New York Theater: 2022 DRAMA DESK AWARD WINNERS

Post image for New York Theater: 2022 DRAMA DESK AWARD WINNERS

by Tony Frankel on June 8, 2022

in Theater-New York

AWARD WINNERS THAT STAGE AND CINEMA
AGREES WITH ACROSS THE BOARD

Well, well, well. Bless the 2021-2022 Drama Desk Nominating Committee. Not only were their nominations truly for achievement (versus all the awards for so-called “woke” theater from other organizations), but winners were fairly chosen, even in some very very VERY tight categories. The design wins for Flying over Sunset at Lincoln Center are well-served, and given to a show that did not catch fire. Barry Manilow and book-winner Bruce Sussman offered a great musical in Harmony, but winner for best musical Kimberly Akimbo was fair, as this was the most startlingly original musical I saw all season. How I Learned to Drive was indeed the best revival.

Presented annually, The Drama Desk Awards honor outstanding achievement by professional theater artists on Broadway, Off Broadway, and Off Off Broadway. These are the awards to watch, as they are voted on and bestowed by theater critics, journalists, editors, and publishers covering theater. They are Martha Wade Steketee, Peter Filichia, Kenji Fujishima, Juan Michael Porter II, Ayanna Prescod, Zachary Stewart, and Diep Tran.

In keeping with the Drama Desk’s mission, the nominators considered shows that opened on Broadway, Off-Broadway, and Off-Off Broadway between July 2, 2021 and May 1, 2022 for this year’s Awards. Only live performances were eligible — if performances were also available for streaming, 21 or more unique live performances were required.

This year’s Drama Desk Awards will take place at Sardi’s (234 W 44th Street) on June 14 from 3-6pm . Renée Elise Goldsberry (Hamilton; The Color Purple; Girl5eva) will host along with presenters Charles Busch, Kerry Butler, Liz Callaway, Lileana Blain-Cruz, Max von Essen, Santino Fontana, Jessica Hecht, Brittany Johnson, Leslie Kritzer, Derek McLane, Heidi Schreck, Talia Suskauer, and Sanaz Toossi. There will also be performances by the 2020 Drama Desk Award winner for Outstanding Revival – Little Shop of Horrors, The cast of Harmony, and The Broadway Boys.

Broadway On Demand will stream the 2022 Drama Desk Awards free of charge. Viewers will be able to stream the Awards live by creating a FREE login (email/password). Once they do, they’ll be redirected back to the viewing page. A login can be created here. Viewers can begin logging into Broadway On Demand at 2:45pm on June 14.
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Here are the winners (highlighted and starred**):

Outstanding Play
Cullud Wattah, by Erika Dickerson-Despenza, The Public Theater
English, by Sanaz Toossi, Atlantic Theater Company
**Prayer for the French Republic, by Joshua Harmon, Manhattan Theatre Club
Sanctuary City, by Martyna Majok, New York Theatre Workshop
Selling Kabul, by Sylvia Khoury, Playwrights Horizons
The Chinese Lady, by Lloyd Suh, The Public Theater

Outstanding Musical
Harmony, National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene
Intimate Apparel, Lincoln Center Theater
**Kimberly Akimbo, Atlantic Theater Company
Six
The Hang, HERE Arts Center

Outstanding Revival of a Play
for colored girls who have considered suicide/ when the rainbow is enuf
**How I Learned to Drive, Manhattan Theatre Club
Lackawanna Blues, Manhattan Theatre Club
Skeleton Crew, Manhattan Theatre Club
Trouble in Mind, Roundabout Theatre Company
Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992, Signature Theatre

Outstanding Revival of a Musical
Assassins, Classic Stage Company
Baby, Out of the Box Theatrics
Caroline, or Change, Roundabout Theatre Company
**Company

