“The Drowsy Chaperone” cleaned up at the Drama Desk Awards Sunday, taking seven trophies, while imported drama “The History Boys” garnered five.
Drama Desk, an org of theater writers and critics, considers both Broadway and Off Broadway productions for its annual kudofest. This year’s nominating committee was made up of theater journalists from online, print and TV outlets.
In a good omen for the Tony prospects of “Drowsy” — which last week led the pack of Tony noms with 13 — the Broadway tuner won kudos for musical, music (by Lisa Lambert and Greg Morrison), lyrics (also Lambert and Morrison), book (Bob Martin and Don McKellar), featured actress (Beth Leavel), set (David Gallo) and costumes (Gregg Barnes). Show, about a fictional 1920s musical coming to life in the apartment of a modern-day New Yorker, is up for Tonys in all of those categories.
“History Boys,” the well-received Broadway transfer of Alan Bennett’s London hit set in a British public school, drew play and director (Nicholas Hytner) along with a trio of acting awards, for lead Richard Griffiths and featured performers Samuel Barnett and Frances de la Tour.
Musical revival award went to the pared-down “Sweeney Todd” in which the 10-person cast doubles as the orchestra. Rialto revival also nabbed kudos for director of a musical (John Doyle), orchestrations (Sarah Travis) and lighting (Richard G. Jones).
Lincoln Center Theater’s production of Clifford Odets’ 1935 drama “Awake and Sing!” snagged play revival laurels, and scenic designer Michael Yeargan scored the award for set design of a play.
Cast of the production, which includes Mark Ruffalo, Lauren Ambrose and Ben Gazzara, received a trophy for ensemble perf, as did the cast of the Public Theater’s Off Broadway staging of David Hare’s “Stuff Happens.”
Four Seasons biotuner “Jersey Boys,” seen as the main Tony competish for “Drowsy,” captured lead actor (John Lloyd Young, who plays Frankie Valli) and sound design (Steve Canyon Kennedy).
Christine Ebersole took home another actress in a musical statue for her perf in Off Broadway’s “Grey Gardens” — set to arrive on Broadway in the fall — and actress in a play went to Lois Smith for the Off Broadway revival of Horton Foote’s “The Trip to Bountiful.”
Jim Dale won featured actor in a musical for his mohawked turn in “The Threepenny Opera,” and Antony Sher took solo performance for the summer engagement of his play “Primo.”
Kathleen Marshall received the choreography award for the Roundabout’s hit revival of “The Pajama Game.”
Unique theatrical experience kudos went to “Christine Jorgensen Reveals.”
Playwright Foote received a lifetime achievement honor, while Off Broadway troupe the York Theater Company drew a special award for contribution to musical theater. So did the BMI-Lehman Engel Musical Theater Workshop and Sh-K-Boom and its cast recording label, Ghostlight Records.
Trophies were handed out at a ceremony hosted by Harvey Fierstein at F.H. LaGuardia High School for Music & Art and Performing Arts.
Outstanding Play: “The History Boys by” Alan Bennett
Outstanding Musical: “The Drowsy Chaperone”
Outstanding Revival of a Play: “Awake and Sing! “by Clifford Odets
Outstanding Revival of a Musical: “Sweeney Todd”
Outstanding Actor in a Play: Richard Griffiths “(The History Boys)”
Outstanding Actress in a Play: Lois Smith (“The Trip to Bountiful)”
Outstanding Actor in a Musical: John Lloyd Young “(Jersey Boys)”
Outstanding Actress in a Musical: Christine Ebersole (“Grey Gardens”)
Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play: Samuel Barnett “(The History Boys)”
Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play: Frances de la Tour “(The History Boys)”
Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical: Jim Dale “(The Threepenny Opera)”
Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical: Beth Leavel “(The Drowsy Chaperone)”
Outstanding Director of a Play: Nicholas Hytner (“The History Boys)”
Outstanding Director of a Musical: John Doyle “(Sweeney Todd)”
Outstanding Choreography: Kathleen Marshall “(The Pajama Game)”
Outstanding Music: Lisa Lambert & Greg Morrison (“The Drowsy Chaperone)”
Outstanding Lyrics: Lisa Lambert & Greg Morrison (“The Drowsy Chaperone)”
Outstanding Book of a Musical: Bob Martin and Don McKellar (“The Drowsy Chaperone) ”
Outstanding Orchestrations: Sarah Travis “(Sweeney Todd)”
Outstanding Set Design of a Play: Michael Yeargan (Awake and Sing!”)”
Outstanding Set Design of a Musical: David Gallo (“The Drowsy Chaperone)”
Outstanding Costume Design: Gregg Barnes (“The Drowsy Chaperone)”
Outstanding Lighting Design: Richard G. Jones (“Sweeney Todd)”
Outstanding Sound Design: Steve Canyon Kennedy (“Jersey Boys)”
Outstanding Solo Performance: Antony Sher (“Primo)”
Unique Theatrical Experience:” Christine Jorgensen Reveals”
In addition, the following non-competitive awards were presented:
Outstanding Ensemble Performances: The cast of “Stuff Happens
“The cast of “Awake and Sing!”
To the BMI–Lehman Engel Musical Theater Workshop for nurturing, developing and promoting new talent for the musical theater.
To The York Theatre Company for its vital contributions to theater by developing and presenting new musicals.
To Sh-K-Boom and its label Ghostlight Records for dedication to the preservation of musical theater through cast recordings.
To Horton Foote, a lifetime achievement award for his bountiful body of work that sensitively explores the human condition.