Lileana Blain-Cruz: Tony Award for Best Director of a Play

Director Lileana Blain-Cruz just won a Tony Award for “Best Direction of a Play” for The Skin of Our Teeth. Blain-Cruz—whose mother is Haitian, and father is Puerto Rican—is one of three black women to ever be nominated for a Tony Award in the “Best Direction of a Play” category. She was a double major in English and Spanish at Princeton, where she received her BA; she completed her MFA in directing at the Yale School of Drama. She is a recent recipient of a Lincoln Center Emerging Artist Award and an Obie Award for Marys Seacole (written by Jackie Sibblies Drury) at LCT3.  

LILEANA BLAIN-CRUZ is a director from New York City and Miami and a recent recipient of a Lincoln Center Emerging Artist Award and an Obie Award for Marys Seacole at LCT3.  

Recent projects include Anatomy of a Suicide at The Atlantic Theater Company, Fefu and Her Friends at Theater For a New Audience, Girls at Yale Repertory Theater, Faust at Opera Omaha, and The House That Will Not Stand at New York Theater Workshop. She won an Obie Award for her direction of The Death of the Last Black Man in the Whole Entire World AKA The Negro Book of the Dead at Signature Theater. Other projects include Lucas Hnath’s Red Speedo at NYTW, Alice Birch’s Revolt. She Said. Revolt Again at Soho Rep, Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’ War at LCT3 and Yale Rep, Henry IV Part 1 and Much Ado About Nothing at Oregon Shakespeare Festival, The Bluest Eye at The Guthrie, Actually at MTC, SALOME at JACK, Christina Anderson’s Hollow Roots which premiered in the Under the Radar Festival at the Public Theater, Project Realms an electric pop opera performed at La Sala, a new translation of The Bakkhai at the Fisher Center of Performing Arts at Bard College, and A Guide to Kinship and Maybe Magic, a collaboration with choreographer Isabel Lewis and playwright Branden Jacobs-Jenkins at Dance New Amsterdam. She was a member of the Lincoln Center Director’s Lab, an Allen Lee Hughes Directing Fellow at Arena Stage, and is currently a Usual Suspect of New York Theater Workshop. She was awarded a 2018 United States Artist Fellowship and the Josephine Abady Award from the League of Professional Theater Women.

She received her BA from Princeton and her MFA in directing from the Yale School of Drama, where received both the Julian Milton Kaufman Memorial Prize and the Pierre-Andre Salim Prize for her leadership and directing. Upcoming projects include Dreaming Zenzille at St. Louis Repertory Theater and McCarter, and The Listeners, a new opera by Missy Mazzoli which will premiere at Opera Norway and Opera Philadelphia.

For more information, see

Read her bio at

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