Once, Tribes, Follies, Salesman, Audra McDonald, Danny Burstein and More Are Drama Desk Winners

By Andrew Gans
03 Jun 2012

Audra McDonald in Porgy and Bess
Audra McDonald in Porgy and Bess
Photo by Michael J. Lutch

Stage and screen stars Brooke Shields and Brian d'Arcy James hosted the 57th Annual Drama Desk Awards June 3 at 8 PM at The Town Hall in Manhattan.

Presenters included Bernadette Peters, Doug Wright, Rick Elice, Maury Yeston, William Finn, Roger Rees, Alex Timbers, Peggy Eisenhauer, Jonathan Tunick, Oskar Eustis, Jenny Gersten, Martha Plimpton, John Larroquette and Julie Halston.

Once, the new musical based on the film of the same name, earned four Drama Desk Awards, the most of any production of the season. It took trophies for Outstanding Musical, Outstanding Director (John Tiffany), Outstanding Lyrics (Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova) and Outstanding Orchestrations (Martin Lowe).

Earning three Drama Desk Awards each were Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman for Outstanding Revival of a Play, Outstanding Director (Mike Nichols) and Outstanding Lighting Design (Brian MacDevitt); One Man, Two Guvnors for Outstanding Actor in a Play (James Corden), Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play (Tom Edden) and Outstanding Music in a Play (Grant Olding); the new Gershwin musical, Nice Work If You Can Get It, for Outstanding Featured Actor and Featured Actress in a Musical (Michael McGrath and Judy Kaye) and Outstanding Book of a Musical (Joe DiPietro); and Stephen Sondheim and James Goldman's Follies for Outstanding Revival of a Musical, Outstanding Actor in a Musical (Danny Burstein) and Outstanding Costume Design (Gregg Barnes).



Nina Raine's Tribes, the emotion-packed drama about a deaf man and his family, was voted Outstanding Play.

The following are the nominations for the competitive categories. Winners, whose names are in bold and preceded by an asterisk, were selected by the voting membership of the Drama Desk:

Outstanding Play
David Henry Hwang, Chinglish
Dan LeFranc, The Big Meal
Members of the Plastic Theatre, Unnatural Acts
Itamar Moses, Completeness
Lynn Nottage, By the Way, Meet Vera Stark
*Nina Raine, Tribes
Nicky Silver, The Lyons

Outstanding Musical
Bonnie & Clyde
Death Takes a Holiday
Leap of Faith
Newsies The Musical
Nice Work If You Can Get It
*Once
Queen of the Mist

Outstanding Revival of a Play
A Little Journey
*Death of a Salesman
Edward Albee's The Lady from Dubuque
Gore Vidal's The Best Man
Lost in Yonkers
Richard III

Outstanding Revival of a Musical
Carrie
Evita
*Follies
Jesus Christ Superstar
The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess
The Threepenny Opera

Outstanding Actor in a Play
*James Corden, One Man, Two Guvnors
Hugh Dancy, Venus in Fur
Claybourne Elder, One Arm
Santino Fontana, Sons of the Prophet
Joseph Franchini, The Navigator
Philip Seymour Hoffman, Death of a Salesman
Kevin Spacey, Richard III

Outstanding Actress in a Play
*Tracie Bennett, End of the Rainbow
Sanaa Lathan, By the Way, Meet Vera Stark
Linda Lavin, The Lyons
Jennifer Lim, Chinglish
Kim Martin-Cotten, A Moon for the Misbegotten
Carey Mulligan, Through a Glass Darkly
Joely Richardson, Side Effects

Outstanding Actor in a Musical
*Danny Burstein, Follies
Kevin Earley, Death Takes a Holiday
Raul Esparza, Leap of Faith
Jeremy Jordan, Newsies The Musical
Norm Lewis, The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess
Ricky Martin, Evita

Outstanding Actress in a Musical
Miche Braden, The Devil's Music: The Life & Blues of Bessie Smith
Jan Maxwell, Follies
*Audra McDonald, The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess
Kelli O'Hara, Nice Work If You Can Get It
Bernadette Peters, Follies
Molly Ranson, Carrie

Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play
Bill Camp, Death of a Salesman
Jim Dale, The Road to Mecca
*Tom Edden, One Man, Two Guvnors
Bill Irwin, King Lear
Jefferson Mays, Blood and Gifts
Will Rogers, Unnatural Acts
Morgan Spector, Russian Transport

Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play
Stephanie J. Block, By the Way, Meet Vera Stark
Anna Camp, All New People
Kimberly Hebert Gregory, By the Way, Meet Vera Stark
Lisa Joyce, The Ugly One
Joaquina Kalukango, Hurt Village
Angela Lansbury, Gore Vidal's The Best Man
*Judith Light, Other Desert Cities

Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical
Phillip Boykin, The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess
Matt Cavenaugh, Death Takes a Holiday
Michael Cerveris, Evita
*Michael McGrath, Nice Work If You Can Get It
Patrick Page, Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark
Andrew Samonsky, Queen of the Mist

Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical
*Judy Kaye, Nice Work If You Can Get It
Marin Mazzie, Carrie
Jessie Mueller, On a Clear Day You Can See Forever
Elaine Paige, Follies
Sarah Sokolovic, The Shaggs: Philosophy of the World
Melissa van der Schyff, Bonnie & Clyde

Outstanding Director of a Play
Jo Bonney, By the Way, Meet Vera Stark
David Cromer, Tribes
Ed Sylvanus Iskandar, These Seven Sicknesses
Sam Mendes, Richard III
*Mike Nichols, Death of a Salesman
Tony Speciale, Unnatural Acts

