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Thursday, 17 March 2011 14:20

The Drama League to Honor Whoopi Goldberg, Liza Minnelli & Susan Stroman








To Be Presented With




To Be Presented With




To Be Presented With






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Tickets Available by Calling 212-244-9494

The Drama League (Jano Herbosch, President; Gabriel Shanks, Executive Director) is proud to announce the recipients of its 2011 Special Recognitions, to be presented along with its five competitive production and performance awards at The 77th Annual Drama League Awards Ceremony and Luncheon on Friday, May 20, 2011 (noon) in the Grand Ballroom of the Marriott Marquis Hotel in Times Square (1535 Broadway).

Whoopi Goldberg will receive the Unique Contribution to the Theatre Award, Liza Minnelli will be honored with the Distinguished Acheivement in Musical Theatre Award and Susan Stroman will receive the Julia Hansen Award for Excellence in Directing.

As previously announced, The 77th Annual Drama League Awards Ceremony and Luncheon will be hosted by Academy Award nominee Kathleen Turner, who returns to Broadway this spring in Matthew Lombardo's new drama, High.

Long considered the theatre season's most festive award ceremony, The Drama League Awards pays tribute to the season's best performers by including the nominees of The Distinguished Performance Award on a dais.  The 77th Annual Drama League Awards dais will feature approximately 50 stars from the 2010-11 Broadway and Off-Broadway season.

In addition to the Special Recognitions,The Drama League's 3,000+ members vote on five other annual awards: Distinguished Production of a Play, Distinguished Production of a Musical, Distinguished Revival of a Play, Distinguished Revival of a Musical and The Distinguished Performance Award.  Nominations for these five awards will be announced on Monday, April 25.

 Tickets for The 77th Annual Drama League Awards Ceremony and Luncheon are now available by calling 212-244-9494.  


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Whoopi GoldbergWHOOPI GOLDBERG. In 2002, Whoopi Goldberg became one of a very elite group of artists who have won the Grammy ("Whoopi Goldberg," 1985), the Academy Award ("Ghost," 1991), the Golden Globe ("The Color Purple," 1985 and "Ghost," 1991), the Emmy (as host of AMC's "Beyond Tara:  The Extraordinary Life of Hattie McDaniel," 2002 and a Daytime Emmy for "The View" in 2009) and a Tony (Producer of "Thoroughly Modern Millie," 2002).  She is equally well-known for her humanitarian efforts on behalf of children, the homeless, human rights, education, substance abuse and the battle against AIDS, as well as many other causes and charities. 

Among her many charitable activities, Whoopi is a Goodwill Ambassador to the United Nations. Born and raised in New York City, Whoopi worked in theatre and improvisation in San Diego and the Bay Area, where she performed with the Blake Street Hawkeyes theatre troupe.  It was there that she created the characters which became "The Spook Show" and evolved into her hit Broadway show, Grammy Award-winning album and the HBO special that helped launch her career.

Whoopi made her motion picture debut in Steven Spielberg's film version of Alice Walker's "The Color Purple," for which she earned an Academy Award nomination and a Golden Globe Award.  Her performance in "Ghost" earned her the Academy Award and a Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress.  Whoopi has also appeared in such films as "Jumpin' Jack Flash," "Clara's Heart," "The Long Walk Home," "Soapdish," "The Player," "Sarafina!," "Sister Act," "Made in America," "Corrina, Corrina," "Boys on the Side," "Eddie," "The Associate" and "Ghosts of Mississippi," "How Stella Got Her Groove Back," "Girl, Interrupted," "Kingdom Come" and "Rat Race."

