Civil War, New Brain & Parade Vie For Drama Desk Award Honors; Ceremony May 9

By David Lefkowitz
and Kenneth Jones
19 Apr 1999

The Civil War, A New Brain and Parade were the only 1998-99 season musicals nominated for Drama Desk Awards, out of a possible six slots. The voters did not lack for plays, however; Betty's Summer Vacation, Closer, Not About Nightingales, The Ride Down Mount Morgan, Snakebit and Wit all made the ballot.



The Civil War, A New Brain and Parade were the only 1998-99 season musicals nominated for Drama Desk Awards, out of a possible six slots. The voters did not lack for plays, however; Betty's Summer Vacation, Closer, Not About Nightingales, The Ride Down Mount Morgan, Snakebit and Wit all made the ballot.

The nominations were announced at 10 AM April 19 at the Friars' Club in New York City. Bebe Neuwirth and Joel Grey were guest announcers.

In the category of Outstanding New Play, the just-closed Betty's Summer Vacation competes with the shuttered Ride Down Mount Morgan and the very much alive Snakebit, Pulitzer Prize-winner Wit, Closer and Not About Nightingales. There has been talk that Christopher Betty's Summer Vacation may have a life this summer in a commercial run, and Drama Desk nominations (including nods to director Nicholas Martin and one for actress Kristine Nielsen) may boost a re-mount possibility.

Top nomination earners were Lincoln Center Theater's Parade, with 13 noms, Not About Nightingales with nine, Lincoln Center Theater's A New Brain with eight and Death of a Salesman with seven.

The awards ceremony, hosted by Bernadette Peters, will take place May 9 at the LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts at Lincoln Center. (Both dates are a week earlier than those previously announced.) As in past years, the awards and nominations are to be broadcast live on NY-1.

There will also be a Nominees' Cocktail Party 5-8 PM April 22 at the Broadway Grill restaurant.

The Drama Desk Awards recognize excellence in Broadway and Off Broadway theatre. Last year's winners included The Beauty Queen of Leenane (play), Ragtime (musical), A View From The Bridge (revival play) and Cabaret (revival musical).

The nominating committee this season consisted of Drama Desk president David Sheward (Back Stage), Alexis Greene (InTheater), Barbara Siegel (Drama-Logue), committee chairman Frank Scheck (The Hollywood Reporter,), Sam Whitehead (Time Out New York), Harry Haun (Playbill) and David Kaufman (Daily News). (Kaufman replaced Newsday's Patrick Pacheco mid season). Sheward, Greene, Siegel, Scheck and Whitehead are returnees from the previous season. The membership of the Drama Desk includes New York theater critics, editors and reporters. It was founded in 1949.

Here are the 1999 Drama Desk Award Nominees:

OUTSTANDING NEW PLAY

Betty's Summer Vacation (Christopher Durang)
Closer (Patrick Marber)
Not About Nightingales (Tennessee Williams)
Ride Down Mount Morgan (Arthur Miller)
Snakebit (David Marshall Grant)
Wit (Margaret Edson)

OUTSTANDING NEW MUSICAL

The Civil War (Frank Wildhorn, Jack Murphy, Gregory Boyd)
A New Brain (William Finn, James Lapine)
Parade (Jason Robert Brown, Alfred Uhry)

OUTSTANDING MUSICAL REVUE

Forbidden Broadway Cleans Up Its Act!
Fosse
It Ain't Nothin' But the Blues
Woody Guthrie's American Song

OUTSTANDING REVIVAL OF PLAY

Bosoms and Neglect
Death of a Salesman
Electra
Iceman Cometh
Killer Joe
A Majority of One

OUTSTANDING REVIVAL OF A MUSICAL

Annie Get Your Gun
You're A Good Man Charlie Brown

OUTSTANDING ACTOR (PLAY)

Brian Dennehy (Death of a Salesman)
Scott Glenn (Killer Joe)
Finbar Lynch (Not About Nightingales)
Corin Redgrave (Not About Nightingales)
Toby Stephens (Ring Round the Moon)
Patrick Stewart (Ride Down Mount Morgan)

OUTSTANDING ACTRESS (PLAY)

Kathleen Chalfant (Wit)
Judi Dench (Amy's View)
Lindsay Duncan (Ashes To Ashes)
Elizabeth Franz (Death of a Salesman)
Swoosie Kurtz (The Mineola Twins)
Zoe Wanamaker (Electra)

OUTSTANDING ACTOR (MUSICAL)

Brent Carver (Parade)
Martin Short (Little Me)
Patrick Wilson (Brights Lights, Big City)
Tom Wopat (Annie Get Your Gun)

OUTSTANDING ACTRESS (MUSICAL)

Carolee Carmello (Parade)
Bernadette Peters (Annie Get Your Gun)
Sian Phillips (Marlene)

OUTSTANDING FEATURED ACTOR (PLAY)

Kevin Anderson (Death of a Salesman)
Peter Bartlett (The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told)
James Black (Not About Nightingales)
Paul Giamatti (The Iceman Cometh)
Ciarin Hinds (Closer)
Howard Witt (Death of a Salesman)

