Jonathan Groff, Jessica Lange, Kandi Burruss and Schele Williams to be Honored at the 2024 Drama League Awards
Posted by: Official_Press_Release 08:16 pm EST 02/22/24





The Drama League (Gabriel Stelian-Shanks, Artistic Director; Bevin Ross, Executive Director) is thrilled to announce 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 C ontribution 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 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

About The Drama League
The Drama League advances the American theater by providing lifelong artistic resources for directors and a platform for dialogue with audiences. Founded in 1916, we are one of the longest-running arts service organizations in the country. We enable directors to make the most powerful, impactful work possible across multiple mediums reaching ever-wider audiences, and build 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 life, and our work in education offers both 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. More information about The Drama League's programs, alumni, and the Awards history can be found at

About Jonathan Groff
Emmy and two-time Tony Award nominee Jonathan Groff stars as Franklin Shepard in the Broadway production of Sondheim and Furth's Merrily We Roll Along. In 2019, Groff starred as Seymour Krelborn in the award-winning Off-Broadway revival of Little Shop of Horrors, for which he was an Outer Critics Circle Award honoree, and Lucille Lortel and Drama League "Distinguished Performance Award" nominee. In 2015, Groff originated the role of King George III in Lin-Manuel Miranda's Pulitzer Prize–winning Hamilton on Broadway, for which he received a Tony nomination, as well as an Emmy nomination for the Disney+ film adaptation. In 2006, Groff gave an award-winning breakout performance in the Broadway production of Spring Awakening (Theatre World Award winner; Tony Award, Drama Desk Award and Drama League Award nominee). Additional theatre credits include The Bobby Darin Story, "Encores! Off-Center: A New Brain," The Bacchae, Hair, The Submission, The Singing Forest, Prayer for my Enemy (for which he won an Obie Award), Deathtrap and Red. On screen, Groff is the voice of Kristoff and Sven in the Disney animated films Frozen and Frozen II. He is also known for his starring role as Holden Ford in David Fincher's Netflix television series "Mindhunter." He starred in the HBO series "Looking" and reprised his role as Patrick in Looking: The Movie. He appeared as Jesse St. James on Ryan Murphy's Emmy and Golden Globe award-winning show "Glee." He co-starred in Lana Wachowski's The Matrix Resurrections, M. Night Shyamalan's Knock at the Cabin, and voiced the titular role in the animated series "Lost Ollie" on Netflix.

About Schele Williams
Schele Williams is a director, performer, and author committed to cultivating work with authentic representation on stage and off. She is currently making her Broadway directorial debut this season with The Notebook (co- director along with Michael Greif) and the highly anticipated Broadway revival of The Wiz opening April 2024. Other Broadway: Rent (assoc. choreographer) Motown the Musical (assoc. director) Aida (OBC). Upcoming: Director of Disney's revival of Aida and Hidden Figures (Disney). Schele is a founding member of Black Theatre United, a co-chair on the Broadway Inspirational Voices board of directors, and serves on the board of trustees for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. She is the author of the children's book Your Legacy: A Bold Reclaiming of Our Enslaved History (recipient of the 2022 Boston Globe-Horn Book Award Honor) and her next book, Your Legacy Begins, will be published in May of 2024.

About Kandi Burruss
Kandi Burruss is an entrepreneur, singer, actress, TV sensation, and Grammy-winning songwriter. Alongside her husband Todd Tucker, they are a Tony-nominated producing team behind the hit revival of The Piano Lesson starring Samuel L. Jackson, John David Washington, and Danielle Brooks. The Piano Lesson was officially named the highest-grossing August Wilson play in Broadway history, and made black history by donating the piano to the Smithsonian. Kandi and Todd previously produced the critically-acclaimed Broadway show Thoughts of a Colored Man, and are producing this season's Broadway revival of The Wiz. In 2018 Kandi starred on Broadway as "Mama" Morton in Chicago. Kandi has starred in 15 seasons of "The Real Housewives of Atlanta" on Bravo, for which she is currently nominated for a People's Choice Award for Best Reality Star. Kandi stars on the Showtime series "The Chi," from Emmy winner Lena Waithe, made television history as the first female winner of "The Masked Singer" on Fox, and also appeared in HBO's groundbreaking series, "Insecure." Kandi is a Grammy Award winner and recipient of the ASCAP Songwriter of the Year award and has written hit songs for Pink, Whitney Houston, Destiny's Child, NSync, Mariah Carey, Usher, Alicia Keys, Boyz II Men, and she wrote the smash hit "No Scrubs," for TLC. Kandi is a founding member of the chart-topping girl group Xscape. Kandi is a thriving entrepreneur with a variety of successful businesses including: Bedroom Kandi, Kandi Koated Beauty, and TAGS Boutique; and with her husband, has built a growing restaurant empire in Atlanta, which includes their southern style eateries Old Lady Gang and Blaze Steak & Seafood. Kandi's passion for championing women underlies her foundation, Kandi Cares, which supports single parents and kids who are the product of single-parent homes. Her latest venture, Beautiful Bosses, is a web platform where women can network and promote their businesses. Kandi was named to Ebony magazine's Power 100 list and to Variety's 40 Most Powerful Women on Reality TV in 2023. Kandi has 10.5 million Instagram followers.

About Jessica Lange
Acclaimed as one of the greatest actresses of her generation, Jessica Lange has dazzled the screen with over 30 credits to her name. Lange has won a Tony Award, two Academy Awards, three Emmys, five Golden Globes, and one SAG Award. On Broadway, she received the Tony, Drama Desk, and Outer Critics Circle awards for her performance as Mary Tyrone in A Long Day's Journey into Night, a role she also performed in the West End. She made her Broadway debut in A Streetcar Named Desire and was also seen starring in The Glass Menagerie. Lange stared in the television series "American Horror Story," as well as "Grey Gardens," "Feud: Bette and Joan," and "The Politician." Her films include Blue Sky, Frances, The Postman Always Rings Twice, Country, Rob Roy, Cape Fear, Tootsie, Music Box, and Sweet Dreams.

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