The Theatre Women Awards Luncheon will take place on World Theatre Day,
Monday, March 27th, 1pm - 3pm. Green Room 42 (570 10th Ave, 4th floor YOTEL Times Square, New York, NY)
COVID PROTOCOL: For the health and safety of all involved, attendees must be fully vaccinated (a full course of an FDA approved vaccine and at least one booster) or provide a negative day-of rapid test. Upon arrival at the venue guests will be asked to provide proof of vaccination through the NYC COVID SAFE app, Excelsior Pass, a vaccination card, or proof of a negative day-of rapid test. Masks are encouraged while not eating or drinking, but not required. Masks will be available for guests. If you are feeling ill, or experiencing any symptoms, please stay home and enjoy the event virtually.  

The ceremony and luncheon is a highlight of LPTWs 40th Anniversary Celebration -- gathering women of all backgrounds and their supporters as LPTW awards the following:
(Award links will open in an new page on our archived website where you will find information about our amazing previous winners.)

THE LPTW RACHEL CROTHERS LEADERSHIP AWARD®: Given to a theatre woman who has made significant contributions to the American theatre while distinguishing herself in service for a cause that betters society and country.

Anna Deavere Smith is a writer and actress. She is credited with having created a new form of theater. Her plays, sometimes called “docudramas,” focus on contemporary issues from multiple points of view and are composed from excerpts of hundreds of interviews. Plays, and films based on them, include Fires in the Mirror and Twilight: Los Angeles, both of which dealt with volatile race events in the 1990s; Let Me Down Easy, about the US healthcare system; and Notes from the Field, which focused on the school-to-prison pipeline. Her work as an actress on television includes Inventing Anna, The West Wing, Nurse Jackie, and Black-ish. Mainstream movies include Philadelphia, The American President, Rachel Getting Married and Here Today.
(Photo credit: HBO/Kwaku Alston)

THE JOSEPHINE ABADY AWARD: Given to honor the memory of Josephine Abady, to a mid-career director, producer, or creative director of cultural diversity who has worked in the professional theater for at least five years. 

The Josephine Abady Award will be given this year to Jacquelyn Bell, who formed Bell Arts, a commercial theatre and live event producing entity in 2015. She is a 2020 Special Tony Awarded founder of Broadway Advocacy Coalition. Bell is currently an Associate at the Nederlander Organization where she recently Co-Produced the Lena Horne Theatre Dedication Renaming Ceremony.  Previously, Bell served as the Director of Investor Relations at Visceral Entertainment and is a producer of the Drama Desk nominated Emojiland the Musical, a New York Times Critics' Pick. 

Bell is most known for the acclaimed productions of Broadway for Black Lives Matter #Bway4BLM, and Summertime. She is the 2018 Commercial Theater Institute Fred Vogel Scholar, a Fellow of the Broadway League, and currently sits on the League's EDI committee. Bell stands firmly for equity and inclusion throughout the theatre industry. Notable collaborations include Broadway: The Band's Visit, King Kong, The Prom, and Moulin Rouge (Foresight Theatrical); and Off-Broadway: Life Sucks and Curvy Widow. Bell has a passion for public speaking and has been featured in Forbes, NBC News, PBS, and BET.

LEE REYNOLDS AWARD: Given in honor of Lee Reynolds, an award-winning producer who mentored and developed writing talent. This award is given to a woman (or women) active in any aspect of theatre whose work has helped to illuminate the possibilities for social, cultural, or political change.

This year’s recipient of the Lee Reynolds Award is Melody Brooks, founder and Artistic Director of New Perspectives Theatre Company and an award-winning producer, director and dramaturg who has worked in the professional theatre and various educational institutions for 40 years. Brooks leads NPTC's Women's Work Project (WW), developing award-winning and critically acclaimed scripts since 1994. She was dramaturg for She Calls Me Firefly by Teresa Lotz (Winner 2019 NYITA Best Short Play), co-produced by NPTC and Parity Productions, for NPTC's OOBR-winning The Taming of the Shrew, and currently for How to Melt ICE, developed in the WW LAB and a NYC Women's Fund grant recipient.  

Brooks received the "Trailblazing Women and Arts Institutions Award" from Rhythm Color Associates and the "Spirit of Hope Award" from Speranza Theatre Company for her support of women theatre artists. In 2019 NPTC was named a "Cultural Architect" by The Jubilee for pioneering work in DEIA.  Brooks is a member of Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas (LMDA) and has co-produced the triennial LPTW Gilder/Coigney International Theatre Award since 2014.

LUCILLE LORTEL GRANT: Given annually to an aspiring artist who shows creative promise, and is deserving of recognition and encouragement.
This years recipient is Tess Howsam, an international director and installation artist. An artistic maverick, Howsam has worked as a multi-hyphenate artist, director, and curator in NYC for over a decade. Central to Howsams work are questions of gender roles, audience integration, and building collaborations across artistic mediums. Howsam is a reoccurring Co-Director on projects with a German company Das Letze de Klinode.

As Founding Artistic Director of the interdisciplinary immersive theater company Exquisite Corpse Company (ECC), Howsam leads the development of ekphrastic immersive theater. ECCs interactive piece, ZOETROPE, was a New York Times Critics Pick and was featured in The New Yorker Magazine. Howsam has held artist residencies at Guild Hall (East Hampton), El Centro de las Artes de Querétaro (CEART) Querétaro, Mexico, and Town Stages (NYC). Her work has been featured throughout NYC at venues such as: The Barrow Group, Governors Island, SoHo Rep, and HERE arts center.  She has an MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts: Goddard College, Washington, and a BA in Theater: Bard College, New York.

