Off-Broadway fare accounted for more than half of the nominees (83 of 152) for plays and musicals at the Drama Desk Awards. However, as in years past, they were virtually shut out as just one Off-Broadway show -- "Here Lies Love" -- prevailed winning three of the 25 awards.
Otherwise, only Broadway shows and stars took to the stage of the Town Hall Sunday night to claim their awards. (See full list of winners here.)
"Here Lies Love" is the high profile new musical about Imelda Marcos by David Byrne and Fatboy Slim. It won for its music as well as both lighting and production design.
Of the 22 Drama Desk Awards won by big budget productions, five went to "Matilda" including Best Musical while "Pippin" won four including Best Musical Revival and "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf" claimed three, including Best Play Revival. "Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike" won its only bid, but it was a biggie - Best Play.
Last year, Off-Broadway fare accounted for just over half of the nominees (76 of 150) for plays and musicals at the Drama Desk Awards, but claimed just one of the 25 prizes. "Tribes" won Best Play but that race was skewed as all four of the year's Tony nominees were ineligible at the Drama Desks as they had contended at these kudos for their Off-Broadway runs.
Two years, Off-Broadway productions made up more than 40% of the nominees (64 of 151) but won just two of the 26 prizes. Those wins came in two of the creative categories -- Best Musical Book ("See Rock City and Other Destinations") and Best Play Music ("Peter and the Starcatcher").
Three years ago, there was a similar breakdown between Broadway (54%) and off-Broadway (44%) contenders. Yet only three of the 26 winners came from beyond Broadway. One of those wins was by John Kander and the late Fred Ebb for Best Lyrics to "The Scottsboro Boys" which transferred to Broadway this season. Likewise, the award for Best Musical Book went to "Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson," which also moved uptown. The well-financed Lincoln Center Theater production of "When the Rain Stops Falling" won Best Play Sound Design.
Contrast these kudos with the Lucille Lortel Awards which are devoted exclusively to off-Broadway productions. Their nominees and winners are decided by a panel of 20 experts drawn from both the theatrical community and academia.
Conversely, the Drama Desk nominations are determined by committee chair Barbara Siegel (TalkinBroadway.com, TheaterMania.com) and five others: David Kaufman (author and freelance), Samuel L. Leiter (Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Theatre, Brooklyn College and the Graduate Center), Martha Wade Steketee (urbanexcavations.com; editor and contributor, Chance Magazine), Adrian Wattenmaker (Theater Faculty, Brooklyn College; Director, School of Creative and Performing Arts) and James Wilson (Professor of Theatre, CUNY; co-editor of Journal of American Drama and Theatre).
This marks the 10th year that Siegel oversaw the nominations. During the first nine years of her tenure, Broadway contenders represented between 47% and 63% of the nominees and went on to win all but 16 of the 229 awards bestowed on plays and musicals.
The 58th annual edition of these kudos took place on May 19 at the Town Hall in Manhattan. Read full report here.
Annie Baker, The Flick
Christopher Durang, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
Joe Gilford, Finks
Richard Greenberg, The Assembled Parties
Amy Herzog, Belleville
Deanna Jent, Falling
Richard Nelson, Sorry
A Christmas Story: The Musical
Hands on a Hardbody
Here Lies Love
Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812
The Other Josh Cohen
Best Revival of a Play
Edward Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Good Person of Szechwan
The Piano Lesson
The Trip to Bountiful
Best Revival of a Musical or Revue
Rodgers + Hammerstein's Cinderella
The Golden Land
The Mystery of Edwin Drood
Working: A Musical
Best Actor in a Play
Reed Birney, Uncle Vanya
Daniel Everidge, Falling
Tom Hanks, Lucky Guy
Shuler Hensley, The Whale
Nathan Lane, The Nance
Tracy Letts, Edward Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Best Actress in a Play
Maria Dizzia, Belleville
Amy Morton, Edward Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Julia Murney, Falling
Vanessa Redgrave, The Revisionist
Miriam Silverman, Finks
Cicely Tyson, The Trip to Bountiful
Doesn't matter how much film critics and movie-goers adore "Star Trek: Into Darkness." Every Oscarologist knows that the film is doomed as it boldly goes into the next Oscar derby.
Forget the possibility of "Star Trek: Into Darkness" earning anything more than a few stray nominations in the tech categories – and even those are a longshot. Only four of the past 10 "Star Trek" movies nabbed Oscar bids: 12 total and only one paid off with a win (best makeup, "Star Trek" of 2009).
Actually, the previous TV incarnations of the franchise scored poorly too. The original "Star Trek" series never won an Emmy in any category, not even in the tech slots. However, it reaped 13 noms over all, including two for Best Drama Series. It lost in 1967 and 1968 to "Mission: Impossible." Leonard Nimoy was nominated for Best Supporting Actor in a Drama, but he lost to Eli Wallach ("Poppies Are Also Flowers") in 1967 and to Milburn Stone ("Gunsmoke") in 1967.
