Drama Desk Awards Nominations 2020
By RAVEN SNOOK
Tuesday, April 21, 2020  •  
Tue Apr 21, 2020  •  
Broadway  •   0 comments Share This

The Tony Awards may be indefinitely postponed, but many other awards shows are going on virtually, including the 65th annual Drama Desk Awards, which released its slate of nominations today. Unlike the Tonys, which only recognize Broadway productions, the Drama Desk considers all New York City theatre: Broadway, Off Broadway and Off-Off. Any production this season that officially opened prior to March 12 and ran for at least 21 performances was eligible. So, despite the dozens of cancellations this spring, including 16 shows that were set to bow on Broadway, the nominators still had more than 200 titles to consider. It's heartening that the plays and musicals that opened in the fall and winter have a chance to be recognized. As you can see from the list below, Off Broadway got a lot of love!

Here are the Drama Desk nominees for the truncated 2019-2020 season, plus links to the articles we've written about them at TDF Stages. Winners will be announced on Saturday, June 13 at 7:30 p.m. on NY1 as well as the Drama Desk's website.

Note that because Slave Play, Girl from the North Country, The Lightning Thief, Sea Wall/A Life, Slava's Snowshow and Derren Brown: Secret all had Off Broadway runs in previous seasons, the nominators only considered those shows in categories where the work presented was new. Translation: None of them were eligible for Outstanding Play or Musical.

Outstanding Play
Cambodian Rock Band at Signature Theatre
Greater Clements at Lincoln Center Theater - read our interview with playwright Samuel D. Hunter
Halfway Bitches Go Straight to Heaven at Atlantic Theater Company/LAByrinth Theater Company
Heroes of the Fourth Turning at Playwrights Horizons - read our interview with playwright Will Arbery
The Inheritance on Broadway

Outstanding Musical
Octet at Signature Theatre Company
The Secret Life of Bees at Atlantic Theater Company
Soft Power at The Public Theater
A Strange Loop at Playwrights Horizons/Page 73 Productions - read our interview with creator Michael R. Jackson
The Wrong Man at MCC Theater

Outstanding Revival of a Play
Fefu and Her Friends at Theatre for a New Audience
for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf at The Public Theater
Mac Beth at Red Bull Theater/Hunter Theater Project
Much Ado About Nothing The Public Theater
A Soldier's Play at Roundabout Theatre Company on Broadway

Outstanding Revival of a Musical
Little Shop of Horrors
The Unsinkable Molly Brown at Transport Group
West Side Story on Broadway

Outstanding Actor in a Play
Charles Busch in The Confession of Lily Dare - read our interview with Busch
Edmund Donovan in Greater Clements
Raúl Esparza in Seared
Francis Jue in Cambodian Rock Band
Triney Sandoval in 72 Miles to Go…
Kyle Soller in The Inheritance

Outstanding Actress in a Play
Rose Byrne in Medea
Liza Colón-Zayas in Halfway Bitches Go Straight to Heaven
Emily Davis in Is This A Room
April Matthis in Toni Stone - read our interview with Matthis
Ruth Negga in Hamlet

Outstanding Actor in a Musical
David Aron Damane in The Unsinkable Molly Brown
Chris Dwan in Enter Laughing
Joshua Henry in The Wrong Man
Francis Jue in Soft Power
Larry Owens in A Strange Loop

Outstanding Actress in a Musical
Tammy Blanchard in Little Shop of Horrors
Beth Malone in The Unsinkable Molly Brown - read our interview with Malone
Saycon Sengbloh in The Secret Life of Bees
Elizabeth Stanley in Jagged Little Pill
Adrienne Warren in Tina: The Tina Turner Musical

Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play
Victor Almanzar in Halfway Bitches Go Straight to Heaven
Esteban Andres Cruz in Halfway Bitches Go Straight to Heaven
David Alan Grier in A Soldier's Play
Paul Hilton in The Inheritance - read our interview with Hilton
Chris Perfetti in Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow

Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play
Patrice Johnson Chevannes in Runboyrun and In Old Age - read out interview with Johnson Chevannes
Kristina Poe in Halfway Bitches Go Straight to Heaven
Belange Rodríguez in The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
Elizabeth Rodriguez in Halfway Bitches Go Straight to Heaven
Lois Smith in The Inheritance

Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical
George Abud in Emojiland
Christian Borle in Little Shop of Horrors
Jay Armstrong Johnson in Scotland, PA
Conrad Ricamora in Soft Power
Ryan Vasquez in The Wrong Man

Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical
Yesenia Ayala in West Side Story
Paula Leggett Chase in The Unsinkable Molly Brown
LaChanze in The Secret Life of Bees
Alyse Alan Louis in Soft Power
Lauren Patten in Jagged Little Pill

Outstanding Director of a Play
Jessica Blank in Coal Country
Stephen Daldry for The Inheritance
John Ortiz for Halfway Bitches Go Straight to Heaven - read our interview with Ortiz
Tina Satter for Is This A Room
Erica Schmidt for Mac Beth - read our interview with Schmidt

Outstanding Director of a Musical
Stephen Brackett for A Strange Loop
Thomas Kail for The Wrong Man
Kathleen Marshall for The Unsinkable Molly Brown
Leigh Silverman for Soft Power
Annie Tippe for Octet

Outstanding Choreography
Camille A. Brown for for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf - watch our video about Brown
Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker for West Side Story
Keone Madrid and Mari Madrid for Beyond Babel
Kathleen Marshall for The Unsinkable Molly Brown
Sonya Tayeh for Moulin Rouge!
Travis Wall for The Wrong Man

Outstanding Music
Ross Golan for The Wrong Man
Michael R. Jackson for A Strange Loop
Dave Malloy for Octet
Joshua Rosenblum for Einstein’s Dreams
Duncan Sheik for The Secret Life of Bees
Jeanine Tesori for Soft Power

Outstanding Lyrics
Susan Birkenhead for The Secret Life of Bees
Adam Gwon for Scotland, PA
Michael R. Jackson for A Strange Loop
Joanne Sydney Lessner and Joshua Rosenblum for Einstein’s Dreams
Dave Malloy for Octet
Mark Saltzman for Romeo & Bernadette

Outstanding Book of a Musical
David Henry Hwang for Soft Power
Michael R. Jackson for A Strange Loop
Dave Malloy for Octet
Lynn Nottage for The Secret Life of Bees
Mark Saltzman for Romeo & Bernadette
Dick Scanlan for The Unsinkable Molly Brown

Outstanding Orchestrations
Tom Kitt for Jagged Little Pill
Alex Lacamoire for The Wrong Man
Or Matias and Dave Malloy for Octet
Danny Troob, John Clancy, and Larry Hochman for Soft Power
Jonathan Tunick for West Side Story

Outstanding Music in a Play
Steve Earle for Coal Country
Frightened Rabbit for Square Go
Jim Harbourne for Feral
Martha Redbone for for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf
Adam Seidel, Jane Bruce, and Daniel Ocanto for Original Sound

Outstanding Scenic Design of a Play
Catherine Cornell for Mac Beth
Clint Ramos for Grand Horizons
Adam Rigg for Fefu and Her Friends
Paul Steinberg for Judgment Day
B.T. Whitehill for The Confession of Lily Dare

Outstanding Scenic Design for a Musical
Julian Crouch for Little Shop of Horrors
Anna Louizos for Scotland, PA
Derek McLane for Moulin Rouge!
Clint Ramos for Soft Power
Amy Rubin and Brittany Vasta for Octet

Outstanding Costume Design for a Play
Asa Benally for Blues for an Alabama Sky
Montana Levi Blanco for Fefu and Her Friends
Toni-Leslie James for for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf
Antony McDonald for Judgment Day
Rachel Townsend and Jessica Jahn for The Confession of Lily Dare
Kaye Voyce for Coriolanus

Outstanding Costume Design for a Musical
Vanessa Leuck for Emojiland
Jeff Mahshie for Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice
Mark Thompson for Tina: The Tina Turner Musical
Anita Yavich for Soft Power
Catherine Zuber for Moulin Rouge! - read our interview with Zuber

Outstanding Lighting Design for a Play
Isabella Byrd for Heroes of the Fourth Turning
Oona Curley for Dr. Ride’s American Beach House
Heather Gilbert for The Sound Inside
Mimi Jordan Sherin for Judgment Day
Yi Zhao for Greater Clements

Outstanding Lighting Design for a Musical
Betsy Adams for The Wrong Man
Jane Cox for The Secret Life of Bees
Herrick Goldman for Einstein’s Dreams
Bruno Poet for Tina: The Tina Turner Musical
Justin Townsend for Moulin Rouge!

