Billy, Carnage, Hair, Blithe and Rush Win Drama League Awards

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15 May 2009

<I>Billy Elliot</I>'s David Alvarez, <I>God of Carnage</I>'s Marcia Gay Harden and James Gondolfini, <I>Blithe Spirit</I>'s Christine Ebersole and <I>Hair</I>'s Caissie Levy, Sasha Allen, Kacie Sheik and Allison Case
Billy Elliot's David Alvarez, God of Carnage's Marcia Gay Harden and James Gondolfini, Blithe Spirit's Christine Ebersole and Hair's Caissie Levy, Sasha Allen, Kacie Sheik and Allison Case
David Scheinmann (Billy), Joan Marcus (God, Hair), Robert J. Saferstein (Blithe)

Winners of the 75th Annual Drama League Awards were announced May 15 at a luncheon in the Grand Ballroom of the Marriott Marquis Hotel hosted by Tony Award winners Jeremy Irons and Cynthia Nixon.

Founded in 1916, the Drama League is an association of theatre professionals and patrons dedicated to "encouraging the finest in professional theatre and has since then developed into the theatre's premiere service organization." The Drama League presents awards in four categories: Distinguished Production of a Musical, Play, Revival of a Musical and Revival of a Play.

Winners included Billy Elliot: The Musical (Distinguished Production of a Musical), God of Carnage (Distinguished Production of a Play), Hair (Distinguished Revival of a Musical) and Blithe Spirit (Distinguished Revival of a Play).

The Drama League Awards, according to press notes, also "pay tribute to the season's best performers by honoring the nominees of The Distinguished Performance Award on a dais." This year's winner of the Distinguished Performance Award was Geoffrey Rush for his performance in the revival of Exit the King.

The afternoon also honored Elton John with the Distinguished Achievement in Musical Theatre Award; Arthur Laurents with the Julia Hansen Award for Excellence in Directing; and Angela Lansbury with the Unique Contribution to the Theatre Award. Broadway producer Herb Blodgett received The Drama League's 75th Anniversary Leadership Award.



(Due to illness, Laurents was unable to attend the ceremony. David Saint accepted the award, which was presented by Tyne Daly, on Laurents' behalf.)

The nominees for the 75th Annual Drama League Awards follow; winners are in bold and are preceded by an asterisk:

Distinguished Production of a Musical
9 to 5: The Musical - Music and Lyrics by Dolly Parton; Book by Patricia Resnick
*Billy Elliot: The Musical - Music by Elton John; Book and Lyrics by Lee Hall
Fela! - Music by Fela Kuti; Book by Bill T. Jones and Jim Lewis
Liza's at the Palace... - Music and Lyrics by Various Artists
The Marvelous Wonderettes - Music by Various Artists; Book by Roger Bean
Road Show - Music and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim; Book by John Weidman
Rock of Ages - Music by Various Artists; Book by Chris D'Arienzo
Shrek The Musical - Music by Jeanine Tesori; Book and Lyrics by David Lindsay-Abaire
The Toxic Avenger - Music and Lyrics by David Bryan; Book and Lyrics by Joe DiPietro
This Beautiful City - Music, Lyrics by Michael Friedman; Book by Steven Cosson and Jim Lewis

Distinguished Production of a Play
33 Variations - by Moises Kaufman
Black Watch - by Gregory Burke
Chair - by Edward Bond
*God of Carnage - by Yasmina Reza
If You See Something, Say Something - by Mike Daisey
Lady - by Craig Wright
reasons to be pretty - by Neil LaBute
Ruined - by Lynn Nottage
Shipwrecked! An Entertainment: The Amazing Adventures of Louis de Rougemont (As Told by Himself) - by Donald Margulies
Why Torture Is Wrong, and the People Who Love Them - by Christopher Durang
Wig Out! - by Tarell Alvin McCraney

Distinguished Revival of a Musical
Enter Laughing - Music by Stan Daniels, Book by Joseph Stein
Garden of Earthly Delights - Music by Richard Peaslee
Guys and Dolls - Music and Lyrics by Frank Loesser; Book by Jo Swerling and Abe Burrows
*Hair - Music by Galt MacDermot; Book, Lyrics by Gerome Ragni, James Rado
Pal Joey - Music by Richard Rodgers; Lyrics by Lorenz Hart; Book by John O'Hara
West Side Story - Music by Leonard Bernstein; Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim; Book by Arthur Laurents

