News & Views from the Drama Desk



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L.S. PUBLIC RELATIONS
244 West 54th Street New York, NY 10019
Tel: 212/586-2600 Fax: 212/586-2990
E-Mail: lester.schecter@verizon.net


Monday, April 27,  2009
at 10:30 AM (ET)


54th ANNUAL DRAMA DESK AWARDS NOMINATIONS ANNOUNCED
AT NEW YORK  FRIARS CLUB BY FAITH PRINCE AND JIM DALE

AWARDS TO BE PRESENTED ON MAY 17 AT GALA CEREMONY
 HOSTED BY HARVEY FIERSTEIN

New York, April 27, 2009—Nominations for the 54th Annual Drama Desk Awards were announced this morning at the New York Friars Club by Faith Prince and Jim Dale, multi-award winning stage stars. They were joined for the announcement by William Wolf, Drama Desk President, Barbara Siegel, Chairperson of the Drama Desk Nominating Committee, Robert  R. Blume, Executive Producer of the Drama Desk Awards ceremony, and Randie Levine-Miller, Director of Special Events for the Drama Desk.
In keeping with the Drama Desk's unique mission, the nominators considered shows that opened on Broadway, Off-Broadway and Off-Off Broadway during the 2008/2009 season in the same competitive categories. Final deliberations took place at Travel Inn in New York City.
The 54th Annual Drama Desk Awards will be held Sunday, May 17, 2009 in the LaGuardia Concert Hall at Lincoln Center. The awards show will be webcast live for the seventh year in a row by TheaterMania.com.
            Drama Desk nominees will receive their official Nomination Certificates at a cocktail reception on Friday, May 1, 4p.m.--6:30 p.m. at Il Bastardo restaurant, 191 Seventh Avenue (between 21st and 22nd Streets).
            The 2008/2009 Nominating Committee for the Drama Desk Awards is composed of: Barbara Siegel (Chairperson) TalkinBroadway.com, TheaterMania.com;  Dan Bacalzo, TheaterMania.com; Christopher Byrne, Gay City News; Patrick Christiano, TheaterLife.com, Dan’s Papers; Jason Clark, Entertainment Weekly, TheaterOnline.com; Gerard Raymond, Back Stage, The Advocate; and Richard Ridge, Broadway Beat TV.                           

Robert R. Blume is Executive Producer of the 54th Annual Drama Desk Awards Ceremony and Blume Media Group Ltd is the producing company.Lauren Class Schneider is Producer and Jeff Kalpak is Director of the Awards ceremony. For the production, the Associate Producers are Margot Astrachan, Jacki Barlia Florin, Joseph Callari, Corine Dana Cohen, Ellis Nassour and Les Schecter, who is also Director of Publicity and Promotions. Felicia M. Lopes is the General Manager; Ellis Nassour is Press Liaison and Randie Levine-Miller is Special Events Director for the Drama Desk organization. 
 

ABOUT THE DRAMA DESK

            The Drama Desk was founded in 1949 to explore key issues in the theater and to bring together critics and writers in an organization to support the ongoing development of theater in New York. The organization began presenting its awards in 1955, and it is the only critics organization to honor achievement in the theater with competition between Broadway, Off- Broadway and Off-Off Broadway productions in the same categories.
The organization hosts panels throughout the year, to which the public is invited, to promote understanding and appreciation of the professional theater. In addition to honoring creative artists and stage productions in multiple categories, the Drama Desk annually presents scholarships to two worthy seniors in the Drama Department of the LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts who are planning careers in the theater.
The Drama Desk Awards invites personal sketches from this year’s nominated performers and creative talent for its Art*Kive program, started nine years ago by Art*Kive creator Sarah Galvin. This annual program—unique to the Drama Desk Awards—invites the nominees to render a sketch that is relevant to the role or stage production that helped them achieve their nomination. The sketches will be displayed at the awards ceremony. To find out more about the organization and this year’s awards show, visit http://www.dramadesk.com.


