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Hewes Design Awards

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Celebrating the best in New York theatrical design whether on, off or Off-Off-Broadway, the American Theatre Wing's Henry Hewes Design Awards celebrate the artists who fashion the worlds realized on the city's stages, for designs originating in the United States.

These annual awards, originally known as the Maharam Awards and later simply as the American Theatre Wing Design Awards, were renamed in 1999 for co-founder Henry Hewes. At the Saturday Review he was the first New York theatre critic to regularly review new plays on Broadway, off Broadway, nationally and internationally with equal emphasis. In 1960 he became editor of the Best Plays series, which he refocused from a book covering Broadway to one also recognizing the best work off Broadway and in the emerging resident theatre movement.

From 1960 to 1984, Mr. Hewes chaired the Margo Jones Awards Committee, which recognized those resident theatres presenting new plays. As Executive Director of the Greater New York Chapter of the American National Theatre and Academy, he helped to bring about the building of the Vivian Beaumont Theatre in Lincoln Center. Under his leadership, the chapter also gave crucial initial support to Joseph Papp in the early development of the New York Shakespeare Festival. Because of his interest in theatre design, in 1964 Mr. Hewes was named Chair of the new Maharam Design Award Committee; their citations for excellence at any New York theatre evolved into the American Theatre Wing Design Awards.

As president of the Drama Desk from 1967 to 1976, Mr. Hewes initiated the first annual award for achievement whether on or off Broadway. As a board member of the American Theatre Wing, he initiated, along with longtime ATW President Isabelle Stevenson, the Working In The Theatre seminars. He served as a board member of the American Theatre Wing until his death in 2006 at age 89.