GALA Awards: A History

Updated: Oct 7

GALA has been recognized for its contributions to the Hispanic arts at the local, national, and international levels:


2020 Helen Hayes Awards, HELEN category

  • Outstanding Production in a Musical - GALA Hispanic Theatre - FAME, The Musical

  • Outstanding Ensemble in a Musical - FAME, The Musical

2020 Alan Cooper Leadership in the Arts Award Awarded to GALA's Executive Director Rebecca Medrano for demonstrating outstanding leadership in the arts sector within the mid-Atlantic region.


2018 Helen Hayes Awards, HELEN category

  •  Outstanding Production in a Musical – GALA Hispanic Theatre - In The Heights

  •  Outstanding Direction in a Musical – Luis Salgado, In the Heights

  •  Outstanding Choreography in a Musical – Luis Salgado, In the Heights

  • Outstanding Musical Direction – Walter "Bobby" McKoy, In the Heights

  •  Outstanding Lighting Design – Christopher Annas Lee, In the Heights

  •  Outstanding Costume Design – Robert Croghan, In the Heights

  • Outstanding Ensemble in a Musical – In the Heights

  • Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Musical – Félix Marchany, In the Heights

  •  Outstanding Lead Actress in a Musical – Laura Lebrón, In the Heights  

2016 Helen Hayes Awards, HELEN category

  •  Outstanding Director of a Play – José Luis Arellano García, Yerma

  •  Outstanding Lighting Design – Christopher Annas Lee, Yerma

  •  Outstanding Set Design – Silvia de Marta, Yerma

  •  Outstanding Sound Design – Mariano Marín, Yerma

  •  Outstanding Lead Actress in a Play – Mabel del Pozo, Yerma

  •  Outstanding Play – Yerma


2016 Proclamation of the Latin American Artist Day: GALA Day Received by Hugo and Rebecca Medrano on May 10, 2016 from the DC Mayor Muriel Bowser in recognition of 40 years promoting and contributing to the growth and enrichment of Hispanic cultures in the nation’s capital. 2016 The Panel of Honor The King of Spain awarded GALA in recognition to 40 years of presenting classical and contemporary works of Spanish and Latin American theater.

2015 50/50 Applause Award The International Centre for Women Playwrights has recognized GALA Hispanic Theatre with a 50/50 Applause Award for having produced more than 50% of its plays in the 2014-2015 season by women playwrights. GALA was one of 60 theaters from nine countries who received the recognition.


2014 DC Immigrant Achievement Award from the American Immigration Council Awarded to Rebecca and Hugo Medrano who founded the GALA Theatre and, for more than 38 years, have worked to promote and share the Latino arts and cultures with a diverse audience. Through the GALA Theatre they have created work that speaks to communities today, and preserved the rich Hispanic heritage for generations that follow.


2012 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award from First Lady Michelle Obama Chosen from a pool of 350+ nominations and 50 finalists, Paso Nuevo was one of 12 after-school and out-of-school programs across the country that received the award, being the highest honor such programs can receive in the US.



2008 Award by the D.C. Superior Court For its contributions to the Latino and arts communities.


2008 Award Queen Isabella by the King of Spain Carlos I Received by Hugo and Rebecca Medrano in recognition of their promotion and dissemination of Spanish culture in the US.


2006 Award by the National Puerto Rican Coalition For its contributions to the Latino and arts communities.


2006 Award by ASPIRA For its contributions to the Latino and arts communities.


2006 Mayor’s Arts Award for Excellence in Service to the Arts Received by Rebecca Medrano, GALA Co-founder and Executive Director, for her exemplary leadership, support and service to the development of the arts in the District of Columbia.


2003 Richard Bauer Award from the Washington Area Performing Arts Video Archives Received by Abel López, Associate Producing Director, for his contributions as a past president of the League of Washington Theaters.


2001 Selima Ottum Roberts Award from Americans for the Arts Received by Abel López, Associate Producing Director, for his contributions to the arts.

1998 Founder's Award by the Cultural Alliance of Greater Washington Received by Hugo and Rebecca Medrano for their achievement in bringing Spanish-language theater to the nation's capital.


1996 Helen Hayes Award Received by Dahd Sfeir (Uruguay) for Outstanding Actress in a Resident Musical for her role in "Mano a mano."


1996 Leadership Award by The Association of American Cultures Received by Abel López, Associate Producing Director.


1995 The Mary Goldwater Award of Theatre Lobby Received by Co-founder Producing Artistic Director, Hugo Medrano for his visionary work and pursuit of excellence.


1995 Lobby Award for Direction and Producing Received by Abel López, Associate Producing Director from The Mary Goldwater Award, The Theater Lobby.


1994 Helen Hayes Award Received by GALA co-founder and Producing Artistic Director Hugo Medrano for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Resident Play for his role in "Kiss of the Spider Woman."


1994 Helen Hayes Award Received by Kim Kovac and Deirdre Lavrakas for Outstanding Light Design Award for Kiss of the Spider Woman.


1994 Hispanic Achievement Award in Communications from Hispanic Magazine and AT&T Year: Received by Hugo Medrano, GALA co-founder and artistic director.


1991 Helen Hayes Award Received by Abel López, Associate Producing Director, for Distinguished Community Service.


1988 Public Humanities Award by the Humanities Council of Washington, DC For outstanding contributions to the city through promoting the public life of the humanities.


1988 Helen Hayes/American Express Award For outstanding leadership in theater.


1981 Mayor’s Art Awards First Mayor's Arts Awards of the District of Columbia.

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