Thursday, April 27, 2006

And the nominees are...

Leapin' lizards! Drama Desk nominations were announced this morning, and the humans and non-humans of set nominee SEASCAPE (pictured) are happy. Less pleased, no doubt, are the starry casts of the weak, Joe Mantello-directed revivals of THE ODD COUPLE and THREE DAYS OF RAIN--better luck next time, Julia--not to mention everyone who went down the RABBIT HOLE, the cast and crew of the dreadful but popular THE COLOR PURPLE, and two particular favorites of mine, RED LIGHT WINTER and [title of show], all of which were shut out. But that disappointment is mitigated by multiple noms for a few other faves, like ABIGAIL'S PARTY and SEE WHAT I WANNA SEE.

A few other thoughts from this voting member of the organization: Jason Lyons deserved a lighting nod for his spectacular illumination of the otherwise negligible THREEPENNY OPERA; I guess I have to make space in my schedule to check out THE CAINE MUTINY COURT-MARTIAL (perhaps in keeping with the 50's era that the show is set in, the publicist has neither a website or e-mail to facilitate attendance); and will Alec Baldwin, whose tantrums caused ENTERTAINING MR. SLOAN co-star and nominee Jan Maxwell to bolt the show early in a messy scandal that just surfaced in the papers, cause further trouble for the actress?

I'm not seeing THE DROWSY CHAPERONE till May 10, but I find its 14 nominations intriguing, given that I've heard it described as a "nice, pleasant, short" show--not exactly toes-tingling raves. It's a meta-musical, a musical about musicals, so maybe that went over big. There's a bit of debate over this, and a whole lot more over THE COLOR PURPLE snub, at the All That Chat site, the ever-argumentative section of Talkin' Broadway.

The Drama Desk's fearless (courageous? hapless?) nominators, who fan out to see everything on, off, and off-off Broadway, have as usual come up with a few shows I just can't put my finger on: GOLDEN DRAGON ACROBATS? CANDY & DOROTHY? Lest you think I've failed my brethren, however, note that smaller companies really don't want an influx of voters hogging their seats with freebie tickets, and that it's up to the tender mercies of publicists to favor us with comps. [Which is why, no doubt, the actual winners seem to favor Broadway shows, which are more widely seen by the membership in total--not that there aren't stunning upsets in this most surprising, and egalitarian, of competitions.]

In any event, on with the show:

Nominations for the 51st Annual Drama Desk Awards were announced today at The New York Friars Club by theater notables Marvin Hamlisch and Donna McKechnie, who revealed the nominees for the 2005/2006 theater season in front of a crowd of theater professionals at the press conference this morning. They were joined for the announcement by Drama Desk President William Wolf; Robert R. Blume, Executive Producer of the Drama Desk Awards and Randie Levine-Miller, Director of Special Events for the Drama Desk and a member of the New York Friars Club Board of Governors.

The 2005/2006 Drama Desk Nominating Committee deliberated monthly throughout the year, culminating in a marathon weekend session at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in Times Square, which ended Monday afternoon, April 24. The nominating committee included: Chairperson Barbara Siegel, and; Drama Desk President William Wolf,; Michael Buckley, Playbill On-Line; Christopher Byrne, Gay City News; Matthew Murray, and Stage Directions magazine; Andrew Propst, American Theater Web and XM Satellite Radio; and Richard Ridge, Broadway Beat TV.

The annual awards honor excellence in theater for Broadway, Off Broadway and Off-Off Broadway during the season. Leading the slate of distinguished nominees is The Drowsy Chaperone, which received 14 nominations. Grey Gardens followed with 12 nominations, and two shows received 9 nominations each--See What I Wanna See and Sweeney Todd. The Wedding Singer andJersey Boys each received 8 nominations.(Complete lists follow.)

During the nomination announcement ceremony, the Drama Desk revealed that the casts of two shows would receive special ensemble awards for acting--Stuff Happens and Awake and Sing! Because of the ensemble awards, individual cast members for these shows were not eligible for acting awards in the competitive categories.