Outstanding Director of a Musical
Christopher Ashley, Leap of Faith
Jack Cummings III, Queen of the Mist
Doug Hughes, Death Takes a Holiday
Kathleen Marshall, Nice Work If You Can Get It
Eric Schaeffer, Follies
*John Tiffany, Once

Outstanding Choreography
Rob Ashford, Evita
Warren Carlyle, Follies
Breandan de Gallal, Noctu
*Christopher Gattelli, Newsies The Musical
Kathleen Marshall, Nice Work If You Can Get It
Sergio Trujillo, Leap of Faith

Outstanding Music
Glen Hansard and Marketa lrglova, Once
Michael John LaChiusa, Queen of the Mist
Alan Menken, Leap of Faith
*Alan Menken, Newsies The Musical
Frank Wildhorn, Bonnie & Clyde
Maury Yeston, Death Takes a Holiday

Outstanding Lyrics
Don Black, Bonnie & Clyde
Jack Feldman, Newsies The Musical
Joy Gregory and Gunnar Madsen, The Shaggs: Philosophy of the World
*Glen Hansard and Marketa lrglova, Once
Michael John LaChiusa, Queen of the Mist
Maury Yeston, Death Takes a Holiday

Outstanding Book of a Musical
Douglas Carter Beane, Lysistrata Jones
Janus Cercone and Warren Leight, Leap of Faith
*Joe DiPietro, Nice Work If You Can Get It
Joy Gregory, The Shaggs: Philosophy of the World
Michael John LaChiusa, Queen of the Mist
Thomas Meehan and Peter Stone, Death Takes a Holiday

Outstanding Music in a Play
Mark Bennett, An Iliad
Mark Bennett, Richard III
Tom Kitt, All's Well That Ends Well
Gina Leishman, Septimus and Clarissa
*Grant Olding, One Man, Two Guvnors
Suzanne Vega and Duncan Sheik, Carson McCullers Talks About Love

Outstanding Revue
Newsical the Musical: End of the World Edition
*The Best Is Yet to Come: The Music of Cy Coleman

Outstanding Set Design
*Jon Driscoll, Rob Howell and Paul Kieve, Ghost The Musical
David Gallo, The Mountaintop
Roger Hanna, A Little Journey
David Korins, Assistance
David Korins, Chinglish
Derek McLane, Follies

Outstanding Costume Design
*Gregg Barnes, Follies
ESosa, By the Way, Meet Vera Stark
William Ivey Long, Lucky Guy
Jessica Pabst, She Kills Monsters
Martin Pakledinaz, Nice Work If You Can Get It
Catherine Zuber, Death Takes a Holiday

Outstanding Lighting Design
Kevin Adams, Carrie
Neil Austin, Evita
David Lander, One Arm
*Brian MacDevitt, Death of a Salesman
Kenneth Posner, Death Takes a Holiday
Paul Pyant, Richard III

Outstanding Sound Design in a Musical
*Acme Sound Partners, The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess
Jonathan Deans, Carrie
Clive Goodwin, Once
Kai Harada, Follies
Steve Canyon Kennedy, Jesus Christ Superstar
Jon Weston, Death Takes a Holiday

Outstanding Sound Design in a Play
Quentin Chiappetta/mediaNoise, The Navigator
Gregory Clarke, Misterman
Gareth Fry, Richard III
*John Gromada, Gore Vidal's The Best Man
Stowe Nelson, Samuel and Alasdair: A Personal History of the Robot War
Shane Rettig, She Kills Monsters

Outstanding Solo Performance
Baba Brinkman, The Rap Guide to Evolution
Suli Holum, Chimera
Jeff Key, The Eyes of Babylon
*Cillian Murphy, Misterman
Denis O'Hare, An Iliad
Stephen Spinella, An Iliad

Outstanding Orchestrations:

Bill Elliott, Nice Work If You Can Get It
Larry Hochman, Death Takes a Holiday
*Martin Lowe, Once
John McDaniel, Bonnie & Clyde
Michael Starobin, Queen of the Mist
Danny Troob, Newsies

Unique Theatrical Experience
Give Me Your Hand
*Gob Squad's Kitchen (You've Never Had It So Good)
Noctu
The Complete & Condensed Stage Directions of Eugene O'Neill, Vol. 1: Early Plays/Lost Plays
The Ryan Case 1873
White

The following awards were voted by the nominating committee and were also presented by the Drama Desk at its awards ceremony:

Outstanding Ensemble Performance
This year the nominators chose to bestow a special ensemble award for acting to the cast of Sweet and Sad. Jon DeVries, Shuler Hensley, Maryann Plunkett, Laila Robins, Jay O. Sanders, and J. Smith-Cameron are "among New York's best actors, who came together as one unforgettable stage family. Therefore, the individual cast members were not eligible for acting awards in the competitive categories."

Special Awards
Each year, the Drama Desk votes special awards to recognize excellence and significant contributions to the theater. For 2011-12, these awards were:

To Mary Testa: For over three decades, she has dazzled audiences with consistently outstanding work, including her tour-de-force performance in this season's Queen of the Mist.
To Nick Westrate: His versatility in Unnatural Acts, Love's Labor's Lost, and Galileo was a highlight of the season.
To New Victory Theatre: For providing enchanting, sophisticated children's theater that appeals to the child in all of us, and for nurturing a love of theater in young people.
To Stephen Karam, 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.

The 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," according to press notes. The organization began presenting its awards in 1955, and it is the only critics organization to honor achievement in the theatre with competition among Broadway, Off-Broadway and Off-Off Broadway productions in the same categories.