Presenting The 65th Annual Drama Desk Awards Winners

The 65th Annual Drama Desk Awards were set to be given out during a special presentation of NY1’s Broadway focused “On Stage” program a few weeks ago but the station needed to pause that broadcast based on the nightly protesting and rioting that had been going on in our metropolis. Initially planned to be a live broadcast at New York’s Town Hall, the program became a virtual one when the problems surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic caused the entire city to come to a standstill. Earlier this evening the broadcast ran and the winners were given their trophies. Here is the complete rundown of the winners.

drama desk awards logo

Outstanding Play:
Cambodian Rock Band, by Lauren Yee, Signature Theatre
Greater Clements, by Samuel D. Hunter, Lincoln Center Theater
Halfway Bitches Go Straight to Heaven, by Stephen Adly Guirgis, Atlantic Theater Company/LAByrinth Theater Company
Heroes of the Fourth Turning, by Will Arbery, Playwrights Horizons
WINNER – The Inheritance, by Matthew Lopez

Outstanding Musical:
Octet, Signature Theatre
The Secret Life of Bees, Atlantic Theater Company
Soft Power, The Public Theater
WINNER – A Strange Loop, Playwrights Horizons/Page 73 Productions
The Wrong Man, MCC Theater

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

Outstanding Revival of a Musical:
WINNER – Little Shop of Horrors
The Unsinkable Molly Brown, Transport Group
West Side Story

Outstanding Actor in a Play:
Charles Busch, The Confession of Lily Dare
WINNER – Edmund Donovan, Greater Clements
Raúl Esparza, Seared
Francis Jue, Cambodian Rock Band
Triney Sandoval, 72 Miles to Go…
Kyle Soller, The Inheritance

Outstanding Actress in a Play:
Rose Byrne, Medea
WINNER – Liza Colón-Zayas, Halfway Bitches Go Straight to Heaven
Emily Davis, Is This A Room
April Matthis, Toni Stone
Ruth Negga, Hamlet

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

Outstanding Actress in a Musical:
Tammy Blanchard, Little Shop of Horrors
Beth Malone, The Unsinkable Molly Brown
Saycon Sengbloh, The Secret Life of Bees
Elizabeth Stanley, Jagged Little Pill
WINNER – Adrienne Warren, Tina: The Tina Turner Musical

Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play:
Victor Almanzar, Halfway Bitches Go Straight to Heaven
Esteban Andres Cruz, Halfway Bitches Go Straight to Heaven
David Alan Grier, A Soldier’s Play
WINNER – Paul Hilton, The Inheritance
Chris Perfetti, Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow

Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play:
Patrice Johnson Chevannes, runboyrun & In Old Age
Kristina Poe, Halfway Bitches Go Straight to Heaven
Belange Rodríguez, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
Elizabeth Rodriguez, Halfway Bitches Go Straight to Heaven
WINNER – Lois Smith, The Inheritance

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

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

Outstanding Director of a Play:
Jessica Blank, Coal Country
WINNER – Stephen Daldry, The Inheritance
John Ortiz, Halfway Bitches Go Straight to Heaven
Tina Satter, Is This A Room
Erica Schmidt, Mac Beth

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Outstanding Costume Design for a Musical:
Vanessa Leuck, Emojiland
Jeff Mahshie, Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice
Mark Thompson, Tina: The Tina Turner Musical
Anita Yavich, Soft Power
WINNER – Catherine Zuber, Moulin Rouge!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Outstanding Solo Performance:
David Cale, We’re Only Alive for a Short Amount of Time
Kate del Castillo, the way she spoke
WINNER – Laura Linney, My Name is Lucy Barton
Jacqueline Novak, Get on Your Knees
Deirdre O’Connell, Dana H.

Unique Theatrical Experience:
Beyond Babel, Hideaway Circus
Feral, Tortoise in a Nutshell/Cumbernauld Theatre/59E59
WINNER – Is This A Room, Vineyard Theatre
Midsummer: A Banquet, Food of Love Productions/Third Rail Projects

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

Outstanding Adaptation:
WINNER – A Christmas Carol, by Jack Thorne
Judgment Day, by Christopher Shinn
Mojada, by Luis Alfaro
Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow, by Halley Feiffer

Outstanding Puppet Design:
WINNER – Raphael Mishler, Tumacho
Rockefeller Productions, Paddington Gets in a Jam
Amanda Villalobos, Is This A Room

Special Awards:

Ensemble Award: To the eight pitch-perfect performers in Dave Malloy’s a cappella musical Octet: Adam Bashian, Kim Blanck, Starr Busby, Alex Gibson, Justin Gregory Lopez, J.D. Mollison, Margo Seibert, and Kuhoo Verma proved instrumental in giving a layered look at modern forms of addiction.

