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Drama Desk Awards Presented; Director Mantello Announced as Winner for Assassins But Actually Wins for Wicked logo
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The 49th Annual Drama Desk Awards were presented last evening at the Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center in a ceremony hosted by Broadway star Harvey Fierstein.

In what seems to be an unprecedented error, word came this morning that Joe Mantello was incorrectly announced as the winner in the "Outstanding Director of a Musical" category for his direction of Assassins when, in fact, he was voted the winner for his direction of Wicked. (Mantello had been nominated for his work on both shows.) According to Drama Desk publicist Les Schecter, the envelope containing the winner's name held the wrong information; Bebe Neuwirth announced that Mantello had won for Assassins, which is what was printed on the piece of paper inside the envelope, but he actually won for Wicked. The wrong information was subsequently reported by TheaterMania and several other media outlets. (To see and hear Mantello being interviewed by TM's Jim Caruso about his supposed win for Assassins, along with other interviews conducted back stage at the ceremony by Caruso and Rex Reed, check out our TheaterMania Video Specials at right.)

In a new acceptance speech released early this afternoon, Mantello said, "Now I feel as though I've been given the opportunity to acknowledge both Assassins and Wicked, which pleases me greatly. In addition to Stephen Schwartz and Winnie Holzman, who were honored last night, I would like to thank Wicked's wonderful design team, our perfect cast, and Wayne Cilento, who was figuratively and literally by my side through the entire process. I would particularly like to acknowledge Kristin Chenoweth and Idina Menzel and their contribution to the show. Although they are wonderful individuals and singular talents, in their work on Wicked they are inextricably linked. They have given Wicked an honesty, a passion, and a sense of humor that will continue to exist in the work long after they depart."

In total, Wicked won six awards last evening, including "Outstanding New Musical," and Assassins won four, including "Outstanding Revival of a Musical." Doug Wright's I Am My Own Wife received the award for "Outstanding New Play" and the Lincoln Center Theater production of Henry IV was named "Outstanding Revival of a Play."

The complete list of nominees is listed below, with the winners notated in bold:


Outstanding Orchestrations
Paul Bogaev, Bombay Dreams
William David Brohn, Wicked
Michael Starobin, Assassins
Harold Wheeler, Never Gonna Dance

Outstanding Book of a Musical
Winnie Holzman, Wicked
Tony Kushner, Caroline, or Change

Outstanding Lyrics
Joanne Bogart, The Musical of Musicals: The Musical
Boy George, Taboo
Sean Hartley, Cupid and Psyche
Joel Higgins, Johnny Guitar
Stephen Schwartz, Wicked

Harvey Fierstein
(Photo © Alex Kirzhner)
Outstanding Music
RaRa Avis and Andrew Yeater, et al, Ramayana 2K3
Boy George, Taboo
Eric Rockwell, The Musical of Musicals: The Musical
Stephen Schwartz, Wicked
Martin Silvestri and Joel Higgins, Johnny Guitar
Jeanine Tesori, Caroline, or Change

Outstanding Choreography
Stephen Hues, Ramayana 2K3
Kathleen Marshall, Wonderful Town
Jerry Mitchell, Never Gonna Dance
Anthony Van Laast and Farah Khan, Bombay Dreams

Outstanding Director of a Play
Hilary Adams, Moby Dick (Works Productions)
Dexter Bullard, Bug
Edward Hall, A Midsummer Night's Dream (Watermill Theatre production from Propeller/BAM)
Moises Kaufman, I Am My Own Wife
Kenny Leon, A Raisin in the Sun
Jack O'Brien, Henry IV (LCT)

Outstanding Director of a Musical
Jeff Calhoun, Big River
Pamela Hunt, The Musical of Musicals: The Musical
Joe Mantello, Assassins
Joe Mantello, Wicked
Kathleen Marshall, Wonderful Town
George C. Wolfe, Caroline, or Change

Outstanding Costume Design
Jess Goldstein, Henry IV (LCT)
Susan Hilferty, Wicked
Robert A. Prior and Lisa Leighton, Ramayana 2K3
Jenny Mannis, Animal Farm
Mark Thompson, Bombay Dreams
Catherine Zuber, Intimate Apparel

Outstanding Lighting Design
Jules Fisher and Peggy Eisenhauer, Assassins
TJ Gerckens, The Notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci
Donald Holder, The Violet Hour
David Lander, I Am My Own Wife
Brian MacDevitt, Henry IV
Kenneth Posner, Wicked

