Theatre Washington amends nominations for Helen Hayes awards

In advance of the ceremony on May 22, the organization announced four new nominations and explained a miscategorization and a revocation.

Theatre Washington has updated its nominations for the 2023 Helen Hayes Awards — adding four not previously announced, apologizing for a miscategorization, and apologizing for a revocation. The nominations were originally announced on January 30, 2023 (see news story below). In advance of the 2023 Helen Hayes Awards ceremony — which will be held on Monday, May 22, 2023, at The Anthem — Theatre Washington issued the following statement of correction and explanation:

Additions and Co-Nominations

Theater organizations submit eligibility for Helen Hayes Awards adjudication via ballots, often well in advance of production openings. While Theatre Washington makes every effort to track updates to ballots and eligible artists, we regret that these nominations were not properly announced on January 30, 2023, and congratulate all of the nominees:

In the category of Outstanding Musical Direction – Helen, Elisa Rosman and Refiye Tappan are co-nominees for Once on this Island at Constellation Theatre Company.

In the category of Outstanding Lighting Design – Helen, Brian S. Allard is the nominee for Host & Guest at Synetic Theater.

In the category of Outstanding Sound Design – Helen, Irakli Kavsadze and Koki Lortkipanidze are co-nominees for Host & Guest at Synetic Theater and Yaritza Pacheco and Koki Lortkipanidze are co-nominees for The Servant of Two Masters at Synetic Theater.

In the category of Outstanding Choreography in a Play – Helen, Irina Tsikurishvili and Vato Tsikurishvili are co-nominees for both Dracula and Host & Guest at Synetic Theater.

Special Notes from Theatre Washington

Guys and Dolls, produced in October 2022 by The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts as part of the Broadway Center Stage series, was adjudicated, in error, as a visiting production and thus nominated in those categories (Outstanding Performer – Visiting Production and Outstanding Visiting Production). It did, in fact, meet all standing criteria to be adjudicated as a resident production. Because the incorrect Helen Hayes Awards judge panel was sent to evaluate the production, we will recognize the production in its current categories and nominations. We regret this error and offer our apologies to The Kennedy Center, the cast and production team of Guys and Dolls, Vice President and Executive Producer of Theater Jeffrey Finn, and the Theater team.

The Hayes plays judge panel for the Helen Hayes Awards nominated Kate Eastwood Norris for Outstanding Supporting Performer in Play – Hayes for her work in Our Town at Shakespeare Theatre Company. However, the Helen Hayes Awards policies and procedures state: “Only the cast members as of a production’s opening performance in Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Area are eligible for acting awards, including Ensemble awards.” As Kate Eastwood Norris was not in the opening performance of Our Town, the nomination will be rescinded. We regret this oversight and offer our apologies to Kate Eastwood Norris, Natascia Diaz, the cast and crew of Our Town, and Shakespeare Theatre Company.

DOWNLOADABLE LISTS OF NOMINATIONS (reflecting the updates above)
By category
By theater
By production

Originally published January 31, 2023

Theatre Washington announces 2022 Helen Hayes nominations

‘On Your Feet!’ at GALA Hispanic Theatre and ‘The Color Purple’ at Signature Theatre lead with most nominations. Award ceremony will be May 22 at the Anthem.

At a celebration on January 30, 2023, honoring theater excellence on stages across the Washington, DC, area, theater artists, administrators, patrons, and special guests gathered in the National Theatre’s Helen Hayes Gallery for Theatre Washington’s announcement of nominees for the 37th Helen Hayes Awards, which will be presented on Monday, May 22, at an event at the Anthem. This will be the first in-person Helen Hayes Awards ceremony since 2019. The Awards for productions in the calendar year 2019 were presented virtually in 2020 and productions were not adjudicated during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 or 2021.

Helen Hayes nomination presenters Billie Krishawn, José Carrasquillo, Christopher Michael Richardson, Amy Austin, Ashleigh King, Kelly Colburn, and Greg Watkins. DCTA photo.

Theatre Washington President and CEO Amy Austin and host Christopher Michael Richardson joined by 2020 Helen Hayes Award recipients or those representing recipient productions — Jose Carrasquillo, Kelly Colburn, Ashleigh King, Billie Krishawn, and Greg Watkins — to welcome the audience and announce the nominations. Austin commented, “It’s no secret that the theater industry has been through an unprecedented few years. I am enormously proud of the work that has emerged despite these challenges. The Helen Hayes Awards are one way to recognize and express gratitude to Washington, DC-area theater-makers who provide meaning for our community. To be back in person this year, to reflect on and celebrate the extraordinary work created on our stages, is moving.”

Recognizing work from 131 eligible productions presented in the 2022 calendar year, nominations were made in 41 categories and grouped in “Helen” or “Hayes” cohorts, depending on the number of Equity members involved in the production. Nominations are the result of 40 carefully vetted judges considering 2,146 individual pieces of work, such as design, direction, choreography, performances, and more. Productions under consideration in 2022 included 39 musicals, 97 plays, and 38 world premieres.

Front: Gaby Albo; from left: Hugo Brument, Amy Romero, Steven Orrego Upegui, Camila Cardona, Brayan Llamoza, and Camila Taleisnik in GALA Hispanic Theatre’s production of ‘On Your Feet!’ Photo by Daniel Martinez.

Signature Theatre and GALA Hispanic Theatre saw the most number of nominations for a theater, with 30 and 20 respectively. The most nominated productions include ON YOUR FEET! La historia de Emilio y Gloria Estefan ¡EN ESPAÑOL! at GALA Hispanic Theatre (with 15), The Color Purple at Signature Theatre (with 13), John Proctor Is the Villain at Studio Theatre (with 11), and tick, tick…BOOM! at Monumental Theatre Co (with 11).

The John Aniello Award for Outstanding Emerging Theatre Company is recognized each year by the Emerging Theatre Committee of Theatre Washington. This year’s recipients are Ex-Pats Theatre and Prologue Theatre. Qualifying theaters must produce at least one show per year, with a minimum of nine performances each, for two consecutive years.

Bonnie Nelson Schwartz will receive the 2023 Helen Hayes Tribute Award. Nelson Schwartz is the founder and original producer of the Helen Hayes Awards and is a Broadway and television producer with more than 100 plays, films, television programs, and concerts in DC, New York, and London to her credit. Her project Traveling While Black was nominated for a 2019 Emmy Award for Outstanding Original Interactive Program. Schwartz recently produced the Global Climate Uprising Festival for the Glasgow Climate Summit in Scotland.

Named for actor Helen Hayes — a Washington native and legendary First Lady of the American Theatre — the Helen Hayes Awards has honored excellence in professional theater throughout the Washington region for more than three decades.

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About Theatre Washington
Through collaborative partnerships and programs, Theatre Washington supports the Washington, DC, area’s professional theater community to celebrate artistic achievement, strengthen the theatrical workforce, support institutional growth and advancement, and cultivate collective action. Theatre Washington’s core programs include the Helen Hayes Awards, Theatre Week, Theatre Summit, Theatre Work, and the Taking Care Fund.


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