Every day is opening night.

Joel Grey, Wnet, and Stephen Daldry to Be Honored at Drama League Awards Set for May 15


Rick Miramontez / Philip Carrubba

rick@oandmco.com / philip@oandmco.com
















New York, NY (March 30, 2015) – The Drama League (Executive Director, Gabriel Shanks) will recognize three outstanding stage luminaries at this year’s 81st Annual Drama League Awards, set for Friday afternoon, May 15, 2015 at the Marriott Marquis Times Square (1535 Broadway)

The 2015 recipients are as follows:  Tony®, and Oscar® Award winner Joel Grey will receive the Distinguished Achievement in Musical Theater Award; WNET: Neal Shapiro and David Horn will receive the Unique Contribution to the Theater Award for their vital work in bringing New York theater to viewers across America; and Tony®, Drama Desk®, Olivier Award winner and Oscar® nominee Stephen Daldry will receive The Founders Award for Excellence in Directing.  

These Special Recognition Honors are in addition to the five competitive categories.  The 2015 Drama League Nominees for Outstanding Play, Outstanding Revival of a Play, Outstanding Musical, Outstanding Revival of a Musical, and the much-coveted Distinguished Performance Award will be announced on Tuesday, April 21, 2015 at 11:00 a.m. at Sardi’s, and will be streamed live via  BroadwayWorld.com. The Nominee Announcement will be hosted by National Life Group, a longstanding Drama League partner and supporter of the arts. Since 1848, National Life has lived its corporate values of do good, be good, and make good by offering financial solutions to those it serves.

The 81st Annual Drama League Awards Ceremony and Luncheon includes a nominees cocktail reception, luncheon, and awards presentation and will be held at the Marriott Marquis Times Square in the Broadway Ballroom (1535 Broadway) on Friday, May 15, 2015 beginning at 12:00 p.m. The Awards Ceremony will begin at 1:00pm sharp.

Official sponsors for the 81st Annual Drama League Awards include Delta Air Lines, the Official Airline of The Drama League; MAC Cosmetics, the Official Makeup Partner of The Drama League; National Life Group; and GenSpring Family Offices.

For more information about the Drama League Awards, please call (212) 244-9494 or by visiting www.dramaleague.org.

“Although we are technically the ones bestowing these honors, it feels like they are actually honoring us,” remarked Executive Director Gabriel Shanks.  “We are thrilled to welcome Stephen Daldry back to Broadway with Skylight and The Audience, two decades after he made his Tony-winning debut with An Inspector CallsWNET is America’s window into our art form; with Great Performances, NYC Arts, Shakespeare Uncovered, and Theatre Close-Up, among many others, they bring New York theatre into the living rooms of millions across the country.  I’m perhaps most thrilled, however, to honor our dear friend, the legendary Joel Grey.  Take your pick: Cabaret, George M!, Chicago, Wicked, Anything Goes, The Normal Heart, or his many other Broadway triumphs.  Mr. Grey is indisputably one of the greats of the American theatre.”

First awarded in 1922 and formalized in 1935, The Drama League Awards are the oldest theatrical honors in America. The Drama League Awards recognize distinguished productions, performances, and exemplary career achievements. The first Drama League Award was presented to Katharine Cornell in 1935; since then, the Distinguished Performance Award has been accorded to a roster of theatre legends such as Neil Patrick Harris, Nathan Lane, Audra McDonald, Liam Neeson, Hugh Jackman, Patti LuPone, Glenn Close, Liev Schreiber, Sir John Gielgud, Harvey Fierstein, Cherry Jones, Alec Guinness, James Earl Jones, Helen Hayes, Jeremy Irons, Mary-Louise Parker, Sir Ian McKellen, Bernadette Peters, and Christopher Plummer.

National Life Group® is a trade name of National Life Insurance Company, Montpelier, VT, Life Insurance Company of the Southwest (LSW), Addison, TX and their affiliates.  Each company of NLGroup is solely responsible for its own financial condition and contractual obligations. LSW is not an authorized insurer in New York and does not conduct insurance business in New York.