Outstanding Projection Design
David Bengali for Einstein’s Dreams
Julia Frey for Medea
Luke Halls for West Side Story
Lisa Renkel and POSSIBLE for Emojiland
Hannah Wasileski for Fires in the Mirror

Outstanding Sound Design in a Play
Paul Arditti and Christopher Reid for The Inheritance
Justin Ellington for Heroes of the Fourth Turning
Mikhail Fiksel for Dana H.
Palmer Hefferan for Fefu and Her Friends
Lee Kinney and Sanae Yamada for Is This A Room

Outstanding Sound Design in a Musical
Tom Gibbons for West Side Story
Kai Harada for Soft Power
Peter Hylenski for Moulin Rouge!
Hidenori Nakajo for Octet
Nevin Steinberg for The Wrong Man

Outstanding Wig and Hair
Campbell Young Associates for Tina: The Tina Turner Musical
Cookie Jordan for Fefu and Her Friends
Nikiya Mathis for STEW
Tom Watson for The Great Society
Bobbie Zlotnik for Emojiland

Outstanding Solo Performance
David Cale in We're Only Alive for a Short Amount of Time - read our interview with Cale
Kate del Castillo in the way she spoke - read our interview with del Castillo
Laura Linney in My Name is Lucy Barton
Jacqueline Novak in Get on Your Knees - read our interview with Novak
Deirdre O'Connell in Dana H. - read our interview with O'Connell

Unique Theatrical Experience
Beyond Babel from Hideaway Circus
Feral from Tortoise in a Nutshell/Cumbernauld Theatre/59E59
Is This A Room from Vineyard Theatre
Midsummer: A Banquet from Food of Love Productions/Third Rail Projects - read our article about Midsummer: A Banquet

Outstanding Fight Choreography
Vicki Manderson for Square Go
Thomas Schall for A Soldier’s Play
UnkleDave’s Fight House for Halfway Bitches Go Straight to Heaven

Outstanding Adaptation
A Christmas Carol by Jack Thorne
Judgment Day by Christopher Shinn
Mojada by Luis Alfaro - read our interview with Alfaro
Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow by Halley Feiffer

Outstanding Puppet Design
Raphael Mishler for Tumacho
Rockefeller Productions for Paddington Gets in a Jam
Amanda Villalobos for Is This A Room

Ensemble Award: Octet

Sam Norkin Award: Actress Mary Bacon; The Actors Fund, Seth Rudetsky and James Wesley; The Public Theater’s Mobile Unit; WP Theater and Julia Miles; Claire Warden

Totals for Shows with More Than One Nomination:
Soft Power - 11
The Wrong - 9
Halfway Bitches Go Straight to Heaven - 8
Octet - 8
The Secret Life of Bees - 7
The Unsinkable Molly Brown - 7
A Strange Loop - 6
The Inheritance - 6
West Side Story - 6
Fefu and Her Friends - 5
Is This A Room - 5
Moulin Rouge!- 5
Einstein's Dreams - 4
Emojiland - 4
for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf - 4
Judgment Day - 4
Little Shop of Horrors - 4
Tina: The Tina Turner Musical - 4
A Soldier's Play - 3
Greater Clements - 3
Heroes of the Fourth Turning - 3
Jagged Little Pill - 3
Mac Beth - 3
Scotland, PA - 3
The Confession of Lily Dare - 3
Beyond Babel - 2
Cambodian Rock Band - 2
Coal Country - 2
Dana H. - 2
Feral - 2
Medea - 2
Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow - 2
Romeo & Bernadette - 2
Square Go - 2

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

Top image: Beth Malone in The Unsinkable Molly BrownPhoto by Carol Rosegg.




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