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Posts tagged ‘Drama Desk Awards’

Drama Desk Awards!Alex Sharp Continues to Win Best Actor in a Play!

Alex Sharp 1Young, just graduated (from Julliard), Alex Sharp thanked his SCHOOL! A first, I think at any major awards ceremony tonight, when he continues his probable march to the Tony, too, at the Drama Desk Awards. He won for playing the leading character, who is “on the spectrum” as Sharp put it, or autistic to the rest of you and me for “A Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time” The challenging British play won big with six awards, winning everything it was nominated for  at the Drama Desks. 24-year-old Sharp also won Best Actor in a Play from the Outer Critics’ Circle.

Considered the most prestigious of the theater awards handed out right about now, the Drama Desk Awards are voted on solely by press. It’s 125 members consider Broadway, Off-Broadway and Off-Off Broadway equally in all categories.

Held at Town Hall, the ceremony seemed a little bit glossier than usual, though the winners took forever to get to the stage it seemed.

Both Best Actress in a Play Winner Helen Mirren(for “The Audience”) and Best Actress in a Musical Kristen Chenoweth(for “On the 20th Century” complained of the length of the ceremony, though. Dame Helen said “I’m so hungry I want to eat this!” indicating her well-deserved award and Chenoweth said “I’ve got to pee!”

“American in Paris” won four awards including Best Actor in a Musical for Robert Fairchild, who thanked “Gene Kelly, without whom none of this would be possible.” But “Hamilton” the Off Broadway sold-out sensation won seven Drama Desk Awards, making it the big winner of the night. Lin-Manuel Miranda the author/creator/star won three awards himself personally.

“Hamilton” is an Off-Broadway show, heaving to Broadway, next month. So it won’t figure in the upcoming Tony Awards which only consider theater work done on Broadway. But expect the four major acting winners, who are all in Broadway shows currently running to repeat their triumphs Sunday night at the Tonys. That would be Mirren, Chenoweth, Sharp and Fairchild.

Best Revival of a Play went to “The Elephant Man” whose entire cast is currently in Ldndon, repeating its’ success in the West End. It’s top-lined by three-time Oscar nominee Bradley Cooper, Patricia Clarkson and Allesandro Nivola.

Best Revival went to Lincoln Center’s “The King and I.” My personal fave “Gigi” won Best Costumes for the great Catherine Zuber.

“Something Rotten” only won one award for Best Featured Actor in a Musical Christian Borle.

2015 Drama Desk Awards NOMINATIONS Announced today at 54 Below by Judith Light & Jessie Mueller

In shock and awe, as the Drama Desk announced their award NOMINATIONS for the Best of the Best of the Theater season 2014-15. I have so much respect for what these dedicated people do. The Nominating Committee sees something like over 270 plays a year!!! It staggers me the level of commitment to theater that these people maintain.

And headed for the eighth year(I think) by the valiant, unstoppable Barbara Siegel (yes, she’s married to the famous Scott) once again this year, the nominations excite and confound me. I’m glad for instance that Ben Miles and Lydia Leonard were both nominated for Best Actor In a Play and Best Supporting Actress In a Play for “Wolf Hall” for playing respectively Thomas Cromwell and Anne Boleyn.

But where oh where was “The Heidi Chronicles”?!? And any recognition for Elizabeth Moss’ and Bryce Pinkham’s terrific performances? I liked this revival better than I liked the original production, which I thought was horribly anti-gay.(But it made David Hyde-Pierce’s career in the same role as Pinkham.) But Pinkham and Moss did both get nominated for the Outer Critic’s Circle. I hope they repeat at the Tonys.

They probably will as will Ben Miles and Lydia Leonard. You see, the Drama Desk has the daunting task of nominating EVERYTHING that can be seen in any given year on any stage in New York City. Broadway, Off-Broadway and Off-Off Broadway. Which is why I have so much respect for them.

In other words, quality theater can be rewarded no matter how small or how big the stage it occurs on is or how many people see it. Of course, Superstars like Dame Helen Mirren in “The Audience” and Bradley Cooper in the now closed “Elephant Man” were nominated for Best Actress and Best Actor in a play. Mirren will totally win this award, as she will win many, many others this season, and for Best Actor I think it’s between Cooper and Miles. But more on that later.

Past Drama Desk(and Tony) winners Judith Light and Jessie Mueller announced the nominees at ceremony today in the swank boite 54 Below.

