Drama Desk Award


Drama Desk Award
Drama Desk Award
Awarded for Excellence in theatre
Presented by Drama Desk
Country United States
First awarded 1955
Official website http://www.dramadesk.com/

The Drama Desk Awards, which are given annually in a number of categories, are the only major New York theater honors for which productions on Broadway, Off-Broadway, Off-Off-Broadway compete against each other in the same category.[1] Presented since 1955, they are considered one of the important American theater awards.[2]

Contents

History

The Drama Desk organization was formed in 1949 by a group of New York theater critics, editors, reporters and publishers, born out of the desire to educate the community on vital issues concerning the theater. In 1955, the organization began presenting the Vernon Rice Awards in honor of theater critic Vernon Rice of the New York Post, who had pioneered Off-Broadway coverage in the New York press. The name was changed as of the 1963–1964 awards season.[3][4] In the first fifteen years of the award, Broadway shows were not eligible for these awards, but as of the 1968–1969 season, Broadway productions were included.[5] Only winners were announced in the early years, but in 1975, the Drama Desk began to announce nominees as well.[6] In 1974, the Drama Desk became incorporated as a not-for-profit organization.

The Drama Desk is composed of theatre critics, reporters and editors, more than 140 of whom vote on the awards.[7] The Drama Desk chairperson of the Nominating Committee is Barbara Siegel, and its president is Isa Goldberg.[8] The awards' executive producer is Robert R. Blume.[9]

In keeping with its original mission, the organization sponsors guest panel luncheons with theater professionals. Panels address topics of current interest: covering the season on Broadway, Off-Broadway and Off-Off-Broadway, with the aim of prompting informative and stimulating discussion.

All of the Drama Desk officers and Nominating Committee members perform their various services for the organization on a voluntary basis. The Nominating Committee generally meets twice a month to discuss the many eligible shows members are responsible for seeing. They then nominate the productions on which the entire membership will vote. What sets the organization apart is that the awards are voted on "by media people only without any vested interests in the results," according to the organization.

Previous winners include Bernadette Peters, Dustin Hoffman, Al Pacino, Catherine Zeta-Jones, among many others. Over the last 36 years, the Drama Desk Awards have contributed to the ongoing success of major stars, playwrights and designers, while also identifying newcomers. The Drama Desk was the first New York theater organization to give awards to talents such as Edward Albee, Wendy Wasserstein and George C. Scott. Plays like Driving Miss Daisy, Other People's Money, Steel Magnolias and The Boys in the Band built momentum with the help of Drama Desk wins.[10]

Current ceremony

The Drama Desk Awards ceremony is held annually, usually at LaGuardia Concert Hall of the Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts in Lincoln Center. The 2010 nominations were announced on May 3, 2010, and the ceremony was held on May 23, 2010 at LaGuardia Concert Hall, hosted by Patti LuPone.[11][12]

The nominations for the 2010–2011 season were announced on April 29, 2011 by Audra McDonald and Liev Schreiber. The musicals The Book of Mormon and the revival of Anything Goes, received 12 and 10 nominations, the most of any shows.[13]The awards ceremony was held on May 23, 2011 at the Hammerstein Ballroom at the Manhattan Center, New York City and was hosted by Harvey Fierstein. The awards ceremony will be televised on the Ovation network.[14]

Recent winners and nominations

For the 2010–2011 season, Special Awards were given to: "A.R. Gurney for his enduring, keenly observed portraits of American life over a prolific four-decade-long career"; "Reed Birney for his versatile and finely nuanced performances over the past thirty-five years, and for his exceptional work this season in Tigers Be Still, A Small Fire and The Dream of the Burning Boy"; "The New Group and Artistic Director Scott Elliott for presenting contemporary new voices, and for uncompromisingly raw and powerful productions"; "The Pearl Theatre Company for notable productions of classic plays and nurturing a stalwart resident company of actors"; and "the creative team of War Horse for thrilling stagecraft."[13] Major winners were: The Book of Mormon and Anything Goes, Outstanding Musical and Musical Revival; War Horse and The Normal Heart, Outstanding Play and Play Revival; Bobby Cannavale, Outstanding Actor in a Play; Frances McDormand, Outstanding Actress in a Play; Norbert Leo Butz, Outstanding Actor in a Musical; Sutton Foster, Outstanding Actress in a Musical; Joel Grey and George C. Wolfe, Outstanding Director of a Play; and Casey Nicholaw and Trey Parker, Outstanding Director of a Musical.[14] The Off Broadway musical "In Transit" won for Outstanding Ensemble Performance with Steve French, Celisse Henderson, Hannah Laird, Chesney Snow, Graham Stevens, Denise Summerford, and Tommar Wilson winning the special honors.

