Eight members of the theatrical community have been announced as 2023 American Theater Hall of Fame inductees. Bebe Neuwirth, Mandy Patinkin, Laurie Metcalf, Judd Hirsch, Joanne Akalaitis, John Weidman, Maury Yeston and, posthumously, Amiri Baraka, will be honored on Nov. 6 at the Gershwin Theatre, which houses the Hall of Fame.
Susan Stroman will host the ceremony.
Neuwirth is a two-time Tony Award-winning actor. She took home the 1986 Best Featured Actress in a Musical award for her role as Nickie in “Sweet Charity” and won the 1997 Best Actress in a Musical trophy for her turn as Velma Kelly in “Chicago.” Neuwirth’s other Broadway credits include “A Chorus Line,” “Dancin’,” “Damn Yankees” and “The Addams Family.”
Patinkin is a Tony-winning actor with over a dozen Broadway credits. He received the 1980 Tony as Best Featured Actor in a Musical for originating the role of Che in “Evita.” He also originated the roles of George in “Sunday in the Park with George,” Archibald Craven in “The Secret Garden” and Burrs in Michael John LaChiusa’s “The Wild Party.”
Metcalf is currently starring in the new play “Grey House.” A two-time Tony winner, Metcalf won back-to-back trophies, first as Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play in 2017 for her turn as Nora in “A Doll’s House, Part 2” and then as Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Play in 2018 for her performance as “B” in “Three Tall Women.” Her other Main Stem credits include “November,” “The Other Place,” “Misery” and “Hillary and Clinton.”
Hirsch is a two-time Tony winner as Best Actor in a Play; in 1986 for his turn as Nat in “I’m Not Rappaport” and then in 1992 for his performance as Eddie in “Conversations With My Father.” He has appeared in eight other Broadway plays and was last seen on the Main Stem in 2004’s “Sixteen Wounded.”
Akalaitis directed the 1993 revival of “In the Summer House.” She is a former artistic director of the Public Theater, a founding member of Mabou Mines and a past artist in residence at Chicago’s Court Theatre. Her contributions as a director have netted her five Obie Awards, five Drama Desk Award nominations and a special 1993 Drama Desk Award for her work with The Public Theater and New York Shakespeare Festival.
Weidman is a book writer who earned Tony nominations for his librettos to “Pacific Overtures,” “Big” and “Contact”; he also crafted the book to “Assassins.” Weidman has written for “Sesame Street,” earning 12 Emmy Awards for Outstanding Writing for a Children’s Program. His leadership roles include a stint as former president of the Dramatists Guild of America.
Yeston is a songwriter who won Tony Awards for his music and lyrics to “Nine” and “Titanic.” He was also Tony-nominated for his score to “Grand Hotel” and earned Drama Desk nominations for his music and lyrics to “Death Takes a Holiday.” Yeston was honored with an Academy Award nomination for penning the song “Take It All” for the film adaptation of “Nine.”
Baraka, formerly known as LeRoi Jones, was an author of drama, fiction, poetry and music criticism. Baraka co-founded the 1960s Black Arts Movement, promoting a Black nationalist perspective. Baraka’s career spanned almost 52 years, with themes ranging from Black liberation to white racism. His play “Dutchman” appeared Off-Broadway at the Cherry Lane Theatre in 2007. Baraka passed away in 2014.
Founded in 1970 by James M. Nederlander, Earl Blackwell and Gerald Oestreicher, the American Theater Hall of Fame annually salutes lifetime achievement in the theater. Two hundred and fifty ballots with 10 categories are mailed every spring across the United States to the members of the American Theater Critics Association and past inductees.