2023 Helen Hayes Award Recipients

On Monday, May 22, the 2023 Helen Hayes Awards took place at The Anthem on the District Wharf, with over 1,600 theatre-makers and theatre supporters in attendance. Esteemed Washington theatre artists Naomi Jacobson, Erika Rose, Holly Twyford, and Christopher Michael Richardson hosted an evening showcasing the vibrant and diverse community of professional theatre artists in the Washington region. They were joined by a performance ensemble of Quadry Brown, Carolyn Burke, Drake Leach, and Kanysha Williams and special guest star Michael Urie, with additional performances by Frenchie Davis and Solomon Parker III. Recognizing work from 131 eligible productions presented in the 2022 calendar year, awards were given in 41 categories. Productions under consideration in 2022 included 39 musicals, 97 plays, and 38 world premieres. 

Topping the list of theaters receiving Helen Hayes Awards this year was GALA Hispanic Theatre, which received a total of 11 awards for work in 2022, including nine for their production of ON YOUR FEET! La historia de Emilio y Gloria Estefan ¡En español! (Musical, Helen), one for REVOLTOSA (The troublemaker) (Musica, Helen), and one for La casa de la laguna (The House on the Lagoon) (Play, Helen). Going home with four awards for The Color Purple (Musical, Hayes) and two awards for She Loves Me (Musical, Hayes) was Signature Theatre. Olney Theatre Center received three awards for Meredith Willson’s The Music Man and one each for The Joy That Carries You (Play, Hayes) and A.D. 16 (Musical, Hayes). 

Outstanding Productions in 2022 went to Guys and Dolls from The Kennedy Center (Visiting Production), Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed: The Rock Experience (Theatre for Young Audiences), ON YOUR FEET! from GALA Hispanic Theatre (Musical, Helen), The Color Purple from Signature Theatre (Musical, Hayes), Host & Guest from Synetic Theater (Play, Helen), and John Proctor is the Villain from Studio Theatre (Play, Hayes).

The 2023 Helen Hayes Tribute honored Bonnie Nelson Schwartz, Founder of the Helen Hayes Awards and a fixture of Washington’s cultural community. Nelson Schwartz is a Tony and Emmy-nominated producer of Broadway theatre, television, and concerts, with over 100 plays, films, television programs, and concerts in Washington, DC, New York, London, and South Africa to her credit.

The two recipients of the John Aniello Award for Outstanding Emerging Theatre Company were ExPats Theatre and Prologue Theatre. Prologue Theatre received two additional awards for their production of The Revolutionists (Play, Helen).

A full list of award recipients is available at:

Named for actor Helen Hayes – a Washington native and legendary First Lady of the American Theatre – the Helen Hayes Awards has honored excellence in professional theatre throughout the Washington region for more than three decades.