Sunday, June 14, 2020

DRAMA DESK AWARDS: Honoring the best of the 2019-2020 New York Theater Season

Undaunted after being moved from a formal, ticketed live-on-stage event to a low-key prerecorded ceremony, the Drama Desk, of which I am a voting member, last night announced the winners of its 65th annual awards honoring the best of Broadway and Off Broadway for the 2019-2020 season.

Although New York theater was forced to come to a TEMPORARY halt due to the global pandemic, there was an exciting and rich theater season prior to the March 12 lockdown, with a great many plays and musicals to be considered for these awards.  

Below is the list of winners, but before we go there, I would like to draw your attention to this message of support for racial equality from the organization:  

"The Drama Desk is committed to honoring all that's outstanding in the work of New York's diverse theater artists and craftspeople.  We regret the postponement of our awards ceremony, but, as an organization committed to the principle that all voices must be heard, we stand with the global Black Lives Matter movement, decrying the racial injustice and violence in our nation and city."


Here is the list of the winners: 

Outstanding Play
The Inheritance

Outstanding Musical
A Strange Loop

Outstanding Revival of a Play
A Soldier’s Play

Outstanding Revival of a Musical
Little Shop of Horrors

Outstanding Actor in a Play
Edmund Donovan, Greater Clements

Outstanding Actress in a Play
Liza Colón-Zayas, Halfway Bitches Go Straight to Heaven

Outstanding Actor in a Musical
Larry Owens, A Strange Loop

Outstanding Actress in a Musical
Adrienne Warren, Tina: The Tina Turner Musical

Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play
Paul Hilton, The Inheritance

Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play
Lois Smith, The Inheritance

Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical
Christian Borle, Little Shop of Horrors

Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical
Lauren Patten, Jagged Little Pill

Outstanding Solo Performance
Laura Linney, My Name is Lucy Barton

Outstanding Director of a Play
Stephen Daldry, The Inheritance

Outstanding Director of a Musical
Stephen Brackett, A Strange Loop

Outstanding Choreography
Sonya Tayeh, Moulin Rouge!

Outstanding Music
Dave Malloy, Octet

Outstanding Lyrics
Michael R. Jackson, A Strange Loop

Outstanding Book of a Musical
Michael R. Jackson, A Strange Loop

Outstanding Orchestrations
Tom Kitt, Jagged Liittle Pill

Outstanding Music in a Play
Martha Redbone, for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf

Outstanding Set Design of a Play
Clint Ramos, Grand Horizons

Outstanding Set Design for a Musical
Derek McLane, Moulin Rouge!

Outstanding Costume Design for a Play
Rachel Townsend and Jessica Jahn, The Confession of Lily Dare

Outstanding Costume Design for a Musical
Catherine Zuber, Moulin Rouge!

Outstanding Lighting Design for a Play
Heather Gilbert, The Sound Inside

Outstanding Lighting Design for a Musical
Justin Townsend, Moulin Rouge!

Outstanding Sound Design in a Play
Paul Arditti and Christopher Reid, The Inheritance

Outstanding Sound Design in a Musical
Peter Hylenski, Moulin Rouge!

Outstanding Projection Design
Luke Halls, West Side Story

Outstanding Wig and Hair Design
Campbell Young Associates, Tina: The Tina Turner Musical

Outstanding Fight Choreography

Thomas Schall, A Soldier’s Play

Outstanding Puppet Design
Raphael Mishler, Tumacho

Unique Theatrical Experience
Is This A Room

Outstanding Adaptation
A Christmas Carol

Special Awards
Ensemble Award: “To the eight pitch-perfect performers in Dave Malloy’s a cappella musical Octet: Adam Bashian, Kim Blanck, Starr Busby, Alex Gibson, Justin Gregory Lopez, J.D. Mollison, Margo Seibert and Kuhoo Verma proved instrumental in giving a layered look at modern forms of addiction.”

Sam Norkin Award: “To actress Mary Bacon, who continued her versatile career of compassionate, searing work for such companies as The Mint, Primary Stages, The Public Theater and The Actors Theater Company, with two of Off-Broadway’s most humane performances this season in Coal Country at the Public Theater and Nothing Gold Can Stay presented by Partial Comfort Productions.”

“To The Actors Fund, Seth Rudetsky and James Wesley for connecting members of the theater community and lifting spirits during the coronavirus crisis. The Actors Fund has worked tirelessly to provide financial and health resources to those impacted by the pandemic; Rudetsky and Wesley’s semi-daily Stars in the House webcast is raising funds for The Actors Fund, while providing performances, reunions, and medical updates.”

“To The Public Theater’s Mobile Unit, a reinvention of Joseph Papp’s “Mobile Theater” that began in 1957 and evolved into the New York Shakespeare Festival and The Public Theater. The current Mobile Unit tours free Shakespeare throughout the five boroughs, including prisons, homeless shelters and community centers, reminding audiences new and old that the play really is the thing. ”

“To WP Theater and Julia Miles, the company’s founder who died this spring. Formerly known as The Women’s Project and Productions, the company began in 1978 at American Place Theatre, where Miles served as associate to visionary artistic director Wynn Handman, who also died this spring. WP is the largest, most enduring American company that nurtures and produces works by female-identified creators. Over a little more than four decades, it has changed the demographics of American drama through an unwavering focus on women writers, directors, producers, performers and craftspeople.”

“To Claire Warden for her pioneering work as an intimacy choreographer in such recent projects as Frankie and Johnny in the Claire de Lune and Linda Vista and her leadership in the rapidly emerging movement of intimacy direction. As part of the creative team of Intimacy Directors & Coordinators and Director of Engagement for and co-founder of Intimacy Directors International, she is helping create theater experiences that are safer for performers and more authentic for contemporary audiences.”


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