Theater Hall of Fame

Theater Hall of Fame

Inscribed in raised gold letters on the walls of the upper rotundas of Broadway’s Gershwin Theatre are the names of the more than 500 members of the Theater Hall of Fame. It was founded in 1971 as a New York non-profit organization by Earl Blackwell, James M. Nederlander, Gerard Oestreicher and L. Arnold Weissberger. Though it initially enrolled large annual classes in order to catch up on theater history, in recent years eight inductees have been chosen annually by an electorate composed of members of the Hall of Fame, members of ATCA and selected other critics, historians and theater notables.


For information on the different activities of the Hall of Fame and a full list of members, go to its official web site.


NOTE that the Hall of Fame is institutionally unrelated to ATCA, independently produced by Terry Hodge Taylor. ATCA member Chris Rawson chairs the nominating committee, as successor to ATCA founder Henry Hewes, and ATCA members make suggestions for the ballot and vote for new inductees.

The minimum requirement for the approximately 50 names (actors, directors, designers, producers, playwrights, and occasionally critics) that appear on each year’s ballot is at least five major theater credits spread over 25 or more years. The ballot is drawn up by critics on the Hall of Fame board.  Although almost all Hall members earned their fame on Broadway, selected off-Broadway or regional theater luminaries have been elected.


The annual result is an induction ceremony where each new Hall member is presented by another  theater veteran, creating a mix of humor, nostalgia and sentiment.


Terry Hodge Taylor has been Executive Producer since 1989, leading the annual induction event, educational activities, awards, and exhibits. Mr. Taylor provides all producing, management, and fundraising for the Hall of Fame.


The Hall of Fame is supported solely by foundation, corporation, and private contributions for its annual budget, with no management or financial support from ATCA. All inquiries about the Hall of Fame including suggestions for inductees should be directed to its office in New York City at 212-307-1226 or by email to Terry Hodge Taylor at .


A list of Hall of Fame members appears on its web site and used to appear regularly in the Best Plays Theater Yearbook.


The following list offers coverage of inductees, with links to published descriptions of past induction ceremonies by Chris Rawson for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Note that until 2015 each inducted class was dated the year before the January induction ceremony. Note also that some inductions have been posthumous, and some years there are additional inductions, not listed here but included in the published articles, voted by a special veterans’ committee.

Inductees listed by Year


Induction of the 53nd annual Theater Hall of Fame for Lifetime Achievement honorees will be held November 18, 2024. Actors Elizabeth Ashley, Boyd Gaines, Stephen McKinley Henderson, and Donna Murphy; actor and playwright Charles Busch; composer William Finn; playwright David Rabe; and artistic director Todd Haimes (honored posthumously).



Induction of the 52nd annual Theater Hall of Fame for Lifetime Achievement honorees was held November 6, 2023. Actors Mandy Patinkin (named in 2022 and inducted in 2023), Bebe Neuwirth, Judd Hirsh, and Laurie Metcalf; director JoAnne Akalaitis; librettist John Weidman; composer Maury Yeston; and playwright Amiri Baraka (honored posthumously).



The induction ceremony for the 51st annual Theater Hall of Fame for Lifetime Achievement honorees was held November 14, 2022. Playwrights Lynn Nottage and Ntozake Shange (posthumously); actors Christine Ebersol and  Bill Irwin;  director Frank Galati; and sound pioneer Abe Jacob. Two new member inductions were postponed to 2023 due to conflicts or illness: actor Mandy Patinkin and playwright Suzan-Lori Parks. ATCA members Chris Rawson, Martha Wade Steketee, Jay Handelman, and Jonathan Abarbanel attended the festivities, as captured here by photographer Ella Baum. For a full account of the evening, click here



After a delay caused by the 2020-2021 pandemic, 2021 inductees playwright Lynn Nottage, actor-playwright Anna Deavere Smith, composer Alan Menkin, set designer Bob Crowley, actor Leslie Uggams, and director Gerald Freedman (honored posthumously) were announced on June 14, 2021. At the time of the 50th anniversary induction ceremony on November 15, 2021 at the Gershwin Theatre, Lynn Nottage sent her regrets (and will be inducted in 2022) and actor Victor Garber was added to the 2021 cohort of honorees. 



Bebe Neuwirth described Ann Reinking as having “oozed, slithered, exploded, wiggled and vaulted like a wondrous creature from our dreams.” What did I do to earn induction, asked Michael Feingold: “I just kept writing for a half-century.”  Other 2019 inductees included lighting designer Natasha Katz, performers Donna McKechnie and Andre De Shields, McCarter Theatre head (and playwright) Emily Mann, Goodspeed Musicals head Michael P. Price, and librettist Thomas Meehan. For a full account of the evening, click here.



