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Drama Desk Award Winners for 2020

Date: Jun 13, 2020

It's been quite the dramatic season for the Drama Desk Awards, which honors shows both on Broadway and off. First, the pandemic shut down theatres on March 12, leaving the nominators with a truncated season. But while the Tony Awards were indefinitely postponed, the Drama Desk decided to soldier on, recording a ceremony that was scheduled to air on Sunday, May 31, but was delayed due to the Black Lives Matter protests. Finally, on Saturday, June 13, Frank DiLella from NY1's On Stage hosted the 65th annual edition, with a starry list of presenters "giving out" virtual awards. You can find the complete list of nominees here and the winners below.

Highlights of the brisk, hour-long ceremony included Patti LuPone encouraging everyone to drink; producer Tom Kirdahy, accepting the outstanding revival of a musical award for Little Shop of Horrors, talking about his late husband, playwright Terrence McNally, who died of COVID-19 earlier this spring; Stephen Daldry, accepting his outstanding director award for The Inheritance, comparing our current pandemic to the AIDS crisis; Kenny Leon, who directed A Soldier's Play on Broadway, which won for outstanding revival of a play, talking about standing on the shoulders of the Negro Ensemble Company, the pioneering Black theatre that premiered the drama in 1981; and colleagues of the late Hal Prince, reminiscing about his theatrical genius and generosity. Lowlights: the bleeping of the word "Bitch" in the title Halfway Bitches Go Straight to Heaven, and the lack of photos for the in memoriam section.

The big winners of the night were Michael R. Jackson's musical A Strange Loop, which took home five awards, including outstanding musical, and Matthew Lopez's The Inheritance, which also won five statuettes, including outstanding play. The Broadway musical Moulin Rouge! also snagged five awards, four for design and one for choreographer Sonya Tayeh.

Outstanding Play
The Inheritance on Broadway by Matthew Lopez

Outstanding Musical
A Strange Loop at Playwrights Horizons by Michael R. Jackson

Outstanding Revival of a Play
A Soldier's Play on Broadway produced by Roundabout Theatre Company

Outstanding Revival of a Musical
Little Shop of Horrors at the Westside Theatre

Outstanding Actor in a Play
Edmund Donovan in Greater Clements

Outstanding Actress in a Play
Liza Colón-Zayas in Halfway Bitches Go Straight to Heaven

Outstanding Actor in a Musical
Larry Owens in A Strange Loop 

Outstanding Actress in a Musical
Adrienne Warren in Tina: The Tina Turner Musical 

Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play
Paul Hilton in The Inheritance

Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play
Lois Smith in The Inheritance

Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical
Christian Borle in Little Shop of Horrors

Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical
Lauren Patten in Jagged Little Pill

Outstanding Director of a Play
Stephen Daldry for The Inheritance 

Outstanding Director of a Musical
Stephen Brackett for A Strange Loop 

The LaDuca Award for Outstanding Choreography
Sonya Tayeh for Moulin Rouge!

Outstanding Music
Dave Malloy for Octet 

Outstanding Lyrics
Michael R. Jackson for A Strange Loop 

Outstanding Book of a Musical
Michael R. Jackson for A Strange Loop 

Outstanding Orchestrations
Tom Kitt for Jagged Little Pill 

Outstanding Music in a Play
Martha Redbone for for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf

The Hudson Scenic Studio Award for Outstanding Set Design of a Play
Clint Ramos for Grand Horizons 

Outstanding Set Design for a Musical
Derek McLane for Moulin Rouge! 

Outstanding Costume Design for a Play
Rachel Townsend and Jessica Jahn for The Confession of Lily Dare

Outstanding Costume Design for a Musical
Catherine Zuber for Moulin Rouge! 

Outstanding Lighting Design for a Play
Heather Gilbert for The Sound Inside

Outstanding Lighting Design for a Musical
Justin Townsend for Moulin Rouge! 

Outstanding Projection Design
Luke Halls for West Side Story

Outstanding Sound Design in a Play
Paul Arditti and Christopher Reid for The Inheritance

Outstanding Sound Design in a Musical
Peter Hylenski for Moulin Rouge!

Outstanding Wig and Hair
Campbell Young Associates for Tina: The Tina Turner Musical

Outstanding Solo Performance
Laura Linney in My Name Is Lucy Barton 

Unique Theatrical Experience
Is This A Room at the Vineyard Theatre

Outstanding Fight Choreography
Thomas Schall for A Soldier's Play 

Outstanding Adaptation
A Christmas Carol by Jack Thorne

Outstanding Puppet Design
Raphael Mishler for Tumacho

Ensemble Award: Octet at Signature Theatre Company

Sam Norkin Award: Actress Mary Bacon; The Actors Fund, Stars in the House hosts Seth Rudetsky and James Wesley; The Public Theater's Mobile Unit; WP Theater and Julia Miles; and intimacy coordinator Claire Warden

Award Totals
A Strange Loop - 5
The Inheritance - 5
Moulin Rouge! - 5
Little Shop of Horrors - 2
Tina: The Tina Turner Musical - 2
A Soldier's Play - 2
Jagged Little Pill - 2
Greater Clements - 1
Halfway Bitches Go Straight to Heaven - 1
Octet - 1
for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf - 1
Grand Horizons - 1
The Sound Inside - 1
West Side Story - 1
The Confession of Lily Dare - 1
My Name is Lucy Barton - 1
Is This A Room - 1
A Christmas Carol - 1
Tumacho - 1


Raven Snook is the Editor of TDF Stages. Follow her at @RavenSnook. Follow TDF at @TDFNYC.