2014-2015 DRAMA DESK AWARD NOMINATIONS

Outstanding Play Clare Barron, You Got Older Lisa D’Amour, Airline Highway Anthony Giardina, The City of Conversation Stephen Adly Guirgis, Between Riverside and Crazy Elizabeth Irwin, My Manãna Comes Simon Stephens, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time Jack Thorne, Let the Right One In Outstanding Musical An American in Paris Hamilton Fly By Night Pretty Filthy Something Rotten The Visit Outstanding Revival of a Play The Elephant Man Fashions for Men Ghosts The Iceman Cometh Tamburlaine the Great The Wayside Motor Inn Outstanding Revival of a Musical Into the Woods The King and I On the Town On the Twentieth Century Pageant Side Show Outstanding Actor in a Play Reed Birney, I’m Gonna Pray For You So Hard Bradley Cooper, The Elephant Man Stephen McKinley Henderson, Between Riverside and Crazy Ben Miles, Wolf Hall, Parts 1 & 2 Bill Pullman, Sticks and Bones Alexander Sharp, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time Outstanding Actress in a Play Brooke Bloom, You Got Older Kathleen Chalfant, A Walk in the Woods Kristin Griffith, The Fatal Weakness Jan Maxwell, The City of Conversation Helen Mirren, The Audience Carey Mulligan, Skylight Tonya Pinkins, Rasheeda Speaking Outstanding Actor in a Musical Brian d’Arcy James, Something Rotten! Robert Fairchild, An American in Paris Jeremy Kushnier, Atomic Lin-Manuel Miranda, Hamilton Matthew Morrison, Finding Neverland Ryan Silverman, Side Show Outstanding Actress in a Musical Kate Baldwin, John & Jen Kristin Chenoweth, On the Twentieth Century Leanne Cope, An American in Paris Erin Davie, Side Show Lisa Howard, It Shoulda Been You Chita Rivera, The Visit Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play F. Murray Abraham, It’s Only a Play Reed Birney, You Got Older K. Todd Freeman, Airline Highway Jonathan Hadary, Rocket to the Moon Jason Butler Harner, The Village Bike Jonathan Hogan, Pocatello José Joaquin Perez, My Mañana Comes Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play Annaleigh Ashford, You Can’t Take It with You Beth Dixon, The City of Conversation Julie Halston, You Can’t Take It with You Paola Lázaro-Muñoz, To the Bone Lydia Leonard, Wolf Hall, Parts 1 & 2 Julie White, Airline Highway Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical Christian Borle, Something Rotten! Peter Friedman, Fly By Night Josh Grisetti, It Shoulda Been You Andy Karl, On the Twentieth Century Leslie Odom Jr., Hamilton Brad Oscar, Something Rotten! Max von Essen, An American in Paris Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical Carolee Carmello, Finding Neverland Tyne Daly, It Shoulda Been You Elizabeth A. Davis, Allegro Renee Elise Goldsberry, Hamilton Luba Mason, Pretty Filthy Nancy Opel, Honeymoon in Vegas Elizabeth Stanley, On the Town    Outstanding Director of a Play Marianne Elliott, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time Jeremy Herrin, Wolf Hall, Parts 1 & 2 Anne Kauffman, You Got Older Lila Neugebauer, The Wayside Motor Inn Austin Pendleton, Between Riverside and Crazy Joe Tantalo, Deliverance John Tiffany, Let the Right One In Outstanding Director of a Musical Carolyn Cantor, Fly By Night Bill Condon, Side Show John Doyle, The Visit Thomas Kail, Hamilton Casey Nicholaw, Something Rotten! Christopher Wheeldon, An American in Paris Outstanding Choreography Joshua Bergasse, On the Town Warren Carlyle, On the Twentieth Century Steven Hoggett, The Last Ship Austin McCormick, Rococo Rouge Casey Nicholaw, Something Rotten Christopher Wheeldon, An American in Paris Outstanding Music Jason Robert Brown, Honeymoon in Vegas Michael Friedman, The Fortress of Solitude John Kander, The Visit Dave Malloy, Ghost Quartet Lin-Manuel Miranda, Hamilton Sting, The Last Ship Outstanding Lyrics Jason Robert Brown, Honeymoon in Vegas Fred Ebb, The Visit Michael Friedman, The Fortress of Solitude Karey Kirkpatrick & Wayne Kirkpatrick, Something Rotten! Lin-Manuel Miranda, Hamilton Benjamin Scheuer, The Lion Outstanding Book of a Musical Hunter Bell & Lee Overtree, Found Karey Kirkpatrick & John O’Farrell, Something Rotten! Craig Lucas, An American in Paris Terence McNally, The Visit Lin-Manuel Miranda, Hamilton Kim Rosenstock, Will Connolly, & Michael Mitnick, Fly By Night Outstanding Orchestrations Christopher Austin, An American in Paris Mary-Mitchell Campbell, Allegro Larry Hochman, Something Rotten! Alex Lacamoire, Hamilton Rob Mathes, The Last Ship Don Sebesky, Larry Blank, Jason Robert Brown, & Charlie Rosen, Honeymoon in Vegas Outstanding Music in a Play Cesar Alvarez, An Octoroon Danny Blackburn & Bryce Hodgson, Deliverance Sean Cronin, Kill Me Like You Mean It Bongi Duma, Generations Freddi Price, The Pigeoning Arthur Solari & Jane Shaw, Tamburlaine the Great Outstanding Revue Forbidden Broadway Comes Out Swinging! Just Jim Dale Lennon: Through a Glass Onion Lonesome Traveler Outstanding Set Design Bob Crowley, An American in Paris Christine Jones, Let The Right One In David Korins, Hamilton Mimi Lien, An Octoroon Scott Pask, The Visit Daniel Zimmerman, Fashions for Men Outstanding Costume Design Bob Crowley, An American in Paris Bob Crowley, The Audience Christopher Oram, Wolf Hall, Parts 1 & 2 Paul Tazewell, Hamilton Andrea Varga, The Fatal Weakness Catherine Zuber, Gigi Outstanding Lighting Design Howell Binkley, Hamilton Paule Constable, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time Paule Constable & David Plater, Wolf Hall, Parts 1 & 2 Maruti Evans, Deliverance Natasha Katz, The Iceman Cometh Ben Stanton, Our Lady of Kibeho Outstanding Projection Design 59 Productions, An American in Paris Roger Hanna & Price Johnston, Donogoo Darrel Maloney, Found Peter Nigrini, Our Lady of Kibeho Finn Ross, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time Austin Switser, Big Love Outstanding