2018 inductee Rene Auberjonois (right), reminiscing about his early years in Pittsburgh with scribe Chris Rawson.

Four actors, three playwrights, two directors, one artistic director and several educators — those were the inductees Nov. 12 in the 2018 class of the Theater Hall of Fame. That adds up to more than eight, but only because they were a multi-talented bunch. They were actors Christine Baranski, Cicely Tyson and Rene Auberjonois; actor-director Joe Mantello; playwrights David Henry Hwang, Maria Irene Fornes and Adrienne Kennedy; and, posthumously, Signature Theatre founder James Houghton. For a full account of the evening. click here.



The eight inductees on Nov. 13 were actors Audra McDonald, Marin Mazzie and Matthew Broderick, playwrights Tina Howe and Arthur Kopit, producers Oskar Eustis and Daryl Roth, and Ernie Schier (1918-1999) — theater critic, co-founder of ATCA and founder of the National Critics Institute at the O’Neill Theater Center. Ernie’s induction speech was by the O’Neill’s George White. Click here for a comprehensive story on the event. For a special treat, click here for Tony Kushner’s speech inducting Eustis that wowed the audience.



2016 inductee Marsha Norman with Christopher Durang

This year’s eight Theater Hall of Fame inductees included three actors and a producer, designer, lyricist, librettist and librettist/playwright. Inductee playwright Marsha Norman was presented by Christopher Durang; producer Paul Libin by Jordan Roth; Phylicia Rashad by her sister, Debbie Allen; librettist Joe Masteroff by composer Howard Marren; Brian Stokes Mitchell by William Berlind; designer Catherine Zuber by Bartlett Sher; and speaking for inductee Glenn Close, not present because she was starring in “Sunset Boulevard” in London, was Lonny Price. Inductee Sir Tim Rice was given the most entertaining presentation, by his children, Donald and Eva, who focused on the “mishaps, disasters and ineptitude” of his career, to which he happily assented. To read more about what they all had to say, click here.



Composer Stephen Flaherty and lyricist Lynn Ahrens with their Hall of Fame medals

At its 45th induction ceremony, the Hall of Fame welcomed Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty (inducted by Alfred Uhrey), Ken Billington (Susan Stroman), Merle Debuskey (Philip Birsh), Robert Falls (Roche Schulfer), Stacy Keach (Harris Yulin), Tony Kushner (Linda Emond), Roger Rees (Rick Elice) and Julie Taymor (Thomas Schumacher). Kushner expressed his own amazement at being chosen by quoting Yip Harburg’s lyrics from “The Wizard of Oz,” when Dorothy is introduced to the Emerald City: “You’ll be hist, you’ll be hist, you’ll be history / You’ll be a bust, you’ll be a bust, you’ll be a bust in the hall of fame.” Full story here.



2014 inductees Alfred Uhry, Susan Stroman and Marshall Mason

Actors F. Murray Abraham (inducted by Brian Kulick), Blythe Danner (Lynne Meadow) and Alvin Epstein (Cherry Jones); directors Marshall Mason (John Lee Beatty) and Susan Stroman (Andre Bishop); playwright Alfred Uhry (Dana Ivey); producer Philip J. Smith (Robert Wankel, pinch-hitting for Bernadette Peters); and a rarity, a critic, Frank Rich (Rocco Landesman); the emcee was Pia Lindstrom. Ms. Stroman got the biggest response of the night, thanking everyone who’d given her a leg up along the way, because, she said, “we know no matter how much we love the theater, it can still take you into a back alley and beat the [expletive] out of you.” Full story: F. Murray Abrahm, Blythe Danner, Susan Stroman among inductees to Theatre Hall of Fame in NYC.



2013: Cherry Jones (right) with guest Diane Lane

Ellen Burstyn  (inducted by Betty Buckley), Lorraine Hansberry (posthumously, by Phylicia Rashad), David Hays (daughter Julia Hays), Cherry Jones (Zachary Quinto), Cameron Mackintosh (in absentia, by Robert Wankel), Lynne Meadow (Sarah Jessica Parker), George C. Wolfe Jr. (John Guare) and Jerry Zaks (Jack Viertel). Emcee was Joel Grey. Full story: Theater world fetes stage greats with Hall of Fame inductions.



Andre Bishop, Betty Buckley, Christopher Durang, Michael Kahn, Trevor Nunn, Paula Vogel, Sam Waterston and the late Martin Pakledinaz. The inductors included Ellen Burstyn, Susan Stroman, Christine Baranski, Jon Robin Baitz, Bernie Gersten, Susan Hilferty, Kristine Nielsen and Sarah Ruhl. Full story: Theater Hall of Fame welcomes new class of inductees.



