The Del Hughes Lifetime Achievement Award for Excellence in the Art of Stage Management is regarded throughout the theatrical community as a crowning achievement for a stage manager’s career.
Del Hughes (1909-1985) was an American theater performer, stage manager and television director. Hughes made his Broadway debut in 1941 as a replacement stage manager and performer in the original play Tobacco Road at the Forrest Theater. Prior to establishing his career as a stage manager, Hughes performed in several Broadway productions, including Vickie (1942), Yours, A. Lincoln (1942) and Open House (1947).
Hughes managed dozens of Broadway productions, including the premiere of Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman in 1949 at the Morosco Theater, as well as works by Lillian Hellman and Graham Greene. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, Hughes directed episodes of the television dramas “One Life to Live” and “All My Children.”
In 1970, Del Hughes was nominated for an Emmy Award in the category of Outstanding Direction for a Daytime Drama Series for his work on “All My Children.”
The Del Hughes prompt books, archived in the Billy Rose Collection at the New York Public Library at Lincoln Center, date from 1943 to 1968 and represent twenty-four Broadway productions which played at various New York City theaters.
Upon his passing in 1985, his daughter, Julie Hughes, of the casting firm Hughes/Moss, consulted with the Stage Managers’ Association about how to keep her father’s legacy alive. The result was the creation of the Del Hughes Lifetime Achievement Award for Excellence in the Art of Stage Management, given by the Stage Managers’ Association.
The recipients are chosen by the Del Hughes Committee and the Executive Board of the SMA as representing the finest qualities of Stage Management: patience, diplomacy, organization and a sense of humor.
In 1986, the first award was presented to Phil Friedman.
1986 Phil Friedman
1987 Anne Sullivan
1988 Fritz Holt
1989 Bill Dodds
1990 Ruth Mitchell
1991 Samuel “Biff” Liff
1992 Morty Halpern
1993 Jerry Adler
1995 Jose Vega
1999 Annie Keefe
Porter Van Zandt