Outstanding Actor in a Play
Brandon J. Dirden, Skeleton Crew, Manhattan Theatre Club
Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Take Me Out, Second Stage Theater
Jacob Ming-Trent, Merry Wives, The Public Theater (Free Shakespeare in the Park)
**Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Lackawanna Blues, Manhattan Theatre Club
John Douglas Thompson, The Merchant of Venice, Theatre for a New Audience

Outstanding Actress in a Play
Tala Ashe, English, Atlantic Theater Company
Ruth Negga, Macbeth
Andrea Patterson, Cullud Wattah, The Public Theater
**Phylicia Rashad, Skeleton Crew, Manhattan Theatre Club
Shannon Tyo, The Chinese Lady, The Public Theater
Michelle Wilson, Confederates, Signature Theatre

Outstanding Actor in a Musical
Billy Crystal, Mr. Saturday Night
Myles Frost, MJ
Rob McClure, Mrs. Doubtfire
**Jaquel Spivey, A Strange Loop
Chip Zien, Harmony, National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene

Outstanding Actress in a Musical
Kearstin Piper Brown, Intimate Apparel, Lincoln Center Theater
Victoria Clark, Kimberly Akimbo, Atlantic Theater Company
Sharon D. Clarke, Caroline, or Change, Roundabout Theatre Company
Jeanna de Waal, Diana
**Joaquina Kalukango, Paradise Square

Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play
Joshua Boone, Skeleton Crew, Manhattan Theatre Club
Chuck Cooper, Trouble in Mind, Roundabout Theatre Company
Daniel K. Isaac, The Chinese Lady, The Public Theater
Billy Eugene Jones, On Sugarland, New York Theatre Workshop
**Ron Cephas Jones, Clyde’s, Second Stage Theater

Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play
**Francis Benhamou, Prayer for the French Republic, Manhattan Theatre Club
Stephanie Berry, On Sugarland, New York Theatre Workshop
Sonnie Brown, what you are now, Ensemble Studio Theatre
Page Leong, Out of Time, NAATCO and The Public Theater
Kenita R. Miller, for colored girls who have considered suicide/ when the rainbow is enuf
Kara Young, Clyde’s, Second Stage Theater

Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical
Justin Austin, Intimate Apparel, Lincoln Center Theater
Justin Cooley, Kimberly Akimbo, Atlantic Theater Company
**Matt Doyle, Company
Jared Grimes, Funny Girl
Tavon Olds-Sample, MJ

Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical
Judy Kuhn, Assassins, Classic Stage Company
Tamika Lawrence, Black No More, The New Group
**Patti LuPone, Company
Bonnie Milligan, Kimberly Akimbo, Atlantic Theater Company
Jennifer Simard, Company

Outstanding Director of a Play
Knud Adams, English, Atlantic Theater Company
Saheem Ali, Merry Wives, The Public Theater (Free Shakespeare in the Park)
**Rebecca Frecknall, Sanctuary City, New York Theatre Workshop
Taibi Magar, Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992, Signature Theatre
Whitney White, On Sugarland, New York Theatre Workshop

Outstanding Director of a Musical
John Doyle, Assassins, Classic Stage Company
**Marianne Elliott, Company
Lucy Moss and Jamie Armitage, Six
Bartlett Sher, Intimate Apparel, Lincoln Center Theater
Jessica Stone, Kimberly Akimbo, Atlantic Theater Company

Outstanding Choreography
Ayodele Casel (tap choreography), Funny Girl
Carrie-Anne Ingrouille, Six
**Bill T. Jones, Garrett Coleman, and Jason Oremus (Irish + Hammerstep), Gelan Lambert and Chloe Davis (associates), Paradise Square
Liam Steel, Company
Christopher Wheeldon, Michael Balderrama (associate), Rich + Tone Taleuega (Michael Jackson movement), MJ

Outstanding Music
**Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss, Six
Jason Howland, Paradise Square
Matt Ray, The Hang, HERE Arts Center
Carrie Rodriguez, ¡Americano!
Jeanine Tesori, Kimberly Akimbo, Atlantic Theater Company