Sound Design in a Musical Peter Hylenski, Side Show Scott Lehrer, The King & I Scott Lehrer & Drew Levy, Honeymoon in Vegas Brian Ronan, The Last Ship Nevin Steinberg, Hamilton Jon Weston, An American in Paris   Outstanding Sound Design in a Play Nathan Davis, The Other Mozart Ien Denio, Deliverance Ian Dickinson (for Autograph), The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time Gareth Fry, Let the Right One In John Gromada, Lives of the Saints Matt Tierney, Our Lady of Kibeho Outstanding Solo Performance Christina Bianco, Application Pending Jonny Donahoe, Every Brilliant Thing Tom Dugan, Wiesenthal Mona Golabek, The Pianist of Willesden Lane Joely Richardson, The Belle of Amherst Benjamin Scheuer, The Lion Unique Theatrical Experience Catch Me! Everybody Gets Cake The Human Symphony Queen of the Night A Rap Guide to Religion Special Awards: Each year, the Drama Desk votes special awards to recognize excellence and significant contributions to the theatre.   For 2014-15, these awards are: This year the nominators chose to bestow a special award for outstanding ensemble to the actors who so brilliantly shared a room in the world of A. R. Gurney’s The Wayside Motor Inn: Kelly AuCoin, Jon DeVries, Quincy Dunn-Baker, Rebecca Henderson, Marc Kudisch, Jenn Lyon, Lizbeth Mackay, David McElwee, Ismenia Mendes, and Will Pullen. To Bess Wohl, the Sam Norkin Off-Broadway Award: For establishing herself as an important voice in New York theater, and having a breakthrough year with the eclecticAmerican Hero, Pretty Filthy, and Small Mouth Sounds. Her writing expresses sensitivity, compassion, and humor with a sure hand. To John Douglas Thompson: For invigorating theater in New York through his commanding presence, classical expertise, and vocal prowess.  This season he demonstrated exceptional versatility in Tamburlaine the Great, and The Iceman Cometh. To Ensemble Studio Theatre: For its unwavering commitment to producing new works by American playwrights since 1968, and enriching this season with productions of When January Feels Like Summer, Winners, and Five Times in One Night. EST’s Youngblood program fostered and nurtured Hand to God, setting Tyrone off on his devilish path to Broadway.              To Andy Blankenbuehler: For his inspired and heart-stopping choreography in Hamilton, which is indispensible to the musical’s storytelling. His body of work is versatile, yet a dynamic and fluid style is consistently evident. When it’s time to “take his shot,” Blankenbuehler hits the bull’s-eye.   Note: Eligibility and award category designations for the productions under consideration this season were determined by the Drama Desk Board of Directors. Because of the abundance of work throughout the season, the Board also authorized increasing the number of nominees allowed in select categories.   Hand to God was considered in the 2011/2012 season in its first production at Ensemble Studio Theatre. New elements were considered in the MCC production in the 2013/2014 season. There were no new elements in the Broadway transfer.   Fun Home was considered in its run at the Public Theatre in the 2013/2014 season. It received nominations for Outstanding Musical, Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical, Outstanding Director of a Musical, Outstanding Music, Outstanding Lyrics and Outstanding Book of a Musical.   Disgraced was considered in its Off-Broadway premiere at Lincoln Center in the 2012/2013 season, and only new actors and technical staff were eligible in the Broadway transfer.   The 39 Steps was considered in its initial Broadway production in the 2007/2008 season and won for Unique Theatrical Experience.   Nominations by Numbers   13        Hamilton 12        An American in Paris 9          Something Rotten! 7          The Visit 6          The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time 5          Honeymoon in Vegas 5          Side Show 5          Wolf Hall 4          Deliverance 4          Fly by Night 4          The Last Ship 4          Let the Right One In 4          On the 20th Century 4          You Got Older 2          Airline Highway 3          Between Riverside/Crazy 3          The City of Conversation 3          It Shoulda Been You 3          On the Town 3          Our Lady of Kibeho 2          Allegro 2          The Audience 2          The Elephant Man 2          Fashions for Men 2          The Fatal Weakness 2          Finding Neverland 2          The Fortress of Solitude 2          Found 2          The Iceman Cometh 2          The King and I 2          The Lion 2          My Mañana Comes 2          Pretty Filthy 2          Tamburlaine the Great 2          The Wayside Motor Inn 2          You Can’t Take It With You 1          Application Pending 1          Atomic 1          The Belle of Amherst 1          Big Love 1          Catch Me! 1          Donagoo 1          Everybody Gets Cake 1          Every Brilliant Thing 1          Forbidden Broadway Comes Out Swinging! 1          Generations 1          Ghost Quartet 1          Ghosts 1          Gigi 1          I’m Gonna Pray for You So Hard 1          The Human Symphony 1          Into the Woods 1          It’s Only a Play 1          John & Jen 1          Just Jim Dale 1          Lennon: Through a Glass Onion 1          Lonesome Traveler 1          Kill Me Like You Mean It 1          Lives of the Saints 1          An Octoroon 1          The Other Mozart 1          Pageant 1          The Pianist of Willesden Lane 1          The Pigeoning 1          Pocatello 1          Queen of the Night 1          The Rap Guide to Religion 1          Rasheeda Speaking 1          Rocket to the Moon 1          Rococo Rouge 1          Skylight 1          Sticks and Bones 1          To the Bone 1          The Village Bike 1          A Walk in the Woods 1          Wiesenthal  

