On Sunday, June 2 the 64th Annual Drama Desk Awards honored a diverse season both on and Off-Broadway, but revivals, transfers and familiar names won the evening.
Leading the winners with four awards each were Anaïs Mitchell’s folk musical, “Hadestown;”“The Ferryman,” Jez Butterworth’s play of the Irish troubles; and “Tootsie,” David Yazbek and Robert Horn’s musical adaptation of the 1982 Dustin Hoffman comedy.
“Hadestown” took home awards for Nevin Steinberg and Jessica Paz’s sound design, Bradley King’s lighting, actor André De Shields’ featured performance as the messenger god Hermes and Outstanding Direction of a Musical for Rachel Chavkin. “The Ferryman” won for Sam Mendes’ direction; Tom Glynn-Carney’s performance in the featured role of Shane Corcoran, a young man radicalized by the IRA; Nick Powell’s sound design; and the main prize of Outstanding Play. Butterworth’s drama, which premiered on London’s West End, had previously won Best Director and Play at the Olivier Awards.
“Tootsie” also boasts four wins with statues for Yazbek’s lyrics and music, Robert Horn’s book and “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” alum Santino Fontana’s star turn as Michael Dorsey, a struggling actor who books a role by dressing as a woman. The film “Tootsie” is based on is, of course, a singularly Jewish one, written by Larry Gelbart and Murray Schisgal and directed by Sydney Pollack. Also in the mix, though uncredited, on the film were writing contributions by Barry Levinson and comedy legend Elaine May.
May may not have won for her writing on Sunday, but she did take home an award for Outstanding Actress in a Play for her performance in the revival of Kenneth Lonergan’s “The Waverly Gallery,” which nabbed the additional honor of Outstanding Revival of a Play.
Despite the love in major categories for “Tootsie,” Matthew Sklar, Bob Martin, Chad Beguelin’s “The Prom,” about a lesbian couple shut out of their high school prom, received the award for Best Musical, the musical’s only win.
Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “Oklahoma!” reimagined by director Daniel Fish, fell short of Outstanding Revival of a Musical, but did secure Outstanding Orchestrations for composer Daniel Kluger, and Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical for Ali Stroker in the role of Ado Annie.
Finally, we can kvell a little. The National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene’s Yiddish production of “Fiddler on the Roof” won for Outstanding Revival of a Musical.
PJ Grisar is the Forward’s culture intern. He can be reached at Grisar@Forward.com.