Bette Midler just picked up her first prize of the theater season for her return to Broadway in the Tony-winning musical “Hello, Dolly!.” The Drama League announced that it will fete Midler at its annual awards luncheon on May 19. Midler is to receive the Distinguished Achievement in Musical Theater Award.
This is a special prize, not to be confused with the Distinguished Performance Award. The roster of nominees for that will be revealed on April 19. In addition, the league hands out competitive awards for new productions and revivals of both plays and musicals.
Midler is a show business legend, with three Grammy Awards, three Emmys, and two Oscar nominations for Best Actress (“The Rose” in 1979, “For the Boys” in 1991). She won an honorary Special Award at the Tonys in 1974 for her one-month concert stand at the Palace theater. However, despite getting her start in the ensemble of “Fiddler on the Roof” in the mid 1960s, she has never had a leading role in a musical until now.
Also receiving honorary awards from the Drama League are animal trainer Bill Berloni, who is set to get the Unique Contribution to the Theater Award, and Michael Greif, who will receive The Founders Award for Excellence in Directing. Greif, a three-time Tony Awards nominee, has two new tuners on Broadway this season with “Dear Evan Hansen” and “War Paint.” He may well prevail at the Tonys for his helming of either of these frontrunners for Best Musical.
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