Awards Ceremony

“It really is my favorite award because it’s a coming together of the sisterhood of women doing their best to make a living and have a voice in a profession where the odds are still stacked against us.”
– Kristen Anderson-Lopez

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Broadway Cabaret

"We all have to be on a team mode. This means going to see plays by women, telling artistic directors that you want to see more plays by women, saying, 'I’ll be on your board but only if…' We really have to get in a demand situation and we have to do it ourselves."
-- Marsha Norman

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"The Lilly Awards manage to make artists feel seen, without making them feel that their excellence diminishes anyone else’s excellence. My Lilly Award has a place of honor, above my desk."
-- Sarah Ruhl

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The Lilly Awards were started in the Spring of 2010 as a way to honor the work of women in the American Theater. The founders of The Lillys are Julia Jordan, Marsha Norman and Theresa Rebeck. The awards are named for Lillian Hellman, a pioneering American playwright who famously said “You need to write like the devil and act like one too when necessary.”

Previous winners who have received the Lilly Award include Mary Rodgers, Dominique Morisseau, Kristen Anderson-Lopez, Jeanine Tesori, Liesl Tommy, Kelli O’Hara, Pam MacKinnon, Leigh Silverman, Anne Kaufman, Sarah Ruhl, Kristin Chenoweth, Annie Baker, Susan Stroman, Lynn Ahrens, Tina Fallon, Amy Herzog, Nina Arianda, Diane Paulus, Katori Hall, Tina Howe, Estella Parsons, Lynne Meadow, Ntozake Shange, Jessica Hecht, and Lois Smith.

The Lilly Awards Foundation is a 501c3 non-profit whose mission is to celebrate the work of women in the theater and promote gender parity at all levels of theatrical production.

Currently only 22% of the plays and musicals produced in America are written by women. We are eager to change the way decisions are made about production, by spreading the facts, like for example, that plays by women are as profitable as plays by men.

In the Spring, we produce a boisterous awards ceremony honoring 12 women writers, composers, directors and designers. In the winter, we conduct a Spotlight Series highlighting the work of emerging women artists, and we produce our celebratory Cabaret gala fundraiser. We run a Family Friendly Summer Colony initiative, which allows women to take their children along to the prestigious summer writing programs which are so vital to getting their work into the pipeline for major production. We initiated and are continuing to carry out The Count, a national study that answers the question “Who is Being Produced in the American Theatre?” The Count has been a game-changer in the conversation about parity, and we are very proud of that ongoing effort, in a partnership with the Dramatists Guild.

Have a look around our website for some history and info about upcoming initiatives. Our whole goal is to make sure that stories of and by women are heard on the American stage. If there is a way you can help, we would love that.