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Ntozake Shange and Stephen McKinley Henderson

Shange, Henderson, A.R.T./NY to Receive Special Category Lortel Awards

Stephen McKinley Henderson will receive a Lifetime Achievement Award, Ntozake Shange will be posthumously inducted onto the Playwright’s Sidewalk, and A.R.T./New York will be recognized for its Body of Work.

NEW YORK CITY: The 38th Annual Lucille Lortel Awards, produced by the Off-Broadway League and the Lucille Lortel Theatre with support from TDF, and donations benefitting the Entertainment Community Fund, will take place Sunday, May 7, at 7 p.m. at NYU Skirball Center. Tickets will be available for purchase through the box office beginning April 7.

This year’s program recognizing outstanding Off-Broadway achievement will present special awards in three categories, in addition to the regular awards, and non-gendered performance and ensemble award categories added last year. Stephen McKinley Henderson will receive a Lifetime Achievement Award, Ntozake Shange will be posthumously inducted onto the Playwright’s Sidewalk, and A.R.T./New York will be recognized for its body of work.

Henderson is currently appearing on Broadway in Stephen Adley Guirgis’s Pulitzer-winning drama Between Riverside and Crazy, for which he previously received Obie and Lucille Lortel Awards during the Off-Broadway run. He earned a Tony Award nomination for his featured performance in Fences and received a Drama Desk Award for his role in the ensemble of Jitney. Henderson is a Fox Foundation Fellow and a master teacher for the Lunt-Fontanne Ten Chimneys Fellowship Program.

As the author of 36 published works, Shange has embodied the struggle of women of color for equality and the recognition of their contribution to human culture for 50 years. Shange’s literary legacy, preserved in the Shange Institute at Barnard College, comprises 13 plays, seven novels, six children’s books, and 19 poetry collections. Her 1974 choreopoem for colored girls who have considered suicide/ when the rainbow Is enuf, retains its title as the longest-running play by an African American writer in Broadway history, and the show’s 2022 Broadway revival garnered seven Tony nominations.

From its founding nearly 50 years ago in 1972 by a small collective to promote community and collaboration across a budding nonprofit theatrical field, A.R.T./New York has become a pillar of a diverse member community of 475-plus theatres and 150 individual producer and artist members. At its core, A.R.T./New York is the single membership organization serving the full breadth of New York’s nonprofit theatre community. A.R.T./New York has earned a reputation as a leader in providing impactful services to its members over five decades, from educational resources and financial support to space rentals and systems change advocacy.

Nominations for the remaining Lortel award categories will be announced on Wednesday, April 5.

The Lucille Lortel Awards for Outstanding Achievement Off-Broadway were created in 1985 by the Off-Broadway League. The Lortel Awards recognize excellence in Off-Broadway performance by honoring the invaluable contribution of artists to the theatre community. Awards may be given in the following categories: Play, Musical, Solo Show, Revival, Alternative Theatrical Experience, Director, Choreographer, Lead Performer in a Play and Musical, Featured Performer in a Play and Musical, Ensemble, Scenic, Costume, Lighting, Sound, and Projection Design. The following honorary awards may also be given: Lifetime Achievement Award, Body of Work (awarded to an institution), Edith Oliver Service to Off-Broadway Award, and induction onto the Playwrights’ Sidewalk in front of the Lucille Lortel Theatre in New York City.

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