The Drama Desk maintained its tradition of acknowledging excellence in the theater and announced that it will also present special awards to: The BMI—Lehman Engel Musical Theater Workshop, The York Theatre Company, and to Sh-K-Boom and its label Ghostlight Records. The York Theatre Company produced this year's Thrill Me, nominated for Outstanding Music. Sh-K-Boom produced recordings of this year's nominated shows, The Drowsy Chaperone, Songs from an Unmade Bed, and George M. Cohan Tonight!

Finally, the Drama Desk announced a special, lifetime achievement award to playwright Horton Foote. Foote’s two plays produced in this season--The Trip to Bountiful and The Traveling Lady--both received nominations for Outstanding Revival of a Play.


The 51st Annual Drama Desk Awards will be presented on Sunday, May 21, 2006 at 9pm, at the LaGuardia Concert Hall at Lincoln Center, 100 Amsterdam Avenue.

For the third consecutive year, Harvey Fierstein will host the ceremony, and for the fourth year in a row, the awards ceremony will be webcast by

The Drama Desk Awards will be taped for television and subsequently broadcast nationwide as a two-hour special on PBS stations. In New York, the program will be shown on Thirteen/WNET on Monday, May 29 at 3pm and on NYC-25 TV on Tuesday May 30 and Thursday, June 1 at 10pm.

A limited number of tickets for the Drama Desk Awards are available to the public by calling (212) 352-3101 or visiting the website at


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

Outstanding Ensemble Performances:

The cast of Stuff Happens

*The cast of Awake and Sing! (pictured)

Special Awards :

Each year, the Drama Desk votes special awards to recognize excellence and significant contributions to the theater. For 2005/2006, these awards are presented:

To the BMI—Lehman Engel Musical Theater Workshop for nurturing, developing and promoting new talent for the musical theater;

To The York Theatre Company for its vital contributions to theater by developing and presenting new musicals;

To Sh-K-Boom and its label Ghostlight Records for dedication to the preservation of musical theater through cast recordings.

The Drama Desk will also present the following special award:

A lifetime achievement award to Horton Foote for his bountiful body of work that sensitively explores the human condition.

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

Outstanding Play:

Alan Bennett, The History Boys
David Hare, Stuff Happens
Warren Leight, No Foreigners Beyond this Point
Martin McDonagh, The Lieutenant of Inishmore
Terrence McNally, Dedication or The Stuff of Dreams
Craig Wright, The Pavilion

Outstanding Musical:

The Drowsy Chaperone
Grey Gardens
Jersey Boys
See What I Wanna See
Thrill Me
The Wedding Singer

Outstanding Revival of a Play :

Awake and Sing!
The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial
Philadelphia, Here I Come!
Soldier's Wife
The Traveling Lady
The Trip to Bountiful

Outstanding Revival of a Musical :

Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris
The Pajama Game
Sweeney Todd

Outstanding Actor in a Play :

Vince Gatton, Candy & Dorothy
John Glover, The Paris Letter
Richard Griffiths, The History Boys
Zeljko Ivanek, The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial
Nathan Lane, Dedication or The Stuff of Dreams
BrĂ­an F. O'Byrne, Shining City

Outstanding Actress in a Play:

Margaret Colin, Defiance
Cherry Jones, Faith Healer
*Jennifer Jason Leigh, Abigail's Party (pictured, middle, with fellow nominee Lisa Emery, left, and Elizabeth Jasicki)
Jan Maxwell, Entertaining Mr. Sloane
Lois Smith, The Trip to Bountiful
Julie White, The Little Dog Laughed

Outstanding Actor in a Musical:

Michael Cerveris, Sweeney Todd
Harry Connick, Jr., The Pajama Game
Marc Kudisch, See What I Wanna See
Stephen Lynch, The Wedding Singer
Bob Martin, The Drowsy Chaperone
John Lloyd Young, Jersey Boys