Joel Grey (For Distinguished Achievement in Musical Theater).  In a career that was launched in the early 1950’s, Joel Grey has created indelible stage roles each decade since. Grey made his theatrical debut at the age of 9 in the Cleveland Playhouse production of On Borrowed Time (and recently directed a production of the play for Two River Theater Company's 20th Anniversary Season). He made his Broadway debut exactly two decades later as a replacement in Neil Simon’s first comedy hit, Come Blow Your Horn (1961). Since then, his Broadway credits include the Stop the World I Want to Get Off, Half a Sixpence, Cabaret (Tony Award), George M! (Tony nomination), Goodtime Charley (Tony nomination), The Grand Tour (Tony nomination), Chicago (Drama Desk Award), Wicked and most recently, Roundabout Theatre Company’s Tony Award-winning revival of Anything Goes. Joel’s dramatic stage roles include Marco Polo Sings a Solo, Chekhov’s Platonov, the Roundabout Theatre production of Give Me Your Answer, Do! (Drama Desk nomination), New York City Opera’s Silverlake (directed by Hal Prince) and Larry Kramer’s seminal The Normal Heart at the Public Theater, which he also co-directed with George C. Wolfe in its Broadway premiere (Drama Desk Award, Tony nomination). In 2012, Joel served as Master Teacher for the Ten Chimney’s Lunt-Fontanne Fellowship Program, which focused on the American Musical Theatre.

Joel received the Academy Award, the Golden Globe and the British Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in the 1972 film version of Cabaret (directed by Bob Fosse). He is one of only nine actors to have won both the Tony and Academy Award for the same role. Other film credits include Man on A Swing, Robert Altman’s Buffalo Bill and the Indians, The Seven Percent Solution, Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins, Steven Soderbergh’s Kafka, Altman’s The Player, The Music of Chance, Michael Ritchie’s adaptation of The Fantasticks, Lars von Trier’s Dancer in the Dark and Clark Gregg’s Choke. Recent television appearances include “Brooklyn Bridge” (Emmy nomination), “OZ,” “Law and Order: CI,” “House,” “Brothers & Sisters,” “Private Practice,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Nurse Jackie” and “Warehouse 13.” He was recently honored for his illustrious television career by The Paley Center for Media in both NYC and Los Angeles.

Joel is also an accomplished photographer. He has four books of photographs, Pictures I Had to Take (2003), Looking Hard at Unexamined Things (2006), 1.3 – Images From My Phone (2009), and The Billboard Papers, which was released in fall 2013 in conjunction with an exhibition at The Steven Kasher Gallery in NYC. 

Joel is the father of Jennifer and James and the grandfather of Stella.

WNET: Neal Shapiro and David Horn (For Unique Contribution to the Theater):

WNET, as New York’s flagship public media provider and the parent company of THIRTEEN and WLIW21 and operator of NJTV, brings quality arts, education and public affairs programming to more than 5 million viewers each week. Committed to delivering quality content to viewers wherever they watch, WNET makes extensive use of online and mobile technology, including a suite of apps and websites populated with the full range of our local and national programming.

Our mission, Media with Impact, articulates our decades-long tradition of creating content that offers value beyond pure entertainment. For more than 50 years, THIRTEEN has been a partner with the tri-state community, using its rich resources to inform and inspire the passionate people of New York and the world to better understand and address the issues that challenge our diverse communities.  

Launched in 1962 as WNDT, the greater New York City region’s first public television station developed a reputation as a relevant alternative to commercial television and went on to create such iconic series as “American Playhouse,” “The Great American Dream Machine,” “Dance in America” and the “1900 House.”

Today, WNET produces and presents such acclaimed PBS series as “Nature,” “Great Performances,” “American Masters,” “PBS NewsHour Weekend,” “Charlie Rose,” and a range of documentaries, children’s programs, and local news and cultural offerings available on air and online. Pioneers in educational programming, WNET has created such groundbreaking series as “Get the Math,” “Oh Noah!,” “Cyberchase” and “Mission US,” and provides tools for educators that bring compelling content to life in the classroom and at home. WNET highlights the tri-state’s unique culture and diverse communities through “NYC-ARTS,” “Reel 13,” “NJTV News with Mary Alice Williams” and “MetroFocus,” the multi-platform news magazine focusing on the New York region. WNET is also a leader in connecting with viewers on emerging platforms, including the THIRTEEN Explore App where users can stream PBS content for free.

Neal Shapiro is an award-winning producer and media executive with a 30-year career spanning print, broadcast, cable and online media. As CEO of WNET, he oversees the operations of THIRTEEN, WLIW21 and NJTV, reaching a combined monthly audience of approximately 9.5 million.

WNET produces such acclaimed PBS series as “Great Performances,” “American Masters,” “Nature,” “PBS NewsHour Weekend,” “Secrets of the Dead,” and a range of documentaries, children’s programs, and news and cultural offerings available on air and online.

