Musical nabs 15 nominations

Musical “9 to 5” racked up 15 noms for the 54th annual Drama Desk Awards, the most of any Broadway or Off Broadway production ever nominated by the legit org.

Currently in previews and opening Thursday, “9 to 5” finds itself in the new tuner race with “Shrek the Musical” (12 noms), “Billy Elliot” (10), “The Story of My Life” (four) and “Liza’s at the Palace” (one) as well as Off Broadway offering “Fela!” (four).

The Broadway revival of “The Norman Conquests” and the Off Broadway preem of “Ruined” led the pack of plays with five mentions each.

Among musical revivals, “Hair” nabbed eight noms, including top revival, while the season’s other popular Broadway revival, “West Side Story,” trailed with two (one for revival and another for featured actress Karen Olivo).

At 15 bids, “9 to 5” has racked up more nominations than any production in Drama Desk history. (Five shows, including recent offerings “The Drowsy Chaperone” and “Hairspray,” have previously scored 14 apiece.)

Nomination dominance of “9 to 5” stands in contrast to its showing in last week’s announcement of the Outer Critics Circle noms, when “9 to 5” was snubbed for a top tuner nom and garnered three total.

Among the show’s awards contenders are all three leading actresses (Allison Janney, Stephanie J. Block and Megan Hilty), helmer Joe Mantello, composer Dolly Parton and book writer Patricia Resnick, as well as designers of the production.

As happened with the Outer Critics list, the season’s logjam of play revivals has prompted unexpected omissions from the roster, including no nominations for the Lincoln Center Theater staging of “Joe Turner’s Come and Gone” and a snub for Harriet Walter of “Mary Stuart” (although her co-star, Janet McTeer, earned a nom). The fall’s well-reviewed staging of “The Seagull” earned two featured actresses bids (Zoe Kazan and Carey Mulligan) but not one for star Kristin Scott Thomas.

The crowded 2008-09 sked, packed with a slew of plays toplined by big-name actors, will likely result in similarly surprising exclusions when the Tony noms are announced May 5.

The Drama Desk’s new play category included only one Broadway outing, “Reasons to Be Pretty,” which originated Off Broadway. “Ruined,” “Body Awareness,” “Becky Shaw,” “Fifty Words” and “Lady,” all from off the Main Stem, also compete for the laurel.

Ensemble acting awards will go to the Broadway transfer of the London staging of “The Norman Conquests” and the Off Broadway production of “The Cripple of Inishmaan.” Other special Drama Desks will go to Liza Minnelli, Forbidden Broadway, Atlantic Theater Company and Tada! Youth Theater.

Drama Desk is an org of critics and writers whose main activities include the annual round of kudos and a yearlong series of panel discussions. The 2009 awards will be handed out May 17 at Lincoln Center’s LaGuardia Concert Hall.

And the nominees are:

Annie Baker, “Body Awareness”
Gina Gionfriddo, “Becky Shaw”
Neil LaBute, “Reasons to be Pretty”
Lynn Nottage, “Ruined”
Michael Weller, “Fifty Words”
Craig Wright, “Lady”

“9 to 5”
“Billy Elliot the Musical”
“Liza’s at the Palace”
“Shrek the Musical”
“The Story of My Life”

Revival of a Play
“Blithe Spirit”
“Exit the King”
“Mary Stuart”
“The Cripple of Inishmaan”
“The Norman Conquests”
“Waiting for Godot”

Revival of a Musical
“Enter Laughing The Musical”
“”Pal Joey””
“West Side Story”

Actor in a Play
Simon Russell Beale, “The Winter’s Tale”
Reed Birney, “Blasted”
Raúl Esparza, “Speed-The-Plow”
Bill Irwin, “Waiting for Godot”
Daniel Radcliffe, “Equus”
Geoffrey Rush, “Exit the King”
Thomas Sadoski, “Reasons to be Pretty”

Actress in a Play
Saidah Arrika Ekulona, “Ruined”
Jane Fonda, “33 Variations”
Marcia Gay Harden, “God of Carnage”
Elizabeth Marvel, “Fifty Words”
Jan Maxwell, “Scenes From an Execution”
Janet McTeer, “Mary Stuart”

Actor in a Musical
James Barbour, “A Tale of Two Cities”
Daniel Breaker, “Shrek the Musical”
Brian d’Arcy James, “Shrek the Musical”
Josh Grisetti, “Enter Laughing The Musical”
Sahr Ngaujah, “Fela!”
Will Swenson, “Hair”

Actress in a Musical
Stephanie J. Block, “9 to 5”
Stockard Channing, “Pal Joey”
Sutton Foster, “Shrek the Musical”
Megan Hilty, “9 to 5”
Allison Janney, “9 to 5”
Karen Murphy, “My Vaudeville Man!”

Featured Actor in a Play
Brian d’Arcy James, “Port Authority”
Jeremy Davidson, “Back Back Back”
Peter Friedman, “Body Awareness”
Ethan Hawke, “The Winter’s Tale”
Pablo Schreiber, “Reasons to be Pretty” (Off-Broadway)
Jeremy Shamos, “Animals Out of Paper”

Featured Actress in a Play
Rebecca Hall, “The Cherry Orchard”
Zoe Kazan, “The Seagull”
Angela Lansbury, “Blithe Spirit”
Andrea Martin, “Exit the King”
Carey Mulligan, “The Seagull”
Condola Rashad, “Ruined”

Featured Actor in a Musical
Hunter Foster, “Happiness”
Demond Green, “The Toxic Avenger”
Gregory Jbara, “Billy Elliot the Musical”
Marc Kudisch, “9 to 5”
Bryce Ryness, “Hair”
Christopher Sieber, “Shrek the Musical”

