Last night, the Dramatists Guild Foundation (DGF – a national charity that supports playwrights, composers, lyricists, and book writers at all stages of their careers, sponsors educational programs, provides awards, grants, and stipends, offers free space to create new works, and gives emergency aid to writers in need), the Dramatists Guild (the national, professional membership trade association of theater writers established for the purpose of aiding dramatists in protecting both the artistic and economic integrity of their work), and The Lillys (named for Lillian Hellman and founded by Julia Jordan, Marsha Norman, and Theresa Rebeck in 2010, to honor the work of women in American theater) celebrated their annual awards together in a first-time virtual ceremony. Presenters for the remote 2020 joint ceremony included Lynn Nottage, Stephen Schwartz, Hallie Foote, Chisa Hutchinson, Bob Martin, Sarah Ruhl, Kirsten Childs, Heidi Schreck, Marsha Norman, Nathan Lane, and Mandy Greenfield.
DGF recognized Bess Wohl (Grand Horizons, Small Mouth Sounds, Make Believe) with the inaugural Georgia Engel Comedy Playwriting Prize, an annual $10,000 award celebrating a playwright’s masterful writing in comedy, to honor the life and legacy of the eponymous Emmy-nominated Obie-Award-winning actress and comedian. In her virtual acceptance speech, Wohl said, “Georgia brought so much light to so many people, and my hope is that my own work can bring some tiny fraction of the joy and truth that Georgia embodied in everything she did, and that I can share that with audiences.”
Along with Wohl, the following recipients, announced earlier this year, were honored at the virtual event:
Dramatists Guild Foundation Awards
Stephen Schwartz Award – Khiyon Hursey;
Thom Thomas Award – Erika Dickerson-Despenza, Julia Meinwald, and Benjamin Velez.
Dramatist Guild Awards
Hull-Warriner Award – Michael R Jackson, A Strange Loop;
Frederick Loewe Award – Michael R Jackson, A Strange Loop;
Flora Roberts Award – Kia Corthron;
Horton Foote Playwriting Award – Lydia Diamond;
Lanford Wilson Award – Madhuri Shekar.
The Lilly Awards
Lillys Lifetime Achievement Award – Emily Mann;
Stacey Mindich Go Write a Play Award – Antoinette Nwandu;
Stacey Mindich Go Write a Musical Award – Kirsten Childs;
Stacey Mindich Go Work in Theater Award – Donnetta Lavinia Grays, Stacey Rose, Whitney White, Jillian Walker, and Nikkole Salter;
Daryl Roth Creative Spirit Award – Sarita Fellows;
NYWF Director’s Apprenticeship – Melissa Crespo;
Lilly Award – Natyna Bean and Stevie Walker-Webb;
Miss Lilly Award – Tom Kirdahy;
Williamstown Theatre Festival Commission – Erika Dickerson-Despenza.
Congratulations to all of the honorees, and thanks for keeping the theater a vital part of our world!