On television, Whoopi appeared for five seasons on "Star Trek: The Next Generation," co-starred with Jean Stapleton in "Bagdad Café" and hosted her own syndicated late-night talk show.  She appeared in the Emmy-nominated HBO drama, "In the Gloaming," directed by Christopher Reeve, as well as "The Wonderful World of Disney's Rogers & Hammerstein's Cinderella" and "A Knight in Camelot" and appeared in the mini-series "Alice in Wonderland" and "The Magical Legend of the Leprechauns." She produced and appeared on Nick Jr's "Whoopi's Littleburg" and recently guest starred opposite Benjamin Bratt in A&E's "The Cleaner" and currently appears on ABC's Emmy Award-winning "The View," for which she won a Daytime Emmy Award.

Whoopi has appeared on many television series and specials, including her own HBO specials, three-time host of ABC's "A Gala for the President at Ford's Theatre" and nine "Comic Relief" telecasts with Billy Crystal and Robin Williams.  Whoopi received Emmy Award nominations for hosting the 66th, 68th and 71st "Academy Awards" telecasts and returned to host the 2002 telecast at the new Kodak Theatre.  In 2008, Whoopi hosted the Tony Awards for the first time.

She returned to Broadway in 1997, garnering rave reviews in "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum."  In 2001, Whoopi returned to her performing roots, on tour for the first time in over 10 years, performing one-night-only engagements across the U.S.  In 2003, Whoopi produced and starred in the title role of the Broadway revival of "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom."  She commemorated the 20th anniversary of her original one-woman show with a Tony-nominated engagement production on Broadway in 2004 and the HBO broadcast of the show was nominated for an Emmy Award.  She recently appeared in the hit Broadway musical "Xanadu" and made her West End stage debut in a special limited run as Mother Superior in "Sister Act: The Musical" in August, which she also produced.

In addition to the Oscar, the Grammy and two Golden Globe Awards, Whoopi has been honored with multiple NAACP Image Awards, numerous People's Choice Awards (including a special tribute in 1998) and five Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards as "Favorite Movie Actress," as well as various awards and honors for her many humanitarian efforts. 

Liza MinnelliLIZA MINNELLI, winner of four Tony Awards, an Oscar, a special "Legends" Grammy, two Golden Globe Awards and an Emmy, is one of the entertainment world's consummate performers. In film, on stage and in television, Liza has won critical acclaim, a multitude of fans, and recognition from her peers in show business, giving new dimension and credibility to the word "superstar."

At age 19, Liza became the youngest woman ever to win a leading actress Tony Award for "Flora the Red Menace." In 1975 she replaced Gwen Verdon in the Broadway run of Kander and Ebb's "Chicago." With only one-week's rehearsal, and no public announcement, Liza played to sold-out audiences for a period of five weeks. In 1984, Liza reunited with her "Chicago" co-star Chita Rivera in the Kander and Ebb musical "The Rink." The musical garnered Liza a Best Actress Tony nomination. In 1997, Liza took over for Julie Andrews in Broadway's "Victor/Victoria."

A special Tony was awarded to Liza for breaking the box-office record at the Winter Garden Theatre in 1973 for her one-woman show. In 1977, she returned to the Broadway stage in a starring role in the Kander and Ebb musical, "The Act" for which she was awarded her third Tony. The musical was directed by Martin Scorsese, who had just directed Liza on the big screen in "New York, New York" opposite Robert DeNiro.

In 1972 her movie career peaked when she played Sally Bowles in "Cabaret." The film won eight Oscars, including Best Actress for Liza. The role also earned her a Golden Globe and a British Film Academy Award. The unqualified success of "Cabaret" put Liza on the covers of both Time and Newsweek in the same week.

Liza starred in the first concert ever filmed live for television in 1972. The seminal "Liza with a Z" produced a Top 20 album and won the Emmy for Outstanding Single Program and the prestigious Peabody Award.  It has been released in recent years on DVD and aired on Showtime.

Liza returned to Broadway in December 1999 to pay tribute to her father in a show called "Minnelli on Minnelli" at New York's Palace Theater. Shortly after the CD of "Minnelli on Minnelli" was released in February 2000, Liza was hospitalized for encephalitis. The prognosis was grim: she was told she would never walk, talk, dance or sing again. But Liza's incredible will, determination and relentless hard work proved the doctors wrong, and by June 2002, she was back on stage at the Beacon Theater in New York. Her triumphant comeback CD entitled "Liza's Back!" was released in October 2002, and she was seen the following year as Lucille Austero on TV's critically acclaimed "Arrested Development."

