Hamilton wins Six Awards & Outstanding New Musical at the 60th Annual Drama Desk Awards.
By: Patrick Christiano
The 2015 Drama Desk Awards were announced in a ceremony at The Town Hall on Sunday evening where two popular shows, the new musical Hamilton and the new play The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, dominated the proceedings winning seven and six awards respectively, as well as outstanding musical and outstanding play. The evening hosted for the second consecutive year by Laura Benanti, the immensely talented two- time Drama Desk winner, who was a charming self deprecating host that can do almost anything and looks great in the process.
There were no real surprises in the well paced ceremony that included performances from nominated shows and produced only one other multiple winner, An American in ParIs, that scored 4 awards for outstanding choreography, orchestrations, set design, and costumes. Christian Borle – one of the evening’s early winners for outstanding featured Actor in a musical for Something Rotten! said "I feel a little bit overwhelmed …this is like the icing on the cake and a nice surprise.
Other popular winners bubbling with enthusiasm were Renee Elise Goldberry, who flew in from Hilton Head just for the evening, winning outstanding featured actress in a musical, Annaleigh Ashford, who played the young ballerina in the revival of You Can’t Take It Wi
th You, and K. Todd Freeman, who played the drag queen in Airline Highway. Ashford expressed what an honor to be included in such company and thanked her husband for holding her heart and hand. K. T Freeman said "Joe Mantello!Joe Mantello,!Joe Mantello…"
Tony Award winner and two-time Drama Desk winnerJefferson Mays presented the outstanding actor in a play to an astonished Alex Sharp, who was a favorite, for his performance in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. Sharp said "Oh my God, thank you so much. Oh wow! There are so many people to thank…" He was a delight in the press room making the rounds and chatting with everyone.
The highlight in the press room, however, and the evening’s biggest ovation was for the darling Kristin Chenoweth, who won outstanding actress in a musical for her dynamic performance of the glamorous film star Lily Garland in the Roundabout revival of On the Twentieth Century. Radiant in pink after her win, the star posed tirelessly for the begging photographers before she was whisked her off to the party next door, where she stayed briefly enjoying the moment.
Oscar winning film and
stage star Helen Mirren took home outstanding Actress in a play for her remarkable performance of Queen Elizabeth II in The Audience. Besides being elegant and gracious on stage accepting her honor by thanking the people in the audience "for giving me the creative juice…" she added, "the variety here on stage tonight is astounding! This means so much to me." In the press room she seemed genuinely moved and impressed by the authenticity of the awards noting the Drama Desk’s love of the theater saying "This is the real thing!"
As expected Lin-Manuel Miranda picked up three awards for Outstanding music, book, and lyrics for is "revolutionary" rap musical Hamilton that originated at the Public Theater and won 7 Drama Desk awards, the most of any show. Hamilton will be beginning performances this summer on Broadway, where the musical is about to begin rehearsals. Accepting his third award of the evening Miranda was brought to tears in a rap acceptance speech that acknowledged his brilliant fellow nominees. His musical Hamilton won outstanding new musical the last award of the evening before everyone headed over to the Marriot Marquis to celebrate the season and the Drama Desk 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 eclectic American 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.
Photography: Barry Gordin
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