Sam Norkin Award: To actress Mary Bacon, who continued her versatile career of compassionate, searing work for such companies as The Mint, Primary Stages, The Public Theater, and The Actors Theater Company, with two of Off-Broadway’s most humane performances this season in Coal Country at the Public Theater and Nothing Gold Can Stay presented by Partial Comfort Productions.

To The Actors Fund, Seth Rudetsky, James Wesley, and medical contributor Jonathan LaPook, M.D. for connecting members of the theater community, lifting spirits, and keeping us informed during the coronavirus crisis. The Actors Fund is working tirelessly to provide financial and health resources to those impacted by the pandemic; Rudetsky and Wesley’s semi-daily “Stars in the House” webcast is raising funds for The Actors Fund, while providing performances, reunions, and Dr. LaPook’s scientific updates.

To The Public Theater’s Mobile Unit, a reinvention of Joseph Papp’s “Mobile Theater” that began in 1957 and evolved into the New York Shakespeare Festival and The Public Theater. The current Mobile Unit tours free Shakespeare throughout the five boroughs, including prisons, homeless shelters, and community centers, reminding audiences new and old that the play really is the thing.

To WP Theater and Julia Miles, the company’s founder who died this spring. Formerly known as The Women’s Project and Productions, the company began in 1978 at American Place Theatre, where Miles served as associate to visionary artistic director Wynn Handman, who also died this spring. WP is the largest, most enduring American company that nurtures and produces works by female-identified creators. Over a little more than four decades, it has changed the demographics of American drama through an unwavering focus on women writers, directors, producers, performers, and craftspeople.

To Claire Warden for her pioneering work as an intimacy choreographer in such recent projects as Frankie and Johnny in the Claire de Lune and Linda Vista, and her leadership in the rapidly emerging movement of intimacy direction. As part of the creative team of Intimacy Directors & Coordinators and Director of Engagement for and co-founder of Intimacy Directors International, she is helping create theater experiences that are safer for performers and more authentic for contemporary audiences.

Lifetime Achievement Award: Harold Prince

In Memoriam:
William Wolf, Brian Dennehy, John Simon, Bernard Slade, Hugh Southern, Terence Frisby, Kevin Conway, Danny Aiello, Jack Garfein, Earl Graham, Herbert Granath, Laurel Griggs, Diahann Carroll, Daniel Adamian, Rich Affanato, Jennifer Robin Arnold, Isabel Toledo, Joseph Patria, Pamela Payton-Wright, Johnnie Planco, Wynn Handman, James Lipton, Gilbert Parker, Michael J. Pollard, Terry Hands, Jerry Herman, Lee Kenneth Richardson, Rolf Hochhuth, Michael I. Sovern, Jerry Stiller, Jean Erdman, Malcolm Ewen, Merwin Foard, Gerald Freedman, Kirk Douglas, Spiro Malas, Marion McClinton, Ron McLarty, Julia Miles, Larry Kramer, Max Wright, Robert Ullman, Herschel Waxman, Franklin R. Weissberg, Bernard Gersten, Roger Horchow, A.E. Hotchner, Rhetta Hughes, Peter H. Hunt, Margo Lion, Betty Corwin, Ann Crumb, Bruce Anthony Davis, Marshall Efron, Mart Crowley, Robert F.X. Sillerman, Fred Willard, Rene Buch, Martin Charnin, Jonathan Miller, Charlene Nederlander, Peter Nichols Phyliss Newman, Ron Liebman, Charles Levin, William Luce, Jun Maeda, Peter Larkin, Valerie Harper, Betty Jacobs, Paula Kelly, E. Katherine Kerr, Gerald Krone, Zev Buffman, Rene Auberjonois, Darren Deverna, Walter Dallas, Dorothy Olim Krone, Richard Easton, P.J. Barry, Orson Bean, Mark Blum, William Bogert, Rip Torn, Brian Tarantina, Adam Schlesinger, David Schramm, Shirley Knight, Arthur Griffin, Stan Schwartz, Gershon Kingsley, Terrence McNally, Lynn Cohen, Anna Quayle, Sid Ramin, Robert Rechnitz, Zoe Caldwell, Buck Henry, Roger O. Hirson, Kyle Renick, Peter Saide, Milton Schaeed, Harold Prince

*** end of list ***

Piercing Ken Thoughts: So there you have it. A very different way to enjoy a broadcast awards show for sure but at least they all managed to rally together and deliver something fun and interesting. What did you readers think? Were some of your favorites among the winners? Chime in down below with your own thoughts as I always welcome topical inclusion. See you next time.

Official Website:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.