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Drama Desk Awards

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Drama Desk Awards

Drama Desk Awards
Awarded for Excellence in theatre
Country United States
Presented by Drama Desk
First awarded 1955
Official website

The Drama Desk Awards, which are given annually in a number of categories, are the only major New York theater honors for which productions on Broadway, Off-Broadway, Off-Off-Broadway compete against each other in the same category.[1] Presented since 1955, they are considered one of the important American theater awards.[2]


The Drama Desk organization was formed in 1949 by a group of New York theater critics, editors, reporters and publishers, born out of the desire to educate the community on vital issues concerning the theater. In 1955, the organization began presenting the Vernon Rice Awards in honor of theater critic Vernon Rice of the New York Post, who had pioneered Off-Broadway coverage in the New York press. The name was changed as of the 1963–1964 awards season.[3] [4] In the first fifteen years of the award, Broadway shows were not eligible for these awards, but as of the 1968–1969 season, Broadway productions were included.[5] Only winners were announced in the early years, but in 1975, the Drama Desk began to announce nominees as well.[3][6] In 1974, the Drama Desk became incorporated as a not-for-profit organization.

The Drama Desk is composed of theatre critics, reporters and editors, more than 140 of whom vote on the awards.[7] The Drama Desk chairperson of the Nominating Committee is Barbara Siegel, and its president is Isa Goldberg.[8] The executive producer is Robert R. Blume.[9]

In keeping with its original mission, the organization sponsors guest panel luncheons with theater professionals. Panels address topics of current interest: covering the season on Broadway, Off-Broadway and Off-Off-Broadway, with the aim of prompting informative and stimulating discussion.

All of the Drama Desk officers and Nominating Committee members perform their various services for the organization on a voluntary basis. The Nominating Committee generally meets twice a month to discuss the many eligible shows members are responsible for seeing. They then nominate the productions on which the entire membership will vote. What sets the organization apart is that the awards are voted on "by media people only without any vested interests in the results," according to the organization.

Previous winners include Bernadette Peters,[10] Dustin Hoffman, Al Pacino, Catherine Zeta-Jones, among many others.

Over the last 36 years, the Drama Desk Awards have contributed to the ongoing success of major stars, playwrights and designers, while also identifying newcomers. The Drama Desk was the first New York theater organization to give awards to talents such as Edward Albee, Wendy Wasserstein and George C. Scott. Plays like Driving Miss Daisy, Other People's Money, Steel Magnolias and The Boys in the Band built momentum with the help of Drama Desk wins.


The Drama Desk Awards ceremony is held annually, frequently at LaGuardia Concert Hall of the Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts in Lincoln Center.

The 2010 nominations were announced on May 3, 2010, and the ceremony was held on May 23, 2010 at LaGuardia Concert Hall, hosted by Patti LuPone.[11][12]

The nominations for the 2010–2011 season were announced on April 29, 2011 by Audra McDonald and Liev Schreiber. The musicals The Book of Mormon and the revival of Anything Goes, received 12 and 10 nominations respectively, the most of any shows.[13]The awards ceremony was held on May 23, 2011 at the Hammerstein Ballroom at the Manhattan Center, New York City and was hosted by Harvey Fierstein. The awards ceremony was televised on the Ovation network.[14]

The nominations for the 2011–2012 season were announced on April 27, 2012 by Donna Murphy and Brian d'Arcy James. The revival of Follies received ten nominations and Death Takes a Holiday received eleven nominations. The awards ceremony was held on June 3, 2012 at The Town Hall, New York City, hosted by Brooke Shields and Brian d'Arcy James.[15]

The nominations for the 2012–2013 season were announced on April 29, 2013 by Linda Lavin and John Lloyd Young. Two musicals, Giant and Hands on a Hardbody each received nine nominations. A special ensemble award was given to the cast of Working: A Musical. [16] The awards ceremony was held on May 19, 2013 at The Town Hall (New York City).[17]

Award categories

Performance Categories
Show and technical categories

Special and retired awards

See also


External links

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