Utopia and Spring Awakening Win Top Honors at Drama Desk Awards

Tom Stoppard's The Coast of Utopia and Duncan Sheik and Steven Sater's Spring Awakening were named, respectively, Outstanding Play and Outstanding Musical at the 52nd Annual Drama Desk Awards, which were presented May 20 at the F.H. LaGuardia Concert Hall.

Outstanding Actor in a Play winner Frank Langella as Richard Nixon in Frost/Nixon.
Outstanding Actor in a Play winner Frank Langella as Richard Nixon in Frost/Nixon.

The Utopia trilogy, which recently ended its run at Lincoln Center, won seven awards, the most of any production of the season. Spring Awakening, which is adapted from the 1891 Frank Wedekind play about teenage sexual awakening, won four awards. Directors of both productions were honored: Jack O'Brien was named Outstanding Director of a Play for Utopia, and Michael Mayer received the Outstanding Director of a Musical prize for Spring Awakening.

John Doyle's actor-musician staging of Stephen Sondheim and George Furth's Company was named Outstanding Revival of a Musical, and Journey's End, which just announced a June 10 closing date, was named Outstanding Revival of a Play. Both productions received three awards apiece.

Top acting honors went to Frank Langella (Outstanding Actor in a Play for his work as former President Richard M. Nixon in Frost/Nixon), Eve Best (Outstanding Actress in a Play for her work as the love-starved Josie Hogan in the Kevin Spacey revival of A Moon for the Misbegotten), Raúl Esparza (Outstanding Actor in a Musical for his performance as the perennial bachelor Bobby in the aforementioned revival of Company) and Donna Murphy and Audra McDonald, who tied for Outstanding Actress in a Musical. Murphy won for her portrayal of Lotte Lenya in LoveMusik, while McDonald won for her work as the "plain" Lizzie in the Roundabout Theatre Company’s revival of 110 in the Shade.

Tony Award winner Vanessa Redgrave won the award for Outstanding Solo Performance for her work as and in Joan Didion's The Year of Magical Thinking.

The complete list of 52nd Annual Drama Desk Awards winners follows (winners names are in bold with an asterisk). Outstanding Play
David Harrower, Blackbird
Terrence McNally, Some Men
Peter Morgan, Frost/Nixon
* Tom Stoppard, The Coast of Utopia
Bernard Weinraub, The Accomplices
August Wilson, Radio Golf

Outstanding Musical
In the Heights
Legally Blonde
Mary Poppins
* Spring Awakening

Outstanding Revival of a Play
The Hairy Ape
Hedda Gabler
* Journey's End
Talk Radio
The Taming of the Shrew

Outstanding Revival of a Musical
110 in the Shade
The Apple Tree
* Company
Di Yam Gazlonim!
H.M.S. Pinafore
Les Misérables

Outstanding Actor in a Play
Philip Seymour Hoffman, Jack Goes Boating
* Frank Langella, Frost/Nixon
Brían F. O'Byrne, The Coast of Utopia
Christopher Plummer, Inherit the Wind
Liev Schreiber, Talk Radio
Kevin Spacey, A Moon for the Misbegotten
Paul Sparks, Essential Self-Defense

Outstanding Actress in a Play
* Eve Best, A Moon for the Misbegotten
Orlagh Cassidy, The Field
Blythe Danner, Suddenly Last Summer
Jennifer Mudge, Dutchman
Sandra Oh, Satellites
Annie Parisse, The Internationalists
Meryl Streep, Mother Courage and Her Children

Outstanding Actor in a Musical
Michael Cerveris, LoveMusik
* Raul Esparza, Company
John Gallagher, Jr. Spring Awakening
Jonathan Groff, Spring Awakening
David Hyde Pierce, Curtains
Martin Short, Martin Short: Fame Becomes Me

Outstanding Actress in a Musical(Tie)
Ashley Brown, Mary Poppins
Laura Bell Bundy, Legally Blonde
Kristin Chenoweth, The Apple Tree
* Audra McDonald, 110 in the Shade
Lea Michele, Spring Awakening
* Donna Murphy, LoveMusik

Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play
Anthony Chisholm, Radio Golf
Billy Crudup, The Coast of Utopia
* Boyd Gaines, Journey's End
John Ortiz, Jack Goes Boating
Andrew Polk, The Accomplices
Frederick Weller, Some Men

Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play
Myriam Acharki, Woyzeck
Xanthe Elbrick, Coram Boy
Sarah Nina Hayon, Rearviewmirror
Jan Maxwell, Coram Boy
* Martha Plimpton, The Coast of Utopia
Rita Wolf, The American Pilot

Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical
Brooks Ashmanskas, Martin Short: Fame Becomes Me
Christian Borle, Legally Blonde
Aaron Lazar, Les Miserables
* Gavin Lee, Mary Poppins
Orville Mendoza, Adrift in Macao
David Pittu, LoveMusik

Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical
Linda Balgord, The Pirate Queen
Celia Keenan-Bolger, Les Miserables
* Debra Monk, Curtains
Orfeh, Legally Blonde
Barbara Walsh, Company
Karen Ziemba, Curtains

Outstanding Director of a Play
Declan Donnellan, Twelfth Night
Michael Grandage, Frost/Nixon
Doug Hughes, Inherit the Wind
* Jack O'Brien, The Coast of Utopia
Ciarán O'Reilly, The Hairy Ape
Tom Ridgely, Marco Millions (based on lies)

Outstanding Director of a Musical
John Doyle, Company
Thomas Kail, In the Heights
* Michael Mayer, Spring Awakening
Jerry Mitchell, Legally Blonde
Harold Prince, LoveMusik
Alex Timbers, Gutenberg! The Musical!