The Executive Board of the Drama Deskis composed of: William Wolf, President; Leslie (Hoban) Blake, Vice President; Charles Wright, Treasurer and 2nd Vice President; Richard Ridge, Secretary; Robert Cashill; Isa Goldberg, David Kaufman; Ellis Nassour; Sam Norkin; and Barbara Siegel.

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Press Contact:  Les Schecter/Matthew P. Donoghue (L.S. Public Relations)
Tel: 212/586-2600            E-mail: lester.schecter@verizon.net 

DRAMA DESK NOMINATIONS FOR THE 2008/2009 SEASON

The following awards were voted by the nominating committee and will be presented by the Drama Desk at its awards ceremony:
Outstanding Ensemble Performances

            This year the nominators chose to bestow special ensemble awards for acting to the casts of two shows. Therefore, individual cast members for these shows were not eligible for acting awards in the competitive categories.

  • The Cripple of Inishmaan
  • The Norman Conquests


Special Awards:

            Each year, the Drama Desk votes special awards to recognize excellence and significant contributions to the theater. For 2008/2009, these awards are:

  • To Liza Minnelli, a beloved American musical theater icon, for her enduring career of sustained excellence, and her glorious performance in Liza’s at the Palace.
  • To Forbidden Broadway at the end of its nearly three-decade run and the creators, casts and designers who made it an unparalleled New York institution cherished for its satire and celebration of Broadway.
  • To Atlantic Theater Company and artistic director Neil Pepe for exceptional craftsmanship, dedication to excellence and productions that engage, inspire and enlighten.
  • To TADA! Youth Theater for providing an invaluable contribution to the future of the theater. The company makes outstanding training and experience accessible and affordable to young people and mounts productions remarkable for their quality and professionalism.

The following are the nominations for the competitive categories. Winners will be selected by the voting membership of the Drama Desk: 


Outstanding Play:

Annie Baker, Body Awareness
Gina Gionfriddo, Becky Shaw
Neil LaBute, reasons to be pretty
Lynn Nottage, Ruined
Michael Weller, Fifty Words
Craig Wright, Lady

Outstanding Musical:

9 to 5
Billy Elliot The Musical
Fela!
Liza's at the Palace….
Shrek The Musical
The Story of My Life

Outstanding Revival of a Play:

Blithe Spirit
Exit the King
Mary Stuart
The Cripple of Inishmaan
The Norman Conquests
Waiting for Godot

Outstanding Revival of a Musical:

Enter Laughing The Musical
Hair
Pal Joey
West Side Story

Outstanding Actor in a Play:

Simon Russell Beale,The Winter's Tale
Reed Birney, Blasted
Raúl Esparza, Speed-The-Plow
Bill Irwin, Waiting for Godot
Daniel Radcliffe, Equus
Geoffrey Rush, Exit the King
Thomas Sadoski, reasons to be pretty

Outstanding Actress in a Play:

Saidah Arrika Ekulona, Ruined
Jane Fonda, 33 Variations
Marcia Gay Harden, God of Carnage
Elizabeth Marvel, Fifty Words
Jan Maxwell, Scenes From an Execution
Janet McTeer, Mary Stuart

Outstanding Actor in a Musical:

James Barbour, A Tale of Two Cities
Daniel Breaker, Shrek The Musical
Brian d'Arcy James, Shrek The Musical
Josh Grisetti, Enter Laughing The Musical
Sahr Ngaujah, Fela!
Will Swenson, Hair

Outstanding Actress in a Musical:

Stephanie J. Block, 9 to 5
Stockard Channing, Pal Joey
Sutton Foster, Shrek The Musical
Megan Hilty, 9 to 5
Allison            Janney, 9 to 5
Karen Murphy, My Vaudeville Man!

Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play:

Brian d'Arcy James, Port Authority
Jeremy Davidson, Back Back Back
Peter Friedman, Body Awareness
Ethan Hawke, The Winter's Tale
Pablo Schreiber, reasons to be pretty (Off-Broadway)
Jeremy Shamos, Animals Out of Paper

Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play:

Rebecca Hall, The Cherry Orchard
Zoe Kazan, The Seagull
Angela Lansbury, Blithe Spirit
Andrea Martin, Exit the King
Carey Mulligan, The Seagull
Condola Rashad, Ruined

Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical:

Hunter Foster, Happiness
Demond Green, The Toxic Avenger
Gregory Jbara, Billy Elliot The Musical
Marc Kudisch, 9 to 5
Bryce  Ryness, Hair
Christopher Sieber, Shrek The Musical

Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical:

Farah Alvin, The Marvelous Wonderettes
Christina Bianco, Forbidden Broadway Goes to Rehab
Haydn Gwynne, Billy Elliot The Musical
Karen Olivo, West Side Story
Nancy  Opel, The Toxic Avenger
Martha Plimpton, Pal Joey

Outstanding Director of a Play:

Sarah Benson, Blasted
Michael Blakemore, Blithe Spirit
Garry Hynes, The Cripple of Inishmaan
Terry Kinney, reasons to be pretty
Matthew Warchus, The Norman Conquests
Kate Whoriskey, Ruined

Outstanding Director of a Musical:

Walter Bobbie, Irving Berlin's White Christmas
Stephen Daldry, Billy Elliot The Musical
Joe Mantello, 9 to 5
Jason Moore, Shrek The Musical
Diane Paulus, Hair
Stuart Ross, Enter Laughing The Musical

Outstanding Choreography:

Karole Armitage, Hair
Andy Blankenbuehler, 9 to 5
Peter Darling, Billy Elliot The Musical
Bill T. Jones, Fela!
Randy Skinner, Irving Berlin's White Christmas
Lynne Taylor-Corbett and Shonn Wiley, My Vaudeville Man!

Outstanding Music:

Neil Bartram,The Story of My Life
Zina Goldrich, Dear Edwina
Elton John, Billy Elliot The Musical
Dolly Parton, 9 to 5
Stephen Sondheim, Road Show
Jeanine Tesori, Shrek The Musical

Outstanding Lyrics:

Neil Bartram, The Story of My Life
Jason Robert Brown, 13
Marcy Heisler, Dear Edwina
David Lindsay-Abaire, Shrek The Musical
Dolly Parton, 9 to 5
Stephen Sondheim, Road Show

Outstanding Book of a Musical:

Steven Cosson and Jim Lewis, This Beautiful City
Joe DiPietro, The Toxic Avenger
Lee Hall, Billy Elliot The Musical
Brian Hill, The Story of My Life
David Lindsay-Abaire, Shrek The Musical
Patricia Resnick, 9 to 5

Outstanding Orchestrations:

Larry Blank, Irving Berlin's White Christmas
Bruce Coughlin, Stephen Oremus, Alex Lacamoire, 9 to 5
Aaron Johnson and Antibalas, Fela!
Edward B. Kessel, A Tale of Two Cities
Martin Koch, Billy Elliot The Musical
Danny Troob and John Clancy, Shrek The Musical

Outstanding Music in a Play:

Mark Bennett, The Cherry Orchard
Mark Bennett, The Winter's Tale
Dominic Kanza, Ruined
DJ Rekha, Rafta, Rafta…
Richard Woodbury, Desire Under the Elms
Gary Yershon, The Norman Conquests

Outstanding Set Design of a Play:

Dale Ferguson, Exit the King
Rob Howell, The Norman Conquests
David  Korins, Why Torture is Wrong, and the People Who Love Them
Derek McLane, 33 Variations
Neil Patel, Fifty Words
Walt Spangler, Desire Under the Elms

Outstanding Set Design of a Musical:

Tim Hatley, Shrek The Musical
Anna Louizos, Irving Berlin's White Christmas
Thomas Lynch, Happiness
Scott Pask, 9 to 5
Scott Pask, Hair
Basil Twist, Arias With a Twist

Outstanding Costume Design:

Tim Hatley, Shrek The Musical
Rob Howell, The Norman Conquests
William Ivey Long, 9 to 5
Michael McDonald, Hair
Martin Pakledinaz, Blithe Spirit
Carrie Robbins, Irving Berlin's White Christmas