Outstanding Actress in a Musical:

Nancy Anderson, Fanny Hill
Christine Ebersole, Grey Gardens
Sutton Foster, The Drowsy Chaperone
Patti LuPone, Sweeney Todd
Idina Menzel, See What I Wanna See
Kelli O’Hara, The Pajama Game

Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play:

Devon Abner, The Trip to Bountiful
Samuel Barnett, The History Boys
Dominic Cooper, The History Boys
Jason Butler Harner, The Paris Letter
Stephen Campbell Moore, The History Boys
David Pittu, Celebration/The Room

Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play:

Frances de la Tour, The History Boys
Lisa Emery, Abigail's Party
Judith Hawking, Soldier's Wife
Michele Pawk, The Paris Letter
*Lynn Redgrave, The Constant Wife (pictured, right, with Kate Burton and John Dossett)
Marian Seldes, Dedication or The Stuff of Dreams

Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical:

Jim Dale, The Threepenny Opera
Alexander Gemignani, Sweeney Todd
Christian Hoff, Jersey Boys
Eddie Korbich, The Drowsy Chaperone
John McMartin, Grey Gardens
Daniel Reichard, Jersey Boys

Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical:

Carolee Carmello, Lestat
Leslie Kritzer, The Great American Trailer Park Musical
Beth Leavel, The Drowsy Chaperone
Mary Louise Wilson, Grey Gardens
Amy Spanger, The Wedding Singer
Mary Testa, See What I Wanna See

Outstanding Director of a Play:

Alan Ayckbourn, Private Fears in Public Places
Gisela Cardenas, Agamemnon
Nicholas Hytner, The History Boys
Daniel Sullivan, Stuff Happens
Robert Wilson, Peer Gynt
Jerry Zaks, The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial

Outstanding Director of a Musical:

John Doyle, Sweeney Todd
Michael Greif, Grey Gardens
Kathleen Marshall, The Pajama Game
Des McAnuff, Jersey Boys
Casey Nicholaw, The Drowsy Chaperone
Daniele Finzi Pasca, Rain

Outstanding Choreography:

Rob Ashford, The Wedding Singer
Angela Chang, Golden Dragon Acrobats
Graciela Daniele, Bernarda Alba
Kathleen Marshall, The Pajama Game
Casey Nicholaw, The Drowsy Chaperone
Sergio Trujillo, Jersey Boys

Outstanding Music:

Stephen Dolginoff, Thrill Me
Scott Frankel, Grey Gardens
*Michael John LaChiusa, See What I Wanna See (pictured)
Lisa Lambert & Greg Morrison, The Drowsy Chaperone
Peter Mills, The Pursuit of Persephone
Matthew Sklar, The Wedding Singer

Outstanding Lyrics:

Chad Beguelin, The Wedding Singer
Mark Campbell, Songs from an Unmade Bed
Ryan Cunningham, I Love You Because
Michael Korie, Grey Gardens
Michael John LaChiusa, See What I Wanna See
Lisa Lambert and Greg Morrison, The Drowsy Chaperone

Outstanding Book of a Musical:

Rick Elice & Marshall Brickman, Jersey Boys
Bob Martin & Don McKellar, The Drowsy Chaperone
Doug Wright, Grey Gardens

Outstanding Orchestrations:

Larry Blank, The Drowsy Chaperone
Bruce Coughlin, Grey Gardens
Bruce Coughlin, See What I Wanna See
Peter Mills, The Pursuit of Persephone
Sarah Travis, Sweeney Todd
Danny Troob & Dick Lieb, The Pajama Game

Outstanding Set Design of a Play :

Roger Hanna, Walking Down Broadway
Eugene Lee, The Ruby Sunrise
Derek McLane, Abigail's Party
Robert Wilson, Peer Gynt
Michael Yeargan, Awake and Sing!
Michael Yeargan, Seascape

