'War Horse,' 'Normal Heart' take prizes too

“The Book of Mormon” and “Anything Goes” were the big winners Monday at the 55th annual Drama Desk Awards, with each tuner nabbing five trophies.

“War Horse” and revival “The Normal Heart” took top play honors, with acting kudos going to current Tony nominees including Bobby Cannavale, Frances McDormand, Edie Falco and John Larroquette.

“Mormon,” the sacrilegious comedy from “South Park” creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone and “Avenue Q” co-creator Robert Lopez, took laurels for new tuner, music, lyrics, direction (for Casey Nicholaw and Parker) and orchestrations (Larry Hochman and Stephen Oremus).

lead actress (Sutton Foster), choreography (Kathleen Marshall), set (Derek McLane) and sound (Brian Ronan).

Both “Mormon” and “Anything Goes” are also strong Tony Award contenders, with 14 and nine noms, respectively. A number of the Drama Desk winners also are up for Tonys, but although the Drama Desk tally can be seen as an indicator of overall awards momentum, the vagaries in eligibility regulations and voting pools make any link between the two kudofests tenuous at best.

Among the Tony nominees tapped for Drama Desks, Cannavale (“The Motherfucker With the Hat”) and McDormand (“Good People”) scored for lead thesping in a play, with supporting trophies going to Brian Bedford (“The Importance of Being Earnest”) and Edie Falco (“The House of Blue Leaves”). For musicals, Foster and Norbert Leo Butz (“Catch Me if You Can”) were named top leads and Larroquette (“How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying”) and Laura Benanti (“Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown”) were featured-role winners.

“Normal Heart” scored two awards, including its win for play direction (Joel Grey and George C. Wolfe). “Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo” nabbed its own pair for lights (David Lander) and sound (Acme Sound Partners and Cricket S. Myers).

As previously announced, winners in non-competitive categories included the ensembles of “Normal Heart” and Off Broadway tuner “In Transit,” with the Desk’s special awards going to scribe A.R. Gurney, actor Reed Birney, Off Broadway’s the New Group and it’s a.d. Scott Elliott, the Pearl Theater Company and the creative team behind puppet-heavy equestrian tale “War Horse.”

Hosted by Harvey Fierstein, this year’s Drama Desk ceremony played a new venue, the Hammerstein Ballroom, and for the first time was filmed in HD for a highlights special set to air on the Ovation network beginning June 4.

2010/2011 DRAMA DESK AWARD WINNERS

Outstanding Play: “War Horse” by Nick Stafford

Outstanding Musical: “The Book of Mormon”

Outstanding Revival of a Play: “The Normal Heart”

Outstanding Revival of a Musical: “Anything Goes”

Outstanding Actor in a Play: Bobby Cannavale (“The Motherf**ker With the Hat”)

Outstanding Actress in a Play: Frances McDormand (“Good People”)

Outstanding Actor in a Musical: Norbert Leo Butz (“Catch Me If You Can”)

Outstanding Actress in a Musical: Sutton Foster (“Anything Goes”)

Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play: Brian Bedford (“The Importance of Being Earnest”)

Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play: Edie Falco (“The House of Blue Leaves”)

Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical: John Larroquette (“How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying”)

Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical: Laura Benanti (“Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown”)

Outstanding Director of a Play: Joel Grey and George C. Wolfe (“The Normal Heart”)

Outstanding Director of a Musical: Casey Nicholaw and Trey Parker (“The Book of Mormon”)

Outstanding Choreography: Kathleen Marshall (“Anything Goes”)

Outstanding Music: Trey Parker, Robert Lopez & Matt Stone (“The Book of Mormon”)

Outstanding Lyrics: Trey Parker, Robert Lopez & Matt Stone (“The Book of Mormon”)

Outstanding Book of a Musical: Adam Mathias (“See Rock City & Other Destinations”)

Outstanding Orchestrations: Larry Hochman & Stephen Oremus (“The Book of Mormon”)

Outstanding Music in a Play: Wayne Barker (“Peter and the Starcatcher”)

Outstanding Revue: “Rain: A Tribute to the Beatles on Broadway”

Outstanding Set Design: Derek McLane (“Anything Goes”)

Outstanding Costume Design: Tim Chappel & Lizzy Gardiner (“Priscilla Queen of the Desert: The Musical”)

Outstanding Lighting Design: David Lander (“Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo”)

Outstanding Sound Design in a Musical: Brian Ronan (“Anything Goes”)

Outstanding Sound Design in a Play: Acme Sound Partners and Cricket S. Myers (Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo)

Outstanding Solo Performance: John Leguizamo (“Ghetto Klown”)

Unique Theatrical Experience: “Sleep No More”

Non-Competitive Awards

Outstanding Ensemble Performances

This year the nominators chose to bestow special ensemble awards for acting to

the casts of two shows. Therefore, individual cast members for these shows were not

eligible for acting awards in the competitive categories.

Special Awards

For 2010-2011, these awards are:

  • To A.R. Gurney for his enduring, keenly observed portraits of American life over

    a prolific four-decade-long career.

  • To Reed Birney for his versatile and finely nuanced performances over the past

    thirty-five years, and for his exceptional work this season in “Tigers Be Still,” “A

    Small Fire” and “The Dream of the Burning Boy.”

  • To The New Group and Artistic Director Scott Elliott for presenting contemporary

    new voices, and for uncompromisingly raw and powerful productions.

  • To The Pearl Theatre Company for notable productions of classic plays and

    nurturing a stalwart resident company of actors.

  • To the creative team of “War Horse” for thrilling stagecraft: Paule Constable,

    Marianne Elliott, 59 Productions, Adrian Kohler with Basil Jones for Handspring

    Puppet Company, Tom Morris, Rae Smith, Christopher Shutt, Toby Sedgwick,

    Adrian Sutton and John Tams.

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