Liza made a triumphant return to Broadway in 2008 with "Liza's at the Palace ..." which went on to win the Tony Award for Best Special Theatrical Event. It's Liza's fourth Tony. She recreated the show at the MGM Grand where her performance was filmed for a public television special and a DVD. The show's cast recording was nominated for a Grammy Award.

Throughout her lifetime Liza has supported various charities and causes. She served on the board of directors of The Institutes for the Achievement of Human Potential for 20 years.  She also has dedicated much time to amFAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research.  In 1994, Minnelli recorded the Kander & Ebb tune "The Day After That" and donated the proceeds to AIDS research. That same year she performed the song in front of hundreds of thousands in Central Park at the 25th anniversary of the Stonewall riots.

Susan StromanSUSAN STROMAN most recently won critical acclaim for her direction and choreography of the Broadway production of "The Scottsboro Boys." She directed and choreographed "The Producers," winner of a record-making 12 Tony Awards including Best Direction and Best Choreography. She co-created, directed and choreographed the groundbreaking musical "Contact" for Lincoln Center Theater, winning the 2000 Tony Award for Best Choreography, as well as Drama Desk, Outer Critics' Circle and Lucille Lortel Awards and a 2003 Emmy Award for "Live at Lincoln Center."

Other Broadway credits include, "Oklahoma!" (Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle, Olivier Awards), "Thou Shalt Not," "The Music Man" (Outer Critics Circle Award), "The Frogs," "Steel Pier," "Big," "Show Boat" (Tony, Outer Critics Circle Awards), "Picnic" and "Crazy for You" (Tony, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle, Olivier Awards).

Off-Broadway credits include "The Scottsboro Boys" (Lucille Lortel Award), And the World Goes 'Round (Outer Critics Circle Award), "Flora the Red Menace" and "Happiness." At London's Menier Chocolate Factory she and choreographed and co-directed "Paradise Found" with Harold Prince.

For ten years she choreographed Madison Square Garden's annual spectacular event "A Christmas Carol" (Outer Critics Circle Award), directed by Mike Ockrent. For New York City Opera she choreographed "A Little Night Music," "110 in the Shade" and "Don Giovanni." For New York City Ballet, Ms. Stroman created "Double Feature," a full-length ballet featuring the music of Irving Berlin and Walter Donaldson, and "For the Love of Duke" featuring the music of Duke Ellington. She has created the ballets "But Not For Me" for the Martha Graham Company and "Take Five...More or Less" for Pacific Northwest Ballet.

Her choreography received an Emmy nomination for the HBO presentation "Liza - Live From Radio City Music Hall," starring Liza Minnelli. Other TV credits include co-conceiver/choreographer for PBS's "Sondheim - A Celebration at Carnegie Hall" and "An Evening with the Boston Pops - a Tribute to Leonard Bernstein." She received the American Choreography Award for her work in Columbia Pictures feature film "Center Stage." Ms. Stroman directed and choreographed "The Producers: The Movie Musical," nominated for 4 Golden Globes. She is the recipient of the George Abbott Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Theatre and the winner of a record four Astaire Awards.

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The Drama League was founded in 1916 as an association of theatre professionals and patrons dedicated to encouraging the finest in professional theatre.  The Drama League provides an unparalleled training program for emerging theatre artists through The Directors Project, which encourages and trains young talents while providing much-needed exposure and essential connections to the professional theatrical community. 

The Drama League's Audience Project is dedicated to building strong, passionate audiences for the American theatre, providing discounted tickets for its members to the best Broadway, Off-Broadway, and regional productions across the United States while enhancing the theatergoer's understanding and experience of live theatre through its informative panels, luncheons and discussions with leading figures in the field.  

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