Outstanding Lyrics
Amanda Green, Mr. Saturday Night
Taylor Mac, The Hang, HERE Arts Center
**Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss, Six
David Lindsay-Abaire, Kimberly Akimbo, Atlantic Theater Company
Lynn Nottage, Intimate Apparel, Lincoln Center Theater
Shaina Taub, Suffs, The Public Theater

Outstanding Book of a Musical
Billy Crystal, Lowell Ganz, and Babaloo Mandel, Mr. Saturday Night
Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss, Six
Lynn Nottage, Intimate Apparel, Lincoln Center Theater
**Bruce Sussman, Harmony, National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene

Outstanding Orchestrations
Tom Curran, Six
Greg Jarrett, Assassins, Classic Stage Company
Mark Hartman and Yasuhiko Fukuoka, The Streets of New York, Irish Repertory Theatre
**Jason Michael Webb and David Holcenberg, MJ

Outstanding Music in a Play
Te’La and Kamauu, Thoughts of a Colored Man
**Bill Sims Jr., Lackawanna Blues, Manhattan Theatre Club
Michael Thurber and Farai Malianga (drum compositions), Merry Wives, The Public Theater (Free Shakespeare in the Park)

Outstanding Scenic Design for a Play
Beowulf Boritt, Merry Wives, The Public Theater (Free Shakespeare in the Park)
Wilson Chin, Pass Over
Marsha Ginsberg, English, Atlantic Theater Company
**Takeshi Kata, Clyde’s, Second Stage Theater
Junghyun Georgia Lee, Kristina WongSweatshop Overlord, New York Theatre Workshop

Outstanding Scenic Design for a Musical
Emma Bailey, Six
**Beowulf Boritt, Flying Over Sunset, Lincoln Center Theater
Bunny Christie, Company
David Zinn, Kimberly Akimbo, Atlantic Theater Company

Outstanding Costume Design for a Play
Linda Cho, The Chinese Lady, The Public Theater
Gregory Gale, Fairycakes
Tilly Grimes, The Alchemist, Red Bull Theater
Qween Jean, On Sugarland, New York Theatre Workshop
**Jennifer Moeller, Clyde’s, Second Stage Theater

Outstanding Costume Design for a Musical
Machine Dazzle, The Hang, HERE Arts Center
Susan Hilferty, Funny Girl
Santo Loquasto, The Music Man
**Gabriella Slade, Six
Catherine Zuber, Intimate Apparel, Lincoln Center Theater

Outstanding Lighting Design for a Play
**Christopher Akerlind, Clyde’s, Second Stage Theater
Reza Behjat, English, Atlantic Theater Company
Isabella Byrd, Sanctuary City, New York Theatre Workshop
**Amith Chandrashaker, Prayer for the French Republic, Manhattan Theatre Club
Jeanette Oi-Suk Yew, Cullud Wattah, The Public Theater

Outstanding Lighting Design for a Musical
Natasha Katz, Diana
**Natasha Katz, MJ
**Bradley King, Flying Over Sunset, Lincoln Center Theater
Jennifer Tipton, Intimate Apparel, Lincoln Center Theater

Outstanding Projection Design
**59 Productions, Flying Over Sunset, Lincoln Center Theater
David Bengali, Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992, Signature Theatre
Stephania Bulbarella and Alex Basco Koch, Space Dogs, MCC Theater
Shawn Duan, The Chinese Lady, The Public Theater
Sven Ortel, Thoughts of a Colored Man

Outstanding Sound Design for a Play
Tyler Kieffer, Seven Deadly Sins, Tectonic Theater Project and Madison Wells Live
Hidenori Nakajo and Ryan Rumery, Autumn Royal, Irish Repertory Theatre
**Ben and Max Ringham, Cyrano de Bergerac, The Jamie Lloyd Company at Brooklyn Academy of Music
Mikaal Sulaiman, Sanctuary City, New York Theatre Workshop
Lee Kinney, Selling Kabul, Playwrights Horizons