Tyne Daly, Woodie King Jr. Elliot Martin, Ann Roth, Paul Sills, Daniel Sullivan, Ben Vereen, and George White. The list of inductors was even starrier: Phylicia Rashad, Brian Dennehy, Donald Margulies, Meryl Streep, Liza Minnelli, Jane Alexander and Brian Murray, with Estelle Parsons as emcee. Full story: Theater Hall of Fame inducts 8 with reminiscence and laughter.



Michael Blakemore, Joseph Chaikin, Caryl Churchill, Brian Dennehy, Paul Gemignani, Jams Lapine, Linda Lavin and Fritz Weaver; also veterans Alice Childress, Henry Irving, Philip Moeller and Florence Reed. Full story: Fritz Weaver among Theater Hall of Fame inductees.



Roger Berlind, Jim Dale, Charles Ludlum, Ted Mann, John McMartin, Lynn Redgrave, Stephen Schwartz and Andrew Lloyd Webber. Full story: CMU’s Stephen Schwartz, 7 others join Theater Hall of Fame.



2007: Inductees Roy Somlyo and Harvey Fierstein

Alan Ayckbourn, Emanuel Azenberg, Patricia Birch, Roscoe Lee Browne, Richard Easton, Marvin Hamlisch, Nathan Lane and Jonathan Tunick; also veterans Mordecai Gorelik. Bronson Howard, Celia Lipton, Louisa Medina and Boris Thomashevsky. Full story: Lane, Hamlisch among Theater Hall of Fame inductees.



Harvey Fierstein, Dana Ivey, Peter Shaffer, Joseph Stein, Jack O’Brien, John Cullum, Mel Gussow and Lois Smith. Full story: Hall of Fame: theater veterans get a night in limelight



Brian Friel, George Hearn, Willa Kim, Eugene Lee, Patti Lupone, Wendy Wasserstein, August Wilson and Elizabeth Wilson; also veterans Daniel Frohman, Owen Davis, Thomas Abthorpe Cooper and Sanford Meisner.  Full story: Theater Hall of Fame honors August Wilson, seven others



2005: Inductees William Ivey Long and John Lithgow survey the wall

Graciela Danielle, Ben Edwards, William Gibson, Peter Hall, John Lithgow, Dorothy Loudon, Sada Thompson and William Ivey Long.  Full story: Theater Hall of Fame inducts Thompson, Lithgow, others



2004: Inductees Len Cariou and Brian Murray flank mistress of ceremonies and Hall member Marian Seldes

Len Cariou, A.R. Gurney, Gregory Hines, Santo Loquasto, Elizabeth McCann, Ian McKellen, Brian Murray and Estelle Parsons; also veterans Rachel Crothers, Susan Glaspell, Billy Rose and Diana Sands.  Full story: Stage veterans receive praise at induction



Julian Beck & Judith Malina, Jane Greenwood, Madeline Kahn, Kevin Kline, Patricia Neal, Vanessa Redgrave, Peter Stone and Richard Wilbur.  Full story: Theater honors put women in the spotlight



John Lee Beatty, Stockard Channing, Larry Gelbart, Bernard Gersten, Tammy Grimes, Frank Langella, David Mamet and Jean Stapleton; also veterans Dion Boucicault, Canada Lee, Jacob Adler and Cleon Throckmorton. Full story: Role Call: New class celebrates induction into Theater Hall of Fame



Robert Brustein, Alvin Colt, Peter Gennaro, George Grizzard, T. Edward Hambleton, Henry Hewes, Isabelle Stevenson and Charles Strouse.  Full story: Hall of Fame inducts ensemble of stage pioneers among friends



2000: Inductees Jon Jory, June Havoc and Mary Alice

Mary Alice, Robert Fryer, Athol Fugard, Otis Guernsey, June Havoc, Jon Jory, Nancy Marchand and Liza Minnelli.  Full story: Theater family comes together to celebrate Hall of Fame honorees



Gordon Davidson, Hal Holbrook, Kitty Carlisle Hart, Robert Morse, Jerry Orbach, Frances Sternhagen, Tom Stoppard, Teresa Wright.  [No published account available.]



Alexander H. Cohen, Charles Durning, Zelda Fichandler, Tom Jones & Harvey Schmidt, Richard Kiley, Ellis Rabb and Robin Wagner.  Full story: Theater Hall of fame inductees reminisce about days of glory, passion

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