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2016 Drama Desk Nominations

Nominations for the 2016 Annual Drama Desk Awards were announced this morning at Feinstein’s/54 Below by Vanessa Williams (Into the Woods, The Trip to Bountiful “Ugly Betty”) and Matthew Morrison (Finding Neverland, Hairspray, The Light in the Piazza, “Glee”).
Mathew Morrison, Vanessa Williams 
Drama Desk Nominations Photography Barry Gordin 

Mathew Morrison, Vanessa Williams

Nominations for the 2016 Annual Drama Desk Awards were announced this morning at Feinstein’s/54 Below by Vanessa Williams (Into the Woods, The Trip to Bountiful “Ugly Betty”) and Matthew Morrison (Finding Neverland, Hairspray, The Light in the Piazza, “Glee”).

Mathew Morrison, Vanessa Williams 
Drama Desk Nominations Photography Barry Gordin 

The nominations announcement was streamed live on The full list of nominees is available on the website and below.

In keeping with Drama Desk’s mission, nominators considered shows that opened on Broadway, Off Broadway, and Off Off Broadway during the 2015-2016 New York theater season.

The 2015-2016 Drama Desk Nominating Committee is composed of: David Barbour (Lighting&Sound America), Chair; Peter Filichia (Broadway Select, author, most recently, of The Great Parade: The Remarkable 1963-64 Broadway Season); David Finkle (Blogger, Huffington Post; Clyde Fitch Report); Sandy MacDonald (Time Out New York,; Andy Propst (, author, You Fascinate Me So: The Life & Times of Cy Coleman); Diane Snyder (, Time Out New York); Douglas Strassler (Garden State Journal), Charles Wright (President, Drama Desk), ex officio.

Eligibility and award category designations for the productions under consideration this season were determined by the Drama Desk board of directors, with recommendations from the nominating committee. Because of the abundance of great work throughout the season, the board also authorized the increase in the number of nominees allowed in select categories.

“The nature of the work we’ve seen this particular season led us to make a few changes in the awards categories,” said Drama Desk Nominating Committee Chair David Barbour. “In the case of design, the committee was moved to create separate categories for musicals and non-musicals in all four disciplines, also adding a category for wig and hair design. The committee also chose not to make any nominations this year in the categories of Outstanding Book of a Musical and Outstanding Revue.”

The Drama Desk nominees will receive their official nomination certificates at the nominees’ reception on May 11 from 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. at The New York Marriott Marquis.

The 61st Annual Drama Desk Awards, hosted by Michael Urie, will take place on Sunday, June 5, 2016, at 8:00 PM at The Town Hall in Manhattan. will present the awards ceremony. Gretchen Shugart is Managing Executive Producer of the Drama Desk Awards and the President of Drama Desk is Charles Wright.

About Drama Desk

Drama Desk was founded in 1949 to explore key issues in the theater and to bring together critics and writers in an organization to support the ongoing development of theater in New York. The organization began presenting its awards in 1955, and it is the only critics’ organization to honor achievement in the theater with competition among Broadway, Off Broadway and Off-Off Broadway productions in the same categories.

The 2015-2016 Board of Directors of the Drama Desk is composed of: Charles Wright (A+E Networks), President; Richard Ridge (, 1st Vice President and Secretary; Lauren Yarger (Manchester, 2nd Vice President; Edward Karam (, Treasurer; David Barbour (Lighting&Sound America), Chair, Awards Nominating Committee; Leslie (Hoban) Blake (Two on the Aisle/MNN/YouTube/Daily Motion), Historian; Arlene Epstein (Richner Communications/South Shore; Elysa Gardner (USA Today); Isa Goldberg (East Hampton IndependentSouthampton Press); John Istel (Managing editor,; freelance arts editor and journalist); David Kaufman (author, Some Enchanted Evenings: The Glittering Life and Times of Mary Martin); Andy Lefkowitz (TheaterMania); William Wolf (Adjunct professor, NYU,


Founded in 1999, TheaterMania connects the theater industry to a mass consumer audience, with comprehensive listings, news, reviews, features, interviews, and video content covering theater across the United States. TheaterMania’s widely distributed email newsletters provide special ticket offers to over one million subscribers.  In addition to providing theaters with online marketing programs to drive ticket sales, TheaterMania’s proprietary ticketing system OvationTix™ is used throughout America by hundreds of performing arts organizations, museums, concerts, festivals, and events to process tickets sales, and manage fundraising and patron information.  TheaterMania also owns London-based, a source for information and tickets to UK theatre, and the producer of the annual WhatsOnStage Awards. 

