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Drama League’s Distinguished Performance Award

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  • 24Emmy
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    #433424

    Drama League’s Distinguished Performance Award

    Originally known as the Delia Austrian Medal, the Distinguished Performance Award is the oldest and most exclusive theatrical honor in North America. First presented to Katharine Cornell in 1935 (for Romeo and Juliet), the award is bestowed each season on a single performer from over sixty nominated performances from Broadway and Off-Broadway.

    1935 — Katharine Cornell
    1936 — Helen Hayes
    1937 — Maurice Evans
    1938 — Cedric Hardwicke
    1939 — Raymond Massey
    1940 — Paul Muni
    1941 — Paul Lukas
    1942 — Judith Evelyn
    1943 — Alfred Lunt
    1944 — Lynn Fontanne
    1945 — Mady Christians
    1946 — Louis Calhern
    1947 — Ingrid Bergman
    1948 — Judith Anderson
    1949 — Robert Morley
    1950 — Grace George
    1951 — Claude Rains
    1952 — Julie Harris
    1953 — Shirley Booth
    1954 — Josephine Hull
    1955 — Viveca Lindfors
    1956 — David Wayne
    1957 — Eli Wallach
    1958 — Ralph Bellamy
    1959 — Cyril Ritchard
    1960 — Jessica Tandy
    1961 — Hume Cronyn
    1962 — Paul Scofield
    1963 — Charles Boyer
    1964 — Alec Guinness
    1965 — John Gielgud
    1966 — Richard Kiley
    1967 — Rosemary Harris
    1968 — Zoe Caldwell
    1969 — Alec McCowen
    1970 — James Stewart
    1971 — Anthony Quayle
    1972 — Eileen Atkins / Claire Bloom
    1973 — Alan Bates
    1974 — Christopher Plummer
    1975 — John Wood
    1976 — Eva Le Gallienne
    1977 — Tom Courtenay
    1978 — Frank Langella
    1979 — Frances Sternhagen
    1980 — Roy Scheider
    1981 — Ian McKellen
    1982 — Milo O’Shea
    1983 — Edward Herrmann / Kate Nelligan
    1984 — Jeremy Irons
    1985 — Derek Jacobi
    1986 — Bernadette Peters
    1987 — James Earl Jones
    1988 — John Lithgow
    1989 — Pauline Collins
    1990 — Robert Morse
    1991 — Stockard Channing
    1992 — Glenn Close
    1993 — Stephen Rea
    1994 — Sam Waterston
    1995 — Cherry Jones
    1996 — Uta Hagen
    1997 — Charles Durning / Bebe Neuwirth
    1998 — Brian Stokes Mitchell
    1999 — Kathleen Chalfant
    2000 — Eileen Heckart
    2001 — Mary-Louise Parker / Gary Sinise
    2002 — Liam Neeson
    2003 — Harvey Fierstein
    2004 — Hugh Jackman
    2005 — Norbert Leo Butz
    2006 — Christine Ebersole
    2007 — Liev Schreiber
    2008 — Patti LuPone
    2009 — Geoffrey Rush
    2010 — Alfred Molina
    2011 — Mark Rylance
    2012 — Audra McDonald
    2013 — Nathan Lane
    2014 — Neil Patrick Harris
    2015 — Chita Rivera

    How has Angela Lansbury never received this honor? Any other shocking snubs?

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    SamEckmann
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    #433426

    If Im not mistaken they gave Angela Lansbury the distinguished achievement in musical theatre award a few years back. Not a competitive win (which yes, is crazy that she hasnt won this. Sweeney Todd?) but its something.

    Its also surprising that Ethel Merman, Mary Martin, and Gwen Verdon arent winners here. They were like Broadway titans in their time. Although it seems, especially in the earlier days of the awards, that there are less winners for musical performances. Only in the past 10 years has the majority of winners been from a musical (6/10). Though with only one winner a year, there are bound to be crazy snubs like these.

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    24Emmy
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    #433427

    Who will win this year? Chita Rivera for her last lead role?

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    Djoko
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    #433428

    I’m going with either Kristen Chenowith, Kelli O’Hara, or Helen Mirren. I would include Alex Sharp, but I think he’s too new. If I’m picking one from those three my guess would be Helen Mirren. No way Chita Rivera gets it over Kristen or Kelli.

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    FreemanGriffin
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    #433429

    Chita Rivera or Helen Mirren would be terrific choices (:

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    SamEckmann
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    #433430

    Best bets this year: Kristin Chenoweth, Kelli O’Hara, Helen Mirren, Chita Rivera, Alex Sharp, Steven Boyer, Bradley Cooper

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    David Buchanan
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    #433431

    I’m going with either Kristen Chenowith, Kelli O’Hara, or Helen Mirren. I would include Alex Sharp, but I think he’s too new. If I’m picking one from those three my guess would be Helen Mirren. No way Chita Rivera gets it over Kristen or Kelli.

    I’m not so sure about this, Djoko. While I agree that Chenowith and O’Hara are delivering terrific performances in great roles that could easily garner them the recognition, Chita has also received rave reviews for this role in its previous incarnations. I also think the panel is very much aware that this is most likely Chita’s last Broadway role, at least her potentially last time in a leading role, and that factor, which the other two women do not have, could really push her to a win.

    Although, as 24Emmy and Sam have pointed out, the panel may not be big into sentimentality.

    I wonder if they’ll be inclined to award a performance from a play, since last year was awarded to a performance from a Musical. 2011 through 2014 have been following an alternating trend. 

    Formerly known in the forums as PianoMann.

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    Actriz
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    #433432

    My guess is Helen Mirren gets it this year.

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    24Emmy
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    #433433

    The Drama League @dramaleague 1h1 hour ago

    And the big one! Distinguished Performance: Chita Rivera!

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    FreemanGriffin
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    #433434

    Hooray! CHITA RIVERA!!!! Hooray!!!! (: (: (:

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