The 1997-98 Drama Desk Awards, honoring achievements both on and Off-Broadway, will be given May 17, 9PM (EST). The ceremony will be held at the Sylvia and Danny Kaye Playhouse on 68th St. and will be broadcast live in the New York area on cable TV's NY-1. Celebrity interviews and songs from nominated shows will be featured.
As for the nominations, suggestion ballots go out to the general Drama Desk membership in mid-March. Nominations will be announced April 27, 10 AM (EST), also to be broadcast on NY-1. Comedian Freddie Roman will make the introductions, and Lillias White (The Life) and Robert Cuccioli (Jekyll & Hyde will read off the nominees' names.
The Drama Desk Awards this year happen three weeks before the Tonys, June 7.
Founded in 1949, the Drama Desk offers a forum for "theatre reporters, editors and critics to spotlight areas of concern for the theatrical community and act as a catalyst for educating the public."
* It'll be a busy spring for the organization, as they're also planning a seminar in conjunction with Then March 23 brings Wendy Kesselman, director James Lapine, Linda Lavin, Natalie Portman and other cast-members of The Diary of Anne Frank to a panel chaired by critic Alexis Greene and Charles Wright. Ralph Melnick, author of "The Stolen Legacy of Anne Frank," will also attend. Call (212) 978-0213 for reservations ($5 non-members) to this 5:30-7 PM event), held at New Dramatists, 424 West 44th St.
Says Drama Desk president David Sheward, "Our organization is special because we put Broadway and Off-Broadway on the same footing. So an acclaimed performance such as Cherry Jones' in Pride's Crossing would be eligible along with Broadway performances."
The author of "It's A Hit," about long-running Broadway musicals, Sheward also recently published a book on show business awards. Aside from the Drama Desk, Sheward is a member of the New York Drama Critics Circle, the Outer Critics Circle, and the American Theatre Critics Association.
-- By David Lefkowitz