Theater Info for the Washington DC region

An Analysis of the 2010 Helen Hayes Awards

By • May 3rd, 2011 • Category: News

The Helen Hayes Awards were announced a week ago. I have compiled a chart that presents a different way to look at the Helen Hayes Awards process.

On the left of the chart each square shows how many eligible productions each theater submitted to The Helen Hayes Awards. The color matches the names of the theater just to its right. The letter “R” signifies that a production was “Helen Hayes Recommended.”

The central section of the chart shows how many performances each theater had in 2010. The number of performances may be slightly off, due to inaccuracies in our records of performance schedules, or from cancelled and rescheduled performances (Snowmageddon ’10). This section is sorted from the fewest number of performances to the greatest. Therefore, theaters nearer the top of the chart had fewer performances, groups at the bottom of the chart had a greater number of total performances. The colors do not represent anything other than a way to differentiate between different groups.

On the right, black squares represent an award (and obviously a nomination as well) and gray squares represent a nomination. Awards and nominations are next to the name of theater company.

For example, the chart shows that Solas Nua (in green, the first gray bars on the right) had two productions eligible for the Helen Hayes Awards; performed a total of 30 times, the company earned two nominations, and one production was “Helen Hayes Recommended.”

Analysis of the Helen Hayes Awards 2010

You can click on the chart to see a larger version which will be easier to read.


  • 2010 was the first year of the “Helen Hayes Recommended” initiative. 45% of the 197 eligible productions were given that honor (90).
  • Ford’s Theatre’s production of Little Shop of Horrors was not given the “Helen Hayes Recommended” badge, yet was nominated for arguably one of the most prestigious awards, Outstanding Resident Musical (Ford’s only nomination).
  • There were only seven productions that received a nomination of some sort and did not earn the “Helen Hayes Recommended” badge.
    • Bay Theatre, The Foreigner
    • Constellation Theatre, The Ramayana (winner for Outstanding Sound Design, Resident Production)
    • Ford’s Theatre, Little Shop of Horrors
    • Rep Stage, On the Verge or The Geography of Yearning
    • Signature Theatre, Sunset Boulevard
    • Signature Theatre, Sweeney Todd
    • Solas Nua, Improbable Frequency
  • Two companies had all of their shows recommended by the Helen Hayes Awards (Synetic Theater and Folger Theatre), although four companies that only had one production judged also earned the recommendation (Landless Theatre Company, Theater Alliance, National Theatre, and Longacre Lea).
  • Two companies produced six shows and did not receive a “Helen Hayes Recommended” recognition for any of their productions. One was last year’s recipient of The John Aniello Award for Outstanding Emerging Theatre Company, 1st Stage, and the other was The American Century Theater.
  • Round House was the largest theater to not receive any nominations, although they did receive two “Helen Hayes Recommended” designations.
  • Fifteen companies did not receive any nominations nor the “Helen Hayes Recommended” designation.
  • The award ceremony itself was overwhelmingly a positive, encouraging experience, with each award recipient receiving applause and congratulations from the audience. I didn’t notice any negative activity from the audience members, nor a mass exodus after the recipient for their group’s award category had been announced. Audience members were respectful and apparently genuinely happy for those people receiving honors.

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