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Drama Queens (and Kings)

Here comes Thoroughly Modern Millie, leading the pack of Drama Desk Award nominees for the current season. logo

Sutton Foster in Thoroughly Modern Millie
(Photo: Joan Marcus)
There aren't many big surprises among this season's Drama Desk Award nominations, unless you consider it surprising that Mamma Mia! wasn't nominated in the Outstanding Musical category. That crowd-pleasing ABBA-fest, which will surely continue to do boffo box-office business even if it doesn't win any awards from anyone, did receive three nominations: for leading lady Louise Pitre and featured ladies Judy Kaye and Karen Mason.

Though Thoroughly Modern Millie and Sweet Smell of Success opened to mixed reviews, with the latter more negatively received than the former, both garnered multiple nominations: 12 for Millie and 11 for Sweet Smell. Since the Drama Desk awards encompass Broadway, Off-Broadway, and Off-Off-Broadway productions, such worthy shows as tick, tick...BOOM!, The Last Five Years, Franny's Way, 36 Views, and the Theatre for a New Audience's Cymbeline are represented among the nominees. In fact, Norbert Leo Butz scored two nominations, one for his leading performance in The Last 5 Years and one for his featured performance on Broadway in the flop Harry Connick-Susan Stroman musical Thou Shalt Not.

It's interesting to note that the poorly directed revival of The Elephant Man earned not a single nomination. Urinetown, now playing on Broadway, wasn't under consideration this year because it was eligible last season (and received several nominations) for its Off-Broadway run. This year's nominating committee consists of Frank Scheck of The Hollywood Reporter, Susan Haskins of Theater Talk, Harry Haun of Playbill, Edward Karam of The Times of London, David Sheward of Back Stage, and TheaterMania's own David Finkle and Barbara Siegel.

The nominations were announced this morning at the New York Friars Club by two Broadway beauties, Polly Bergen and John Stamos, both of whom are currently appearing in Cabaret--and each of whom unfortunately mispronounced several of the nominees' names. (Stamos complained aloud to those assembled and to the NY1 television audience that a light was shining on the video monitor from which he and Bergen were reading.) The 47th annual Drama Desk Awards ceremony will be held on Sunday, May 19 at 9pm in the auditorium of Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School (a.k.a. the High School of the Performing Arts) near Lincoln Center.

Following is a complete list of this year's nominees. For further information, visit the website


Outstanding Play:
Franny's Way by Richard Nelson
The Goat or Who Is Sylvia? by Edward Albee
Metamorphoses by Mary Zimmerman
The Shape of Things by Neil LaBute
Thief River by Lee Blessing
Topdog/Underdog by Suzan-Lori Parks

Outstanding Musical:
The Last 5 Years
Sweet Smell of Success
Thoroughly Modern Millie
tick, tick...BOOM!

Outstanding Revival of a Play:
The Crucible
Cymbeline (Theater for a New Audience)
Morning's at Seven
Noises Off
Private Lives
The Seagull

Outstanding Revival of a Musical:
Into the Woods

Outstanding Actor in a Play:
Alan Bates (Fortune's Fool)
Liam Neeson (The Crucible)
Bill Pullman (The Goat)
Alan Rickman (Private Lives)
Dallas Roberts (Nocturne)
Jeffrey Wright (Topdog/Underdog)

Outstanding Actress in a Play:
Robin Bartlett (Everett Beekin)
Lindsay Duncan (Private Lives)
Anna Paquin (The Glory of Living)
Sarah Jessica Parker (Wonder of the World)
Mercedes Ruehl (The Goat)
Meryl Streep (The Seagull)

Outstanding Actor in a Musical:
Norbert Leo Butz (The Last 5 Years)
Raul Esparza (tick, tick...BOOM!)
Brian d'Arcy James (Sweet Smell of Success)
John Lithgow (Sweet Smell of Success)
Patrick Wilson (Oklahoma!)

Outstanding Actress in a Musical:
Laura Benanti (Into the Woods)
Sutton Foster (Thoroughly Modern Millie)
Garret Long (The Spitfire Grill)
Louise Pitre (Mamma Mia!)
Sherie René Scott (The Last 5 Years)
Vanessa Williams (Into the Woods)

Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play:
Frank Langella (Fortune's Fool)
Will LeBow (Nocturne)
Brian Murray (The Crucible)
Keith Nobbs (Four)
Sam Robards (The Man Who Had All the Luck)
David Warner (Major Barbara)

Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play:
Jennifer Coolidge (The Women)
Kathleen Doyle (Kilt)
Linda Emond (Homebody/Kabul)
Katie Finneran (Noises Off)
Elizabeth Franz (Morning's at Seven)
Kathleen Widdoes (Franny's Way)

Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical:
Justin Bohon (Oklahoma!)
Norbert Leo Butz (Thou Shalt Not)
Jerry Dixon (tick, tick...BOOM!)
Gregg Edelman (Into the Woods)
Shuler Hensley (Oklahoma!)
Marc Kudisch (Thoroughly Modern Millie)

Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical:
Liz Callaway (The Spitfire Grill)
Harriet Harris (Thoroughly Modern Millie)
Judy Kaye (Mamma Mia!)
Andrea Martin (Oklahoma!)
Karen Mason (Mamma Mia!)
Kerry O'Malley (Into the Woods)

Outstanding Director of a Play:
Howard Davies (Private Lives)
Richard Eyre (The Crucible)
Carl Forsman (The Voice of the Turtle)
Neil LaBute (The Shape of Things)
Bartlett Sher (Cymbeline) (Theater for a New Audience)
Mary Zimmerman (Metamorphoses)

Outstanding Director of a Musical:
Nicholas Hytner (Sweet Smell of Success)
James Lapine (Into the Woods)
Michael Mayer (Thoroughly Modern Millie)
Trevor Nunn (Oklahoma!)
Scott Schwartz (tick, tick...BOOM!)
George C. Wolfe (Elaine Stritch: At Liberty)

Outstanding Choreography:
Rob Ashford (Thoroughly Modern Millie)
Susan Stroman (Oklahoma!)
Christopher Wheeldon (Sweet Smell of Success)

Outstanding Book of a Musical:
John Guare (Sweet Smell of Success)
John Lahr, Elaine Stritch (Elaine Stritch: At Liberty)
Jonathan Larson, David Auburn (tick, tick...BOOM!)
Richard Morris, Dick Scanlan (Thoroughly Modern Millie)

Outstanding Music:
Jason Robert Brown (The Last 5 Years)
Marvin Hamlisch (Sweet Smell of Success)
Jonathan Larson (tick, tick...BOOM!)
Jeanine Tesori (Thoroughly Modern Millie)

Outstanding Lyrics:
Jason Robert Brown (The Last 5 Years)
Craig Carnelia (Sweet Smell of Success)
Jonathan Larson (tick, tick...BOOM!)
Kevin Murphy (Reefer Madness)
Dick Scanlan (Thoroughly Modern Millie)
Ben Schatz (Dragapella Starring The Kinsey Sicks)

Outstanding Orchestrations:
Doug Besterman, Ralph Burns (Thoroughly Modern Millie)
Jason Robert Brown (The Last 5 Years)
Jonathan Tunick (Elaine Stritch: At Liberty)

Outstanding Music in a Play:
Crispin Cioe (True Love)
Nona Hendryx (Blue)
Peter John Still (Cymbeline) (Theatre for a New Audience)
Willy Schwarz (Metamorphoses)

Outstanding Set Design of a Play:
John Lee Beatty (Morning's at Seven)
Michael Brown (World of Mirth)
David Gallo (Wonder of the World)
Tim Hatley (Private Lives)
Derek McLane (The Women)
Douglas Stein, Ruppert Bohle (36 Views)

Outstanding Set Design of a Musical:
Beowulf Boritt (The Last 5 Years)
Bob Crowley (Sweet Smell of Success)
David Gallo (Thoroughly Modern Millie)
Douglas W. Schmidt (Into the Woods)
Anthony Ward (Oklahoma!)

Outstanding Costume Design:
Jenny Beaven (Private Lives)
Bob Crowley (Sweet Smell of Success)
Susan Hilferty (Into the Woods)
Dick Magnanti (Reefer Madness)
Isaac Mizrahi (The Women)
Martin Pakledinaz (Thoroughly Modern Millie)

Outstanding Lighting Design:
Frances Aronson (Psych)
TJ Gerckens (Metamorphoses)
David Hersey (Oklahoma!)
Natasha Katz (Sweet Smell of Success)
Peter Mumford (Private Lives)
Kenneth Posner (Monster)

Outstanding Sound Design:
John Collins, Geoff Abbas, Jim Dawson (To You, The Birdie!)
Mark Huang (Cressida Among the Greeks)
Scott Lehrer (Franny's Way)
Dan Moses Schreier (Into the Woods)
Matthew Spiro (36 Views)
David Van Tieghem (The Glory of Living)

Outstanding Solo Performance:
Simon Callow (The Mystery of Charles Dickens)
Dave Gorman (Are You Dave Gorman?)
Charles Nelson Reilly (Save It for the Stage: The Life of Reilly)
Reno (Rebel Without a Pause)
T. Ryder Smith (Underneath the Lintel)
Elaine Stritch (Elaine Stritch: At Liberty)

Special Awards:
*Paul Huntley, hair and wig designer, for Lifetime Achievement
*Bill Rosenfield, record producer, for his contributions to the preservation of musical theater recordings
*The Mint Theatre Company for presenting and preserving little-known classics
*The Worth Street Theater Company for its Stage Door Canteen shows for workers at Ground Zero


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