OUTSTANDING FEATURED ACTRESS (PLAY)

Viola Davis (Everybody's Ruby)
Anna Friel (Closer)
Kristine Nielsen (Betty's Summer Vacation)
Natasha Richardson (Closer)
Marian Seldes (Ring Round The Moon)
Mary Louise Wilson (Bosoms and Neglect)

OUTSTANDING FEATURED ACTOR (MUSICAL)

Roger Bart (You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown)
Bryan Batt (Forbidden Broadway Cleans Up Its Act!)
Michel Bell (The Civil War)
Rufus Bonds (Parade)
Ron Taylor (It Ain't Nothin' But The Blues)
Chip Zien (A New Brain)

OUTSTANDING FEATURED ACTRESS (MUSICAL)

Gretha Boston (It Ain't Nothin' But The Blues)
Kristin Chenoweth (You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown)
Cheryl Freeman (The Civil War)
Penny Fuller (A New Brain)
Jane Lanier (Fosse)
Eloise Laws (It Ain't Nothin' But The Blues)

OUTSTANDING DIRECTOR OF A MUSICAL

Matthew Bourne (Swan Lake)
Graciela Daniele (A New Brain)
Michael Mayer (You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown)
Richard Maltby Jr & Ann Reinking (Fosse)
Harold Prince (Parade)

OUTSTANDING DIRECTOR OF A PLAY

Howard Davies (The Iceman Cometh)
Robert Falls (Death of a Salesman)
Derek Anson Jones (Wit)
Patrick Marber (Closer)
Nicholas Martin (Betty's Summer Vacation)
Trevor Nunn (Not About Nightingales)

OUTSTANDING CHOREOGRAPHY

Patricia Birch (Parade)
Matthew Bourne (Swan Lake)
Rob Marshall (Little Me)

OUTSTANDING MUSIC

Jason Robert Brown (Parade)
Cy Coleman (Exactly Like You)
William Finn (A New Brain)
Frank Wildhorn (The Civil War)

OUTSTANDING LYRICS

Gerard Alessandrini (Forbidden Broadway Clean Up Its Act!)
Jason Robert Brown (Parade)
William Finn (A New Brain)

OUTSTANDING BOOK OF A MUSICAL

William Finn & James Lapine (A New Brain)
Alfred Uhry (Parade)

OUTSTANDING ORCHESTRATIONS

Don Sebesky (Parade)
Michael Starobin (A New Brain)
Jonathan Tunick (Captains Courageous)
Jeff Waxman (Woody Guthrie's American Song)

OUTSTANDING SET DESIGN OF A PLAY

John Lee Beatty (The Mystery of Irma Vep)
Maria Bjornson (Brittanicus & Phedre)
Bob Crowley (Twelfth Night)
Richard Hoover (Not About Nightingales)
Allen Moyer (That Championship Season)
James Noone (Night Must Fall)

OUTSTANDING SET DESIGN OF A MUSICAL

Lez Brotherston (Swan Lake)
David Gallo (You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown)
Riccardo Hernandez (Parade)
G.W. Mercier and Jan Hartley (Dream True)

OUTSTANDING COSTUME DESIGN

Lez Brotherston (Swan Lake)
Alvin Colt (Forbidden Broadway Cleans Up Its Act!)
Jess Goldstein (The Mineola Twins)
William Ivey Long (The Mystery of Irma Vep)
John David Ridge (Ring Round the Moon)
Catherine Zuber (Twelfth Night)

OUTSTANDING LIGHTING DESIGN

Howell Binkley (Parade)
Michael Chybowski (Wit)
Paul Gallo (The Civil War)
Natasha Katz (Twelfth Night)
Chris Parry (Not About Nightingales)
Mimi Jordan Sheridan (Bob)

OUTSTANDING SOUND DESIGN

John Collins and James (J.J.) Johnson (House/Lights)
Jonathan Deans (Parade)
Fergus O'Hare (Electra)
Christopher Shutt (Not About Nightingales)
David Van Tieghem (Stop Kiss)
Darron L. West (Bob)

OUTSTANDING MUSIC IN A PLAY

Steve Edis (Not About Nightingales)
Drew McVety (Corpus Christi)
Jeanine Tesori (Twelfth Night)
David Van Tieghem (The Turn of the Screw)
Richard Woodbury (Death of a Salesman)

OUTSTANDING SOLO PERFORMANCE

Will Bond (Bob)
Aviva Jane Carlin (Jodie Body)
Alexander H. Cohen (Star Billing)
David Hare (Via Dolorosa)
Lisa Kron (2.5 Minute Ride)
Laurence Luckinbill (Clarence Darrow Tonight)

UNIQUE THEATRICAL EXPERIENCE

De La Guarda
Swan Lake
Ennio
Symphonie Fantastique
The Umbilical Brothers - Thwack!

SPECIAL AWARDS

The Actor's Fund of America

Sony Classical for its Columbia Broadway Masterworks Series

Lifetime Achievement: Al Hirschfeld