Outstanding Set Design of a Musical:

Michael Bottari & Roland Case, Fanny Hill
John Doyle, Sweeney Todd
David Gallo, The Drowsy Chaperone
Thomas Lynch, See What I Wanna See
Allen Moyer, Grey Gardens
Scott Pask, The Wedding Singer

Outstanding Costume Design:

Gregg Barnes, The Drowsy Chaperone
Eric Becker, Abigail's Party
Gale Gregory, The Wedding Singer
William Ivey Long, Grey Gardens
Jacques Reynaud, Peer Gynt
Anita Yavich, The Wooden Breeks

Outstanding Lighting Design:

Christopher Akerlind, Awake and Sing!
Richard G. Jones, Sweeney Todd
Traci Klainer, The Asphalt Kiss
Martin Labrecque, Rain
John McKernon, The Trip to Bountiful
Robert Wilson, Peer Gynt

Outstanding Sound Design:

Acme Sound Partners, The Drowsy Chaperone
Acme Sound Partners, See What I Wanna See
Steve Canyon Kennedy, Jersey Boys
Daniel Moses Schreier, Sweeney Todd
Brian Ronan, Grey Gardens
Brian Ronan, The Pajama Game

Outstanding Solo Performance:

Judy Gold, 25 Questions for a Jewish Mother
Marga Gomez, Los Big Names
Jon Peterson, George M. Cohan Tonight!
Antony Sher, Primo
Janis Stevens, Vivien
Michael Winther, Songs from an Unmade Bed

Unique Theatrical Experience:

Christine Jorgensen Reveals
The Frog Bride
Golden Dragon Acrobats
Peer Gynt
The Stones


The Drowsy Chaperone 14

Grey Gardens 12

See What I Wanna See 9

Sweeney Todd 9

Jersey Boys 8

The Wedding Singer 8

The History Boys 7

The Pajama Game 7

Peer Gynt 5

Abigail's Party 4

The Trip to Bountiful 4

Awake and Sing! 3

The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial 3

Dedication or the Stuff of Dreams 3

The Paris Letter 3

Rain 3

The Trip to Bountiful 3

Fanny Hill 2

Golden Dragon Acrobats 2

The Pursuit of Persephone 2

Soldier's Wife 2

Songs from an Unmade Bed 2

Stuff Happens 2

Thrill Me 2


Broadway, Off Broadway and Off-Off Broadway shows that opened in the Drama Desk 2005/2006 year, and which the nominating committee was able to see by the cutoff deadline of April 23, 2006, were eligible for awards. The Drama Desk nominating committee considered more than 500 shows in determining this year's slate of nominees.

Disney's TARZAN, officially opening May 10, 2006, did not invite Drama Desk nominators to see it at a preview before the April 23 deadline. Therefore, the Drama Desk will consider TARZAN in the 2006/2007 season. WELL and BRIDGE AND TUNNEL were considered in previous seasons, though some design elements of their Broadway transfers were deemed eligible. THE LIEUTENANT OF INISHMORE, which opened first Off Broadway in this season, was considered for its Off Broadway production.

The Drama Desk Board of Directors oversees the nomination process and is composed of: William Wolf, President; Leslie (Hoban) Blake, Vice President; Charles Wright, Treasurer and Second Vice President; Joyce Hauser, Secretary; and Members-at-Large: Michael Bracken, David Kaufman, Ellis Nassour, Sam Norkin, Barbara Siegel and Elyse Sommer.

Drama Desk nominees will receive their official nomination certificates at a cocktail reception on Tuesday, May 2, 4-7pm, at Arte Cafe, 106 West 73rd Street, between Broadway and Columbus Avenue.

[SEASCAPE and THE CONSTANT WIFE photos courtesy Joan Marcus; AWAKE AND SING!, courtesy Paul Kolnik; SEE WHAT I WANNA SEE, courtesy Michal Daniel]

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