Heisman Trophy Ceremony to feature stage design from David Korins

This year’s Heisman Trophy Ceremony on ESPN will include production design from David Korins, known for his work on Broadway including musicals “Hamilton,” “Beetlejuice” and “Dear Evan Hanson.” 

The event will broadcast for the first time from The Appel Room, part of Jazz at Lincoln Center. The space, with its windowed New York City backdrop, has hosted other television shows in the past including numerous CNN specials and episodes of the syndicated show “Anderson.” 

Jazz at Lincoln Center is part of the Columbus Circle development formerly known as the Time Warner Center before CNN’s departure for Hudson Yards in 2019. 

Slated for December 11, the Heisman Trophy Ceremony stage will include a view of the city along with a larger-than-life replica of the Heisman Trophy, hand-carved and painted by Rebecca Ward of Mystic Scenic Studios. 

Portraits of all 84 Heisman recipients will hang in the theater along with a variety of scenic pieces and LED displays, including one which features automation for movement during the broadcast. 

“We wanted to bring the power of visual storytelling so often the trademark of great Broadway stages to the Heisman Trophy presentation,” said Cunningham on ESPN Front Row.

“I was convinced that David – who is also a diehard sports fan – was the visionary to bring all of our expectations to life.”


While this is the first year for the venue, work on this move started over four years ago with ESPN’s team working to identify a new location for the production led by coordinating producer Kate Jackson and creative director Dan Cunningham.

Lighting design for the new staging is designed by David Grill with fabrication by Mystic Scenic Studios.

Renderings courtesy of David Korins and ESPN.

The 2020 Heisman Trophy Ceremony was held virtually due to the pandemic with production coming from ESPN’s Studio E in Bristol, CT. For that event, nominees were featured via the studio’s large-scale LED video wall.

In previous years, the event originated from various theaters in New York City including the PlayStation Theater in Times Square.