The 2023 Theatre World Awards honourees have been announced, celebrating an Outstanding Debut Performance in a Broadway or Off-Broadway Production.
The list honouring twelve significant, reviewable, debut performances in a Broadway or Off-Broadway production includes West End stars Jodie Comer, who is starring in the Broadway transfer of West End hit Prima Facie, currently playing at the Golden Theatre in New York; and Hiran Abeysekera, who is currently starring in Life of Pi at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre on Broadway, having transferred from an award-winning run in the West End.
The pair have also recently picked up nominations for Outer Critics Circle Awards 2023, and the Drama League Awards 2023.
Also announced today is the winner of the 14th Annual Dorothy Loudon Award for Excellence in the Theater, with Julie Benko picking up the award for her performance in Funny Girl at the August Wilson Theatre in New York. Julie is the alternate Fanny Brice, and covers for Lea Michele every Thursday evening performance.
Julie has also been named the 2022 Breakout Star for Theatre by the New York Times for her performance in Funny Girl, and her past theatre credits include Fiddler on the Roof, Les Miserables, and Spring Awakening.
2023 Theatre World Awards Special Award Honorees have also been announced, and are Marilyn Caserta, for Outstanding Swing; and Dale Badway, for Outstanding Contribution to the Theatre World.
The Honoree for the 10th Annual John Willis Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre will be announced soon.
The private, invitation-only awards ceremony will be held Monday 5 June 2023 at 7pm, venue to be confirmed.
The event is hosted by journalist Peter Filichia, with Michael D’Angora directing and Michael Lavine as Musical Director. 12 previous winners serve as the presenters of the awards.
Theatre World Awards 2023 – Full List of Winners
2023 Theatre World Award Honorees
For Outstanding Broadway or Off-Broadway Debut Performance during the 2022-2023 theatrical season
Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Topdog/Underdog
Hiran Abeysekera, Life of Pi
Amir Arison, The Kite Runner
D’Arcy Carden, The Thanksgiving Play
Jodie Comer, Prima Facie
Callum Francis, Kinky Boots
Lucy Freyer, The Wanderers
Caroline Innerbichler, Shucked
Ashley D. Kelley, Shucked
Casey Likes, Almost Famous
Emma Pfitzer Price, Becomes A Woman
John David Washington, The Piano Lesson
14th Annual Dorothy Loudon Award
For Excellence in The Theater
Julie Benko, Funny Girl
2023 Special Award Honorees
Marilyn Caserta – Outstanding Swing (Six)
Dale Badway – Outstanding Contribution to The Theatre World
More about the Theatre World Awards
First presented in 1945, the prestigious Theatre World Awards, founded by John Willis, the Editor-in-Chief of both Theatre World and its companion volume, Screen World, are the oldest awards given for Outstanding Broadway and Off-Broadway Debut Performances.
Previous winners who have won the award at the beginning of their careers include Meryl Streep, Rosemary Harris, Marlon Brando, Julie Andrews, Christopher Plummer, Anne Bancroft, James Earl Jones, Liza Minnelli, Alan Alda, Zoe Caldwell, Christopher Walken, Alec Baldwin, Bernadette Peters, Audra McDonald, Al Pacino, Grace Kelly, Hugh Jackman, Tom Hanks, Bryan Cranston, Cynthia Erivo, Danielle Brooks, Lupita Nyong’o, John Krasinski, and so many more.
The Theatre World Award honorees are chosen by the Theatre World Awards Committee which is comprised of Linda Armstrong (Amsterdam News), David Cote (The Observer), Joe Dziemianowicz (New York Theatre Guide), Peter Filichia (Broadway Radio), David Finkle (New York Stage Review), Elysa Gardner (The New York Sun), Harry Haun (Observer.com), Cary Wong (The Interested Bystander), and Frank Scheck (New York Stage Review/ The Hollywood Reporter).
The Theatre World Awards, Inc. Board of Directors is headed by Dale Badway (President) with Tom Lynch (Vice-President), Michael Kostel (Vice-President), Stephen Wilde (Secretary), The Honorable Ilene Zatkin-Butler (Treasurer), James Sheridan, and Karen Johnston.
The Dorothy Loudon Award for Excellence in the Theater honors an Outstanding Performance in a Broadway or Off-Broadway production. Dorothy Loudon, who had the unique talent of being able to make audiences laugh and cry, made her Broadway debut in Nowhere to Go But Up for which she received a Theatre World Award for her performance. She received a Tony Award for her incomparable performance as ‘Miss Hannigan’ in Annie and went on to triumphs originating roles in Noises Off, The West Side Waltz, and Michael Bennett’s Ballroom.
Previous recipients of the Dorothy Loudon Award for Excellence in the Theater include Michael Oberholtzer (2022), Audra McDonald (2021), Hampton Fluker (2019), Ben Edelman (2018), Katrina Lenk (2017), Nicholas Barasch (2016), Leanne Cope (2015), Celia Keenan-Bolger (2014), Jonny Orsini (2013), Susan Pourfar (2012), Seth Numrich (2011), Bobby Steggert (2010), and Susan Louise O’Connor (2009). Due to the pandemic, there was no honoree in 2020.
The Dorothy Loudon Award for Excellence in the Theater is chosen by the Trustees of The Dorothy Loudon Foundation, Lionel Larner, Executive Director, together with recommendations from the Theatre World Awards Committee.
The John Willis Award is given for lifetime achievement in the theatre to honor the man who created and maintained the Theatre World tradition for 66 years, encouraging new talent in an often-challenging business. The John Willis Award is presented annually by the Theatre World Awards, Inc. Board of Directors to an individual whose lifetime achievements and personal generosity to the Theatre Community merit special recognition and acknowledgement.
Previous recipients of the John Willis Award include Harvey Fierstein (2022), André de Shields and Patti LuPone (2021), Nathan Lane (2019), Victor Garber (2018), Glenn Close (2017), Bernadette Peters (2016), Chita Rivera (2015), Christopher Plummer (2014), and Alan Alda (2013). Due to the pandemic, there was no honoree in 2020.