2020 Drama Desk Nominations: Soft Power, The Wrong Man Lead the Pack in Condensed Season

Awards   2020 Drama Desk Nominations: Soft Power, The Wrong Man Lead the Pack in Condensed Season
 
The 65th annual ceremony—now taking place virtually—will go on as scheduled in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
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Conrad Ricamora and Francis Jue in Soft Power Joan Marcus

Nominations for the 2020 Drama Desk Awards were revealed April 21 on the afternoon edition of Stars in the House, the daily live stream benefit for The Actors Fund hosted by Seth Rudetsky and James Wesley. The series itself was named an honorary recipient during the announcement.

As previously reported, the 65th annual ceremony will take place as scheduled May 31, albeit digitally instead of at Town Hall due to continued restrictions on mass gatherings in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Because of the March shutdown of New York productions on Broadway, Off-Broadway, and beyond, the eligibility window for the season was revised to end March 11.

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Joshua Henry and cast of The Wrong Man Joseph Marzullo/WENN

READ: How Theatre Award Ceremonies Are Handling the Coronavirus Shutdown

Soft Power, the collaboration between playwright David Henry Hwang and composer Jeanine Tesori, topped the list with 11 nominations for its New York premiere at the Public Theater last year. In addition to Outstanding Musical, the show's nominations included nods to both Hwang and Tesori, director Leigh Silverman, and stars Francis Jue (also nominated for Cambodian Rock Band), Conrad Ricamora, and Alyse Alan Louis.

Additional front-runners include two other new musicals that played Off-Broadway: The Wrong Man (receiving nine nominations) and Octet (receiving eight). With plays, Halfway Bitches Go Straight to Heaven led the pack, also earning eight nods.

As the Drama Desk Awards recognize Broadway, Off-Broadway, and Off-Off-Broadway works each year, two productions—the Broadway transfers of Slave Play and Girl From the North Country—were only deemed eligible for elements considered "new work" to the show. Similarly, the new engagements of Sea Wall/A Life, Derren Brown: Secret, Slava’s Snowshow, and Pip’s Island were not considered as they had been deemed eligible in previous seasons.

The 2 PM Stars in the House stream also featured a reunion with cast members from the Broadway run of Urinetown, including Hunter Foster, Spencer Kayden, Jeff McCarthy, Nancy Opel, and Jennifer Laura Thompson. As with previous episodes of the series, viewers are encouraged to donate to The Actors Fund. Click here to watch previous Stars in the House videos.

See the full list of nominations below.

Outstanding Play
Cambodian Rock Band
Greater Clements
Halfway Bitches Go Straight to Heaven
Heroes of the Fourth Turning
The Inheritance

Outstanding Musical
Octet
The Secret Life of Bees
Soft Power
A Strange Loop
The Wrong Man

Outstanding Revival of a Play
Fefu and Her Friends
For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide / When the Rainbow Is Enuf
Mac Beth
Much Ado About Nothing
A Soldier's Play

Outstanding Revival of a Musical
Little Shop of Horrors
The Unsinkable Molly Brown
West Side Story

Outstanding Actor in a Play
Charles Busch, The Confession of Lily Dare
Edmund Donovan, Greater Clements
Raúl Esparza, Seared
Francis Jue, Cambodian Rock Band
Triney Sandoval, 72 Miles to Go…
Kyle Soller, The Inheritance

Outstanding Actress in a Play
Rose Byrne, Medea
Liza Colón-Zayas, Halfway Bitches Go Straight to Heaven
Emily Davis, Is This a Room
April Mathis, Toni Stone
Ruth Negga, Hamlet

Outstanding Actor in a Musical
David Aron Damane, The Unsinkable Molly Brown
Chris Dwan, Enter Laughing
Joshua Henry, The Wrong Man
Francis Jue, Soft Power
Larry Owens, A Strange Loop

Outstanding Actress in a Musical
Tammy Blanchard, Little Shop of Horrors
Beth Malone, The Unsinkable Molly Brown
Saycon Sengbloh, The Secret Life of Bees
Elizabeth Stanley, Jagged Little Pill
Adrienne Warren, Tina: The Tina Turner Musical

Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play
Victor Almanzar, Halfway Bitches Go Straight to Heaven
Esteban Andres Cruz, Halfway Bitches Go Straight to Heaven
David Alan Grier, A Soldier's Play
Paul Hilton, The Inheritance
Chris Perfetti, Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow

Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play
Patrice Johnson, Runboyrun and In Old Age
Kristina Poe, Halfway Bitches Go Straight to Heaven
Belange Rodríguez, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
Elizabeth Rodriguez, Halfway Bitches Go Straight to Heaven
Lois Smith, The Inheritance

Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical
George Abud, Emojiland
Christian Borle, Little Shop of Horrors
Jay Armstrong Johnson, Scotland, PA
Conrad Ricamora, Soft Power
Ryan Vasquez, The Wrong Man

Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical
Yesenia Ayala, West Side Story
Paula Leggett Chase, The Unsinkable Molly Brown
LaChanze, The Secret Life of Bees
Alyse Alan Louis, Soft Power
Lauren Patten, Jagged Little Pill

Outstanding Director of a Play
Jessica Blank, Coal Country
Stephen Daldry, The Inheritance
John Ortiz, Halfway Bitches Go Straight to Heaven
Tina Satter, Is This A Room
Erica Schmidt, Mac Beth

Outstanding Director of a Musical
Stephen Brackett, A Strange Loop
Thomas Kail, The Wrong Man
Kathleen Marshall, The Unsinkable Molly Brown
Leigh Silverman, Soft Power
Annie Tippe, Octet

Outstanding Choreography
Camille A. Brown, for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf
Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker, West Side Story
Keone Madrid and Mari Madrid, Beyond Babel
Kathleen Marshall, The Unsinkable Molly Brown
Sonya Tayeh, Moulin Rouge!
Travis Wall, The Wrong Man

Outstanding Music
Ross Golan, The Wrong Man
Michael R. Jackson, A Strange Loop
Dave Malloy, Octet
Joshua Rosenblum, Einstein’s Dreams
Duncan Sheik, The Secret Life of Bees
Jeanine Tesori, Soft Power

Outstanding Lyrics
Susan Birkenhead, The Secret Life of Bees
Adam Gwon, Scotland, PA
Michael R. Jackson, A Strange Loop
Joanne Sydney Lessner and Joshua Rosenblum, Einstein’s Dreams
Dave Malloy, Octe
Mark Saltzman, Romeo & Bernadette

Outstanding Book of a Musical
David Henry Hwang, Soft Power
Michael R. Jackson, A Strange Loop
Dave Malloy, Octet
Lynn Nottage, The Secret Life of Bees
Mark Saltzman, Romeo & Bernadette
Dick Scanlan, The Unsinkable Molly Brown

Outstanding Orchestrations
Tom Kitt, Jagged Little Pill
Alex Lacamoire, The Wrong Man
Or Matias and Dave Malloy, Octet
Danny Troob, John Clancy, and Larry Hochman, Soft Power
Jonathan Tunick, West Side Story

Outstanding Music in a Play
Steve Earle, Coal Country
Frightened Rabbit, Square Go
Jim Harbourne, Feral
Martha Redbone, for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf
Adam Seidel, Jane Bruce, and Daniel Ocanto, Original Sound

Outstanding Scenic Design for a Play
Catherine Cornell, Mac Beth
Clint Ramos, Grand Horizons
Adam Rigg, Fefu and Her Friends
Paul Steinberg, Judgment Day
B.T. Whitehill, The Confession of Lily Dare

Outstanding Scenic Design for a Musical
Julian Crouch, Little Shop of Horrors
Anna Louizos, Scotland, PA
Derek McLane, Moulin Rouge!
Clint Ramos, Soft Power
Amy Rubin and Brittany Vasta, Octet

Outstanding Costume Design for a Play
Asa Benally, Blues for an Alabama Sky
Montana Levi Blanco, Fefu and Her Friends
Toni-Leslie James, for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf
Antony McDonald, Judgment Day
Rachel Townsend and Jessica Jahn, The Confession of Lily Dare
Kaye Voyce, Coriolanus

Outstanding Costume Design for a Musical
Vanessa Leuck, Emojiland
Jeff Mahshie, Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice
Mark Thompson, Tina: The Tina Turner Musical
Anita Yavich, Soft Power
Catherine Zuber, Moulin Rouge!

Outstanding Lighting Design for a Play
Isabella Byrd, Heroes of the Fourth Turning
Oona Curley, Dr. Ride’s American Beach House
Heather Gilbert, The Sound Inside
Mimi Jordan Sherin, Judgment Day
Yi Zhao, Greater Clements

Outstanding Lighting Design for a Musical
Betsy Adams, The Wrong Man
Jane Cox, The Secret Life of Bees
Herrick Goldman, Einstein’s Dreams
Bruno Poet, Tina: The Tina Turner Musical
Justin Townsend, Moulin Rouge!