RUTH MORLEY DESIGN AWARD: Given in honor of leading designer Ruth Morley (costume designer for Annie Hall, Inherit the Wind, and Deathtrap) and a former LPTW board member -- this award is for outstanding work in the field of theatrical design.  

This years recipient of the Ruth Morley Design Award is Amy Stoller, who has been helping performers suit words to actions since 1995. She has provided dialect design, frequently with dramaturgy, for nearly 40 productions at the award-winning Mint Theater Company. 

Since 2007 she has served as dialect coach on many projects with and by Anna Deavere Smith, including Let Me Down Easy and Notes from the Field, both on stage and screen. She works regularly on New York, regional, and touring productions, including the Broadway hit Beautiful (Tony Award, Jessie Mueller as Carole King). Screen credits include Zola (Colman Domingo as X);Selma (Carmen Ejogo as Coretta Scott King); Dietland; Mozart in the Jungle; Nurse Jackie, and Dora the Explorer. Amy is an officer of the Voice and Speech Trainers Association, and a member of Literary Managers & Dramaturgs of the Americas. For more information on Amy Stoller, visit:

LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD: Given to a woman for outstanding achievements over the course of her career.  This year’s recipient is Lenore DeKoven, whose career as director, author, producer and educator has spanned both east and west coasts and includes theatre, film and television. 

DeKoven has held executive positions at the Mark Taper Forum, Los Angeles; the N.Y. Shakespeare Festival; Lincoln Center Repertory Theater; the National Repertory Theatre; and Roundabout Theatre in New York, and was former Chairperson of the Board of Theatre West, L.A. In addition to directing many plays in both New York City and L.A., she has been a free-lance director on ANOTHER WORLD and TEXAS, NBC TV and produced a pilot for a series written by Charles Fuller and starring Ossie Davis and Maureen Stapleton for NBC. 

DeKoven was a grant recipient of the American Film Institute’s Directing Workshop for Women, directing the film TAPS, TREMORS AND TIME STEPS starring Betty Garrett. DeKoven is the Artistic Director of OUR WORKSHOP EAST, a development gym for actors, writers and directors. 

A member of Columbia University’s Graduate Film Division for twenty years, DeKoven has also taught on the faculties of UCLA’s Theatre Department and NYU’s Theatre and Film Divisions. She has conducted master classes in New York City, at the AFI in L.A., at FAMU in Prague, as well as in Montreal, Ottawa and Cologne. 

She has written two short plays, both of which have been produced in short play festivals in New York. She has been a Vice President and member of the Board of the League of Professional Theatre Women, is a Special Adviser for the N.Y. Coalition of Professional Women in the Arts & Media and was co-founder and former Vice President of N.Y. Women In Film and TV. She is listed in WHO’S WHO IN ENTERTAINMENT.

LPTW SPECIAL AWARD FOR MERITORIOUS SERVICE  : Given, on occasion, to a woman, or women, who have demonstrated extraordinary service to the LPTW Community or theatre community, generally.  This year there will be two LPTW Special Award recipients: Yvette Heyliger and Lorca Peress.

Yvette Heyliger is a playwright, producing artist, activist, and author of What a Piece of Work is Man! Full-Length Plays for Leading Women.  She has contributed to many theatrical anthologies including: On Holy Ground: Plays from the National Black Theatre Festival; ARTemis Arts Wisdom Anthology; She Persisted: 30 Ten-Minute Plays by Women Over 40; She Persisted: Monologues from Plays by Women Over 40; The Children of the People: Writings By and About CUNY Students on Race and Social Justice, and Performing #MeToo: How Not to Look Away, to name a few.  She has also penned industry-related articles for HowlRound and Black Masks.  Yvettes plays have been presented by Billie Holiday Theatre, United Solo Theatre Festival, and National Black Theatre Festival among others, as well as by Twinbiz. 

Her awards include: Advance Gender Equity in the Arts Legacy Playwright Grant Finalist; AUDELCO Recognition Award for Excellence in Black Theatre’s August Wilson Playwright Award; National Black Theatre Festival Emerging Producer Award, and Best Playwright nomination NAACP’s Annual Theatre Awards. Current Service: Honor Roll!, Dramatists Guild's DEIA, and LPTW Rachel Crothers Leadership Award® committees. Memberships include: Dramatist Guild, AEA, SDC, and AFTRA-SAG. Yvette teaches at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts.  

Lorca Peress is a director, writer, and MultiStages Founding Artistic Director. Her Off Broadway credits include: Director/producer/co-creator of the Puerto Rican/Taino musical Temple of the Souls” (2017 NYMF Acorn Theatre at Theatre Row; NYIT Nominations; and HOLA Zaldivar Outstanding Award). Selected Credits include: Romy Nordlinger’s “Garden of Alla” (solo tour); SPEAKOUT: Protest Plays & More (MultiStages virtual fest); “Black Girl You’ve Been Gentrified” (Joe’s Pub/ Public Theatre); 24-hour plays at the Public, Lucille Lortel, Signature Theatre; and she has produced/directed over 60 plays, musicals and operas. 

Selected Awards include: LMCC Creative Engagement; La Mama Playwriting Inky; Institute of Puerto Rico Extraordinary Award; Taino Areito in Drama; National Opera Association; and Collaboration Honorable Mentions (Women in Arts & Media Coalition). Memberships include: LPTW (co-president 2011-14), SAG-AFTRA, AEA, SDC, NTC, Creative Network - NY Regional Office of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration (2013-15).  She is a graduate of Bennington College (BA in Drama), NTI, and Strasberg Institute. Faculty: NYU Tisch Strasberg Studio; Strasberg Institute.;