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Category: Shrek

As usual, non-Broadway shows get stomped at the Drama Desk Awards

May 17, 2009 | 11:27 pm

The Drama Desk Awards were bestowed, as usual, to Broadway shows over off-Broadway alternatives. "Billy Elliot" danced off with 11 prizes, including best musical.

The only major upset occurred in the race for best actress in a play with Janet McTeer ("Mary Stuart") prevailing over two stars considered to be the front-runners at the upcoming Tony Awards: Marcia Gay Harden ("God of Carnage") and Jane Fonda ("33 Variations").

Otherwise, Tony faves prevailed, including Geoffrey Rush ("Exit the King") as best actor, Angela Lansbury ("Blithe Spirit") in the supporting race and "Hair" and "The Norman Conquests" as best revivals.

Drama Desk Awards winners 78319284 news

"Shrek" star Brian d'Arcy James triumphed in the race for best musical actor without facing the triple threat awaiting him at the Tonys: the three lead stars of "Billy Elliot," who share one nomination. They were snubbed by Drama Desk voters when "Billy Elliot" producers refused to give members of the nominating committee tickets to see all three boys perform on different nights.

As usual, the ongoing unfairness of the Drama Desk Awards is painfully apparent in the results. Even though the small group of members who belong to the nominating committee give bids to many worthy non-Broadway productions, those contenders lose after not being seen by the vast majority of members who vote for the Broadway shows they bother to attend.

When non-Broadway nominees do win, they tend to have prestigious reputations, as is the case of the winner of best play: "Ruined," which recently won the Pulitzer Prize and the New York Drama Critics Circle Award. Among the few other non-Broadway winners was "Road Show," which won best lyrics for New York theater legend Stephen Sondheim.

There are two obvious solutions to this problem. Either the Drama Desk should create separate categories for Broadway and non-Broadway productions or else permit members to vote only for productions they've seen, but the group's leadership stubbornly resists making such a change that could help to boost the award's sagging reputation.

The Drama Desk Awards are bestowed by a secret group of journalists who are widely accused of having dubious credentials. That accusation can't be addressed because it's the only media award that refuses to list its members at its website.

Bold = winner

BEST PLAY
"Body Awareness"
"Becky Shaw"
"reasons to be pretty"
"Ruined"
"Fifty Words"
"Lady"

BEST MUSICAL
"9 to 5"
"Billy Elliot"
"Fela!"
"Liza's at the Palace"
"Shrek"
"The Story of My Life"

BEST REVIVAL OF A PLAY
"Blithe Spirit"
"Exit the King"
"Mary Stuart"
"The Cripple of Inishmaan"
"The Norman Conquests"
"Waiting for Godot"

BEST REVIVAL OF A MUSICAL
"Enter Laughing "
"Hair"
"Pal Joey"
"West Side Story"

BEST ACTOR IN A PLAY
Simon Russell Beale, "The Winter's Tale"
Reed Birney, "Blasted"
Raúl Esparza, "Speed-The-Plow"
Bill Irwin, "Waiting for Godot"
Daniel Radcliffe, "Equus"
Geoffrey Rush, "Exit the King"
Thomas Sadoski, "reasons to be pretty"

Continue reading »

Talking Tonys: 'Shrek' star Sutton Foster

May 9, 2009 | 12:30 pm

"Shrek" star Sutton Foster just joined an elite gaggle of Broadway gals to reap a fourth nomination in the Tonys race for best lead actress in a musical. Her previous bids were "Thoroughly Modern Millie" (2002 — she won), "Little Women" (2005) and "The Drowsy Chaperone" (2006). "Millie" won best musical. "Chaperone" was nominated. "Shrek" is up for the top prize as best tuner, too. Of course, Foster portrays Princess Fiona, who has a remarkably high tolerance for stinky green ogres — and, it turns out, a peculiar fondness for one of them.

Camera work by Paul Sheehan

RELATED VIDEOS

Three 'Billy Elliot' boys pass our two Tonys quizzes

Talking Tonys: '9 to 5' star Allison Janney

Talking Tonys: 'West Side Story' star Karen Olivo

Jane Fonda dishes Tonys, '33 Variations,' Oscars, Katharine Hepburn, her dad and a lost cigarette lighter

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