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Jessica Lange, Schele Williams, Kandi Burruss and Jonathan Groff will receive special Drama League awards

The artists will be honored at the League’s annual ceremony in May.

(L-R) Jessica Lange and Schele Williams (Credit: Manny Carabel/WireImage; David M. Benett and Alan Chapman/Getty Images)

The Drama League has announced its 2024 special award recipients. The previously announced 90th annual ceremony will take place on May 17 at the Ziegfeld Ballroom. In addition to awards honoring productions and performances seen both on Broadway and Off-Broadway during the previous year, the League acknowledges contributions to theater through non-competitive citations.

Two-time Tony Award nominee Jonathan Groff will receive the Distinguished Achievement in Musical Theatre Award. Groff’s first Broadway credit was as understudy in 2005’s “In My Life.” The following year, Gross originated the role of Melchior in the original production of “Spring Awakening,” a performance which earned him a Tony nomination. He received a second Tony nomination for playing King George in 2015’s “Hamilton.” He is currently playing Franklin Shepard in the revival of “Merrily We Roll Along.”

The 2024 Founders Award for Excellence in Directing will go to Schele Williams. Williams is helming two musicals this season, “The Notebook” (co-directed with Michael Greif) and the revival of “The Wiz.” Williams began her Broadway career as a performer, starting out as a swing in the 1996 national tour of “Rent” before joining the Broadway company. She originated the role of Nehebka in 2000’s “Aida,” and later served as associate director on the 2013 and 2016 Broadway engagements of “Motown the Musical.”

Kandi Burruss will be cited with the Gratitude Award, which acknowledges leadership and commitment to the theater industry. Prior to her Broadway work, Burruss was a founding member of the 1990s musical group Xscape, and is a Grammy Award-winning songwriter for co-writing TLC’s “No Scrubs.” She received a 2023 Tony nomination for producing the revival of “The Piano Lesson.” Her other producing credits include 2021’s “Thoughts of a Colored Man” and the upcoming revival of “The Wiz.”

The Contribution to the Theater Award will be given to Jessica Lange for her unwavering commitment to furthering the art of the American theater. Lange played Blanche DuBois in the 1992 mounting of Tennessee Williams’ “A Streetcar Named Desire,” Amanda Wingfield in the 2005 revival of Williams’ “The Glass Menagerie” and Mary Cavan Tyrone in the 2016 revival of Eugene O’Neill’s “Long Day’s Journey Into Night,” the latter for which she won a Leading Actress in a Play Tony. Lange is slated to return to Broadway in April in the Main Stem premiere of Paula Vogel’s “Mother Play.”

The Drama League ceremony will be hosted by Frank DiLella. The 2024 awards committee is co-chaired by Tony winner Bonnie Comley and Darin Oduyoye. The steering committee includes Trish Chambers, Tony winner Jonathan Demar, Tony winner Irene Gandy, Sarah Hutton, Kirk Iwanowski, Mary Jain, Tony nominee Paula Kaminsky Davis, Fred Siegel and Tony nominee Kumiko Yoshii.

Gabriel Stelian-Shanks and Bevin Ross currently serve as the Drama League’s artistic director and executive director, respectively.