LOVE’S LABOR’S FOUND
Mon, Apr 16 – The wind blew in Lear-like gusts last night, but inside the Warner Theatre, the atmosphere at the 23rd annual Helen Hayes Awards suggested the title Love’s Labor’s Found. Sparked by the opening flourishes of Marvin Hamlisch at the piano, the warmly modest emceeing of DC actor Jason Kravits, now enjoying a Broadway run in The Drowsy Chaperone (and fondly remembered as the world’s most annoying District Attorney on “The Practice”), guest performer E. Faye Butler, and the surprise appearance of Lynn Redgrave, the crisply produced awards ceremony managed to hand out 27 awards in two hours and ten minutes, with the sold-out audience lustily cheering each nominee.
“Theater is the mother of us all,” said stage doyenne Frances Sternhagen, who received the Helen Hayes Tribute midway through the production. Mother was particularly generous last night. Executive Director Linda Levy Grossman announced that as just one part of a generous gift from The Fisher Family Foundation “the new Fisher Angels Program will ensure that the cost of a Helen Hayes Awards ticket will always remain affordable for every theatre professional – every artist, technician, administrator, company member . .”
The Cultural Development Corporation, those people who put the final deal together to ‘Save the Source’ received the Washington Post Award for Innovative Leadership, “We’ve saved it twice now” quipped Anne Corbett, CuDC’s Executive Director, about a former intervention in the ’80’s. “Maybe this will be the last time.”
For its contributions to GALA, Signature Theatre, Arena Stage and doubtlessly other venues, Target received the KPMG Award for Distinguished Service to the Theatre Community.
Beginning in 2008, The Helen Hayes Awards ceremony will include a new award honoring the year’s most outstanding theatre company. The award will be named after longtime theatre patron and Helen Hayes Judge John Aniello, Jr..
Complete List of Nominees and Recipients here
Nominees’ responses to our survey here
The celebration continued until the wee hours at the Ovation Gala at the JW Marriott and looked something like this.