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Del Hughes Awards announces 2024 recipients

The annual awards body acknowledges achievement in stage management.

The Stage Managers’ Association (SMA), a national organization that advocates for stage managers and provides professional opportunities, has revealed the recipients of its annual Del Hughes Awards, which recognize excellence in stage management. Lloyd Davis, Jr., Ed De Shae, and Denise Yaney are the 2024 recipients of the Lifetime Achievement Award. Additionally, the Founders Award will honor Mary Hunter, while David J. McGraw and the Stage Manager Survey will receive the Special Recognition Award. The 2024 honorees will be feted at an Oct. 28 ceremony.

Davis is the former resident production stage manager at New York’s American Place Theatre, where he also served as director of theater education. He served as production stage manager on the 2012 Broadway revival of “A Streetcar Named Desire.” Davis was part of the stage management team and served as an understudy for 1986’s “Shakespeare on Broadway for the Schools” repertory presentation of “Romeo and Juliet,” “Macbeth” and “As You Like It.” 

De Shae was the stage manager for the 1988’s “Checkmates” and 1995’s “Having Our Say.” He has held additional stage management positions with Center Theatre Group, Pasadena Playhouse, the Kennedy Center, DC Black Repertory Company, Negro Ensemble Company and National Black Theater Festival, the latter for which De Shae received the inaugural Outstanding Achievement in Stage Management Award.

Yaney’s stage management career began with a tenure at Off-Broadway’s Circle Repertory Company in 1984. Since 1985, she served as a stage manager or production stage manager on more than 20 Broadway productions. Most recently, she worked on 2020’s “My Name Is Lucy Barton.”

Hunter’s career encompasses stage management assignments at a slew of touring and regional houses, including the Guthrie Theater, American Repertory Theatre, Denver Center for Performing Arts, Santa Fe Festival Theatre, the Seattle Repertory Theatre, NY Theatre Guild, the National Arts Centre in Ottawa and the Stratford Festival. She served a 23-year tenure as chair of the stage management department at the Yale School of Drama.

A 31-year veteran of stage management in regional theater, McGraw created the Stage Manager Survey in 2006. The study collects and examines stage management practices, education and training, working conditions and employment. The 2023 survey, the ninth edition, encompassed 1,979 respondents from 32 countries, making it the largest stage management study in the world.

Established in 1986, the award is named for Del Hughes, who had a decades-long career as a Broadway stage manager, having worked on the original Broadway productions of “Tobacco Road,” “Death of a Salesman” and “The Crucible,” among others. Industry members submit nominations from which winners are selected by the awards recognition committee. This year’s committee includes Patreshettarlini Adams, Robert Bennett, Katrina Herrmann, Claudia Lynch, Melissa Nathan, Robin Rumpf, Tree O’Halloran, Matthew Stern and Joel Veenstra. Cheryl Mintz is the committee chair.