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The 54th Annual Drama Desk Awards
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The 54th Annual Drama Desk Awards

- Special Events: Backstage with the Playwrights

Gray Line New York Sightseeing




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Robert R. Blume
In association with TheaterMania.com
Presents:
The 54th Annual
Drama Desk Awards
(Drama Desk Website)
(TheaterMania.com Website)
William Wolf, Drama Desk President
At
Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School
of Music & Art
Pre-Party and After-Party
at Rouge Tomate
(Rouge Tomate Website)
Travel on Gray Line New York Sightseeing
(Gray Line New York Sightseeing Website)

Hosted by Harvey Fierstein
(Harvey Fierstein Bio)

Executive Producer: Robert R. Blume
Set Designer: Jeremy C. Doucette
Lighting Designer: Peter H. Smith
Sound Designer: Tom Morse
Musical Director: Paul Leschen
General Manager: 5 Stone Productions, LLC
Felicia M. Lopes
Press: L.S. Public Relations
Special Events Director: Randie Levine-Miller, Drama Desk
Producer: Lauren Class Schneider
Assoc. Producers: Les Schecter, Corine Dana Cohen,
Joseph Callari, Ellis Nassour
Director: Jeff Kalpak

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
May 17, 2009


(See “Backstage with the Playwrights” Column for Many Theatre Reviews)

(See the 2008, 53rd Annual Drama Desk Awards Review)

(See the Pre-Awards, Nominees Reception at Il Bastardo Ristorante)

(Click Here To See List of All Drama Desk Winners)


William Wolf, Drama Desk President, and his Annual Awards event team, listed above, again presented a richly entertaining evening with renowned guests and speakers. The evening began at a closed VIP party at Rouge Tomate, with an Open Bar and hors d’oeuvres. Drama Desk attendees and guests then rode the Gray Line NY Sightseeing double-decker buses to Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art, where nominees and guests were greeted with a special red carpet. Awards were presented by Lauren Ambrose, Stockard Channing, John Cullum, André De Shields, Jim Dale, Jason Danieley, Raúl Esparza, Jane Fonda, Victor Garber, Cheyenne Jackson, Carson Kressley, John Lithgow, Marin Mazzie, Audra McDonald, Rex Reed, Michael Rupert and Tom Wopat. The Drama Desk Awards, founded in 1949, presented its first awards in 1955. They support ongoing theatrical development and are the only critics’ awards that compete Broadway, Off-Broadway, and Off-Off Broadway shows in the same categories. They also honor promising students, in theatre and musical performing arts. This year scholarships went to two graduating seniors in the Theater Department of LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts, thanks to The Smart Family Foundation, TheaterMania.com, Ted Snowdon, Jamie deRoy & friends, and Robert R. Blume.

The 2008/2009 Nominating Committee for the Drama Desk Awards is composed of: Barbara Siegel (Chairperson) TalkinBroadway.com, TheaterMania.com; Dan Bacalzo, TheaterMania.com; Christopher Byrne, Gay City News; Patrick Christiano, TheaterLife.com, Dan’s Papers; Jason Clark, Entertainment Weekly, TheaterOnline.com; Gerard Raymond, Back Stage, The Advocate; and Richard Ridge, Broadway Beat TV. Nominations were announced on April 27, at 9:30 AM, at the New York Friar’s Club. (I was moving apartments that day and do not have photos of this event). Faith Prince and Jim Dale announced the nominations in the various categories. There were remarks by Drama Desk President William Wolf, Drama Desk Awards Executive Producer Robert R. Blume, Nominating Committee Chairperson Barbara Siegel and Randie Levine-Miller, Drama Desk Director of Special Events. The entire evening’s ceremony was webcast live by TheaterMania.com. (Courtesy of Drama Desk Awards Website)

I was joined for the Awards events and Pre-Awards, Post-Awards Receptions by my colleague, Marco Losavio, Publisher, JazzItalia.net, who was in the US on business and extended the trip to attend this special event. The décor at Rouge Tomate was chic and contemporary, with elegant wall hangings and stylish wait staff. We enjoyed riding the large Grey Line New York Sightseeing buses (enclosed this rainy season) to and from the Awards ceremony. On arrival at LaGuardia High School, I was able to photo several nominees and their guests, although the crowd was thick. William Wolf, as always, graciously entertained the Drama Desk Awards guests with a bit of insight into the Awards history and process. Harvey Fierstein has always been one of my favorite actors, hosts, playwrights, and he did not disappoint. This year he began his remarks wittily talking about last year’s eleven nominations for his play, A Catered Affair, and the agony of waiting publicly, as not one award was his. But, this year he got the honor to be Host, so all was not lost.

Highlights of tonight’s 2009 Drama Desk Awards winners (Click Here To See List of All Drama Desk Winners) were COURTESY OF DRAMA DESK AWARDS WEBSITE:

Billy Elliot The Musical, ten Awards, including Outstanding Musical, Shrek The Musical, three Awards, same as The Norman Conquests, which won two competitive Awards: Outstanding Revival of a Play and Outstanding Director of a Play, and one special ensemble award for its cast. Ruined, two Awards for Outstanding Play and Outstanding Music in a Play.

