In anticipation of the upcoming awards season, The Drama Desk hosted a luncheon panel with movie and television stars, who are currently appearing on Broadway in hit shows from the 2010/2011 Season. Many are contenders for Drama Desk and Tony awards. The panelists Included Jim Belushi, Maxwell Caulfield, Stephen Kunken, Dan Lauria, John Larroquette, John Leguizamo, and Annabella Sciorra, discussing the current trend of casting film and TV stars in theater, particularly Broadway.
The stars addressed the unique challenges necessary for making the transition to the live stage. The consensus was some performers adjust with ease especially when they have been trained in the theater or had prior stage experience. Performing live demands a sustained energy that is different from television and film and many actors simply do not have the size required for the stage, while others understand the technical demands. Another point everyone seemed to agree on was the commercial aspect. Movie and television stars that are recognizable by the public are great for ticket sales and an incentive in raising money. The cost of mounting live theater is tremendous and stars with box office clout help even when they may not be up to task. John Leguizamo pointed out, "Theater is the Olympics of acting with its emotional and physical demands." The luncheon moderated by Robin Milling of Milling About was held at Sardi’s on Friday April 15, 2011.
The Drama Desk Nominations will be announced 9:30 am Friday April 29 at a Friars Club breakfast reception. The Drama Desk awards will be presented 9pm Monday May 23 at Gala sit down dinner hosted by Harvey Fierstein at the Hammerstein Ballroom and will be later televised several times with a first airing on Saturday June 4 through June 15, 2011 on the OVATION NETWORK, the national cable network dedicated to arts culture in America.
Photography: Barry Gordin