65th Annual Drama Desk Awards Will be announced during a special presentation of Spectrum News NY1’s On Stage Tonight at 7:30 PM

Due to the ongoing coronavirus crisis, in lieu of a traditional ceremony, the 65th Annual Drama Desk Awards will be announced during a special presentation of Spectrum News NY1’s On Stage on Sunday, May 31, at 7:30 PM. The awards special also will stream on NY1.com, and DramaDeskAwards.com.

SOFT POWER. Photos by Joan Marcus
Conrad Ricamora and Alyse Alan Louis. Photo Credit: Craig Schwartz

David Henry Hwang and Jeanine Tesori’s Soft Power, produced by The Public Theater and Center Theatre Group, was nominated in eleven categories including Outstanding Musical, Outstanding Book of a Musical for David Henry Hwang, Outstanding Music for Jeanine Tesori, Outstanding Director of a Musical for Leigh Silverman, Outstanding Orchestrations for Danny Troob, John Clancy, and Larry Hochman, Outstanding Scenic Design for Clint Ramos, Outstanding Costume Design for a Musical for Anita Yavich, Outstanding Sound Design for a Musical for Kai Harada, Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical for Conrad Ricamora, Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical for Alyse Alan Louis and Outstanding Actor in a Musical for Francis Jue.

Sam Pinkleton, Jeanine Tesori, Francis Jue, Leigh Silverman, David Henry Hwang, Conrad Ricamora, Alyse Alan Louis. Photo by Lia Chang
Sam Pinkleton, Jeanine Tesori, Francis Jue, Leigh Silverman, David Henry Hwang, Conrad Ricamora, Alyse Alan Louis. Photo by Lia Chang

Michael R. Jackson’s A STRANGE LOOP Wins the 2020 Pulitzer Prize for Drama; SOFT POWER and HEROES OF THE FOURTH TURNING Are Finalists 

Lauren Yee’s Cambodian Rock Band, produced by Signature Theatre Company, was nominated for Outstanding Play and Jue received a second Drama Desk nomination for Outstanding Actor in a Play for his performance as Duch.

Francis Jue as Duch in Lauren Yee’s CAMBODIAN ROCK BAND. Photo by Joan Marcus

Atlantic Theater’s Production of Halfway Bitches Go Straight to Heaven by Pulitzer Prize winner Stephen Adly Guirgis (Between Riverside and Crazy), directed by Obie Award winner John Ortiz, and co-produced with LAByrinth Theater Company, received eight nominations including Outstanding Play, Outstanding Actress in a Play for Liza Colón-Zayas, Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play for Victor Almanzar and Esteban Andres Cruz, Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play for Kristina Poe and Elizabeth Rodriguez and Outstanding Director for John Ortiz and Outstanding Fight Choreography for UnkleDave’s Fight House.

Patrice Johnson Chevannes (Wanda Wheels), Elizabeth Canavan (Rockaway Rosie), Benja Kay Thomas (Queen Sugar), Pernell Walker (Munchies), Victor Almanzar (Joey Fresco), Liza Colón-Zayas (Sarge), Andrea Syglowski (Bella), Neil Tyrone Pritchard (Mr. Mobo), Wilemina Olivia-Garcia (Happy Meal Sonia), Sean Carvajal (Mateo), Kara Young (Little Melba Diaz), Viviana Valeria (Taina), and Esteban Andres Cruz (Venus) star in Stephen Adly Guirgis's Halfway Bitches Go Straight to Heaven, directed by John Ortiz, at Atlantic Theater Company. © Monique Carboni
Patrice Johnson Chevannes (Wanda Wheels), Elizabeth Canavan (Rockaway Rosie), Benja Kay Thomas (Queen Sugar), Pernell Walker (Munchies), Victor Almanzar (Joey Fresco), Liza Colón-Zayas (Sarge), Andrea Syglowski (Bella), Neil Tyrone Pritchard (Mr. Mobo), Wilemina Olivia-Garcia (Happy Meal Sonia), Sean Carvajal (Mateo), Kara Young (Little Melba Diaz), Viviana Valeria (Taina), and Esteban Andres Cruz (Venus) star in Stephen Adly Guirgis’s Halfway Bitches Go Straight to Heaven, directed by John Ortiz, at Atlantic Theater Company. © Monique Carboni

The nominees for the 65th Annual Drama Desk Awards are:

Outstanding Play
Cambodian Rock Band, by Lauren Yee, Signature Theatre
Greater Clements, by Samuel D. Hunter, Lincoln Center Theater
Halfway Bitches Go Straight to Heaven, by Stephen Adly Guirgis, Atlantic Theater Company/LAByrinth Theater Company
Heroes of the Fourth Turning, by Will Arbery, Playwrights Horizons
The Inheritance, by Matthew Lopez

