Signature Theatre's "Jelly's Last Jam," one of the big winners of the 2017 Helen Hayes Awards.

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The first standing ovation of Monday night’s Helen Hayes Awards came about 90 minutes into the three-hour ceremony honoring excellence in Washington, D.C. and outlying area playhouses, when Supreme Court Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg came to the stage of the Lincoln Theatre to present her friend Ted Van Griethuysen with the Helen Hayes Tribute for his career body of work. “Washington is where I came of age as an actor,” Van Griethuysen said. “I was 52.”

Preceding Ginsburg at the podium, Studio Theatre founder Joy Zinoman had approached the podium to sing Van Griethuysen’s praises, beginning her remarks with a warning to the orchestra that just moments earlier had tried to play off veteran actor Rick Foucheux: “I’m going to talk for a bit,” she said. (Foucheux won a Supporting Actor Hayes for Round House Theatre’s Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.) After her remarks came a video featuring Van Griethuysen reflecting on his career.

It was but one of many ways in which the Helen Hayes’ 33rd installment more resembled a traditional awards show than in years past, when various formal experiments and severely time-restricted acceptance speeches sometimes gave the event the feel of an auction. Though last night’s show was on the long side—and judging from the noise bleeding in from the Lincoln lobby, where the bars are, many attendees didn’t wait until the afterparty at the 9:30 Club to begin celebrating “theatre prom”—it seemed to find its groove, showcasing the artistic diversity of D.C.’s theatrical menagerie.

Diversity of the racial sort was an explicit theme that echoed through the acceptance speeches given by the cast and creative team of the night’s most-awarded show, Theater Alliance’s production of Marc Bamuthi Joseph’s choreopoem Word Becomes Flesh. The show took Helen Awards (earmarked for predominantly non-Equity houses, in contrast with the Equity Hayeses) for outstanding production, direction, ensemble, lighting, and performance by a supporting actor. “This is for all the artists of color in the room,” director Psalmayene24 said in his speech. “This is for Trayvon Martin and Emmett Till.”

Alyssa Wilmoth Keegan, who won the Hayes for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Play for Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, dedicated her award to the women of D.C. theatre, while the Helen recipient for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Musical—Iyona Blake of Creative Cauldron’s Caroline, or Change—accepted her honor “for all the black girls.”

Tracy Lynn Olivera, who in a rare tie shared the Hayes for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Musical with Felicia Boswell (for Ford’s Theatre’s 110 in the Shade and Signature Theatre’s Jelly’s Last Jam, respectively), used her time at the podium to make a plea for bodily diversity in the theatre. “A size 16 girl is not often cast as the object of two men’s affection,” she said, referencing her role at the center of 110 in the Shade’s love triangle.

Several shows came away with four awards each: Signature’s Jelly’s Last Jam won Hayes Awards for its costumes, lighting design, and choreography, in addition to Boswell’s performance. The Ford’s production of Come From Away, the Broadway version of which is now nominated for several Tony Awards, won four musical Hayeses, for Outstanding Production, Direction, Ensemble, and Supporting Actress. Also collecting four Hayeses was Folger Theatre’s adaptation of the Jane Austen novel Sense & Sensibility, which was singled out for it Choreography, Direction, Ensemble, and overall production.

Keegan Theatre’s production of Next to Normal, a musical that got an early production at Arena Stage in 2008-9 before moving on to Broadway and a Pulitzer Prize, was another big winner, scoring Helens for Outstanding Production, Direction, and Supporting Actor in a musical.

A complete list of winners is below:

