League Loves 'Billy,' Rush

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The Drama League joined the conga line to honor Billy Elliot, presenting the musical with its award for distinguished musical. The show, based on the 2000 film about an aspiring ballet dancer, has won similar citations from the New York Drama Critics Circle and the Outer Critics Circle.

Geoffrey Rush of Exit the King won the award for distinguished performance. Other Drama League winners included God of Carnage for distinguished play, Hair for distinguished musical revival and Blithe Spirit for distinguished revival of a play. The awards were presented May 15 at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in Manhattan.

Special awards were presented to Billy Elliot's composer Elton John (distinguished achievement in musical theatre), Arthur Laurents (Julia Hansen Award for excellence in directing), Angela Lansbury (unique contribution to the theatre), and producer Herb Blodgett (75th Anniversary Leadership Award). The event was hosted by Cynthia Nixon and Jeremy Irons.

The League was founded in 1916 as an association of theatre professionals and patrons and has developed into a premiere service organization. The first Drama League Award was presented to Katharine Cornell ion 1935.