Jessie Mueller a Former Drama Desk Winners(and Tony winners, too) looked lovely and elegant in complementary shades of blue.(see picture below). And Mueller, looking every each the poised and coiffed star that she has become, enthused, “It’s so exciting sitting in the audience instead of being on stage and seeing all these wonderful plays and musicals. Each one so different from the others. It’s thrilling. I love it!”

 Jessie & Judith

Could “Wolf Hall Pts 1 & 2” Win All the Tonys???

Could the astoundingly popular British six-hour smash hit “Wolf Hall Pts. 1 & 2” win all the Tonys it’s sure to be nominated for in less than two weeks? It certainly could. It’s massive length, and its massive cast of nearly two dozen imported Royal Shakespearean actors is based on the equally massively successful and acclaimed novels by Dame Hilary Mantel.Wolf Hall 1 TONY 2015 1“Wolf Hall” and its’ successor “Bring In the Bodies” BOTH won the prestigious Mann Booker awards in Britain. And though you would think the six-hour long marathon length would daunt theater-goers, it was a success in Stratford-Upon-Avon, where it appropriately started, then in the West End, when it transferred, and now on Broadway,

Anglophiles seem to be coming out of the wood-work lapping it up as a day well-spent time-travelling to the uttterly corrupt court of King Henry VIII. It has already been adapted into a critically acclaimed hit by Mike Poulton at London’s Royal Shakespeare Company, and its current Broadway transfer has grossed almost $2 million in previews since March 20; it opened April 9. And the novels themselves have sold over three million copies world-wide

It’s also currently airing on PBS starring Mark Rylance as Thomas Cromwell, here the protagonist. With overwhelming stats like these, I think it’s going to get nominated for every Tony Award in the book. Including and especially  Best New Play, Best Actor (Ben Miles ~ Thomas Cromwell), Best Supporting Actress (Lydia Leonard ~ Anne Boleyn) and Best Supporting Actor (Nathaniel Parker ~ King Henry VIII) and you can throw in Best Director, and all the technical awards, too.

I wasn’t sure about this  TONY sweep happening, although all my critical colleagues were throwing their hats very high into the air with the best reviews of the season, until I saw a 90 minute Q&A at the New School’s auditorium in Greenwich Village.

Hosted by the jovial and expert Richard Ridge, Parker, Miles and Ms. Leonard utterly charmed and beguiled me, as they participated in this, one of the best symposiums I’ve ever attended. Hosted by SAG and Broadwayworld.com, the Tudor trio & Ridge created what was one of the most delightful afternoons chats I’ve ever been witness to.

Also invited were Drama Desk members, and all were thrilled by what they were hearing as Parker, Miles and Ms. Leonard regalled us with a totally complete picture of just how “Wolf Hall” transformed into  two stage plays from those very thick British novels.

And all three were unstinting in their generosity in their replies to Ridge’s apt questions. They were three actors talking from their hearts to an audience full of actors(The Screen Actors Guild) and they couldn’t’ve been more charming, intelligent, completely forthcoming and utterly winning.

Ben Miles, Lydia Leonard and Nathaniel Parker may have arrived here as virtual strangers on our shores, but they are going to leave nominated for every acting award they’ll be eligible for. The Drama Desk and the Tonys all announce their choices within the next two weeks. I can’t wait!

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Steven Lutvak & Robert L. Freedman Winners of the Drama Desk Awards for Best Lyrics & Best Book for “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder”

And here’s my Tony Predictions Part three. Where I show you my interview with the super talented creators of “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder” Composer Steven Lutvak, who won Best Lyrics at the Drama Desk and Robert L. Freedman who won for Best Book. They co-wrote the lyrics. And for the Tonys, I predict they could win across all these categories, too!

However, there’s the closed show “Bridges of Madison County” which won Best Music.

The Tony voters differ from the Drama Deskers in that they like to give their awards to shows THAT ARE STILL RUNNING. Which “A Gentleman’s Guide…” still is and getting bigger and bigger at the Box-Office all the time.

Jonathan Tunick, a legendary Orchestrator, could also win for “Best Orchestrations” continuing the “Gentleman’s Guide…” sweep.

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TONY Awards Predictions! Part One

TONY Awards Predictions! Part One

Dear readers, dear cineastes, dear lovers of theatre, it’s FINALLY that time of year again! The Tony Awards are upon us! Tomorrow night at 8pm on CBS! Can’t hardly wait!

And who’s going to win? Well, in a very competitive year, some awards have turned into slam dunks already on the awards circuit, and some, a few, well, maybe only one, are up in the air.

The undecided winner is going to be a real nail-biter, because it’s also the last award of the night. A very LONNNNG night for the nervous nominees.

And that of course would be Best Musical. The one Tony award that really carries real box-office clout. And that is a down to a photo finish between “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder” which has the leading number of nominations with 10.

And it’s main and very threatening competitor is “Beautiful: The Carole King Musical.”

If we were to go, like we Oscarologists always do, by the precursor awards, IOW, the other relevant awards that occur BEFORE the Tonys themselves, I would have to say it going to be “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder”. It won the Outer Critics Circle Award and also the prestigious Drama Desk Award. And it lead the Drama Desks with seven wins just this past Sunday.

So it’s all over in the category. Isn’t it? Well, no.

The OCC and the DD as they are abbreviated are voted on solely by press and critics. And a few years back, the Tonys dumped nearly all their critical, review-writing journalistic members. And now their membership of nearly 800, consists mainly of Broadway producers. And their mind-set is very, very different from that of the critics, who they rightly or wrongly consider their adversaries.

And pundits keep mentioning that frightening one hundred or so stat that represents the road producers. They are the members who are scattered across the country and whose houses host Broadway shows that are touring the country.

The received wisdom is that they might favor a show that would be easier to tour. Hence the rise of “Beautiful:The Carole King Musical” in pundit consideration. It is a great show. And you are ALREADY humming the music BEFORE you go in, because they are all the great songs that one of America’s greatest song-writers, Carole King wtote.

We grew up on these songs. Well, I did anyway, and I love them all. It’s perhaps the greatest juke-box musical ever written. Or it’s right up their with “Jersey Boys,” the most successful juke-box musical of all time that is soon to be a Clint Eastwood directed film, opening in two weeks.