Outstanding Choreography, Musical – Hayes

Jared Grimes, Jelly’s Last Jam, Signature Theatre

Outstanding Choreography, Play-Hayes

Alexandra Beller, Sense & Sensibility, Folger Theatre

Outstanding Choreography, Musical-Helen

Rachel Leigh Dolan, Catch Me If You Can, NextStop Theatre Company

Outstanding Choreography, Play-Helen

Cliff Williams III, Girl in the Red Corner, The Welders

Outstanding Musical Direction-Hayes

Paul Sportelli, Carousel, Arena Stage

Outstanding Musical Direction-Helen

Karen Hansen, MOXIE: A Happenstance Vaudeville, Happenstance Theater

Outstanding Costume Design-Hayes

Dede M. Ayite, Jelly’s Last Jam, Signature Theatre

Outstanding Costume Design-Helen

Sabrina Mandell, MOXIE: A Happenstance Vaudeville, Happenstance Theater

Outstanding Lighting Design-Hayes

Grant Wilcoxen, Jelly’s Last Jam, Signature Theatre

Outstanding Lighting Design-Helen

William K. D’Eugenio, Word Becomes Flesh, Theater Alliance

Outstanding Set Design-Hayes

Daniel Conway, Hand to God, Studio Theatre

Outstanding Set Design-Helen

Hana Sooyeon Kim, The Emperor’s Nightingale, Adventure Theatre MTC

Outstanding Sound Design-Hayes

Sarah Pickett (Sound Designer & Add’l. Music), Andre Pluess (Composer), A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Folger Theatre

Outstanding Sound Design-Helen

Tom Teasley, Journey to the West, Constellation Theatre Company

Outstanding Direction, Musical-Hayes

Christopher Ashley, Come From Away, Ford’s Theatre

Outstanding Direction, Play-Hayes

Eric Tucker, Sense & Sensibility, Folger Theatre

Outstanding Direction, Musical-Helen

Mark A. Rhea and Colin Smith, Next to Normal, The Keegan Theatre

Outstanding Direction, Play-Helen

Psalmayene 24, Word Becomes Flesh, Theater Alliance

Outstanding Ensemble in a Musical-Hayes

Come From Away, Ford’s Theatre

Outstanding Ensemble in a Play-Hayes

Sense & Sensibility, Folger Theatre

Outstanding Ensemble in a Musical-Helen

James & the Giant Peach, Adventure Theatre MTC

Outstanding Ensemble in a Play-Helen

Word Becomes Flesh, Theater Alliance

Outstanding Performer, Visiting Production

Jack Willis, Sweat, Arena Stage

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Musical-Hayes

Nick Lehan, Titanic, Signature Theatre

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Musical-Hayes

Jenn Colella, Come From Away, Ford’s Theatre

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Musical-Helen

David Landstrom, Next to Normal, The Keegan Theatre

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Musical-Helen

Tiara Whaley, Caroline, or Change, Creative Cauldron

James MacArthur Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Play-Hayes

Rick Foucheux, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Round House Theatre

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Play-Hayes

Dorea Schmidt, Collective Rage: A Play in Five Boops, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company

James MacArthur Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Play-Helen

Justin Weaks, Word Becomes Flesh, Theater Alliance

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Play-Helen

Kari Ginsburg, When the Rain Stops Falling, 1st Stage

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Musical-Hayes

Bobby Smith, La Cage aux Folles, Signature Theatre

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Musical-Hayes – TIE

Felicia Boswell, Jelly’s Last Jam, Signature Theatre

Tracy Lynn Olivera, 110 in the Shade, Ford’s Theatre

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Musical-Helen

Matt Hirsh, Catch Me If You Can, NextStop Theatre Company

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Musical-Helen

Iyona Blake, Caroline, or Change, Creative Cauldron

Robert Prosky Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Play-Hayes

Liam Forde, Hand to God, Studio Theatre

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Play-Hayes

Alyssa Wilmoth Keegan, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Round House Theatre

Robert Prosky Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Play-Helen

Tom Patterson, Constellations, Studio Theatre

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Play-Helen

Lily Balatincz, Constellations, Studio Theatre

Outstanding Original Play or Musical Adaptation

Aaron Posner, District Merchants, Folger Theatre

Charles MacArthur Award for Outstanding Original New Play or Musical

Stephen Spotswood, Girl in the Red Corner, The Welders

Outstanding Production, Theatre for Young Audiences

Jumanji, Adventure Theatre MTC

Outstanding Visiting Production

Into the Woods, The Kennedy Center

Outstanding Production, Musical-Hayes

Come From Away, Ford’s Theatre

Outstanding Production, Play-Hayes

Sense & Sensibility, Folger Theatre

Outstanding Production, Musical-Helen

Next to Normal, The Keegan Theatre

Outstanding Production, Play-Helen

Word Becomes Flesh, Theater Alliance

Helen Hayes Tribute

Ted van Griethuysen

John Aniello Award for Outstanding Emerging Theatre Company

Mosaic Theater Company of DC