For more information, please visit:

2016 Drama Desk Award Nominations

Outstanding Play

The Christians, Playwrights Horizons

The Humans, Roundabout Theatre Company

John, Signature Theatre

King Charles III

The Royale, Lincoln Center Theater

Outstanding Musical

First Daughter Suite, Public Theater

Daddy Long Legs

School of Rock

Shuffle Along


Outstanding Revival of a Play

Cloud Nine, Atlantic Theater Company

Death of a Salesman, New Yiddish Rep

Henry IV, Donmar Warehouse at St. Ann’s Warehouse

Long Day’s Journey Into Night, Roundabout Theatre Company

A View from the Bridge

Women Without Men, Mint Theater Company

Outstanding Revival of a Musical

The Color Purple

The Golden Bride, National Yiddish Theatre Folkesbiene

Fiddler on the Roof

She Loves Me, Roundabout Theatre Company

Spring Awakening

Outstanding Actor in a Play

Andrew Garman, The Christians, Playwrights Horizons

Avi Hoffman, Death of a Salesman

Frank Langella, The Father, Manhattan Theatre Club

Tim Pigott-Smith, King Charles III

Mark Strong, A View from the Bridge

Outstanding Actress in a Play

Georgia Engel, John, Signature Theatre

Mamie Gummer, Ugly Lies the Bone, Roundabout Undeground

Marin Ireland, Ironbound, Rattlestick Playwrights Theater/Women’s Project Theater

Jessica Lange, Long Day’s Journey Into Night

Nicola Walker, A View from the Bridge

Outstanding Actor in a Musical

Danny Burstein, Fiddler on the Roof

Robert Creighton, Cagney, York Theatre Company

Michael C. Hall, Lazarus, New York Theatre Workshop

Zachary Levi, She Loves Me

Benjamin Walker, American Psycho

Outstanding Actress in a Musical

Laura Benanti, She Loves Me

Carmen Cusack, Bright Star

Cynthia Erivo, The Color Purple

Jessie Mueller, Waitress

Annette O’Toole, Southern Comfort, Public Theater

Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play

Bill Camp, The Crucible

David Furr, Noises Off, Roundabout Theatre Company

Matt McGrath, The Legend of Georgia McBride, MCC Theater

Richard Thomas, Incident at Vichy, Signature Theatre

Michael Shannon, Long’s Day Journey Into Night

Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play

Brooke Bloom, Cloud Nine

Megan Hilty, Noises Off

Kellie Overbey, Women Without Men

Saycon Sengbloh, Eclipsed, Public Theater

Jeanine Serralles, Gloria, Vineyard Theatre

Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical

Nicholas Barasch, She Loves Me

Christopher Fitzgerald, Waitress

Baylee Littrell, Disaster!

Paul Alexander Nolan, Bright Star

A.J. Shively, Bright Star

Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical

Danielle Brooks, The Color Purple

Alison Fraser, First Daughter Suite

Rachel Bay Jones, Dear Evan Hansen, Second Stage

Jane Krakowski, She Loves Me

Mary Testa, First Daughter Suite

Outstanding Director of a Play

Rachel Chavkin, The Royale

Sam Gold, John

Rupert Goold, King Charles III

Joe Mantello, The Humans

Jenn Thompson, Women Without Men

Ivo van Hove, A View from the Bridge

Outstanding Director of a Musical

Michael Arden, Spring Awakening

John Doyle, The Color Purple

Rupert Goold, American Psycho

Bartlett Sher, Fiddler on the Roof

Bryna Wasserman, Motl Didner, The Golden Bride

Outstanding Choreography

Joshua Bergasse, Cagney

Spencer Liff, Spring Awakening

Lynne Page, American Psycho

Randy Skinner, Dames at Sea

Savion Glover, Shuffle Along

Outstanding Music

Sara Bareilles, Waitress

Michael John LaChiusa, First Daughter Suite,

Andrew Lloyd Webber, School of Rock

The Lobbyists, SeaWife, Naked Angels

Steve Martin and Edie Brickell, Bright Star

Outstanding Lyrics

Sara Bareilles, Waitress

Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, Dear Evan Hansen

Glenn Slater, School of Rock

Michael John LaChiusa, First Daughter Suite

Outstanding Orchestrations

August Eriksmoen, Bright Star

Larry Hochman, She Loves Me, Roundabout Theatre Company

Joseph Joubert/Catherine Jayes, The Color Purple

Andrew Lloyd Webber, School of Rock

Michael Starobin/Bruce Coughlin, First Daughter Suite

Outstanding Music in a Play

Billie Joe Armstrong, These Paper Bullets!, Atlantic Theatre Company

Estelle Bajou, Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally, One Year Lease Theater Company

Shaun Davey, Pericles, Theatre for a New Audience

Philip Glass, The Crucible

Tom Kitt, Cymbeline, New York Shakespeare Festival

Outstanding Set Design for a Play

Riccardo Hernandez, Red Speedo, New York Theatre Workshop

Mimi Lien, John

G. W. Mercier, Head of Passes, Public Theater

Christopher Oram, Hughie

Derek McLane, Fully Committed

Outstanding Set Design for a Musical

Es Devlin, American Psycho

Emily Orling, Matt Saunders, Eric Farber, Futurity, Soho Rep/Ars Nova

David Rockwell, She Loves Me

Outstanding Costume Design for a Play

Jessica Ford, These Paper Bullets!