Outstanding Sound Design
Mark Bennett, Henry IV (LCT)
Scott Jennings, Ramayana 2K3
Brian Ronan, Bug
Dan Moses Schreier, Assassins
David Van Tieghem, The Stendhal Syndrome

Outstanding Set Design of a Play
John Lee Beatty, Twentieth Century
Scott Bradley, The Notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci
Ralph Funicello, Henry IV (LCT)
David Korins, Blackbird
Andrew Lieberman, Wintertime
Derek McLane, I Am My Own Wife

Outstanding Set Design of a Musical
John Lee Beatty, Wonderful Town
Robert Brill, Assassins
Eugene Lee, Wicked
Tom Pye, Fiddler on the Roof
Mark Thompson, Bombay Dreams

Sean Combs and Audra McDonald
(Photo © Alex Kirzhner)
Outstanding Solo Performance
Barbara Cook, Barbara Cook's Broadway
Ben Gazzara, Nobody Don't Like Yogi
Sarah Jones, Bridge and Tunnel
Jefferson Mays, I Am My Own Wife
Martin Moran, The Tricky Part
Will Power, Flow

Unique Theatrical Experience
Ramayana 2K3
Todd Robbins' Carnival Knowledge
Toxic Audio in Loud Mouth

Outstanding Ensemble Performance
The cast of The Distance From Here

Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play
Ned Beatty, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
Michael Berry, Moby Dick (Works Productions)
Andre De Shields, Prymate
Aidan Gillen, The Caretaker
John Lithgow, Mrs. Farnsworth
Corey Stoll, Intimate Apparel

Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical
Joel Blum, Golf: The Musical
Jeffrey Carlson, Taboo
Raúl Esparza, Taboo
Mitchel David Federan, The Boy From Oz
Marc Kudisch, Assassins
Raymond Jaramillo McLeod, Wonderful Town

Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play
Jayne Houdyshell, Well
Mikel Sarah Lambert, The Daughter-in-Law
Margo Martindale, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
Jan Maxwell, Sixteen Wounded
Audra McDonald, A Raisin in the Sun
Mary Louise Wilson, The Beard of Avon

Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical
Lovette George, The Musical of Musicals: The Musical
Isabel Keating, The Boy From Oz
Alix Korey, Listen to My Heart
Anika Noni Rose, Caroline, or Change
Jennifer Simard, The Thing About Men
Mary Testa, First Lady Suite

Outstanding Actress in a Play
Eileen Atkins, The Retreat from Moscow
Shannon Cochran, Bug
Viola Davis, Intimate Apparel
Lizan Mitchell, Trojan Women
Phylicia Rashad, A Raisin in the Sun
J. Smith-Cameron, Sarah, Sarah

Outstanding Actress in a Musical
Kristin Chenoweth, Wicked
Judy McLane, Johnny Guitar
Idina Menzel, Wicked
Donna Murphy, Wonderful Town
Elaine Paige, Sweeney Todd
Tonya Pinkins, Caroline, or Change

Outstanding Actor in a Play
John Michael Higgins, Big Bill
Kevin Kline, Henry IV (LCT)
Frank Langella, Match
Brían F. O'Byrne, Frozen
Christopher Plummer, King Lear
Paul Sparks, Blackbird

Hugh Jackman
(Photo © Alex Kirzhner)
Outstanding Actor in a Musical
Hunter Foster, Little Shop of Horrors
Tyrone Giordano, Big River
Hugh Jackman, The Boy From Oz
Michael McElroy, Big River
Alfred Molina, Fiddler on the Roof
Euan Morton, Taboo

Outstanding Play
The Beard of Avon (Amy Freed)
The Distance From Here (Neil LaBute)
Humble Boy (Charlotte Jones)
I Am My Own Wife (Doug Wright)
Moby Dick (Julian Rad) (Works Productions)
The Tricky Part (Martin Moran)

Outstanding Revival of a Play
The Colleen Bawn
The Daughter-in-Law
Henry IV (LCT)
A Midsummer Night's Dream (Watermill Theatre production from Propeller/BAM)
The Normal Heart
A Raisin in the Sun

Outstanding Revival of a Musical
Big River
Fiddler on the Roof
Finian's Rainbow
First Lady Suite
Wonderful Town

Outstanding Musical
Caroline, or Change
Johnny Guitar
The Musical of Musicals: The Musical

Special Awards
Dakin Matthews for his adaptation of Shakespeare's Henry IV
The Flea Theater
The Classical Theatre of Harlem

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