At the helm of WNET, Shapiro has revitalized programming, nearly doubling arts and culture offerings, emphasizing local programming and community engagement; setting new fundraising records and inaugurating a new, all-glass studio at Lincoln Center.

Shapiro has overseen the launch of a number of innovative programs, including:

  • Theater Close-Up,” a series featuring off-Broadway plays, which amplified the audiences for each play and increased attendance at area theaters.
  • American Graduate USA,” an on-air, online and engagement initiative to help students stay on the path to on-time high school graduation and future success.
  • MetroFocus,” a multi-platform initiative using television, web and mobile technology to bring local news and culture coverage to the tri-state region.
  • NYC-ARTS,” a weekly prime-time arts and culture program and its accompanying mobile app.
  • NJTVNews,” the only week nightly, state-wide news broadcast covering New Jersey.

Before joining WNET in 2007, Shapiro was President of NBC News, leading its top-rated news programs, including “Today,” “NBC Nightly News” and “Meet the Press,” as well as “Dateline NBC.”  Shapiro was executive producer of “Dateline NBC” from 1993 to 2001, which became a cornerstone of NBC’s primetime programming and the first primetime multi-night newsmagazine.

Prior to working at NBC, Shapiro spent 13 years at ABC News, where he was a writer and producer for “PrimeTime Live” and “World News Tonight.” He served as broadcast producer of “PrimeTime Live,” where he wrote and produced over 30 stories, including breaking news, profiles, and investigative reports.

Shapiro has won numerous awards, including 32 Emmys, 31 Edward R. Murrow Awards and 3 Columbia DuPont awards.

He serves on the Boards of PBS, Tufts University, Gannett Company, the Investigative News Network (INN) and the International Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

Shapiro graduated magna cum laude from Tufts University with degrees in history and political science. He is married to ABC News “Nightline” Co-Anchor Juju Chang.  They have three sons and live in New York City.

David Horn is Executive Producer “Great Performances” and Director, Performance & Arts Programming, WNET New York Public Media.  He is responsible for the development, production, and programming of WNET’s national performing arts presentations on PBS.  He has been with the Emmy award-winning series “Great Performances” for 35 years. Mr. Horn has been nominated over 25 times for a Primetime Emmy, winning five and has twice received the prestigious Peabody Award.

In addition to “Great Performances,” he was the Executive Producer of two landmark mini-series for PBS, “Make ‘Em Laugh: The Funny Business of America” in 2009 and, “Broadway: The American Musical,” which received the Primetime Emmy for Non-Fiction series in 2005. 

In 2008, Mr. Horn was asked to focus attention on creating programs for WNET’s local market in the New York City area.  For this he created and remains the Executive Producer of WNET’s Emmy winning arts series, “NYC-ARTS,” hosted by Philippe de Montebello and Paula Zahn.  This year he developed, produced and directed 8 Off Broadway plays broadcast under the series title “Theater Close-Up” hosted by Sigourney Weaver.

In the 90’s, Mr. Horn created “In the Spotlight,” a series of prime-time popular music specials, and was Executive Producer of “Sessions at West 54th.”  For both series he received the ASCAP Deems Taylor Award which recognizes excellence in music broadcast programming. 

Since taking the helm at “Great Performances,” Mr. Horn has made an emphasis on bringing classic drama back to PBS, most recently serving as Executive Producer alongside Sam Mendes and Gareth Naeme for “The Hollow Crown.”  These lavishly filmed Shakespearian history plays (Richard II, Henry IV & V) featured Jeremy Irons, Tom Hiddleston and Ben Whishaw. A sequel, “Wars of the Roses” starring Benedict Cumberbatch as Richard the III is currently in production. These epic mini-series join recent productions of King Lear, Cyrano de Bergerac, and Hamlet, all three of which were recognized with actor nominations for Sir Ian McKellen, Kevin Kline and Sir Patrick Stewart, respectively.  In October 2010, Stewart returned in the Peabody Award-winning Macbeth, another Shakespeare production initiated by Mr. Horn.  To complement this activity, he helped develop and is the Executive Producer of “Shakespeare Uncovered,” a six-part series that aired in 2012 featuring Ethan Hawke, Jolie Richardson, Jeremy Irons, Derek Jacobi and Trevor Nunn. A second season of the series starring Christopher Plummer, Hugh Bonneville, Kim Cattrall, Morgan Freeman, David Harewood and Joseph Fiennes aired in January 2015.

