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Dale Badway
Tom D'Angora Michael D'Angora  & Tim Guinee

The Theatre World Awards

a one-night-only Special Gala Benefit
Directed by: 
Tom D'Angora 
& Michael D'Angora

Christy Altomare
Phillip Boykin
Ann Hampton Callaway
Stephanie D'Abruzzo
André De Shields
Ana Villafañe
Andrea McArdle
Bonnie Milligan
Adam Pascal
Ethan Slater
Marissa Jaret Winokur
John Loyd Young
and many more!

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About the awards

The Theatre World Awards were initiated in 1944 and are the oldest awards given to debut performances in New York City for Broadway and Off-Broadway. This year, as a departure from the annual awards ceremony, a one-night only virtual event will honor Broadway's best with a Special Gala Award Benefit as a celebration of 75 years of the Theatre World Awards and a passionate heartfelt fundraising drive to keep the Theatre World Award legacy alive and thriving for generations to come.

All proceeds from the event will go toward presenting and celebrating the theatre community with the much anticipated in person, in theater annual ceremony, the 76th Theatre World Awards, in June 2022.

2021 Special Honorees

Patti LuPone

John Willis Awards for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre

Patti LuPone has a versatile career that spans across film, television, and theatre. On television, LuPone has made memorable turns on Netflix's "Hollywood," Showtime's "Penny Dreadful," the HBO series "Girls," and the FX drama hits "American Horror Story" and "Pose." Additional television credits include "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend," "Law & Order: SVU," "30 Rock," "Army Wives," "Ugly Betty," "Will & Grace," and "Oz," among others. She has voiced characters on the animated series Steven Universe, "Vampirina" and "Bojack Horseman."

Patti has appeared in numerous feature films, most notably the Academy Award-winning Driving Miss Daisy alongside Morgan Freeman and Jessica Tandy, Witness with Harrison Ford, Brian De Palma's Wise Guys opposite Danny DeVito and Harvey Keitel, Taylor Hackford's The Comedian alongside Robert De Niro, Spike Lee's Summer of Sam and most recently, Paul Feig's Last Christmas.

Most recently, Patti starred in the hit Broadway rendition of Company, for which she won the Olivier Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role in a Musical in the West End Production. Previously, LuPone starred as 'Helena Rubenstein' in the Broadway musical War Paint (after creating the role at The Goodman Theatre in Chicago). For her performance, she received Tony, Drama Desk and Outer Critic's Circle Award nominations. She led the company of Douglas Carter Beane's new play Shows For Days under the direction of Jerry Zaks. Patti's most recent Broadway credits include David Mamet's The Anarchist and Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, for which she was nominated for Tony, Drama Desk, and Outer Critics Circle Awards. She won the Tony for Best Actress in a Musical twice, once for Evita in 1980 and again in 2008 for her performance in Gypsy. She also won two Grammy Awards for Best Classical Album and Best Opera Recording for The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny.

Patti is also author of the New York Times bestseller Patti LuPone: A Memoir.

André De Shields

John Willis Awards for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre

André De Shields is the triple-crown winner of the 2019 awards season, having won the Outer Critics Circle, Drama Desk, and Tony Awards for best featured actor in a musical for his critically acclaimed performance as Hermes in Hadestown. The Actors' Equity Foundation followed suit with the Richard Seff Award, honoring veteran stage actors' best supporting performances of the year. In 2020, Mr. De Shields received the 2020 Grammy Award for Musical Theater Album for Hadestown, the 2020 AUDELCO for Lifetime Achievement, and an honorary Doctor of Arts Degree from Boston Conservatory at Berklee. In 2019, he received the 2019 Project1Voice Lifetime Achievement Award, the 2019 SAGE Joyce Warshow Lifetime Achievement Award, The York Theatre Company's 2019 Oscar Hammerstein Award for Lifetime Achievement in Musical Theatre, and was inducted into the Theater Hall of Fame. He received the Key to the City of Baltimore from Mayor Bernard C. "Jack" Young in August, 2019. Prior to his Tony Award win, Mr. De Shields was best known for his show-stopping performances in four legendary Broadway productions: The Wiz, Ain't Misbehavin' (Emmy Award), Play On! (Tony Nomination), and The Full Monty (Tony Nomination). In a career spanning fifty-one years, he has distinguished himself as an unparalleled actor, director, and educator, receiving in 2018 the 8th Annual Off-Broadway Alliance Legend Award, and the 33rd Annual Bob Harrington Life Achievement Bistro Award. Among his other accolades are the 2009 National Black Theatre Festival's Living Legend Award and the 2007 Village Voice Obie Award for Sustained Excellence of Performance. His film and TV projects include Anton Ego in Ratatouille: The TikTok Tok Musical, the Algebra Tutor in "John Mulaney & The Sack Lunch Bunch" on Netflix, Chubby in "Katy Keene" on the CW, and as Wyndham on "Almost Family." He can next be seen as Gavin Plimsoll in Charles Busch's new film, The Sixth Reel. De Shields is a proud member of AEA, SAG-AFTRA, and SDC.

