The Prom was awarded the top prize for Outstanding Musical, while Tootsie and Hadestown were big winners among musicals at the 64th Drama Desk Awards, which recognize outstanding achievement on Broadway, Off-Broadway and Off-Off Broadway.
The Ferryman by Jez Butterworth took home the outstanding play award, while The Waverly Gallery won for best play revival.
Fiddler on the Roof at the National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene and Off-Broadway won for best musical revival.
Jay O. Sanders won the Outstanding Actor Award for a play for his role in Uncle Vanya while Elaine May took home the same award for actresses for her role in The Waverly Gallery.
Outstanding actress and actor awards in a musical, respectively, went to Stephanie J. Block for her role The Cher Show, and Santino Fontana in Tootsie.
Other honorees included Sam Mendes for Outstanding Direction of a play, The Ferryman, and Rachel Chavkin for Outstanding Direction of a Musical, Hadestown.
The Drama Desk honors were celebrated at Town Hall in New York City on Sunday (June 2), with host Michael Urie at its helm for the fourth consecutive year.
Tootsie also won awards for Outstanding Music and Outstanding Lyrics for David Yazbek, as well as Outstanding Book of a Musical for Robert Horn.
Hadestown was only eligible in select categories that were unique to the Off-Broadway production in 2016. It took home awards for Rachel Chavki won for Outstanding Direction of a Musical and Andre De Shields won for Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical.
The production also won for Outstanding Sound Design and Lighting Design.
The winners spoke with TheImproper about their experiences working on their shows, reflecting on a season that spoke to enthusiastic audiences in new and exciting ways.
Rachel Chavkin (director, Hadestown), on her un-traditional style: “I happily don’t have to think too much about how to do it. I try to be cognizant of when the box just doesn’t make sense and to not spend too much time being worried about fitting into a mold that maybe doesn’t make sense or feel good to me. There’s a constant checking in of your own taste more than anything. Happily, as a director, for better or for worse, you have to spend basically your entire life trusting your taste and hoping you don’t lose faith in your taste when other people may or may not agree with it. That makes it easier to just go, ‘This is what I want to be doing in my life and it doesn’t matter.’ I like a lot of different things, I’m happy to be a refresher.”
Celia Keenan Bolger (To Kill a Mockingbird) on how her version of Mockingbird’s Scout speaks to young generations: I hope that they will have a sense that I did when I read the book. Even young people can have a relationship to morality and justice. The book is about this, but I really think the play is even more about these three kids, in particular Scout, going through some very big and hard events in that town and what she believes is right and wrong and when to stand up for that. I hope that young people that come and see this will feel like they also get to be participants in this cultural moment and that they will have some sense of what’s happening in our world right now and feel some agency inside of it.
Bob Mackie (costume designer, The Cher Show) on one show design that epitomizes his experience working on the musical: I had the most fun re-creating a costume that I didn’t originally do, which was the Sonny and Cher look, the fur vests, the bell-bottom pants and the funny outfits that they originally wore. They’re so iconic. It was a big deal when they showed up on the scene dressed like that. I was doing television shows and we would do musical numbers about current looks and people, and we’d always have people that looked just like that. It was fun to do it for real on the real characters.
On how he would like to see himself return to New York theater: I would love to do another show. I love doing musicals because I really understand dance and I’ve done that my whole life. I’d also love to do a really funny show because I love to do comedy. All those years at ‘The Carol Burnett Show,’ I surely have some experience.
Warren Carlyle (choreographer, Kiss Me, Kate) on the concept for Kiss Me, Kate’s showstopping number, “Too Darn Hot”: I think it was just a show of strength. “Too Darn Hot” is so much a battle of the sexes. The men dance and the women dance, and then there’s a competition and the pas de deux. It became about how we’re this strong, and we’re just going to do this. It was no more complex than that.
On how he can top the “hottest” number of the season: I probably just have to take a deep breath and start on page one with [Broadway’s upcoming] The Music Man, so I’m lucky that I get to play with Hugh Jackman and some really super-talented people.
Stephanie J. Block (The Cher Show) on a line from The Cher Show that epitomizes the experience of working on it: One of the final lines is, ‘You win some, you learn some.’ This really has been one of those journeys where, if I have fallen on my face, which I have many times trying to develop this character, making a complete fool out of myself, going home and feeling like the worst actress in the world, it never has been a ‘give up’ situation. I learned that I’m going to pick myself up the next day, and we’re going to move forward with whatever lessons we learned the day before. I think that speaks to a lot of actors’ journeys; it certainly speaks to Cher as being that resilient force of nature, and I think that line will stick with me for a long time.
On which lessons she takes away from working with Cher: Truly be your authentic self. Don’t fake the smile, don’t fake the tears, just be who you are in whatever moment you are, and it will service you. She’s always so authentically herself. I think that’s why people have come to really love her; she may be dressing in feathers and sequins, but we know at the core of her she is authentically true and real. That is something I’m going to take with me.
Check out the 2019 Drama Desk Winners and nominees below. For more, check out the Drama Desk Web site.
|The 64th Drama Desk Awards Nominees and Winners (in bold)|
Outstanding Revival of a Play
Outstanding Revival of a Musical
Outstanding Actor in a Play
Outstanding Actress in a Play
Outstanding Actor in a Musical
Outstanding Actress in a Musical
Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play
Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play
Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical
Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical
Outstanding Director of a Play
Outstanding Director of a Musical
Outstanding Choreography presented by LaDuca Shoes
Outstanding Music presented by Music Theatre International
Outstanding Lyrics presented by Music Theatre International
Outstanding Book of a Musical presented by Music Theatre International
Outstanding Music in a Play
Outstanding Set Design of a Play
Outstanding Set Design for a Musical presented by Hudson Scenic Studio
Outstanding Costume Design for a Play
Outstanding Costume Design for a Musical
Outstanding Lighting Design for a Play
Outstanding Lighting Design for a Musical presented by Production Resource Group
Outstanding Projection Design
Outstanding Sound Design in a Play
Outstanding Sound Design in a Musical
Outstanding Wig and Hair Design
Outstanding Solo Performance