So, will familiarity trump orginality? “A Gentleman’s Guide…” is a totally original work, although iit is based, somewhat, on the great Alec Guiness movie “Kind Hearts and Coronets.” I love that movie. And I love “A Gentleman’s Guide…” I voted for it. And think the Tony voters are going to honor it, too.

It may even sweep. I think, like at the Drama Desk Awards, it will win Best Director of a Musical, the wildly inventive Darko Tresnjak, who also incidentally won the Drama Desk Award.

I had the honor of interviewing Mr. Tresnjak, and also his collaborators in ” Love and Murder” Steven Lutvak, who won Best Lyrics at the Drama Desk. Along with his co-lyricist Robert L. Freedman. In Parts Two and Three of my Tony predictions on this blog, I’m going to post the interviews I just did with all three at the various Drama Desk festivities. Stay tuned!

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Bryce Pinkham, the Gentleman of ” A Gentleman’s Guide…”

The super-hot new leading man/matinee idol on Broadway this season is Bryce Pinkham, the titular gentleman of “A Gentleman Guide to Love and Murder”, which just won 7 Drama Desk Awards drops by “The Stephen Holt Show” at the Drama Desk Awards themselves. Bryce is nice. No really, he is not anything like the villainous characters he has played on Broadway in “Ghost” and now the kinder, gentler semi-villain, semi-hero of “A Gentleman’s Guide…” which has earned him a Tony nomination for Best Actor in a Musical. He talks about this and his background as a graduate of the Yale School of Drama.

Videography ~ Jack Siberine

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Drama Desk Award Predictions

Drama Desk Award Predicitons

Yes, the Drama Desk Awards are coming up fast! They are handed out on June 1 next Sunday at Town Hall.

And here are my intrepid predictions! I think critic’s fave “A Gentlemen’s Guide to Love and Valor” (pictured above ^) Will sweep and get the Best Musical Award and all the others in that musical category. Best Music, Best Lyrics, Best Book, Best Orchestrations(the great Jonathan Tunick, natch.)

And in the hardest fought battle Best Actor in a Musical, I think the Drama Desk-ers being all critics are going to also choose actor’s actor Jefferson Mays for his eight(or nine) roles in “A Gentlemen’s Guide…” over the much more famous Neil Patrick Harris in “Hedwig and the Angry Inch.” Though when the Tonys come up the following week, we could see this reversed.

“Hedwig” will get Best Revival of a Musical. And I think “All the Way” though I LOATHED it myself will get Best Play. THREE HOURS OF HAM! I mean, I like ham. But THREE HOURS!?!?

However, I think the Drama Desk-ers will vote for it. Though something less known might surprise here. It could be anything, if it’s not the obvious Tony front-runner.

Best Actor in a Play will PROBABLY be Bryan Cranston in “All the Way” as LBJ. Another Tony front-runner. Chris O’Dowd in “Of Mice and Men” could be the surprise upset here. And this would REALLY be a surprise.

Best Actress in a Play may very well go to Tyne Daly for “Mothers and Sons”. Though with Audra McDonald in this category, too, it could be Audra. Though the Drama Desk-ers, being all critics through and through. and sticklers for detail, may balk at the Five-Time Tony Winner being put in this category though she sings an endless amount of memorable period songs. Audra won the Outer Critics Circle but she was in Best Actress in A Musical there, not Best Actress in a Play.

Best Actress in a Musical will also be Tony front-runner Jessie Mueller for “Beautiful:The Carole King Musical” where she’s amazingly effective as the ugly ducking who becomes a swan/superstar.

Best Revival of a Play will be “Twelfth Night.” It’s no longer running, but that won’t bother the Drama Desk-ers, who don’t take that into consideration, the way the Tony voters do.

Best Revue will be “After Midnight.”

The Drama Desk Awards are the only awards in all of theater, let it be said, that honor Broadway, Off-Broadway and Off-Off Broadway equally, on an even playing field.

And the prestige of these awards has increased since the press are no long allowed to vote for the Tony Awards!

Drama Desk Award Nominations Announced!

The Drama Desk Award Nominations for 2014 were announced this morning at 54 Below. Fran Drescher(of all people!) was the perfect wake-up cup of entertainment coffee as she rasped out the many, many nominees and didn’t once mispronounce  any Adele Dazeems. Or at least I think she didn’t.

The Drama Desks are considered the most prestigious theater awards of the season because they  are the only awards-giving body to consider Broadway, Off-Broadway and Off-Off Broadway on an equal playing field. They are also only voted on by members of the press.

A Gentlemen’s Guide to Love and Murder received the most nominations -11.

The nominations for the 59th Annual Drama Desk Awards are:

 Outstanding Play

Nell Benjamin, The Explorers Club 
Steven Levenson, Core Values
Conor McPherson, The Night Alive 
Richard Nelson, Regular Singing
Bruce Norris, Domesticated
Robert Schenkkan, All The Way
John Patrick Shanley, Outside Mullingar

Outstanding Musical
A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder 
Aladdin
Beautiful: The Carole King Musical
Fun Home

Love’s Labour’s Lost
Rocky
The Bridges of Madison County

Outstanding Revival of a Play
I Remember Mama
London Wall
No Man’s Land
Of Mice and Men
The Cripple of Inishmaan 

The Model Apartment 
Twelfth Night (Shakespeare’s Globe Production)

Outstanding Revival of a Musical
Hedwig and the Angry Inch 
Les Misérables
Violet

