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The Donaldson Awards were a set of theatre awards established in 1944 by the drama critic Robert Francis[1] in honor of W. H. Donaldson (1864–1925), the founder of The Billboard (now Billboard) magazine.

Donaldson Awards
Awarded forBroadway theatre
LocationNew York City, New York
CountryUnited States
Reward(s)Gold key and a scroll
First awarded1944 (75 years ago) (1944)
Last awarded1955 (64 years ago) (1955)

Categories included "best new play", "best new musical", "best performance", "best debut" and "best costumes and set design". The winners were chosen by votes of the theatre community at large with no predetermined nominees and the winners were presented with a gold key and a scroll.[1]

According to an article in Billboard, "The Donaldson Awards are the stages' accolades to their own."[2]

The awards were discontinued in 1955 having been overshadowed by the Antoinette Perry Awards (Tony Awards).[3]


List of winnersEdit


(Note: on occasion a single performance won in multiple categories, such as Nanette Fabray winning as both actress and supporting actress for High Button Shoes.)



First PlayEdit

Director (play)Edit

Actor (play)Edit

Actress (play)Edit

Supporting Actor (play)Edit

Supporting Actress (play)Edit

Male Debut (play)Edit

Female Debut (play)Edit

Settings (play)Edit

Costumes (play)Edit



Director (musical)Edit

Actor (musical)Edit

Actress (musical)Edit

Supporting Actor (musical)Edit

Supporting Actress (musical)Edit

Male Debut (musical)Edit

Female Debut (musical)Edit

Dance DirectionEdit

Male DancerEdit

Female DancerEdit

Book (musical)Edit

Lyrics (musical)Edit

Score (musical)Edit

Settings (musical)Edit

Costumes (musical)Edit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b Sagolla, Lisa Jo (2003). The Girl Who Fell Down – A Biography of Joan McCracken. Boston: University Press of New England. ISBN 978-1-555-53573-5. p. 107.
  2. ^ Francis, Robert (April 27, 1946). "Revivals in New Donaldson Awards". The Billboard.
  3. ^ Bordman, Gerald Martin; Hischak, Thomas S. (2004). The Oxford Companion to American Theatre. New York City; Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-195-16986-7. p. 183.
  4. ^ Eligibility List for 12th Annual Donaldson Awards (containing previous winners) & "Award Winners, 1954–55 Season". Billboard. July 9, 1955.