Distinguished Revival of a Play
*Blithe Spirit - by Noel Coward
The Cripple of Inishmaan - by Martin McDonagh
Desire Under the Elms - by Eugene O'Neill
Mabou Mines Dollhouse - Adapted from Henrik Ibsen
Exit the King - by Eugene Ionesco
Joe Turner's Come and Gone - by August Wilson
Mary Stuart - by Friedrich Schiller
The Norman Conquests - by Alan Ayckbourn
Our Town - by Thornton Wilder
The Seagull - by Anton Chekhov
Speed-the-Plow- by David Mamet
Uncle Vanya - by Anton Chekhov

This season's dais follows. One of these performers was presented with the Distinguished Performance Award.

Jane Alexander - Chasing Manet
David Alvarez, Trent Kowalik, Kiril Kulish - Billy Elliot
Kahlil Ashanti - Basic Training
James Barbour - A Tale of Two Cities
David Wilson Barnes - Becky Shaw
Simon Russell Beale - The Cherry Orchard
Annika Boras - An Oresteia
Christian Camargo - Hamlet
Bobby Cannavale - The Gingerbread House
Matt Cavenaugh - West Side Story
Julia Coffey - The Widowing of Mrs. Holroyd
Lynn Cohen - Chasing Manet
Chad Coleman - Joe Turner's Come and Gone
Gavin Creel - Hair
David Cromer - Our Town
Joshua Cruz - Wig Out!
Mike Daisey - If You See Something, Say Something
Saidah Arrika Ekulona - Ruined
Ensemble - Black Watch
Raúl Esparza - Speed-the-Plow
Rupert Everett - Blithe Spirit
Tovah Feldshuh - Irena's Vow
Jane Fonda - 33 Variations
Sutton Foster - Shrek The Musical
James Gandolfini - God of Carnage
Alexander Gemignani - Road Show
John Glover - Waiting for Godot
Lauren Graham - Guys and Dolls
Nathan Lee Graham - Wig Out!
Josh Grisetti - Enter Laughing
Carla Gugino - Desire Under the Elms
Marcia Gay Harden - God of Carnage
Megan Hilty - 9 to 5: The Musical
Danny Hoch - Taking Over
Marin Ireland - reasons to be pretty
Bill Irwin - Waiting for Godot
Dana Ivey - The Savannah Disputation
Allison Janney - 9 to 5: The Musical
Angela Lansbury - Blithe Spirit
Constantine Maroulis - Rock of Ages
Elizabeth Marvel - Fifty Words
Janet McTeer - Mary Stuart
Ben Miles - The Norman Conquests
Liza Minnelli - Liza's at the Palace...
Maude Mitchell - Mabou Mines Dollhouse
Bruce Myers -The Grand Inquisitor
Sahr Ngaujah - Fela!
Kristine Nielsen - Why Torture Is Wrong...
Cynthia Nixon - Distracted
Denis O'Hare - Uncle Vanya

Geoffrey Rush in Exit the King
photo by Joan Marcus
Karen Olivo - West Side Story
Nancy Opel - The Toxic Avenger
David Pearse - The Cripple of Inishmaan
David Hyde Pierce - Accent on Youth
Martha Plimpton - Pal Joey
Daniel Radcliffe - Equus
Heather Raffo - Palace of the End
Roger Robinson - Joe Turner's Come and Gone
*Geoffrey Rush - Exit the King
Thomas Sadoski - reasons to be pretty
Susan Sarandon - Exit the King
Campbell Scott - The Atheist
Christopher Sieber - Shrek The Musical
Michael Stuhlbarg - Hamlet
Will Swenson - Hair
Kristin Scott Thomas - The Seagull
John Douglas Thompson - Othello
Harriet Walter - Mary Stuart
Patrick Wilson - All My Sons

Nine past recipients of the Distinguished Performance Award were also be honored on the dais for their work this past season. They are, however, ineligible for award consideration, as the Distinguished Performance Award is a one-time honor. The past honorees include:

Norbert Leo Butz - Fifty Words
Stockard Channing - Pal Joey
Christine Ebersole - Blithe Spirit
Rosemary Harris - Oscar and the Pink Lady
Frank Langella - A Man for All Seasons
John Lithgow - All My Sons
Mary-Louise Parker - Hedda Gabler
Stephen Rea - Kicking a Dead Horse
Sam Waterston - Hamlet

For more information visit www.dramaleague.org.