Outstanding Actor in a Play
Bryan Cranston, All The Way
Hamish Linklater, The Comedy of Errors
Ian McKellen, No Man’s Land
David Morse, The Unavoidable Disappearance of Tom Durnin 
Chris O’Dowd, Of Mice and Men
Daniel Radcliffe, The Cripple of Inishmaan
Denzel Washington, A Raisin in the Sun

Outstanding Actress in a Play
Barbara Andres, I Remember Mama
Tyne Daly, Mothers and Sons
Audra McDonald, Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill 
Laurie Metcalf, Domesticated
J. Smith-Cameron, Juno and the Paycock
Harriet Walter, Julius Caesar

Outstanding Actor in a Musical
Neil Patrick Harris, Hedwig and the Angry Inch
Adam Jacobs, Aladdin
Andy Karl, Rocky
Jefferson Mays, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder 
Steven Pasquale, The Bridges of Madison County
Bryce Pinkham, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder

Outstanding Actress in a Musical
Sutton Foster, Violet
Idina Menzel, If/Then
Jessie Mueller, Beautiful: The Carole King Musical 
Kelli O’Hara, The Bridges of Madison County 
Margo Seibert, Tamar of the River
Barrett Wilbert Weed, Heathers: The Musical

Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play
Reed Birney, Casa Valentina
Chuck Cooper, Choir Boy
Peter Maloney, Outside Mullingar 
Bobby Moreno, Year of the Rooster 
Bill Pullman, The Jacksonian
Brian J. Smith, The Glass Menagerie

Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play
Betty Buckley, The Old Friends
Julia Coffey, London Wall
Diane Davis, The Model Apartment
Celia Keenan-Bolger, The Glass Menagerie 
Jan Maxwell, The Castle
Sophie Okonedo, A Raisin in the Sun

Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical
Danny Burstein, Cabaret
Nick Cordero, Bullets Over Broadway: The Musical 
Joshua Henry, Violet
James Monroe Iglehart, Aladdin
Rory O’Malley, Nobody Loves You
Bobby Steggert, Big Fish

Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical
Stephanie J. Block, Little Miss Sunshine
Anika Larsen, Beautiful: The Carole King Musical
Adriane Lenox, After Midnight
Sydney Lucas, Fun Home
Laura Osnes, The Threepenny Opera
Jennifer Simard, Disaster!
Lauren Worsham, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder

Outstanding Director of a Play
Joe Calarco, A Christmas Carol 
Tim Carroll, Twelfth Night 
Thomas Kail, Family Furniture 
Bill Rauch, All The Way
Anna D. Shapiro, Domesticated
Julie Taymor, A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Outstanding Director of a Musical
Sam Gold, Fun Home
Michael Mayer, Hedwig and the Angry Inch
Bartlett Sher, The Bridges of Madison County
Susan Stroman, Bullets Over Broadway: The Musical 
Alex Timbers, Rocky
Darko Tresnjak, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder

Outstanding Choreography
Warren Carlyle, After Midnight
Steven Hoggett, Kelly Devine, Rocky
Danny Mefford, Love’s Labour’s Lost
Casey Nicholaw, Aladdin
Susan Stroman, Bullets Over Broadway: The Musical 
Sonya Tayeh, Kung Fu

Outstanding Music
Jason Robert Brown, The Bridges of Madison County 
Andrew Lippa, Big Fish
Steven Lutvak, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder 
Alan Menken, Aladdin
Kevin Murphy and Laurence O’Keefe, Heathers: The Musical 
Jeanine Tesori, Fun Home

Outstanding Lyrics
Howard Ashman, Tim Rice, and Chad Beguelin, Aladdin
Jason Robert Brown, The Bridges of Madison County
Robert L. Freedman and Steven Lutvak, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder 
Michael Friedman, Love’s Labour’s Lost
Michael Korie, Far from Heaven
Lisa Kron, Fun Home

Outstanding Book of a Musical
Chad Beguelin, Aladdin
Robert L. Freedman, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder 
Joe Kinosian, Murder for Two
Lisa Kron, Fun Home
Douglas McGrath, Beautiful: The Carole King Musical 
Marsha Norman, The Bridges of Madison County

Outstanding Orchestrations
Jason Robert Brown, The Bridges of Madison County 
John Clancy, Fun Home
Larry Hochman, Big Fish
Steve Sidwell, Beautiful: The Carole King Musical 
Michael Starobin, If/Then
Jonathan Tunick, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder

Outstanding Music in a Play
Lewis Flinn, The Tribute Artist
Elliot Goldenthal, A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Rob Kearns, The Life and Sort of Death of Eric Argyle 
Tom Kochan, Almost, Maine
Nico Muhly, The Glass Menagerie
Duncan Sheik, A Man’s a Man

Outstanding Revue
After Midnight
I’m a Stranger Here Myself: Musik from the Weimar and Beyond 

Le Jazz Hot: How the French Saved Jazz
Til Divorce Do Us Part
What’s It All About? Bacharach Reimagined

Outstanding Set Design
Christopher Barreca, Rocky
Alexander Dodge, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder 
Richard Hoover, Small Engine Repair
Santo Loquasto, Bullets Over Broadway: The Musical
Ian MacNeil, A Doll’s House
Donyale Werle, The Explorers Club

Outstanding Costume Design
Constance Hoffman, A Midsummer Night’s Dream 
William Ivey Long, Bullets Over Broadway: The Musical 
Zane Pihlstrom, Nutcracker Rouge
Loren Shaw, The Mysteries
Jenny Tiramani, Twelfth Night
David C. Woolard, The Heir Apparent

Outstanding Lighting Design
Christopher Akerlind, Rocky 
Jane Cox, Machinal
David Lander, The Civil War 
Peter Mumford, King Lear 
Brian Tovar, Tamar of the River 
Japhy Weideman, Macbeth

