2015 Drama Desk Awards Are Sunday at The Town Hall
By: Ellis Nassour
The 60th annual Drama Desk Awards, hosted by Laura Benanti, will take place Sunday at 8 P.M. at The Town Hall, presented by TheaterMania.com. Drama Desk is a critics and theater arts writers organization that honors theater achievement among Broadway, Off Broadway and Off-Off Broadway productions and in the same categories. This huge field of possible nominations – often exceeding 500 works -more often than not results in some head-scratching and controversy about what doesn’t get nominated. This year has certainly been no exception.
TheaterMania’s Gretchen Shugart is managing executive producer of the Awards. Joey Parnes Productions produces/manages the program. Charles Wright of A&E Network is DD president .
Nominations were announced April 23at 54 Below by DD winners Judith Light and Jessie Mueller — streamed on www.TheaterMania.com as the Awards will be.
The six-member nominating committee had its work cut out for it this season. Because of the abundance of shows this season, the DD board authorized the increase in the number of nominees allowed in select categories from six to seven — and still not enough in some major categories [Play, Actress/Play, Featured Actor/Play, Featured Actor/Musical, Featured Actress/Musical, Director/]. This consideration is done on a season-to-season basis, with input from the committee. Sadly, there were numerous worthy shows and performances that were not nominated.
Hamilton, moving to Broadway from the Public in July, led the musical category with 13 nominations; with An American in Paris a close second with 12. Season favorite The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time was tops in the play category with six nods; followed by Wolf Hall, Parts One and Two, with five.
The chat rooms were buzzing with sharp comment about omission in lead categories that weren’t expanded to accommodate more, such as multiple Tony and DD nominee Kelli O’Hara, totally captivating as Anna in The King and I; hilarious Tony and DD winner Nathan Lane of It’s Only a Play; a commanding Kelsey Grammar of Finding Neverland; and Honeymoon in Vegas’ amazingly-energetic Rob McClure, a Tony nom for Chaplin.
Evidently, the nominators didn’t see enough merit to nominate Finding Neverland It Shoulda Been You, or Doctor Zhivago in the musical category. But they so generously bestowed two nominations on Finding Neverlan
d — Matthew Morrison and Carolee Carmelo. However, what a curious incident of the nominations in the night-time that they overlooked Finding Neverland‘s dazzling staging aspects.
Well, that’s the way it is. Just telling it like it is, folks.
Special awards recognizing excellence and significant contributions to theater will go to: Kelly AuCoin, Jon DeVries, Quincy Dunn-Baker, Rebecca Henderson, Marc Kudisch, Jenn Lyon, Lizbeth Mackay, David McElwee, Ismenia Mendes, and Will Pullen, Outstanding Ensemble, A. R. Gurney’s The Wayside Motor Inn –
Andy Blankenbuehler for inspired and heart-stopping choreography in Hamilton, "which is indispensable to the musical’s storytelling" –
John Douglas Thompson for invigorating New York theater "through his commanding presence, classical expertise, and vocal prowess" in Tamburlaine the Great and The Iceman Cometh –
Playwright Bess Wohl, the Sam Norkin Off-Broadway Award "for establishing herself as an important voice in New York theater, and having a breakthrough year" for American Hero, Pretty Filthy, and Small Mouth Sounds –
Ensemble Studio Theatre for "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" and its Youngblood program which fostered Hand to God.
Tickets for Sunday’s Awards are available at wwe.TheaterMania.com. More information and a list of nominees is available at www.DramaDeskAwards.com.