Outstanding Sound Design for a Musical
Ian Dickinson for Autograph, Company
Paul Gatehouse, Six
Kai Harada, Kimberly Akimbo, Atlantic Theater Company
**Gareth Owen, MJ

Outstanding Wig and Hair
Matthew B. Armentrout, Paradise Square
**David Brian Brown, Mrs. Doubtfire
Paul Huntley, Diana
Charles G. LaPointe, MJ

Outstanding Solo Performance
Alex Edelman, Just for Us, Cherry Lane Theatre
Arturo Luís Soria, Ni Mi Madre, Rattlestick Playwrights Theater
**Kristina Wong, Kristina WongSweatshop Overlord, New York Theatre Workshop

Unique Theatrical Experience
**Seven Deadly Sins, Tectonic Theater Project & Madison Wells Live

Outstanding Adaptation
**Merry Wives, by Jocelyn Bioh, The Public Theater (Free Shakespeare in the Park)
The Alchemist, by Jeffrey Hatcher, Red Bull Theater

Outstanding Puppet Design
Amanda Villalobos, Wolf Play, Soho Rep.
**James Ortiz, The Skin of Our Teeth, Lincoln Center Theater
Rockefeller Productions, Winnie the Pooh, The Hundred Acre Theatre

Harold S. Prince Lifetime Achievement Award:
In four decades as playwright, novelist, actor, and director, Alice Childress (1912-1994) challenged racism with engrossing stories and memorable characters. When a New York producer demanded revisions to soften the impact of Trouble in Mind, after an initial run Off Broadway and prior to its Broadway debut, Childress withdrew the script. Sixty-five years later, the Drama Desk celebrates the long-delayed Broadway premiere of this timeless masterpiece and salutes Childress as a towering figure in contemporary theater history.

Ensemble Award:
In Six, Adrianna Hicks, Andrea Macasaet, Brittney Mack, Abby Mueller, Samantha Pauly, and Anna Uzele bring to musical life the women who married England’s King Henry VIII. The fanciful result is a buoyant dramatization of their individually purposeful and collectively empowering journeys.

The Sam Norkin Off-Broadway Award:
This season, as a woman hiding her brother from the Taliban in Sylvia Khoury’s Selling Kabul and an English instructor straddling two very different cultures in Sanaz Toossi’s EnglishMarjan Neshat embodied disparate characters so fully that it was hard to recognize the single actor in the two roles. Whether in drama or comedy, Neshat mines the playwright’s text for a vast panoply of emotions that yield vivid, intricate portrayals of the parts she undertakes.

Additional Special Awards:
Dede Ayite seems to have costumed half the actors of this theater season with her designs for Merry WivesSeven Deadly SinsThe Last of the Love LettersChicken and BiscuitsSlave PlayNollywood DreamsAmerican Buffalo, and How I learned to Drive. Whether dressing working-class Marylanders of the 1960s, amateur criminals of the 1970s, or West African immigrants in today’s Harlem, Ayite has a knack for conveying characters’ means, values, and aspirations before the actors utter a word.

Adam Rigg enhanced storytelling through wildly varying scenic designs this season including: a house in wood, shadow, and reflective glass that draws the audience into the Flint, Michigan water crisis in Cullud Wattah; a community cul-de-sac where trauma and history are celebrated in On Sugarland; and the falling walls, flower-covered hillsides, and functional seaside fun ride of The Skin of Our Teeth.

With the category-defying Oratorio for Living Things, Heather Christian aims to encompass all human existence in a single inventive and startlingly beautiful work. In times of pandemic, war, and social upheaval, Christian’s work (directed by Lee Sunday Evans and brought to life by a superb cast and creative team) is an awe-inspiring reminder that, even in the darkest times, there will always be artistic peaks to scale.

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