by Jordan Cohen


The 72nd annual Theatre World Awards, presented to twelve outstanding performers making their Broadway and off-Broadway debuts this season, took place on May 23rd at Circle in the Square Theatre. The evening was filled with laughter and tears as host Peter Filichia provided commentary, jokes, and introduced the evening’s many stars.


The twelve performers receiving awards were: Danielle Brooks (The Color Purple), Carmen Cusack (Bright Star), Khris Davis (The Royale), Daniel Durant (Spring Awakening), Cynthia Erivo (The Color Purple), John Krasinski (Dry Powder), Sarah Charles Lewis (Tuck Everlasting), Austin P. McKenzie (Spring Awakening), Lupita Nyong’o (Eclipsed), Mark Strong (A View from the Bridge), Ana Villafañe (On Your Feet), and Ben Whishaw (The Crucible).


Presenters included Phillip Boykin, Joanna Gleason, Sophie Okonedo, Clarke Peters, Emily Skeggs, Emerson Steel, LaChanze, Russell Harvard, and Jerry Mitchell.


Nicholas Barasch of She Loves Me was honored with the Dorothy Loudon Award for Excellence in Theatre, presented to him by previous winner Bobby Steggert. Lynn Meadow, artistic director of the Manhattan Theatre Club, presented the John Willis Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre to Bernadette Peters.


The evening included musical performances from previous Theatre World Award winners, including De’Adre Aziza, who sang the soulful “Black is a Moocher,” from LaChiusa’s The Wild Party, Anita Gillette, who performed “The Secret Service” from Irving Berlin’s Mr. President with real panache, and Mark Jacoby who charmed with “Old Fashioned Girl” from The Girls Against the Boys.


Theater Pizzazz’s Gabrielle Meit was on hand to photograph the red carpet arrivals. Shanna Sciara was there to take video.