the Career Achievement Award (Le Prix International Film Star Awards Organization). He is most proud of his ongoing work involving the Arts and Education, and providing the youth with arts programs across America. Ben received the Lifetime Achievement Award from The Gold Coast International Film Festival, and this past year he was honored as a living legend by The American Black Film Institute.

Sutton Foster is an American actress, singer, and dancer. She is best known for her work on the Broadway stage -- for which she has received two Tony Awards for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical -- as well as for her critically-acclaimed role as Liza Miller on the Darren Star helmed television series, Younger. On stage, Sutton recently made her highly anticipated Broadway return as Marian in the revival of The Music Man, opposite Hugh Jackman at The Winter Garden Theatre, in which she earned another Tony Award nomination. She also reprised her Tony Award winning role as Reno Sweeney in Anything Goes at the Barbican Theatre in London during the summer of 2021. Last fall, Sutton released her memoir Hooked: How Crafting Saved My Life. The page turner is comprised of funny and intimate stories and reflections about how crafting has kept her sane while navigating the highs and lows of family, love, and show business (and how it can help you, too).
The award-winning actress has also appeared on Broadway in Violet, Anything Goes (Tony Award), Shrek, Young Frankenstein, The Drowsy Chaperone, Little Women, Thoroughly Modern Millie (Tony Award), Les Misérables, Annie, The Scarlet Pimpernel, and Grease. Off-Broadway, Sutton has been seen in Sweet Charity (The Pershing Square Signature Center) The Wild Party (City Center Encores!), Trust (Second Stage), and Anyone Can Whistle (City Center Encores!). She has toured all over the country with her solo albums, which include Take Me to the World, Wish and An Evening with Sutton Foster: Live at the Café Carlyle. Additionally, she has also appeared on television in "A Million Little Things," "Instinct," "Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life," "Mad Dogs," "Elementary," "Psych," "Bunheads," "Royal Pains," "Law & Order: SVU," "Flight of the Conchords" and "Sesame Street." She holds an honorary doctorate from Ball State University, where she also teaches.

Shoshana Bean's three independent solo albums have all topped the iTunes R&B and Blues charts in the US and UK, with her fourth and most recent project, SPECTRUM, debuting at #1 on the Billboard Jazz charts. She has sold out solo concerts around the globe, lent her voice to countless films and television shows, amasses millions of views on YouTube, and performed alongside Ariana Grande, David Foster, Postmodern Jukebox, Brian McKnight, and Michael Jackson. Shoshana is a veteran of the Broadway stage having made her debut in the original cast of Hairspray, starring as the very first replacement for Elphaba in Wicked and also as Jenna in Waitress. She won a IRNE Award for her performance as Fanny Brice in Funny Girl and earned a Jeff Award nomination for her portrayal of CeeCee Bloom in the pre-Broadway musical production of Beaches. Shoshana can currently be seen co-starring along with Billy Crystal in the Tony Nominated Broadway Musical of Mr. Saturday Night where she was recently Tony nominated for Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical.

Gabby Beans is a NYC actor, writer, and filmmaker. She has appeared on TV in Netflix's "House of Cards," Showtime's "Ray Donovan," HBO's "Succession," and Paramount+'s "The Good Fight." Some of her past theater credits include Anatomy of a Suicide at the Atlantic Theater Company, Marys Seacole at LCT3, and Girls at Yale Repertory Theatre. She can currently be seen on Broadway for her Tony-nominated performance in The Skin of Our Teeth at Lincoln Center Theater.

Lear deBessonet recently directed and co-executive produced ANNIE LIVE! on NBC starring Taraji P. Henson, Tituss Burgess and Harry Connick Jr. On stage, Lear most recently directed INTO THE WOODS for the Tony-honored Encores! series at New York City Center of where she currently serves as the artistic director. Previously, she directed the world premiere of the musical HERCULES at the Public Theater, which was a landmark collaboration between the Public and Disney Theatrical Group. As the founder of Public Works and Resident Director at the Public Theater, she has created a model of community engagement and participatory theater that has spread nationally and internationally. In her production of HERCULES—as well her productions of THE TEMPEST, THE WINTER'S TALE, and THE ODYSSEY—over 200 New Yorkers from all five boroughs were featured on stage. Lear has received an Obie Award, Lilly Award, Lortel Award, and a Drama Desk nomination for her work. She has also been honored with the Doris Duke Impact Award, TCG's Peter Zeisler Award, LMCC's Presidential Award for Artistic Excellence, and as one of Time Out New York's "25 People to Watch." She also teaches at NYU-Tisch School of the Arts.

www.dramaleague.org / Instagram & Twitter: @dramaleague / Facebook: The Drama League
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