The 61st Annual Drama Desk Awards nominations


Today I attended the much-anticipated Nominations Announcement for the 61st Annual Drama Desk Awards, which was held at Feinstein's/54 Below. Tony and Emmy Award nominees Vanessa Williams and Matthew Morrison were on hand and in good spirits to announce this year's nominees. It turns out that one of Mr Morrison's favoured categories is actually "Outstanding Wig & Hair," which raised a titter from "Glee" fans in attendance, as his character Will Schuester was always praised (and mocked) for his wavy locks. Drama Desk Award winner Michael Urie was also on hand, as he will take up hosting duties, when the winners of the 60th Annual Drama Desk Awards are announced on 5 June 2016 at a ceremony held at The Town Hall in Manhattan.

The annual awards honor excellence in theater for Broadway, off-Broadway and off-off-Broadway during the season. This year, the Roundabout Theatre Company's revival of She Loves Me leads the slate with nine nominations, followed by the Broadway musical premieres of American Psycho with eight nods and Bright Star with seven nods.

The following awards were voted by the nominating committee and will be presented by the Drama Desk at its awards ceremony:

Special Awards:
Each year, the Drama Desk votes special awards to recognize excellence and significant contributions to the theater.

Special Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Ensemble goes to the ensemble of The Humans: Cassie Beck, Reed Birney, Jayne Houdyshell, Lauren Klein, Arian Moayed, and SarahSteele.

Special Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Ensemble goes to the ensemble of The Royale: McKinley Belcher III, Khris Davis, Montego Glover, John Lavelle, and Clarke Peters.

Sam Norkin Off-Broadway Award goes to Danai Gurira - "Whether writing about women in wartime Liberia in Eclipsed or about an affluent immigrant family from Zimbabwe struggling with assimilation in Familiar, Danai Gurira demonstrates great insight, range, and depth, bringing a fresh new voice to American theater."

Special Drama Desk Award goes to Sheldon Harnick - "New productions of Fiddler on the Roof, Rothschild and Sons, and She Loves Me this season remind us that this veteran lyricist's takes on faith, family and community are as resonant as ever."

Special Drama Desk Award goes to Camp Broadway - "For more than 20 years, this indispensable organization has introduced young people to the magic of theater. Camp Broadway plays a crucial role in creating tomorrow's audiences."


Vanessa Williams Matthew Morrison
Vanessa Williams Matthew Morrison



The 2016 Drama Desk Award nominations by category:

Outstanding Play:

  • The Christians, Playwrights Horizons
  • The Humans, Roundabout Theatre Company
  • John, Signature Theatre
  • King Charles III
  • The Royale, Lincoln Center Theater

Outstanding Musical:

  • First Daughter Suite, Public Theater
  • Daddy Long Legs
  • School of Rock
  • Shuffle Along
  • Waitress

Outstanding Revival of a Play:

  • Cloud Nine, Atlantic Theater Company
  • Death of a Salesman, New Yiddish Rep
  • Henry IV, Donmar Warehouse at St. Ann's Warehouse
  • Long Day's Journey Into Night, Roundabout Theatre Company
  • A View from the Bridge
  • Women Without Men, Mint Theater Company

Outstanding Revival of a Musical:

  • The Color Purple
  • The Golden Bride, National Yiddish Theatre Folkesbiene
  • Fiddler on the Roof
  • She Loves Me, Roundabout Theatre Company
  • Spring Awakening

Outstanding Actor in a Play:

  • Andrew Garman: The Christians, Playwrights Horizons
  • Avi Hoffman: Death of a Salesman
  • Frank Langella: The Father, Manhattan Theatre Club
  • Tim Pigott-Smith: King Charles III
  • Mark Strong: A View from the Bridge

Outstanding Actress in a Play:

  • Georgia Engel: John, Signature Theatre
  • Mamie Gummer: Ugly Lies the Bone, Roundabout Undeground
  • Marin Ireland: Ironbound, Rattlestick Playwrights Theater/Women's Project Theater
  • Jessica Lange: Long Day's Journey Into Night
  • Nicola Walker: A View from the Bridge

Outstanding Actor in a Musical:

  • Danny Burstein: Fiddler on the Roof
  • Robert Creighton: Cagney, York Theatre Company
  • Michael C. Hall: Lazarus, New York Theatre Workshop
  • Zachary Levi: She Loves Me
  • Benjamin Walker: American Psycho

Outstanding Actress in a Musical:

  • Laura Benanti: She Loves Me
  • Carmen Cusack: Bright Star
  • Cynthia Erivo: The Color Purple
  • Jessie Mueller: Waitress
  • Annette O'Toole: Southern Comfort, Public Theater

Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play:

  • Bill Camp: The Crucible
  • David Furr: Noises Off, Roundabout Theatre Company
  • Matt McGrath: The Legend of Georgia McBride, MCC Theater
  • Richard Thomas: Incident at Vichy, Signature Theatre
  • Michael Shannon: Long's Day Journey Into Night

Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play:

  • Brooke Bloom: Cloud Nine
  • Megan Hilty: Noises Off
  • Kellie Overbey: Women Without Men
  • Saycon Sengbloh: Eclipsed, Public Theater
  • Jeanine Serralles: Gloria, Vineyard Theatre

Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical:

  • Nicholas Barasch: She Loves Me
  • Christopher Fitzgerald: Waitress
  • Baylee Littrell: Disaster!
  • Paul Alexander Nolan: Bright Star
  • A.J. Shively: Bright Star

Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical:

  • Danielle Brooks: The Color Purple
  • Alison Fraser: First Daughter Suite
  • Rachel Bay Jones: Dear Evan Hansen, Second Stage
  • Jane Krakowski: She Loves Me
  • Mary Testa: First Daughter Suite

Outstanding Director of a Play:

  • Rachel Chavkin: The Royale
  • Sam Gold: John
  • Rupert Goold: King Charles III
  • Joe Mantello: The Humans
  • Jenn Thompson: Women Without Men
  • Ivo van Hove: A View from the Bridge

Outstanding Director of a Musical:

  • Michael Arden: Spring Awakening
  • John Doyle: The Color Purple
  • Rupert Goold: American Psycho
  • Bartlett Sher: Fiddler on the Roof
  • Bryna Wasserman: Motl Didner, The Golden Bride

Outstanding Choreography:

  • Joshua Bergasse: Cagney
  • Spencer Liff: Spring Awakening
  • Lynne Page: American Psycho
  • Randy Skinner: Dames at Sea
  • Savion Glover: Shuffle Along

Outstanding Music:

  • Sara Bareilles: Waitress
  • Michael John LaChiusa: First Daughter Suite
  • Andrew Lloyd Webber: School of Rock
  • The Lobbyists: SeaWife, Naked Angels
  • Steve Martin and Edie Brickell: Bright Star

Outstanding Lyrics:

  • Sara Bareilles: Waitress
  • Benj Pasek and Justin Paul: Dear Evan Hansen
  • Glenn Slater: School of Rock
  • Michael John LaChiusa: First Daughter Suite

Outstanding Orchestrations:

  • August Eriksmoen: Bright Star
  • Larry Hochman: She Loves Me, Roundabout Theatre Company
  • Joseph Joubert/Catherine Jayes: The Color Purple
  • Andrew Lloyd Webber: School of Rock
  • Michael Starobin/Bruce Coughlin: First Daughter Suite

Outstanding Music in a Play

  • Billie Joe Armstrong: These Paper Bullets!, Atlantic Theatre Company
  • Estelle Bajou: Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally, One Year Lease Theater Company
  • Shaun Davey: Pericles, Theatre for a New Audience
  • Philip Glass: The Crucible
  • Tom Kitt: Cymbeline, Public Theater

Outstanding Set Design for a Play:

  • Riccardo Hernandez: Red Speedo, New York Theatre Workshop
  • Mimi Lien: John
  • G. W. Mercier: Head of Passes, Public Theater
  • Christopher Oram: Hughie
  • Derek McLane: Fully Committed

Outstanding Set Design for a Musical:

  • Es Devlin: American Psycho
  • Emily Orling/Matt Saunders/Eric Farber: Futurity, Soho Rep/Ars Nova
  • David Rockwell: She Loves Me

Outstanding Costume Design for a Play:

  • Jessica Ford: These Paper Bullets!
  • Martha Hally: Women Without Men
  • Constance Hoffman: Pericles
  • William Ivey Long: Shows for Days, Lincoln Center Theater
  • Anita Yavich: The Legend of Georgia McBride

Outstanding Costume Design for a Musical:

  • Jane Greenwood: Bright Star
  • Katrina Lindsay: American Psycho
  • Jeff Mahshie: She Loves Me
  • Alejo Vietti: Allegiance
  • Ann Roth: Shuffle Along

Outstanding Lighting Design for a Play:

  • Neil Austin: Hughie
  • Mark Barton: John
  • Bradley King: Empanada Loca, Labyrinth Theater Company
  • Tyler Micoleau: Antlia Pneumatica, Playwrights Horizons
  • Justin Townsend: The Humans

Outstanding Lighting Design for a Musical:

  • Jane Cox: The Color Purple
  • Jake DeGroot: SeaWife
  • Ben Stanton: Spring Awakening
  • Justin Townsend: American Psycho
  • Jules Fisher/Peggy Eisenhauer: Shuffle Along

Outstanding Projection Design:

  • Nicholas Hussong: These Paper Bullets!
  • Darrel Maloney: Tappin' Thru Life
  • Peter Nigrini: Dear Evan Hansen
  • Finn Ross: American Psycho
  • Tal Yarden: Lazarus

Outstanding Sound Design in a Play:

  • Fitz Patton: An Act of God
  • Fitz Patton: The Humans
  • Mikhail Fiksel/Miles Polaski: Fulfillment, The Flea Theatre
  • Bray Poor: John
  • Ryan Rumery: Empanada Loca

Outstanding Sound Design in a Musical:

  • Mick Potter: School of Rock
  • Brian Ronan: Lazarus
  • Nevin Steinberg: Bright Star
  • Dan Moses Schreier: American Psycho
  • Scott Lehrer: Shuffle Along

Outstanding Wig and Hair:

  • David Brian Brown: She Loves Me
  • Jason Hayes: The Legend of Georgia McBride
  • Robert-Charles Vallance: Women Without Men
  • Charles G. LaPointe: The School for Scandal, Red Bull Theater
  • Mia M. Neal: Shuffle Along

Outstanding Solo Performnce:

  • Simon Callow: Tuesdays at Tesco's, 59E59
  • Kathleen Chalfant: Rose, Nora's Playhouse
  • James Lecesne: The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey
  • Daphne Rubin-Vega: Empanada Loca
  • Jesse Tyler Ferguson: Fully Committed

Unique Theatrical Experience:

  • ADA/AVA: Manual Cinema/3LD/The Tank
  • Antigona: Soledad Barrio/Noche Flamenca
  • That Physics Show
  • The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show
  • YOUARENOWHERE: 3LD/The Tank

Drama Desk was founded in 1949 to explore key issues in the theater and to bring together critics and writers in an organization to support the ongoing development of theater in New York. The organization began presenting its awards in 1955, and it is the only critics' organization to honor achievement in the theater with competition among Broadway, Off Broadway and Off-Off Broadway productions in the same categories.

- by Tom Millward

Matthew Morrison & Vanessa WilliamsVanessa WilliamsMatthew Morrison