Drama League Awards 2016: Special Recognition Honors


The Drama League has announced two recipients of the 2017 Special Recognition Awards. Three-time Tony nominee Michael Greif will receive the Founders Award for Excellence in Directing, whilst animal trainer Bill Berloni will be honored with the Unique Contribution to the Theatre Award. The recipient for the Distinguished Achievement in Musical Theatre Award will be announced shortly.

The 83d Annual Drama League Awards ceremony will take place on May 19, 2017, at the Marriott Marquis in Times Square. The nominations for the five other Drama League Awards categories - Outstanding Play, Outstanding Revival of a Play, Outstanding Musical, Outstanding Revival of a Musical and the Distinguished Performance Award - will be announced at Sardi's restaurant on April 19, 2017, at 11am.

First awarded in 1922 and formalized in 1935, The Drama League Awards are the oldest theatrical honors in America. They are the only major theatergoer awards chosen by audience members — specifically, by the thousands of Drama League members nationwide who attend Broadway and off-Broadway productions.

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 Lin-Manuel Miranda, Audra McDonald, Liam Neeson, Hugh Jackman, Patti LuPone, Glenn Close, Liev Schreiber, Sir John Gielgud, Harvey Fierstein, Cherry Jones, Alec Guinness, James Earl Jones, Julie Harris, Helen Hayes, Jeremy Irons, Mary-Louise Parker, Sir Ian McKellen, Bernadette Peters, and Christopher Plummer.

Michael Greif is currently represented on Broadway by Dear Evan Hansen and War Paint. He earned Tony nominations for his directorial work on 'Next To Normal' (2009), 'Grey Gardens' (2007) and 'Rent' (1996). His other Broadway credits include 'If/Then,' 'Never Gonna Dance,' and 'Sleight of Hand.'

Bill Berloni was honored with a special Tony Award for Excellence in Theatre in 2011. He is an Animal Director and Trainer and is the head of William Berloni Theatrical Animals, Inc. His many Broadway credits include 'The Audience,' 'Lady Day at The Emerson Bar and Grill,' 'Bullets Over Broadway,' 'Annie,' 'A Christmas Story The Musical,' 'Legally Blonde,''Chitty Chitty Bang Bang,' 'Camelot,' 'Frankenstein,' 'Gypsy,' and 'Oliver!'