Martha Hally, Women Without Men

Constance Hoffman, Pericles

William Ivey Long, Shows for Days, Lincoln Center Theater

Anita Yavich, The Legend of Georgia McBride

Outstanding Costume Design for a Musical

Jane Greenwood, Bright Star

Katrina Lindsay, American Psycho

Jeff Mahshie, She Loves Me

Alejo Vietti, Allegiance

Ann Roth, Shuffle Along

Outstanding Lighting Design for a Play

Neil Austin, Hughie

Mark Barton, John

Bradley King, Empanada Loca, Labyrinth Theater Company

Tyler Micoleau, Antlia Pneumatica, Playwrights Horizons

Justin Townsend, The Humans

Outstanding Lighting Design for a Musical

Jane Cox, The Color Purple

Jake DeGroot, SeaWife,

Ben Stanton, Spring Awakening

Justin Townsend, American Psycho

Jules Fisher/Peggy Eisenhauer, Shuffle Along

Outstanding Projection Design 

Nicholas Hussong, These Paper Bullets!

Darrel Maloney, Tappin’ Thru Life

Peter Nigrini, Dear Evan Hansen

Finn Ross, American Psycho

Tal Yarden, Lazarus

Outstanding Sound Design in a Play

Fitz Patton, An Act of God

Fitz Patton, The Humans

Miles Polaski, Fulfillment, The Flea Theatre

Bray Poor, John

Ryan Rumery, Empanada Loca

Outstanding Sound Design in a Musical

Mick Potter, School of Rock

Brian Ronan, Lazarus

Nevin Steinberg, Bright Star

Dan Moses Schreier, American Psycho

Scott Lehrer, Shuffle Along

Outstanding Wig and Hair

David Brian Brown, She Loves Me

Jason Hayes, The Legend of Georgia McBride

Robert-Charles Vallance, Women Without Men

Charles G. LaPointe, The School for Scandal, Red Bull Theater

Mia M. Neal, Shuffle Along

Outstanding Solo Performance

Simon Callow, Tuesdays at Tesco’s, 59E59

Kathleen Chalfant, Rose, Nora’s Playhouse

James Lecesne, The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey

Daphne Rubin-Vega, Empanada Loca

Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Fully Committed

Unique Theatrical Experience

ADA/AVA, Manual Cinema/3LD/The Tank/

Antigona – Soledad Barrio/Noche Flamenca

That Physics Show

The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show


Outstanding Book of a Musical:

John Caird, Daddy Long Legs
Michael John LaChiusa, First Daughter Suite
Jessie Nelson, Waitress

Special Awards

The Humans – Special Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Ensemble

Cassie Beck, Reed Birney, Jayne Houdyshell, Lauren Klein, Arian Moayed, and Sarah Steele spend a very special Thanksgiving Day together in Stephen Karam’s play, reminding us that home is indeed where The Humans are. 

The Royale – Special Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Ensemble

The heavyweight cast of McKinley Belcher III, Khris Davis, Montego Glover, John Lavelle, and Clarke Peters gels as a unit in bringing Marco Ramirez’s story, inspired by Jack Johnson, to unforgettable life, offering a trenchant statement on racism in America.

Sheldon Harnick – Special Drama Desk Award

New productions of Fiddler on the RoofRothschild and Sons, and She Loves Me this season remind us that this veteran lyricist’s takes on faith, family and community are as resonant as ever.

Camp Broadway – Special Drama Desk Award

For more than 20 years, this indispensable organization has introduced young people to the magic of theater. Camp Broadway plays a crucial role in creating tomorrow’s audiences.

Danai Gurira – Sam Norkin Award

Whether writing about women in wartime Liberia in Eclipsed or about an affluent immigrant family from Zimbabwe struggling with assimilation in Familiar, Danai Gurira demonstrates great insight, range, and depth, bringing a fresh new voice to American theater.  

64 shows with nominations

33 shows with multiple nominations

31 shows with single nominations

Shows with multiple nominations

She Loves Me – 9

American Psycho – 8

Bright Star – 7

The Color Purple, First Daughter Suite, John, Shuffle Along – 6

School of Rock, Waitress, Women Without Men – 5

The Humans, Spring Awakening, A View from the Bridge – 4

Dear Evan Hansen, Empanada Loca, Fiddler on the Roof, King Charles III, Lazarus, The Legend of Georgia McBride, Long Day’s Journey Into Night, These Paper Bullets! – 3

Cagney, The Christians, Cloud Nine, The Crucible, Death of a Salesman, Fully Committed, The Golden Bride, Hughie, Noises Off, Pericles, The Royale, SeaWife – 2