GALA Hispanic Sweeps with Nine Awards for Spanish-Language In the Heights
Beloved Actor Nancy Robinette Honored with Prestigious Helen Hayes Tribute
Washington, DC – On May 14, the 34th Annual Helen Hayes Awards celebrated Washington’s diverse and vital theatre community with a gala event at The Anthem, recognizing 258 Helen Hayes Award nominees and 48 award recipients drawn from 202 eligible productions presented at 64 theatres in 2017. GALA Hispanic Theatre‘s Spanish-language production of Lin-Manuel Miranda and Quiara Alegria Hudes’ In The Heights received nine awards, putting them at the top of a list of 20 theatres receiving Helen Hayes Awards this year. Also going home with multiple honors was Shakespeare Theatre Company with four nods for its production of Twelfth Night. In an interesting turn of events the two awards for Outstanding Production in a Musical (given in “Helen” and “Hayes” categories, see below) were for different productions of In the Heights, one by GALA Hispanic and the other a co-production by Olney Theatre Center and Round House Theatre. Produced and administered by theatreWashington, the Helen Hayes Awards honors excellence in professional theatre in the greater Washington area, encompassing the work of more than 90 eligible theatre companies and innumerable world class artists. (For a full list of award recipients see document links listed below.)
The prestigious Helen Hayes Tribute was bestowed on actor Nancy Robinette who joins a stellar line-up of previous recipients, including last year’s Ted van Griethuysen and reaching back to such luminaries as Julie Harris, Ming Cho Lee, and Jerry Herman. Over the past 35 years, Robinette has appeared with theatre companies across the Washington metro area, leading to five Helen Hayes Awards and 18 nominations. She made her Broadway debut in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time in 2016.
The John Aniello Award for Outstanding Emerging Theatre Company, one of the most coveted of the night’s honors, was given to Monumental Theatre Company, which – according to their mission statement – “seeks to connect emerging artists, specifically those of the millennial generation, with the larger community by giving them a platform from which to promote their work to the public.” Established in 2008, the Aniello Award is named for the late John Aniello Jr., a theatre enthusiast lovingly remembered for his personal support of both emerging and established theatre artists in the Washington area.
Hosting the event were Michael J. Bobbitt, choreographer and Artistic Director of Adventure Theatre MTC, and Alyssa Wilmoth Keegan, recipient of last year’s Outstanding Lead Actress in a Play-Hayes Production for Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. Presenters represented a rich mix of theatre artists and administrators, including Victoria Murray Baatin, Weldon Brown, Allyson Currin, Tom Howley, Nanna Ingvarsson, Karen Lange, HB MacArthur, Ouida Maedel, Helen Murray, Ines Nassara, Dat Ngo, Marni Penning, Tuyet Thi Pham, Psalmayene 24, Victor Shargai, John Stange, Michele Caesar Turner, Matthew Alan Ward, and Jacob Yeh.
For the fourth year, the Helen Hayes Awards were given in parallel tracks determined by the ratio of Actors’ Equity contracts involved in an individual production. Productions and artists were thus recognized as recipients in either the “Helen” or “Hayes” categories. Award decisions are the result of 41 judges evaluating 2,633 individual elements of work, including acting, directing, choreography, and design. Productions under consideration in 2017 included 56 musicals, 154 plays, 15 young-audience productions, and encompassed 42 world premieres. For a full list of Helen Hayes Awards nominees and recipients, see the attachments below or visit theatreWashington.org.
Monty Hoffman, Founder and CEO of PN Hoffman, a leader of real estate development in the DC metro area and visionary for the revitalization of the Wharf, served as Honorary Chairman for the Awards. Honorary Artist Supporter Chair, The Share Fund, hosted the Nominee and Patron Celebration immediately preceding the Awards ceremony. A leader in lighting and rigging systems from black box theaters to performing arts centers, Barbizon Lighting joined for the first time as a mural sponsor. The Helen Hayes Awards are also sponsored by TodayTix, a ticketing platform on a mission to connect the next generation of culture lovers to theatre by making it more accessible, easy, and fun.
theatreWashington and the Helen Hayes Awards are supported in part by the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, The Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation, The Max and Victoria Dreyfus Foundation, The Share Fund, Prince Charitable Trust, and Craig Pascal and Victor Shargai.
The administration and celebration of the Helen Hayes Awards is just one element of theatreWashington’s mission, which is to strengthen, represent, and support all segments of Washington’s professional theatre community, including theatre companies, artists, staff, and diverse audiences of all ages. Over more than three decades of support and advocacy, theatreWashington has played a vital role in the transformation of the city’s cultural identity, with the resulting revitalization of the community as a whole.
Helen Hayes Awards Recipients
Helen Hayes Awards Recipients by Production (by count)
Helen Hayes Awards Recipients by Production (alphabetical)
Helen Hayes Awards Recipients by Theatre (by count)
Helen Hayes Awards Recipients by Theatre (alphabetical)