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André De Shields, Lear deBessonet, Drama Book Shop among Drama League special honorees

André De Shields (Photo by: Matthew Murphy)

The Drama League has announced the Special Recognition Honorees who will be celebrated at the 2023 awards ceremony.

Tony Award winner André De Shields will receive the Distinguished Achievement in Musical Theater Award for his onstage work. De Shields, whose career spans more than six decades, most recently appeared in the Broadway revival of "Death of a Salesman." With 15 Broadway credits, De Shields notably originated the titular role in "The Wiz" and won his Tony for his performance in the Tony-winning Best Musical "Hadestown."

The Drama Book Shop will also be honored this year. The landmark store, which was taken over and rehomed by "Hamilton" creator Lin-Manuel Miranda, director Thomas Kail, producer Jeffrey Seller and theater owner James L. Nederlander in 2019, will receive the Contribution to the Theater Award, which acknowledges commitment to American theater by providing a home for artists and creatives.

Lear deBessonet, artistic director of Encores! and director of this season's revival of "Into the Woods," will receive the Founders Award for Excellence in Directing.

This year's Gratitude Award will go to J.P. Morgan Asset & Wealth Management chief communications officer Darin Oduyoye, who has demonstrated dedication to the industry through the support of multiple productions through the J.P. Morgan Next List as well as his outreach work. Oduyoye serves on the board of Beyond the Stage, which brings students from diverse backgrounds into theater management careers.

As previously announced, the 89th annual Drama League Awards, honoring the 2022-2023 Broadway and Off-Broadway seasons, will be presented at The Ziegfeld Ballroom on May 19. Nominees will be announced in the competitive categories on April 25. The Drama League operates under the leadership of artistic director Gabriel Stelian-Shanks and executive director Bevin Ross.

Correction: An earlier version of this story misstated Oduyoye's full title. This has been corrected.