Outstanding Projection Design
Robert Massicotte and Alexis Laurence, Cirkopolis 
Sven Ortel, A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Aaron Rhyne, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder 
Shawn Sagady, All The Way
Austin Switser, Sontag: Reborn Ben Rubin, Arguendo

Outstanding Sound Design in a Musical
Kai Harada, Fun Home
Peter Hylenski, Bullets Over Broadway: The Musical
Peter Hylenski, Rocky
Brian Ronan, Beautiful: The Carole King Musical
Dan Moses Schreier, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder 
Jon Weston, The Bridges of Madison County

Outstanding Sound Design in a Play
M.L. Dogg, The Open House
Katie Down, The Golden Dragon
Paul James Prendergast, All The Way 
Dan Moses Schreier, Act One 
Christopher Shutt, Love and Information 
Matt Tierney, Machinal

Outstanding Solo Performance
David Barlow, This is My Office
Jim Brochu, Character Man
Hannah Cabell, Grounded
Debra Jo Rupp, Becoming Dr. Ruth
Ruben Santiago-Hudson, August Wilson’s How I Learned What I Learned 
John Douglas Thompson, Satchmo at the Waldorf

Unique Theatrical Experience
Charlatan Cirkopolis
Mother Africa
Nothing to Hide
Nutcracker Rouge

The Complete and Condensed Stage Directions of Eugene O’Neill Vol. 2

PRODUCTIONS WITH MULTIPLE NOMINATIONS:
12 A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder 
9 The Bridges of Madison County
8 Fun Home
7 Aladdin

7 Rocky
6 Beautiful: The Carole King Musical 

6 Bullets Over Broadway: The Musical
5 All The Way
4 A Midsummer Night’s Dream
3 After Midnight
3 Big Fish
3 Domesticated
3 Hedwig and the Angry Inch
3 London Wall
3 Love’s Labour’s Lost
3 The Glass Menagerie
3 Twelfth Night 
(Shakespeare’s Globe Production)
3 Violet
2 A Raisin in the Sun
2 Cirkopolis
2 Heathers: The Musical
2 I Remember Mama
2 If/Then
2 Machinal
2 No Man’s Land
2 Nutcracker Rouge
2 Of Mice and Men
2 Outside Mullingar
2 Tamar of the River
2 The Cripple of Inishmaan
2 The Explorers Club
2 The Model Apartment

Special Awards: Each year, the Drama Desk votes special awards to recognize excellence and significant contributions to the theatre.

For 2013-2014, these awards are:

To Soho Rep: For nearly four decades of artistic distinction, innovative production, and provocative play selection.
To Veanne Cox: For her ability to express the eccentricities, strengths, and vulnerabilities of a range of characters, and notably for her comedic flair as evidenced in this season’s The Old Friends and The Most Deserving.
To Ed Sylvanus Iskandar, the Sam Norkin Off-Broadway Award: For his visionary directorial excellence. This season’s The Golden Dragon andThe Mysteries exemplify his bold and strikingly original imagination.
To the ensembles of Off-Broadway’s The Open House and Broadway’sThe Realistic Joneses and to the creator of both plays, Will Eno: For two extraordinary casts and one impressively inventive playwright.
The Open House: Hannah Bos, Michael Countryman, Peter Friedman Danny McCarthy, and Carolyn McCormick
The Realistic Joneses: Toni Collette, Michael C. Hall, Tracy Letts and Marisa Tomei

A few notes from the Drama Desk: “As the current revival of Cabaretreplicates the 1998 production, the Board deemed the show ineligible in the Outstanding Revival of a Musical category, as were performers, creative team members, and technical personnel associated with the earlier incarnation in their respective categories. Soul Doctor was considered for its Off-Broadway production in the 2012-13 season. Under Drama Desk rules, only new elements in its transfer to Broadway were eligible this season. Finally, Billy Crystal’s 700 Sundays was deemed ineligible because it was a return engagement of the 2005 Drama Desk winning show.”

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Drama Desk Award Winners! “Matilda”, “Vanya and Sonia…” and “Pippin”

Well, the Drama Desk Awards are FINALLY over! Just finished at Town Hall at an unbelievable four hours in length! That’s without commercials! 

That’s just how long it takes and its’ unfortunate that by the end of the fourth hour everybody and his mother are all getting very, very tired of the onstage band playing “Ask Me How Do I Feel?” over and over and over again until you could scream.

But since this is not a televised event(although this year you could watch live online at theatermania.com) nobody’s going to put the brakes on it. 

The last presenters, the always too= loud Beth Leavel and a sleepy looking Brian Stokes Mitchell, looked like they had just rolled out of bed to announce —wait for it—the last THREE winners! This was at like 10:45 pm or so EST. And it started at EIGHT! It’s as long as the Oscars!

Two of the last awards of the lonnnng night, Best Lyrics and Best Musical went to “Matilda”! Yea! And Bertie Carvel also won for his frighteningly brilliant hammer-thrower from hell, Miss Agatha Trunchbull, in the Outstanding Featured Actor category. For the Tonys next month he’s in lead and he’ll win there, too, I’m predicting it right now!  Bertie FTW!

“Matilda” also won for Best Book. Playwright Terence McNally was a bit flummoxed when nobody accepted the award and was about to move on to the next one, when British director Matthew Warchus bounded up onstage to accept it for the absent Dennis Kelly, who is, of course, back home in Blighty. Ditto Best Set went to “Matilda” and that made by my count, five, and made “Matilda” the biggest winner of the evening. Warchus also accepted Best Lyrics for the absent Tim Minchin.