Outstanding Choreography
Patricia Birch, LoveMusik
* Andy Blankenbuehler, In the Heights
Matthew Bourne, Edward Scissorhands
Matthew Bourne and Stephen Mear, Mary Poppins
Bill T. Jones, Spring Awakening
Jerry Mitchell, Legally Blonde

Outstanding Music
John Kander, Curtains
Paul Leschen, Twist: Please, Sir, May I Have Some More?
Peter Melnick, Adrift in Macao
Lin-Manuel Miranda, In the Heights
Laurence O'Keefe and Nell Benjamin, Legally Blonde
* Duncan Sheik, Spring Awakening

Outstanding Lyrics
Fred Ebb, with additional lyrics by Rupert Holmes and John Kander, Curtains
Lin-Manuel Miranda, In the Heights
Laurence O'Keefe and Nell Benjamin, Legally Blonde
* Steven Sater, Spring Awakening
Bill Strauss, Elaina Newport and Mark Eaton, Capitol Steps
Scott Wittman and Marc Shaiman, Martin Short: Fame Becomes Me

Outstanding Book of a Musical
Scott Brown and Anthony King, Gutenberg! The Musical!
Julian Fellowes, Mary Poppins
Heather Hach, Legally Blonde
* Rupert Holmes and Peter Stone, Curtains
Steven Sater, Spring Awakening
Alfred Uhry, LoveMusik

Outstanding Music for a Play
* Mark Bennett, The Coast of Utopia
Adam Cork, Frost/Nixon
Gerard McBurney, Oliver Twist
The Propeller Company, The Taming of the Shrew
Ray Rizzo, Adam Rapp and Lucas Papaelias, Essential Self-Defense
David Van Tieghem, Inherit the Wind

Outstanding Orchestrations (Tie)
William David Brohn, Curtains
* Mary-Mitchell Campbell, Company
Alex Lacamoire and Bill Sherman, In the Heights
Duncan Sheik, Spring Awakening
Jonathan Tunick, The Apple Tree
* Jonathan Tunick, LoveMusik

Outstanding Set Design of a Play
* Bob Crowley and Scott Pask, The Coast of Utopia
David Gallo, Radio Golf
David Korins, Essential Self-Defense
David Korins, Jack Goes Boating
Garin Marschall, Hell House
Scott Pask, Blackbird

Outstanding Set Design of a Musical
Beowulf Boritt, LoveMusik
* Bob Crowley, Mary Poppins
Anna Louizos, Curtains
Anna Louizos, In the Heights
David Rockwell, Legally Blonde
Kris Stone, Brundibar/But the Giraffe

Outstanding Costume Design
Mara Blumenfeld, Lookingglass Alice
Judith Dolan, LoveMusik
William Ivey Long, Curtains
Santo Loquasto, Suddenly Last Summer
Robert Morgan, Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical
* Catherine Zuber, The Coast of Utopia

Outstanding Lighting Design
Howell Binkley, LoveMusik
Maruti Evans, Blindness
Paul Gallo, Blackbird
Mark Jonathan, Prometheus Bound
* Kenneth Posner, Brian MacDevitt, Natasha Katz, The Coast of Utopia
Japhy Weideman, Jack Goes Boating

Outstanding Sound Design
Acme Sound Partners, In the Heights
Mark Bennett, The Coast of Utopia
* Gregory Clarke, Journey's End
Duncan Robert Edwards, LoveMusik
Frank Gaeta, Dai (enough)
Richard Woodbury, Talk Radio

Outstanding Solo Performance
Iris Bahr, Dai (enough)
Ed Harris, Wrecks
Capathia Jenkins, (mis)Understanding Mammy: The Hattie McDaniel Story
Anna Manahan, Sisters
* Vanessa Redgrave, The Year of Magical Thinking
Nilaja Sun, No Child…

Unique Theatrical Experience
Amajuba: Like Doves We Rise
Brundibar/But the Giraffe
* Edward Scissorhands
Hell House

The following awards were announced April 26 and were also presented at the annual ceremony:

Outstanding Ensemble Performance
The cast of In the Heights
The cast of Lebensraum

Special Awards
•John Kander and Fred Ebb for 42 years of excellence in advancing the art of the musical theatre.

•Austin Pendleton - actor, director, playwright, teacher — a Renaissance man of the American theatre.

•Transport Group for its breadth of vision and its presentation of challenging productions.

•National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene for preserving 92 consecutive seasons the cultural legacy of Yiddish speaking theatre in America.


The Drama Desk is an organization of theatre critics, writers and editors that honors all areas of New York theatre, including Broadway, Off-Broadway and Off-Off-Broadway.

For more information visit www.dramadesk.com.

Josh Hamilton, Kat Peters, Br
Josh Hamilton, Kat Peters, Br (Photo by Paul Kolnik)