Audra McDonald

Dorothy Loudon Special Award for Excellence in the Theater

Audra McDonald is unparalleled in the breadth and versatility of her artistry as both a singer and an actor. The winner of a record-breaking six Tony Awards, two Grammy Awards and an Emmy, in 2015 she received a National Medal of Arts from President Barack Obama and was named one of Time magazine's 100 most influential people. She won Tonys for her performances in Carousel, Master Class, Ragtime, A Raisin in the Sun, The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess and Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill, which also served as the vehicle for her Olivier-nominated 2017 West End debut. On television, McDonald won an Emmy as the official host of PBS's "Live From Lincoln Center;" she can currently be seen as Liz Lawrence in "The Good Fight" on Paramount+; and she stars in Spectrum's pandemic-themed drama, "The Bite." Her film credits include Disney's live-action Beauty and the Beast and MGM's 2021 Aretha Franklin biopic, Respect. A Juilliard-trained soprano, McDonald maintains a major career as a Grammy-winning recording and concert artist. Her latest solo album, Sing Happy, was recorded live with the New York Philharmonic for Decca Gold. A founding member of Black Theatre United, board member of Covenant House International, and prominent advocate for LGBTQAI+ rights, her favorite roles are those performed offstage, as an activist, wife to actor Will Swenson, and mother.

With performances by

Past Theatre World Award winners Christy Altomare,  Phillip Boykin, Ann Hampton Callaway,  Stephanie D'Abruzzo, André De Shields, Anna Villafañe,  Andrea McArdle, Bonnie Milligan, Adam Pascal, Ethan Slater, Marissa Jaret Winokur and John Lloyd Young.

And appearances from

Iain Armitage, Lucie Arnaz, Hank Azaria, Dylan Baker, Nicholas Barasch, Bonnie Bedelia, Bryan Cranston, Kristin Chenoweth, Marianne Elliott, Giancarlo Esposito, Tovah Feldshuh, Harvey Fierstein, Tim Guinee, Jackie Hoffman, Ernestine Jackson, Nathan Lane, Katrina Lenk, Patti LuPone, Andrea Martin, Audra McDonald, Michael McGrath, Jerry Mitchell, Jim Parsons, Bernadette Peters,  Daphne Rubin-Vega, William Shatner, Brooke Shields, Cobie Smulders, John Stamos, Marisa Tomei, Jennifer Tilly and Chandra Wilson.  

Associate Producers

Laura Z. Barket, Kevin Dean, Jamie DeRoy, Peter Filichia, Karen Johnston, and Riki Kane Larimer.

Did you know...?

“Sing Out, Louise”

The role of Gypsy Rose Lee in Gypsy has garnered three Theatre World Awards for the actresses who have portrayed her: Zan Charisse in the 1973 revival starring Angela Lansbury, Christa Moore in the 1990 revival starring Tyne Daly, and Tammy Blanchard in the 2003 revival starring Bernadette Peters.

"Musical Encores" 

John Raitt (1945) and Michael Hayden (1994) both won Theatre World Awards for portraying the role of Billy Bigelow in Carousel; Harry Groener (1980) and Justin Bohon (2002) both won for the role of Will Parker in Oklahoma!; West Side Story featured winners Carol Lawrence (the original Maria in 1958) and Josephina Scaglione (as Maria in the revival, 2009); Jason Danieley (1997) and Mark Baker (1974) were recognized for their best of all possible Broadway debuts as Candide; their husbands made movies and they won Theatre World Awards for the same role in Nine, Karen Akers (1982) and Mary Stuart Masterson (2003); and the Theatre World fell more than a little bit in love with Edie Adams (1953, when she was still Edith) and Jennifer Westfeldt (2004) in the part of Eileen, in Wonderful Town. Lea Salonga (1991) won for her debut in Miss Saigon and Eva Noblezada (2017) won for the same role in the revival. And Sweeney Todd sees another winner in Jeremy Secomb (2017) joining Ken Jennings (1979) and Sarah Rice (1979) who both won for their debuts in the show.

“Younger Than Springtime”

The youngest Theatre World Award Winner was Conor Donovan (Privilege, 2005) who was only 10 when he received his award.

Check out more fun facts about Theatre World Awards recipients!

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