jakub | September 23, 2023

AMERICAN THEATRE | 8 Designers Receive 2023 Henry Hewes Awards

Designers Andrew Moerdyk, Santiago Orjuela-Laverde, Kimie Nishikawa, Brenda Abbandandolo, Barbara Samuels, Tei Blow, Kameron Neal, and James Ortiz.

NEW YORK CITY: The Henry Hewes Design Awards committee has announced the 2023 honorees. Named after the passionate New York theatre critic, the annual awards recognize excellence in theatrical design for work in venues on Broadway, Off-Broadway, and Off-Off-Broadway, with categories for scenic, costume, lighting, and sound design, as well as notable effects, which encompasses music, puppetry, and other creative elements.

The recipients for the 2022–2023 season include scenic design team dots (a collaboration of Santiago Orjuela-Laverde, Andrew Moerdyk, and Kimie Nishikawa, for Public Obscenities at Soho Rep/National Asian American Theatre Company); costume designer Brenda Abbandandolo (for The Sign in Sidney Brustein’s Window on Broadway); lighting designer Barbara Samuels (for Public Obscenities at Soho Rep/National Asian American Theatre Company); sound designer Tei Blow (for Public Obscenities at Soho Rep/National Asian American Theatre Company); media designer Kameron Neal (for Dark Disabled Stories at the Public Theater), and puppetry designer James Ortiz (for Into the Woods on Broadway).

“We are delighted that the Henry Hewes Design Awards will once again bring the entire design community together in-person for the first time since 2019,” said committee chair Jeffrey Eric Jenkins in a statement. “We continue to recognize the outstanding contribution that designers make to the creative process in all theatre productions and we congratulate the 2023 Honorees for their excellent work.”

Seven of the eight 2023 honorees are receiving their first award from the Hewes committee. James Ortiz won a Hewes award in 2022 for his work on The Skin of Our Teeth at Lincoln Center Theater. This year 98 theatre artists were nominated for outstanding artistry in 58 productions. The committee annually considers more than 200 productions when making its nominations. As of 2023, the committee has bestowed 337 honors on 224 artists representing 288 productions.

The 59th annual Henry Hewes Design Awards ceremony on Oct. 23 in New York will celebrate the 2023 honorees and feature the presentation of this year’s Ming Cho Lee Lifetime Award.

The Henry Hewes Design Awards committee includes theatre critics Jeffrey Eric Jenkins, chair; David Barbour; David Cote; Naveen Kumar; Brittani Samuel; Helen Shaw; and Martha Wade Steketee. The awards are sponsored by the Henry Hewes Foundation for the Theatre Arts.

Established in 1965, the awards were originally known as the Maharam Awards and were later renamed the American Theatre Wing Design Awards in honor of the Wing’s sponsorship. In 1999, they became the Henry Hewes Design Awards in honor of the critic who created the awards and served as a board member of the American Theatre Wing until his death in 2006 at age 89.

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