The 51st annual Drama Desk Awards ceremony will be held on Sunday, May 21, 2006 at the LaGuardia Concert Hall at Lincoln Center, beginning at 9pm. Celebrating excellence in all sectors of New York's theater world, the awards ceremony will be taped and subsequently broadcast nationwide over PBS-TV stations as a two-hour special. In New York, the program will be shown on WNET/Thirteen and on WNYC/25. For the fourth year in a row, the ceremony will also be webcast live by TheaterMania.com.

Nominees for the 2005-2006 awards will be announced at 9:30am on Thursday, April 27 at The New York Friars Club. The Drama Desk is the only organization that considers Broadway, Off Broadway and Off-Off Broadway equally in all award categories. Voting members include more than 130 voting theater critics, reporters, and editors. A cocktail reception for the nominees will be held on Tuesday, May 2 from 4pm to 7pm at Café Arte.

"We are looking forward to a great awards show this year," stated Robert R. Blume, executive producer of the Drama Desk Awards. "Each year, we try to keep our ceremony fresh and lively, with participation by some of the theater world's biggest luminaries." Drama Desk president William Wolf stated, "[We] are very happy with the national television coverage of last year's 50th anniversary Drama Desk Awards and are looking forward to this year's event with much enthusiasm. The public television broadcasts and the TheaterMania.com webcast help communicate nationally and internationally the importance of the Drama Desk awards, voted by those who write or report not only about Broadway but about the diverse productions that make up the entire New York theater scene."

In recent years, the awards ceremony -- produced and directed by Lauren Class Schneider and Jeff Kalpak, respectively -- has been hosted by such luminaries as Harvey Fierstein, Chita Rivera, Bernadette Peters, and Rue McClanahan. Among the many notable participants have been Hugh Jackman, Antonio Banderas, Lynn and Vanessa Redgrave, Frank Langella, Alan Bates, Audra McDonald, Christopher Plummer, Kristin Chenoweth, Idina Menzel, and John Lithgow.

The members of the Drama Desk nominating committee for the 2005-2006 season are: Barbara Siegel, committee chair (TheaterMania.com and Siegel Entertainment Syndicate); Michael Buckley (Playbill On-Line); Christopher Byrne (Gay City News and The Villager); Matthew Murray (TalkinBroadway.com, Stage Directions); Andy Propst (AmericanTheaterWeb.com and XM Satellite Radio); Richard Ridge (Broadway Beat); and president William Wolf (wolfentertainmentguide.com).