Warchus quipped “I have to keep accepting awards for every category and
not my own!” He surprisingly lost Best Director of a Muscial to Diane Paulus for the explosive combination of circus and music and dance that is “Pippin.”

So I’m happy for the “Matilda” crew. As you all know, dear readers, dear lovers of theater that I know you all are, that was my best of the best-ties this year.

I was also happy for the wonderful Jayne Houdyshell, who got a career achievement award, and gave a very touching, elegant acceptance speech. It seemed like she got a standing ovation. Well, it was a very LOUD,long ovation. 

Cicely Tyson who won Outstanding Actress in a Play, won for “The Trip to Bountiful” DID get a standing ovation. And she had to be helped on to the stage and then bowed low and graciously to the audience. Something I’d never seen before. And she certainly deserved it.

She thanked the late playwright Horton Foote, who is finally having the success on Broadway that eluded him all his life. 

“Pippin” came in second with four awards for Best Revival of a Musical, Best Director and Choreography, and the astounding Andrea Martin deservedly won Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical.

“Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike” won Best Play for a white-haired Christopher Durang, who claimed “This was my OLD play.” and that the stairs leading up to the stage “were the most stairs I’ve climbed in ages.”

I am going to cut to the case and just say that in the coming days, you will be seeing on this blog the nominees who went on to win tonight. 

I can’t wait to bring you Michael Urie, who best solo performance over Bette Middler! No! I’m not kidding! And I loved Bette in “I’ll Eat You Last” but she’s going home with only a Drama Desk Nomination. She was famously snubbed by the Tonys.I have always ADORED Bette and I feel awful for her. She’s BRILLLLLIANT in “Eat You”

Also coming to you right here is Jayne Houdyshell, and also Laura Osnes who won Best Actress in a Musical for “Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella”(Yes, that’s the official title) and also Tim Michin who as I said won big tonight for “Matilda” and who was present and accounted for at the Drama Desk Nominee Reception, which is beginning to appear on my You Tube Channel as you’re reading this. You’ll also see winners Judith Light for “Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play”, “The Assembled Parties” and Richard Kind for “Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play,” “The Big Knife.”

My show is at http://www.youtube.com/StephenHoltShow

And all the winners should soon be up on http://www.dramadeskawards.com and also on http://www.theatermania.com.

Stay tuned!

 

 

“Hands on a Hard Body” a Warm-hearted Musical Hits Home

I really did enjoy the recently opened “Hands on a Hard Body” the surprising, innovative musical hit that just opened on Broadway starring one of my favorite Bway actor/singers Hunter Foster. Yes, THAT Hunter Foster, who is the very, very talented older brother of the much more famous Sutton Foster, she who has now two Tonys and Hunter doesn’t even have one!

Hunter does however have a Tony nomination for “Little Shop of Horrors.”

Perhaps the super-duper “Hands on a Hard Body” will change all that. Certainly, it COULD. Hunter has the role of his career here playing the much-older-than-he-is, bad-ass, red-neck lead Benny Perkins.

Based on a much-respected but little-seen real-life documentary of the same name, “Hands on a Hard Body” traces the journeys of its’ dozen or so working class Texan characters, who have accepted the daunting challenge of standing with their hands on the hard body of a brand spanking new, gleaming, red as rose Nissan pick-up truck. Whoever can last the longest, in this rather unbelievable, but true competition wins the truck. And hopefully a bigger piece of the American pie, than all of them presently have.

Yes, a cast of have-nots, singing their Country and Western hearts out, to the tune of our sluggish economy and the stagnant social mobility that used be the American Dream.

Contempo, yes, to the max. But I liked that. And I REALLY liked all these characters, and their elucidation musically by Trey Anatasio (of “Phish”) and Amanda Green. And literarily by Pultizer-Prize winning librettist Doug Wright. Who wrote “I Am My Own Wife”. I liked this MUCH better than “Wife”, and was so pleased that there were relatable characters of all ages, sizes and genders singing their hillbilly hearts out.

The way the Musical Numbers are listed in the maddening program, without the names of the characters or actors who are singing them, it’s hard to single out just who sang what. But I found much to my delight(and hopefully yours, too) that every song was a winner.

Hunter Foster really dominates here and I wouldn’t be surprised if he did receive a Tony and/or Drama Desk nomination for his memorable meanie, whose big number was certainly “Hunt with the Big Dogs”, which ended the first act with a BANG! But he also sang many other terrific tunes, too.

Top-tapping music and amazingly interesting choreography by Sergio Trujillo kept “Hard Body” (and the red truck, too!) moving so much that you never noticed its’ seemingly static premise. Kudos are due, too, to its’ sharp director Neil Pepe.

Particularly so during Hawaiian belter Keala Settle’s roof-rasing “Joy of the Lord” which had the larger than life Ms. Settle pounding away on the truck until it turned it into a percussive instrument! Tony/Drama Desk and more nominations are CERTAINLY headed her way for Best Featured Actress in a Musical.

Giving her a run for her awards’ money in that category will be Dale Soules, whose Texas rasp, made me feel like she had just wandered in from the Grand Ole Opry, instead of an extensive career in theater.Her big number was “It’s a Fix!”

Also registering powerfully were Jon Rua as born-in-the-USA hispanic kid with a dream who wants to win the truck, so he can sell it and he can go to school and be a veterinarian. His soulful “Born in Loredo” is marvelously moving and mesmerizing. As is the Iraq war vet with PTSS, David Larsen,in his “Alone with Me” solo that also brings down the house. As do they all.

I love that a Broadway musical takes risks like “Hands on a Hard-Body” does. And reaches and fulfills them. I hope audiences find it as enjoyable and moving as I did!

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