Janet McTeer (Mary Stuart) won Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama, and Allison Janney (9 to 5) won Outstanding Lead Actress in a Musical. Geoffrey Rush (Exit the King) won Outstanding Lead Actor in a Play, and Brian d’Arcy James (Shrek the Musical) won Outstanding Lead Actor in a Musical.

Angela Lansbury (Blithe Spirit) won Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play, and Gregory Jbara (Billy Elliot The Musical) won Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical. Pablo Schreiber won Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play for reasons to be pretty, and Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical went to Haydn Gwynne (Billy Elliot The Musical).

Three of the Billy Elliot The Musical creative team won Awards – Stephen Daldry (Outstanding Director of a Musical), Peter Darling (Outstanding Choreography) and Elton John (Outstanding Music). Stephen Sondheim (Road Show) won for Outstanding Lyrics, Lee Hall (Billy Elliot The Musical) won for Outstanding Book of a Musical, and Martin Koch (Billy Elliot The Musical) won for Outstanding Orchestrations.

The Award for Unique Theatrical Experience went to Celebrity Autobiography: In Their Own Words and the Outstanding Solo Performance Award went to Lorenzo Pisoni (Humor Abuse). Outstanding Ensemble Awards went to The Norman Conquests and The Cripple of Inishmaan. Liza Minnelli won a special Award for “her enduring career of sustained excellence” and for Liza’s at the Palace!. Forbidden Broadway won for “an unparalleled New York institution cherished for its satire and celebration of Broadway”. Atlantic Theater Company and Neil Pepe won for “exceptional craftsmanship and dedication to excellence and productions that engage, inspire, and enlighten”. TADA! Youth Theater won the final special Award for “providing an invaluable contribution to the future of the theater”. (Courtesy of Drama Desk Awards Website).

Following the Awards presentations and show, many of the guests again climbed into the large, red Gray Line NY Sightseeing buses for the return trip to Rouge Tomate, where the After-Party, for dessert and drinks, ensued. Kudos to all the nominees and winners, and kudos to William Wolf and his 54th Annual Drama Desk Awards team.



Arriving at Rouge Tomate
Courtesy of Roberta E. Zlokower

William and Lillian Wolf with Marco Losavio
Courtesy of Roberta E. Zlokower

Ellis Nassour with Lillian Wolf and Marco Losavio
Courtesy of Roberta E. Zlokower

Rouge Tomate Wait Staff
Courtesy of Roberta E. Zlokower

Drama Desk Awards Accountant, Stuart Margulies
Courtesy of Roberta E. Zlokower

Drama Desk Member Ed Karam and Marco Losavio
Courtesy of Roberta E. Zlokower

Barbara Siegel, Drama Desk Board and Nominating Committee Chair
and Scott Siegel, Broadway Jukebox

Courtesy of Roberta E. Zlokower


Drama Desk Awards Exec. Producer, Bob Blume,
and Ass. Prod. Joseph Callari, Host of the Nominees

Courtesy of Roberta E. Zlokower

Making a Statement at the Drama Desk Awards
Courtesy of Roberta E. Zlokower

Anita Gillette Arrives
Courtesy of Roberta E. Zlokower

Drama Desk Pre-Awards Catered Party
Courtesy of Roberta E. Zlokower

Rouge Tomate Reception Décor
Courtesy of Roberta E. Zlokower

Drama Desk Awards Guest
Courtesy of Roberta E. Zlokower

Lynn Cohen, Actor
Courtesy of Roberta E. Zlokower

Drama Desk Awards Guests and Marco Losavio
Courtesy of Roberta E. Zlokower

Drama Desk Pre-Awards Party
Courtesy of Roberta E. Zlokower

Les Schecter, Drama Desk Awards Press,
and Megan Hilty, Actor

Courtesy of Roberta E. Zlokower

Drama Desk Nominees and Guests
Courtesy of Roberta E. Zlokower

Drama Desk Pre-Awards Party
Courtesy of Roberta E. Zlokower

Drama Desk Pre-Awards Party
Courtesy of Roberta E. Zlokower

Karen Olivo, Actor
Courtesy of Roberta E. Zlokower

Drama Desk Awards Guest
Courtesy of Roberta E. Zlokower

Drama Desk Awards Guest
Courtesy of Roberta E. Zlokower

Allison Janney, Actor, Arrives for the Awards Ceremony
Courtesy of Roberta E. Zlokower

Nominees and Guests Arriving for the Awards Ceremony
Courtesy of Roberta E. Zlokower

Stephanie Block Arrives for the Awards Ceremony
Courtesy of Roberta E. Zlokower

Sebastian Arcelus Arrives for the Awards Ceremony
Courtesy of Roberta E. Zlokower

Jane Fonda Arrives for the Awards Ceremony
Courtesy of Roberta E. Zlokower

Actors Arriving for the Awards Ceremony
Courtesy of Roberta E. Zlokower

Victor Garber Arrives for the Awards Ceremony
Courtesy of Roberta E. Zlokower

Condola Rashad Arrives for the Awards Ceremony
Courtesy of Roberta E. Zlokower




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For more information, contact Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower at zlokower@bestweb.net