For the 2009–2010 season, nine nominations were received by the Off-Broadway musical The Scottsboro Boys.[11] The revival of Ragtime originally received nine nominations but two, for Costumes and Orchestrations, were withdrawn.[15]

The winners were: Red, Outstanding Play, Memphis, Outstanding Musical, Fences and A View from the Bridge, Outstanding Revival of a Play (tie), and La Cage aux Folles, Outstanding Revival of a Musical. Special Awards were given for the cast, creative team and producers of The Orphans' Home Cycle by Horton Foote; Jerry Herman; Godlight Theatre Company; and Ma-Yi Theater Company.[12]

For the 2008–2009 season, Ruined by Lynn Nottage and Billy Elliot The Musical by Elton John and Lee Hall won as Outstanding Play and Outstanding Musical. Hair and The Norman Conquests won Outstanding Revival (Play, Musical). Billy Elliot won ten awards, the most of any show.[16]

A complete list of award winners is at the Official site, Winners.

Categories

Play

Musical

Play and musical

See also

References

  1. ^ McKinley, Jesse. "Modern Millie Leads Drama Desk Awards", The New York Times, May 20, 2002. Retrieved June 8, 2009.
  2. ^ "Baylor's Traveling Lady Production Receives Drama Desk Nomination", Baylor University, April 28, 2006. Retrieved June 8, 2009.
  3. ^ "1954–1955 1st Drama Desk Awards". DramaDesk.com. http://www.dramadesk.com/1954_1955dd.html. Retrieved 2008-10-19. 
  4. ^ Zolotow, Sam. "Critics Hail Off Broadway Work: Elmer [sic] Rice Awards Are Presented by Drama Desk", The New York Times, May 19, 1964, p.42
  5. ^ Calta, Louis. "Jones Is Named For Top Award BY Drama Desk", The New York Times, July 2, 1969, p.34
  6. ^ Riedel, Michael. "Backstage brouhaha at the Drama Desk Awards", Los Angeles Times, April 18, 2009
  7. ^ "Utopia sweeps Drama Desk Awards", Variety, May 20, 2007. Retrieved June 8, 2009.
  8. ^ Gans, Andrew."Isa Goldberg Succeeds William Wolf As Drama Desk President; Awards Set for May 2011" playbill.com, November 22, 2010
  9. ^ Lefkowitz, David. "Honor Role(s)", Theatre News Online. Retrieved June 9, 2009.
  10. ^ "Drama Desk Awards: History". DramaDesk.com. http://www.dramadesk.com/history.html. Retrieved 2008-10-19. 
  11. ^ a b Gans, Andrew."Drama Desk Award Nominations Announced; Ragtime and Scottsboro Top List" playbill.com, May 3, 2010
  12. ^ a b Gans, Andrew."Red, Memphis, Bridge, Fences and La Cage Win Drama Desk Awards" playbill.com, May 23, 2010
  13. ^ a b Gans, Andrew."56th Annual Drama Desk Nominations Announced; Book of Mormon Scores 12 Nominations" playbill.com, April 29, 2011
  14. ^ a b Jones, Kenneth."Drama Desk Awards Go to 'Book of Mormon', 'Normal Heart', 'War Horse', Sutton Foster, Norbert Leo Butz" playbill.com, May 23, 2011
  15. ^ Jones, Kenneth.Drama Desk Withdraws Nominations of Ragtime's Orchestration and Costume Design" playbill.com, May 14, 2010
  16. ^ Gans, Andrew."Ruined and Billy Elliot Win Top Honors at Drama Desk Awards" playbill.com, May 17, 2009
  17. ^ Gans, Andrew.August and Passing Strange Win Top Honors at Drama Desk Awards playbill.com, May 18, 2008

External links


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