By Patrick Christiano
The 57th Annual Drama Desk Awards were presented at The Town Hall in midtown where Brooke Shields and Brian d’Arcy James co-hosted a spirited yet efficient awards ceremony. The new musical ONCE based on an acclaimed film was the top winner last night taking home four Drama Desk Awards including Outstanding Musical, Outstanding Director John Tiffany, Outstanding Lyrics and Outstanding Orchestrations.
In an interesting turn of events where the evening’s awards were spread about Nina Raine’s new play Tribes now running Off-Broadway at the Barrow Street Theater in the West Village was voted Outstanding Play, while the most recent Broadway revival of Arthur Miller’s Death of Salesman won three Drama Desk awards including Outstanding Revival, Outstanding Director Mike Nichols and Outstanding Lighting.
Mary Testa was voted a popular Special Award and given a resounding ovation “for over three decades of dazzling audiences with consistently outstanding work including her tour-de-force performance Off Broadway this season’s "Queen of the Mist.” Indeed the actress is a marvelously wonderful raw force of nature and was also recognized by the Drama League this season for her work in Mist. Her presenter on first meeting her said she was “a circus and I was in Love,” teasing that she was better with direction. “Oh My God” A thrilled Mary exclaimed when she reached the podium “with direction!” going on to say what a tremendous honor this was and joking about going to an astrologer in 1976, who told her “the key is persistence,” so after 36 years getting this mean so much.
Another highlight of the evening, which included plenty of outstanding entertainment, was the performance by the two nominated actresses from the revival of Carrie, Marin Mazzie singing “Carrie” and Molly Ranson singing “There’s No One."
The complete list of winners including Special Awards follows:
*Nina Raine, Tribes
Outstanding Revival of a Play
*Death of a Salesman
Outstanding Revival of a Musical
Outstanding Actor in a Play
*James Corden, One Man, Two Guvnors
Outstanding Actress in a Play
*Tracie Bennett, End of the Rainbow
Outstanding Actor in a Musical
*Danny Burstein, Follies
Outstanding Actress in a Musical
*Audra McDonald, The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess
Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play
*Tom Edden, One Man, Two Guvnors
Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play
*Judith Light, Other Desert Cities
Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical
*Michael McGrath, Nice Work If You Can Get It
Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical
*Judy Kaye, Nice Work If You Can Get It
Outstanding Director of a Play
*Mike Nichols, Death of a Salesman
Outstanding Director of a Musical
*John Tiffany, Once
*Christopher Gattelli, Newsies The Musical
*Alan Menken, Newsies The Musical
*Joe DiPietro, Nice Work If You Can Get It
Outstanding Music in a Play
*Grant Olding, One Man, Two Guvnors
*Martin Lowe, Once
Outstanding Set Design
*Jon Driscoll, Rob Howell and Paul Kieve, Ghost The Musical
Outstanding Costume Design
*Gregg Barnes, Follies
Outstanding Lighting Design*Brian MacDevitt, Death of a Salesman
Outstanding Sound Design in a Musical
*John Gromada, Gore Vidal’s The Best Man
Outstanding Solo Performance
*Cillian Murphy, Misterman
Unique Theatrical Experience
*Gob Squad’s Kitchen (You’ve Never Had It So Good)
MARY TESTA: For over three decades she has
dazzled us with consistently outstanding work, including her tour-de-force performance in this season’s Queen of the Mist.
NICK WESTRATE: His versatility in Unnatural Acts, Love’s Labor’s Lost, and Gaileo was a highlight of the season.
NEW VICTORY THEATRE: For providing enchanting, sophisticated children’s theater that appeals to the child in all of us, and for nuturing a love of theater in young people.
STEPHEN KARA, the newly created SAM NORKIN OFF BROADWAY AWARD: The profoundly moving Sons of the Prophet confirmed his status as one of the most promising playwrights of his generation.