Conrad Ricamora and the cast of SOFT POWER. Photo by Joan Marcus
Conrad Ricamora and the cast of SOFT POWER. Photo by Joan Marcus

Outstanding Musical
Octet, Signature Theatre
The Secret Life of Bees, Atlantic Theater Company
Soft Power, The Public Theater
A Strange Loop, Playwrights Horizons/Page 73 Productions
The Wrong Man, MCC Theater

Michael R. Jackson, A Strange Loop. Playwrights Horizons, New York, 2019. From left to right: James Jackson, Jr., John-Michael Lyles, Jason Veasey, Larry Owens, Antwayn Hopper, John-Andrew Morrison, L Morgan Lee.
Michael R. Jackson, A Strange Loop. Playwrights Horizons, New York, 2019. From left to right: James Jackson, Jr., John-Michael Lyles, Jason Veasey, Larry Owens, Antwayn Hopper, John-Andrew Morrison, L Morgan Lee.

Outstanding Revival of a Play
Fefu and Her Friends, Theatre for a New Audience
for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf, The Public Theater
Mac Beth, Red Bull Theater/Hunter Theater Project
Much Ado About Nothing, The Public Theater
A Soldier’s Play, Roundabout Theatre Company

Beth Malone (center) leads the off-Broadway cast of The Unsinkable Molly Brown. (© Carol Rosegg)
Beth Malone (center) leads the off-Broadway cast of The Unsinkable Molly Brown. (© Carol Rosegg)

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

Kendal Sparks, Charles Busch, Christopher Borg, Nancy Anderson, Jennifer Van Dyck, and Howard McGillin in THE CONFESSION OF LILY DARE. Photo by Carol Rosegg

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

Raúl Esparza in <i>Seared</i>. Photo by Joan Marcus
Raúl Esparza in Seared. Photo by Joan Marcus
Eric Berryman, Jonathan Burke, April Matthis, Daniel J. Bryant, and Ezra Knight inThe Roundabout Theatre Company production of Lydia R. Diamond’s Toni Stone. Photo by Joan Marcus

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

Liza Colón-Zayas plays Sarge and Elizabeth Rodriguez plays Miss Rivera in ''Halfway Bitches Go Straight to Heaven." (© Monique Carboni)
Liza Colón-Zayas plays Sarge and Elizabeth Rodriguez plays Miss Rivera in ”Halfway Bitches Go Straight to Heaven.” (© Monique Carboni)

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

Adrienne Warren, company, 'Tina - The Tina Turner Musical' Photo by Manuel Harlan
Adrienne Warren, company, ‘Tina – The Tina Turner Musical’ Photo by Manuel Harlan

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

Victor Almanzar and Esteban Andres Cruz in “Halfway Bitches Go Straight to Heaven.” © Monique Carboni

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

Elizabeth Canavan, Patrice Johnson Chevannes, Elizabeth Rodriguez & Liza Colón-Zayas. Photo by Lia Chang

Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play
Patrice Johnson Chevannes, runboyrun & 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

The cast of Emojiland, The Musical. Photo by Jeremy Daniel
The cast of Emojiland, The Musical. Photo by Jeremy Daniel

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

Conrad Ricamora and Francis Jue. Photo Credit: Craig Schwartz
Conrad Ricamora and Francis Jue. Photo Credit: Craig Schwartz

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

Stephen Adly Guirgis & John Ortiz. Photo by Lia Chang

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

Cast of Octet. Photo by Joan Marcus

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

Saycon Sengbloh, Nathaniel Stampley, Eisa Davis, Anastacia McCleskey, and LaChanze in The Secret Life of Bees. Photo: Ahron R. Foster
Saycon Sengbloh, Nathaniel Stampley, Eisa Davis, Anastacia McCleskey, and LaChanze in The Secret Life of Bees. Photo: Ahron R. Foster

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, Octet
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

Ronete Levenson (Sue), Lindsay Rico (Paula), Helen Cespedes (Emma), Jennifer Lim (Cindy), and Brittany Bradford (Julia) in Fefu and Her Friends. Photo: Henry Grossman
Ronete Levenson (Sue), Lindsay Rico (Paula), Helen Cespedes (Emma), Jennifer Lim (Cindy), and Brittany Bradford (Julia) in Fefu and Her Friends. Photo: Henry Grossman

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

Rebecca Henderson and Ako in Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow. Photo by Joan Marcus
Rebecca Henderson and Ako in Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow. Photo by Joan Marcus

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

Alex Hernandez, Sabina Zúñiga Varela, Benjamin Luis McCracken, and Socorro Santiago appear in the off-Broadway production of Mojada. (© Joan Marcus)
Alex Hernandez, Sabina Zúñiga Varela, Benjamin Luis McCracken, and Socorro Santiago appear in the off-Broadway production of Mojada. (© Joan Marcus)

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

Special Awards:

Ensemble Award: To the eight pitch-perfect 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 proved instrumental in giving a layered look at modern forms of addiction.

