The Lucille Lortel Awards celebrated their silver anniversary at the end of the last theater season. These kudos are presented by the Off-Broadway League, a collection of producers who stage shows in smaller venues than those on Broadway. A successful off-Broadway run can lead to a transfer to Broadway and a chance to contend at the Tony Awards.
The Lucille Lortel Awards — named for the renowned actress turned producer — do what the Drama Desk Awards used to — celebrate the best of off-Broadway.
While the Tony Awards, which date to 1947, salute Broadway, the Drama Desk kudos were begun in 1955 to honor the rest of the New York theater world. And for the first 14 years they did just that with winners coming exclusively from the burgeoning off-Broadway scene.
However, beginning with the 15th festivities in 1968, those appearing on Broadway became eligible for consideration and since then these awards have tilted towards those also competing at the Tonys, leaving the off-Broadway performers in the wings.
Photo: Lucille Lortel Awards logo. Credit: Lucille Lortel Foundation