Mr. Horn is also a multi-camera event director with credits including “Tony Bennett & Lady Gaga: Cheek to Cheek LIVE!,” “Steve Martin & Edie Brickell in Concert,” “La Dolce Vita: Music of Italian Cinema,” “Bryan Adams in Concert,” “Great Performances 40th Anniversary Celebration,”  multiple Andrea Bocelli concerts including his Central Park event, “Pete Seeger’s 90th Birthday Celebration at MSG,” “Chess in Concert,” “Hitman: David Foster & Friends,” “Martina McBride: Live in Concert,” “We Love Ella!: A Tribute to the First Lady of Song,” “South Pacific at Carnegie Hall,” “Michael Bublé: Caught in the Act,” “Josh Groban Live at the Greek,” “The Verdi Requiem,” “Copland’s America,” “The Rodgers & Hart Story,” “The Music of Kander & Ebb,” “Billy Joel: Shades of Grey,” “Eric Clapton Crossroads Guitar Festival,” “Vienna Philharmonic 9/11 Memorial Concert,” and the live telecast of “American Dream: Andrea Bocelli’s Statue of Liberty Concert.”

Mr. Horn has produced numerous classical music concerts from Carnegie Hall as well as internationally in Vienna, Salzburg, Rome, and Paris. In 2000 he collaborated with the New York City Opera to commission three contemporary operas under the title Central Park.  He has also produced numerous regional operas, many of them world premieres in San Francisco, Santa Fe, Los Angeles, Dallas and Houston, where he won an Emmy for John Adams’ Nixon in China.

Other producing credit highlights from previous seasons include “Broadway Musicals: A Jewish Legacy” (Peabody Award), two “Eric Clapton Crossroads Guitar Festival” (Emmy Award), “La Traviata from Paris” (Emmy Award),  “Peter, Paul, & Mary: Lifelines,” “Andrea Bocelli: Sacred Arias,” “Thomas Hampson: I Hear America Singing,” “Julie Andrews: Back on Broadway,” “Pavarotti: My World,” “Natalie Cole: Unforgettable,” “With Love” (Emmy Award), “Crazy for You,” “Some Enchanted Evening: Celebrating Oscar Hammerstein II,” “Sondheim: A Celebration at Carnegie Hall,” “Carnegie Hall Salutes the Jazz Masters,” “Spike & Co.: Do It A Cappella,” “Miles Ahead: The Music of Miles Davis,” “Black and Blue” (directed by Robert Altman), “Swinging Out With Harry Connick, Jr.” “Linda Ronstadt’s Canciones de mi Padre” (Emmy award), “James Levine: A Life in Music,” and many others.  From 1981 to 1983 Mr. Horn produced the series “In Performance at the White House.”

Stephen Daldry’s (For the Founders Award for Excellence in Directing) credits on Broadway include SkylightThe Audience, Billy Elliot: The Musical (Tony Award® Best Direction of a Musical), Via Dolorosa, and An Inspector Calls (Tony Award® Best Direction of a Play), also Far Away at New York Theatre Workshop and Berlin/Wall at The Public. Stephen started his career at the Sheffield Crucible Theatre and directed extensively in Britain’s regional theatres. In London he was Artistic Director of the Gate Theatre and the Royal Court Theatre where he headed the £26million redevelopment. He has also directed at the National Theatre, the Public Theatre in New York and transferred many productions both to Broadway and the West End. His 1992 National Theatre production of An Inspector Calls regularly tours in the UK, and is about to start rehearsing once again. He has also directed for BBC Radio and Television.  His production of Billy Elliot: The Musical is currently playing in London having previously played on Broadway, Sydney, Melbourne, Chicago, Toronto and on tour across the US. In 2009, the show won ten Tony awards including Best Musical, more than any other British show in Broadway history. His production of The Audience by Peter Morgan, starring Helen Mirren, at the Gielgud Theatre won two Olivier Awards. His highly acclaimed production of David Hare’s play, Skylight, starring Bill Nighy and Carey Mulligan has just completed a sell-out run at Wyndham’s Theatre, winning Best Revival at the London Evening Standard Awards. His four films Billy ElliotThe HoursThe Reader and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close together received 19 Academy Award® nominations and two wins, along with many other international awards. His latest film Trash has recently won major awards in Rome and Poland, and has recently been nominated for a BAFTA. Stephen was Creative Executive Producer of the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the London 2012 Olympic & Paralympic Games. He has recently been appointed Director of Pier 55 here in New York. He was made a Commander of The British Empire by Her Majesty the Queen in 2002.

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