EXCLUSIVE: New York’s Drama League and filmmakers Jeff Kaufman and Marcia Ross have teamed up for a special video tribute to Terrence McNally. The playwright was set to receive the League’s Lifetime Achievement Award for Unique Contribution to Theater when he died last month due to complications from COVID-19.
Watch an exclusive preview clip of the tribute video below.
With the pandemic preventing social gatherings, the League is re-envisioning its 86th Annual Awards celebration on April 30 as a virtual tribute and fundraiser rebranded as The Gratitude Awards. The online event will include taped vignettes from such Broadway stars as Aaron Tveit, Adrienne Warren, Condola Rashad, Elizabeth Stanley, Idina Menzel, Jeremy Pope, Kelli O’Hara, Kristin Chenoweth, Marianne Elliott, Megan Hilty, Nathan Lane, and Sutton Foster, among others.
McNally’s husband Tom Kirdahy will accept the lifetime achievement award on behalf of the Love! Valour! Compassion! playwright, and a special In Memoriam video tribute will be presented by Jeff Kaufman & Marcia Ross (director and producers of Terrence McNally: Every Act of Life).
The April 30 broadcast also will include special cameos from previous Distinguished Performance Award recipient Patti LuPone and the 86th Annual Drama League Artistic Awards nominations presented by Beetlejuice’s Alex Brightman and Leslie Rodriguez Kritzer. Acceptance videos from previously announced honorees also will include Marianne Elliott (Founders Award for Excellence in Directing) and James Lapine (Distinguished Achievement in Musical Theater Award).
The digital event, says the Drama League, “will celebrate and be inclusive of participation from all workers in the theater community, while funding the many opportunities stage directors will need so they can lead shows back onto stages and audiences back into seats.”
The Drama League Awards has recognized outstanding achievements on and Off Broadway since 1935. The 86th Awards Nominations Event, which was to be held at Sardi’s on April 16, along with the Awards Luncheon, which was to be held at the Marriott Marquis on May 15, have been canceled.
Under the revised plan, nominations will be announced during the April 30 event, with voting then open to members from May 1-22. Winners will be announced in June.
The nominations event will air April 30 at 7:30 p.m. ET on The Drama League’s Facebook Live and YouTube pages.
All proceeds raised during the April 30 program will go towards The Ghost Light Campaign, which supports our 2020-2021 cohort of Directing Fellows & Residents, New Visions / New Voices after-school directing mentorship program for NYC high school students, as well as a portion allocated directly to the Drama League’s micro re-grant program, the Directors Emergency Relief Fund.
Here is a preview of the In Memoriam video tribute for McNally (the full tribute will air during the April 30 event):