Sam Norkin Award: To actress Mary Bacon, who continued her versatile career of compassionate, searing work for such companies as The Mint, Primary Stages, The Public Theater, and The Actors Theater Company, with two of Off-Broadway’s most humane performances this season in Coal Country at the Public Theater and Nothing Gold Can Stay presented by Partial Comfort Productions.

To The Actors Fund, Seth Rudetsky, and James Wesley for connecting members of the theater community and lifting spirits during the coronavirus crisis. The Actors Fund has worked tirelessly to provide financial and health resources to those impacted by the pandemic; Rudetsky and Wesley’s semi-daily “Stars in the House” webcast is raising funds for The Actors Fund, while providing performances, reunions, and medical updates.

To The Public Theater’s Mobile Unit, a reinvention of Joseph Papp’s “Mobile Theater” that began in 1957 and evolved into the New York Shakespeare Festival and The Public Theater. The current Mobile Unit tours free Shakespeare throughout the five boroughs, including prisons, homeless shelters, and community centers, reminding audiences new and old that the play really is the thing.

To WP Theater and Julia Miles, the company’s founder who died this spring. Formerly known as The Women’s Project and Productions, the company began in 1978 at American Place Theatre, where Miles served as associate to visionary artistic director Wynn Handman, who also died this spring. WP is the largest, most enduring American company that nurtures and produces works by female-identified creators. Over a little more than four decades, it has changed the demographics of American drama through an unwavering focus on women writers, directors, producers, performers, and craftspeople.

To Claire Warden for her pioneering work as an intimacy choreographer in such recent projects as Frankie and Johnny in the Claire de Lune and Linda Vista, and her leadership in the rapidly emerging movement of intimacy direction. As part of the creative team of Intimacy Directors & Coordinators and Director of Engagement for and co-founder of Intimacy Directors International, she is helping create theater experiences that are safer for performers and more authentic for contemporary audiences.

The evening will feature appearances by Tituss Burgess, James Corden, Kristin Chenoweth, Alan Cumming, Beanie Feldstein, Santino Fontana, Renée Elise Goldsberry, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Jane Krakowski, Patti LuPone, Audra McDonald, Cynthia Nixon, Ashley Park, Andrew Rannells, Ali Stroker, and Susan Stroman.

Founded in 1955, the Drama Desk Awards honor outstanding achievement by professional theatre artists on Broadway, Off-Broadway, and Off-Off-Broadway. The Drama Desk Awards are voted on and bestowed by theatre critics, journalists, editors, publishers, and broadcasters covering theatre.

David Henry Hwang and Jeanine Tesori’s SOFT POWER Receives Four 2020 Outer Critics Circle Awards including Outstanding New Off-Broadway Musical, Outstanding Book of a Musical, Outstanding New Score and Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical for Francis Jue; Full List of Honorees 

David Henry Hwang and Jeanine Tesori’s SOFT POWER Receives Five Lucille Lortel Nominations Including Outstanding Musical, Outstanding Lead Actor in a Musical for Francis Jue and Conrad Ricamora, Outstanding Choreography for Sam Pinkleton and Outstanding Scenic Design for Clint Ramos; Full List of Nominations 

Stephen Adly Guirgis’ HALFWAY BITCHES GO STRAIGHT TO HEAVEN Receives Two Lucille Lortel Nominations including Outstanding Play and Outstanding Lead Actress in a Play for Liza Colón-Zayas 

Lia Chang. Photo by Garth Kravits

Lia Chang is an actor, a multi-media content producer and co-founder of Bev’s Girl Films, making films that foster inclusion and diversity on both sides of the camera. Bev’s Girl Films’ debut short film, Hide and Seek was a top ten film in the Asian American Film Lab’s 2015 72 Hour Shootout Filmmaking Competition, and she received a Best Actress nomination. BGF collaborates with and produces multi-media content for artists, actors, designers, theatrical productions, composers,  musicians and corporations. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman. She stars in and served as Executive Producer for the short independent films Hide and Seek, Balancing Act, Rom-Com Gone Wrong, Belongingness and When the World was Young. She is also the Executive Producer for The Cactus, The Language Lesson, The Writer and Cream and 2 Shugahs.

All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2020 Lia Chang Multimedia. All rights reserved. All materials contained on this site are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Lia Chang. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content. For permission, please contact Lia at liachangpr@gmail.com

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