Outstanding Lighting Design in a Play:

Marcus Doshi, Hamlet (Theatre for a New Audience)
David Hersey, Equus
Ben Kato, Washing Machine
R. Lee Kennedy, Bury the Dead
Paul Pyant, The Winter's Tale
Hugh Vanstone, Mary Stuart

Outstanding Lighting Design in a Musical:

Kevin Adams, Hair
Jules Fisher and Kenneth Posner, 9 to 5
Rick Fisher, Billy Elliot The Musical
Jason Lyons, Clay
Sinéad McKenna, Improbable Frequency
Richard Pilbrow, A Tale of Two Cities

Outstanding Sound Design:

Acme Sound Partners, Irving Berlin's White Christmas
Paul Arditti, Billy Elliot The Musical
Gregory Clarke, Equus
John Gromada, Shipwrecked! An Entertainment The Amazing Adventures of
            Louis de Rougemont (As Told by Himself)
André J. Pluess, 33 Variations
John H. Shivers, 9 to 5

Outstanding Solo Performance:

Mike Birbiglia, Sleepwalk With Me
Frank Blocker, Southern Gothic Novel
Michael Laurence, Krapp, 39
Lorenzo Pisoni, Humor Abuse
Matt Sax, Clay
Campbell Scott, The Atheist

Unique Theatrical Experience:

Absinthe (2008 Edition)
Arias With a Twist
Celebrity Autobiography: In Their Own Words
Désir
Soul of Shaolin
Surrender

 

NOTE:

Next to Normal was considered last season in its off-Broadway premiere. Alice Ripley was nominated as Outstanding Actress in a Musical and Tom Kitt for Outstanding Music. Under Drama Desk rules only new elements in a transfer can be considered. The producers, who requested that we consider the Broadway transfer only as an entirely new show, refused to invite nominators until it was too late for any new elements to be evaluated. 

All elements in both productions of shows that transferred to Broadway in the same season were eligible.

[title of show] was considered in a previous season in its off-Broadway premiere.

Only one actor playing Billy in Billy Elliot was seen by all nominators, who were not invited to see the other two for consideration unless the Drama Desk Executive Board agreed to classify all three separate performances as one unit for Outstanding Actor in a Musical. The Board rejected that request, as well as a request that as an alternative no actor playing Billy be considered.


PRODUCTIONS WITH MULTIPLE NOMINATIONS

9 to 5      15
Shrek The Musical        12
Billy Elliot The Musical      10
Hair        8
Irving Berlin's White Christmas       6
Ruined     5
The Norman Conquests      5
Blithe Spirit         4
Exit the King       4
Fela!       4
reasons to be pretty      4
The Story of My Life       4
The Winter's Tale        4
33 Variations       3
A Tale of Two Cities       3
Enter Laughing The Musical      3
Equus        3
Fifty Words       3
Mary Stuart     3
Pal Joey      3
The Toxic Avenger     3
Arias With a Twist      2
Blasted      2
Body Awareness   2
Clay     2
Dear Edwina      2
Desire Under the Elms     2
Happiness        2
My Vaudeville Man!     2
Road Show       2
The Cherry Orchard       2
The Cripple of Inishmaan      2
The Seagull         2
Waiting for Godot       2
West Side Story       2

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Press Contact: 

Les Schecter / Matthew P. Donoghue

Tel: 212/586-2600    

E-Mail:  Lester.Schecter@verizon.net

 

The 56th Drama Desk Awards is
presented by
Blume Media Group

Awards 1

56TH ANNUAL DRAMA DESK AWARDS TO BE TELEVISED NATIONALLY ON OVATION CREATING LARGE NATIONAL FOOTPRINT FOR THE AWARDS AND ALL OF NEW YORK THEATERS
Click here for details

Also Sponsored by:

For Sponsorship Information:
Christopher Raphael 845-987-0303

For Awards Program Advertising:
Allison H. Cohen 212-354-5124

For further information on this Ceremony and Events.
Go to www.DramaDeskAwards.com