Featured Actress in a Musical
Farah Alvin, “The Marvelous Wonderettes”
Christina Bianco, “Forbidden Broadway Goes to Rehab”
Haydn Gwynne, “Billy Elliot the Musical”
Karen Olivo, “West Side Story”
Nancy Opel, “The Toxic Avenger”
Martha Plimpton, “Pal Joey”

Director of a Play
Sarah Benson, “Blasted”
Michael Blakemore, “Blithe Spirit”
Garry Hynes, “The Cripple of Inishmaan”
Terry Kinney, “Reasons to be Pretty”
Matthew Warchus, “The Norman Conquests”
Kate Whoriskey,”Ruined”

Director of a Musical
Walter Bobbie, “Irving Berlin’s White Christmas”
Stephen Daldry, “Billy Elliot the Musical”
Joe Mantello, “9 to 5”
Jason Moore, “Shrek the Musical”
Diane Paulus, “Hair”
Stuart Ross, “Enter Laughing The Musical”

Karole Armitage, “Hair”
Andy Blankenbuehler, “9 to 5”
Peter Darling, “Billy Elliot the Musical”
Bill T. Jones, “Fela!”
Randy Skinner, “Irving Berlin’s White Christmas”
Lynne Taylor-Corbett and Shonn Wiley, “My Vaudeville Man!”

Neil Bartram,”The Story of My Life”
Zina Goldrich, “Dear Edwina”
Elton John, “Billy Elliot the Musical”
Dolly Parton, “9 to 5”
Stephen Sondheim, “Road Show”
Jeanine Tesori, “Shrek the Musical”

Neil Bartram, “The Story of My Life”
Jason Robert Brown, “13”
Marcy Heisler, “Dear Edwina”
David Lindsay-Abaire, “Shrek the Musical”
Dolly Parton, “9 to 5”
Stephen Sondheim, “Road Show”

Book of a Musical
Steven Cosson and Jim Lewis, “This Beautiful City”
Joe DiPietro, “The Toxic Avenger”
Lee Hall, “Billy Elliot the Musical”
Brian Hill, “The Story of My Life”
David Lindsay-Abaire, “Shrek the Musical”
Patricia Resnick, “9 to 5”

Larry Blank, “Irving Berlin’s White Christmas”
Bruce Coughlin, “9 to 5”
Aaron Johnson and Antibalas, “Fela!”
Edward B. Kessel, “A Tale of Two Cities”
Martin Koch, “Billy Elliot the Musical”
Danny Troob, “Shrek the Musical”

Music in a Play
Mark Bennett, “The Cherry Orchard”
Mark Bennett, “The Winter’s Tale”
Dominic Kanza,”Ruined”
DJ Rekha, Rafta, “Rafta”
Richard Woodbury, “Desire Under the Elms”
Gary Yershon, “The Norman Conquests”

Set Design of a Play
Dale Ferguson, “Exit the King”
Rob Howell, “The Norman Conquests”
David Korins, “Why Torture is Wrong, and the People Who Love Them”
Derek McLane, “33 Variations”
Neil Patel, “Fifty Words”
Walt Spangler, “Desire Under the Elms”

Set Design of a Musical
Tim Hatley, “Shrek the Musical”
Anna Louizos, “Irving Berlin’s White Christmas”
Thomas Lynch, “Happiness”
Scott Pask, “9 to 5”
Scott Pask, “Hair”
Basil Twist, “Arias With a Twist”

Costume Design
Tim Hatley, “Shrek the Musical”
Rob Howell, “The Norman Conquests”
William Ivey Long, “9 to 5”
Michael McDonald, “Hair”
Martin Pakledinaz, “Blithe Spirit”
Carrie Robbins, “Irving Berlin’s White Christmas”

Lighting Design in a Play
Marcus Doshi, “Hamlet” (Theatre for a New Audience)
David Hersey, “Equus”
Ben Kato, “Washing Machine”
R. Lee Kennedy, “Bury the Dead”
Paul Pyant, “The Winter’s Tale”
Hugh Vanstone, “Mary Stuart”

Lighting Design in a Musical
Kevin Adams, “Hair”
Jules Fisher and Kenneth Posner, “9 to 5”
Rick Fisher, “Billy Elliot the Musical”
Jason Lyons, “Clay”
Sinéad McKenna, “Improbable Frequency”
Richard Pilbrow, “A Tale of Two Cities”

Sound Design
Acme Sound Partners, “Irving Berlin’s White Christmas”
Paul Arditti, “Billy Elliot the Musical”
Gregory Clarke, “Equus”
John Gromada, “Shipwrecked! An Entertainment The Amazing Adventures of Louis de Rougemont (As Told by Himself)”
André J. Pluess, “33 Variations”
John H. Shivers, “9 to 5”

Solo Performance
Mike Birbiglia, “Sleepwalk With Me”
Frank Blocker, “Southern Gothic Novel”
Michael Laurence, “Krapp, 39”
Lorenzo Pisoni, “Humor Abuse”
Matt Sax, “Clay”
Campbell Scott, “The Atheist”

Projection and Video Design
Paul Barritt, “Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea”
Timothy Bird and The Knifedge Creative Network, “Sunday in the Park with George”
Zachary Borovay, “A Catered Affair”
Jim Findlay and Jeff Sugg, “The Slug Bearers of Kayrol Island”
Lorna Heavey,” Macbeth”
Tal Yarden, “The Misanthrope”

Unique Theatrical Experience
“Absinthe” (2008 Edition)
“Arias With a Twist”
“Celebrity Autobiography: In Their Own Words”
“Soul of Shaolin”

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