Special Recognition Honorees Announced For 90th Annual Drama League Awards

The Drama League has announced the 2024 Special Recognition Honorees of The 90th Annual Drama League Awards, recognized for their unique and outstanding contributions to the theater industry.

Two-time Tony Award and Emmy Award nominee Jonathan Groff, currently starring in the acclaimed revival of Sondheim’s Merrily We Roll Along, will receive the Distinguished Achievement in Musical Theater Award for his outstanding work on stage as part of the musical theater community.

Director Schele Williams will be honored with the Founders Award for Excellence in Directing, for her incredible contributions to the field, which includes two of this Broadway season’s highly anticipated productions, The Wiz and The Notebook.

The annual Gratitude Award will be presented to producer and performer Kandi Burruss, in recognition of her leadership and commitment to the theater industry.

Two-time Academy Award-winning actress Jessica Lange – who won a Tony Award for her performance in A Long Day’s Journey Into Night, and returns to Broadway this spring in Mother Play – will be honored with the Contribution to the Theater Award, for her unwavering commitment to furthering the art of the American theater.

These awards will be presented at the historic annual luncheon ceremony at The Ziegfeld Ballroom (141 W 54th St, NYC) on Friday, May 17, 2024 at 12:00PM. The event will be hosted by Emmy Award winner Frank DiLella (NY1 “On Stage”; PBS Great Performances “Reopening: The Broadway Revival”). The 2024 Awards Committee includes: Awards Co-Chairs, Bonnie Comley and Darin Oduyoye, with Steering Committee members Trish Chambers, Jonathan Demar, Irene Gandy, Sarah Hutton, Kirk Iwanowski, Mary Jain, Paula Kaminsky Davis, Fred Siegel, and Kumiko Yoshii.

Nominations for the 2023-24 Broadway and Off-Broadway season will be announced on Monday, April 22, 2024 at 10:00am, at Lincoln Center’s New York Public Library for the Performing Arts (111 Amsterdam Avenue at 64th Street). 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:

  • 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
  • Outstanding Direction of a Musical
  • Founders Award for Excellence in Directing
  • Distinguished Achievement in Musical Theater
  • Contribution to the Theater Award
  • The Gratitude Award


Broadway and Off-Broadway productions will need to have started previews between April 24, 2023 – April 20, 2024 to be eligible for this season’s Drama League Awards. 

First presented in 1922 and formalized in 1935, the Drama League Awards are a core service to the theater community of 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 around the world. Last year’s dynamic 2023 Awards Ceremony brought out the industry’s best and brightest with Lin-Manuel Miranda, Jessica Chastain, Oscar Isaac, Rachel Brosnahan, Jodie Comer, Josh Groban, Sara Bareilles, Andre DeShields & more, dazzling the audience of more than 500 people.  Sweeney Todd star Annaleigh Ashford took home the 2023 Distinguished Performance Award, which artists can only win once in their career, and Some Like It Hot and Leopoldstadt won Outstanding Production of a Broadway or Off-Broadway Musical and Play, respectively. The 2023 Drama League Awards also saw the second year of new categories for Outstanding Direction of a Play (recipient Anne Kauffman for The Sign in Sidney Brustein’s Window) and Outstanding Direction of a Musical (recipient Lear deBessonet for Into the Woods), which honor the vital mission of The Drama League. 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, click here.

Drama League members have voting privileges in the competitive award categories. Drama League memberships are open to industry professionals, artists, and audience members. They are tax-deductible and support The Drama League’s programs that provide vital career support for directors. Members enjoy access to exclusive members-only events, house seats to Broadway and Off-Broadway shows, and more. Members must be in good standing by April 15, 2024 in order to vote on this year’s Awards. To become a voting member, visit dramaleague.org/membership or call (212) 244-9494, ext. 101.

The Drama League is grateful for support from its generous donors and current Drama League Awards Sponsors, including our Presenting Sponsor, J.P. Morgan; Gold Sponsors, BroadwayHD and Darin Oduyoye; Silver Sponsors, Mary Jain, Paula Kaminsky Davis, Merrily We Roll Along, and Second Stage Theater. More information on sponsoring the luncheon can be found at dramaleague.org/2024awards.