‘Merrily We Roll Along’ Revival Wins Two Drama League Awards

By
Lillian Mottern
Carlos Barragán
May 22, 2024

Update:

The recent revival of Sondheim’s Merrily We Roll Along, co-produced by Columbia alumni Thomas Swayne ’20 and Front Row Fellow Lamar Richardson (CC '15), has won two Drama League Awards. The production brought home the award for Outstanding Musical Revival, and director Maria Friedman won the award for Outstanding Direction of a Musical. 

First presented in 1922 and formalized in 1935, the Drama League Awards are the oldest theatrical honors in America. They are chosen by the entire theater community, including Drama League members nationwide. These members include award-winning actors, designers, directors, playwrights, producers, industry veterans, critics, and dedicated audiences from across the nation.


See the full winners list here.

Original: May 10, 2024

Columbia Theatre alums stole the show at the 2024 Drama League Award Nominations, which were announced on April 22 in a ceremony held at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center. 

Established in 1922, The Drama League Awards are held annually and seek to honor the best of Broadway and off-Broadway theatre, in a glamorous luncheon ceremony considered one of Broadway’s best parties of the year. 

Production still from 'Jaja's African Hair Braiding,' two women in a hair salon

Jaja's African Hair Braiding, a new play by Playwriting alumna Jocelyn Bioh ’08 was nominated for Outstanding Production of a Play. Bioh’s hit show also received a nomination for Best Direction of a play for its director Whitney White, and took home a third nomination for Distinguished Performance for actor Zenzi Williams’ portrayal of the character of Bea.

Directing alumna Tara Ahmadinejad ’14 received a nomination for Best Direction of a play for the cult Clubbed Thumb hit Grief Hotel, which also received a nomination for Outstanding Production of a Play. 

Production still from 'Buena Vista Social Club,' a man and woman singing

Best Direction of a Musical, another highly selective category, named Directing alum Saheem Ali '07 as a nominee for his direction of Atlantic Theater Company's new musical, Buena Vista Social Club

Lempicka, the new musical directed by Rachel Chavkin '08, received several notable nominations including Outstanding Production of a Musical and Distinguished Performance for Amber Iman’s portrayal of Parisian ingénue and muse, Rafaela. 

Another significant musical of the season, Suffs, was Lead Produced by Adjunct Assistant Professor and Prince Fellowship alumna Rachel Sussman. The history-inspired musical, set during the 1913 Women’s Movement, was nominated for Outstanding Production of a Musical, as well as Outstanding Direction of a Musical for director Leigh Silverman. Actors Nikki M. James and Jenn Colella both received nominations for Distinguished Performance for their portrayals of real-life journalist Ida B. Wells and suffrage leader Carrie Chapman Catt respectively. 

Water for Elephants, which boasts fight direction by Dramaturgy alum Cha Ramos '21, received a nomination for Outstanding Production of a Musical.

Here Lies Love, produced by Hal Luftig ’84, was nominated for Best Revival of a Musical and Outstanding Direction of a musical for its director Alex Timbers. The show was also honored with a nomination for Distinguished Performance for Conrad Ricamora who plays former Phillipino senator Ninoy Aquino in the show.

Production still from 'Merrily We Roll Along,' three people singing

Fellow Columbia producers, Thomas Swayne '20 and Front Row Fellow Lamar Richardson (CC '15), co-produced the recent revival of Sondheim’s Merrily We Roll Along. Merrily received a nomination for Outstanding Direction of a Musical for its director, Maria Friedman, as well as securing nominations for Distinguished Performance for stars Jonathan Groff, Lindsay Mendez, and Daniel Radcliffe. 

Finally, honored with a nomination for Outstanding Revival of a Play, Doubt: A Parable—Roundabout Theatre Company’s revival of the Tony-Award-winning play by John Patrick Shanley—was sub assistant stage-managed by Stage Management alum Robbie Armstrong ’21.

It’s been a resoundingly positive awards season for the Columbia Theatre community thus far, with alums receiving well-deserved recognition for their artistic achievements and creative vision in many fields across the New York theatre industry. 

The 90th Annual Drama League Awards will be held on May 17 at the Ziegfeld Ballroom. The event is open to the public and tickets can be purchased here