Outstanding Projection Design
David Bengali, Einstein’s Dreams
Julia Frey, Medea
Luke Halls, West Side Story
Lisa Renkel and POSSIBLE, Emojiland
Hannah Wasileski, Fires in the Mirror

Outstanding Sound Design for a Play
Paul Arditti and Christopher Reid, The Inheritance
Justin Ellington, Heroes of the Fourth Turning
Mikhail Fiksel, Dana H.
Palmer Hefferan, Fefu and Her Friends
Lee Kinney and Sanae Yamada, Is This A Room

Outstanding Sound Design for a Musical
Tom Gibbons, West Side Story
Kai Harada, Soft Power
Peter Hylenski, Moulin Rouge!
Hidenori Nakajo, Octet
Nevin Steinberg, The Wrong Man

Outstanding Wig and Hair Design
Campbell Young Associates, Tina: The Tina Turner Musical
Cookie Jordan, Fefu and Her Friends
Nikiya Mathis, STEW
Tom Watson, The Great Society
Bobbie Zlotnik, Emojiland

Outstanding Solo Performance
David Cale, We’re Only Alive for a Short Amount of Time
Kate del Castillo, the way she spoke
Laura Linney, My Name is Lucy Barton
Jacqueline Novak, Get on Your Knees
Deirdre O’Connell, Dana H.

Unique Theatrical Experience
Beyond Babel, Hideaway Circus
Feral, Tortoise in a Nutshell/Cumbernauld Theatre/59E59
Is This A Room, Vineyard Theatre
Midsummer: A Banquet, Food of Love Productions/Third Rail Projects

Outstanding Fight Choreography
Vicki Manderson, Square Go
Thomas Schall, A Soldier’s Play
UnkleDave’s Fight House, Halfway Bitches Go Straight to Heaven

Outstanding Adaptation
A Christmas Carol, by Jack Thorne
Judgment Day, by Christopher Shinn
Mojada, by Luis Alfaro
Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow, by Halley Feiffer

Outstanding Puppet Design
Raphael Mishler, Tumacho
Rockefeller Productions, Paddington Gets in a Jam
Amanda Villalobos, Is This A Room

Ensemble Award
The eight performers in Dave Malloy’s a cappella musical Octet: Adam Bashian, Kim Blanck, Starr Busby, Alex Gibson, Justin Gregory Lopez, J.D. Mollison, Margo Seibert, and Kuhoo Verma

Sam Norkin Award:
To performer Mary Bacon, recognized for her work this season in Off-Broadway's Coal Country at the Public Theater and Nothing Gold Can Stay from Partial Comfort Productions

Additional Special Awards:
The Actors Fund, Seth Rudetsky, and James Wesley, for connecting the theatre community and lifting spirits during the coronavirus crisis through the ongoing Stars in the House series

The Public Theater’s Mobile Unit, offering free Shakespeare throughout the five boroughs, including prisons, homeless shelters, and community centers

WP Theater and Julia Miles, the company’s founder who died this spring.

Claire Warden, whose work as an intimacy choreographer was featured in such recent projects as Frankie and Johnny in the Claire de Lune and Linda Vista

Productions with multiple nominations:
Soft Power: 11
The Wrong Man: 9
Halfway Bitches Go Straight to Heaven: 8
Octet: 8
The Secret Life of Bees: 7
The Unsinkable Molly Brown: 7
A Strange Loop: 6
The Inheritance: 6
West Side Story: 6
Fefu and Her Friends: 5
Is This A Room: 5
Moulin Rouge!: 5
Einstein's Dreams: 4
Emojiland: 4
for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf: 4
Judgment Day: 4
Little Shop of Horrors: 4
Tina: The Tina Turner Musical: 4
A Soldier's Play: 3
Greater Clements: 3
Heroes of the Fourth Turning: 3
Jagged Little Pill: 3
Mac Beth: 3
Scotland, PA: 3
The Confession of Lily Dare: 3
Beyond Babel: 2
Cambodian Rock Band: 2
Coal Country: 2
Dana H.: 2
Feral: 2
Medea: 2
Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow: 2
Romeo & Bernadette: 2
Square Go: 2

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