Female representation in films at a five-year low: "But for a while, things were looking up. 'Bridesmaids,' a movie written by, for and about women, did well at the box office. 'The Hunger Games' had a female heroine. Disney’s 'Brave' won Oscars with a strong female protagonist. But don’t be fooled: women are still extremely underrepresented in Hollywood." Smithsonian
Actors' Equity honors actors Annaleigh Ashford, Michael Urie, Kristine Nielsen, and Lewis J. Stadlen: "Annaleigh Ashford and Michael Urie are the two recipients of the Derwent Award, given to the New York theater season's most promising female and male performers ... Kristine Nielsen and Lewis J. Stadlen are this year's recipients of the Actors' Equity Richard Seff Award, honoring a veteran female and male character actor for the best performance in a supporting role in a Broadway or off-Broadway production." Theater Mania
Chopard Jewellers designs the Cannes Film Festival's Pale d'Or for the 13th year in a row. Haute Living
While the Drama League does not distinguish between Broadway and off-Broadway when doling out honors, all five of its prizes went to Tony Awards contenders this year.
"Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike" won Best Play over, among others, its three Tony rivals: "The Assembled Parties," "Lucky Guy" and "The Testament of Mary." Also in contention were two other Broadway plays -- "I'll Eat You Last" and "The Nance" -- as well as off-Broadway productions "Old Hats" and "The Whale."
Last year, "Other Desert Cities" won here but was bested by "Clybourne Park" at the Tonys. Two years ago, "War Horse" took both prizes.
"Kinky Boots" was named Best Musical over Tonys rival "Matilda" as well as the Tony-snubbed "Motown" and four off-Broadway hits: "Dogfight," "Here Lies Love," "Murder Ballad" and "Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812."
Last year, "Once" won here before pulling off an upset at the Tonys. Two years ago, "The Book of Mormon" claimed this prize before sweeping the Tonys.
While the League gives prizes for best play and musical as well as revivals of each genre, it is unique among the theater kudos in that it hands out only one award for distinguished performance. And once won, the performer cannot contend again.
This year's winner was Nathan Lane for his performance in "The Nance." He beat 59 other performers ranging from B (Alec Baldwin, "Orphans") to W (Vanessa Williams, "The Trip to Bountiful") for a prize first given to Katharine Cornell in 1935.
The finale of "Scandal" was watched by over 9 million people on Thursday. That marks a huge jump from the start of the second season last fall when just 6 million were tuning in to watch this political drama on ABC. Indeed, the show now rivals lead-in "Grey's Anatomy" for the top slot among the coveted demo of viewers 18 to 49.
Credit this rise in ratings to a combo of compelling storytelling by "Grey's" creator Shonda Rhimes and heightened interest in star Kerry Washington. She saw her profile rise big-time with her turn in last winter's Oscar-winning "Django Unchained."
She plays political fixer Olivia Pope who is involved both professionally and personally with the president (Tony Goldwyn). The show has just that right blend of bedroom and boardroom scenes to generate a lot of water cooler talk.
Washington sits in seventh place among those vying for the six slots in the Best Drama Actress race. Only four African American women have even contended for this award and none has won.
Debbie Allen cracked this glass celling for her role on the syndicated musical drama “Fame” with a bid in 1982 and contended three more times. In 1986, Emmy darling Alfre Woodard was nominated for “St. Elsewhere”. Six years later, Regina Taylor received the first of two consecutive bids for her work on the family drama “I’ll Fly Away”. And in 1995, Cicely Tyson was cited for the short-lived legal drama “Sweet Justice”.
While Emmy voters may make history with Washington, they are less likely to nominate her show. As of today, "Scandal" is ranked 13th among likely contenders for Best Drama Series.
Do you think it can reap a bid? Vote in our poll below.
The Kennedy Centers Honors is expanding the selection process by welcoming suggestions from the public. Last year, various advocacy groups pointed out that only two Hispanics -- Placido Domingo (2000) and Chita Rivera (2002) -- numbered among the 185 people feted to date.
Rivera is to be part of a new committee that will winnow down the list of potential recipients from 20 to 10. Joining her are 2011 honoree Yo Yo Ma; opera singer Harolyn Blackwell and ballet dancer Damian Woetzel who sit on the Artist Committee; and board members Cappy McGarr and Elaine Wynn.
The Artist Committee, which comes up with the original list of 20, is to be expanded as well to ensure the broadest of representation. And the public can petition the committee with their choices.
However, even with these new mechanisms in place, the five honorees still will be determined by the executive committee of the Kennedy Center board of trustees. They will act on the recommendations of the Center chair, president and the producers of the kudocast who willl cull from this list of 10 possibilities.
Joss Whedon's "Much Ado About Nothing" to open Oscars Outdoors screening series: "The screening series launched by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences last year is returning to Los Angeles this summer, along with some New York screenings in partnership with Rooftop Films Summer Series ... Another early screening treat follows on June 6 with 'Twenty Feet from Stardom,' a documentary about backup singers in popular music that premiered at Sundance in January. A Q&A with director Morgan Neville will follow the June 6 L.A. screening, and New York City audiences will get to see the film on June 8 at the Rooftop series. Twenty Feet opens in theaters on June 14." Entertainment Weekly
Glenn Whipp says the Emmys should honor Nick Offerman ("Parks and Recreation"), Kerry Washington ("Scandal"), Andrew Lincoln ("The Walking Dead"), and Adam Driver ("Girls"), and move on from a diminished "Modern Family." Los Angeles Times
Originally scheduled for release last December, Baz Luhrmann's adaptation of "The Great Gatsby" finally opened on May 10, but its Best Picture hopes may be as doomed as Gatsby himself. More than 50-percent of readers polled think the film will be snubbed in top Oscar categories and contend only in technical races.
The lavish production boasts elaborate costumes and sets that could be contenders at next year's awards; both were designed by Catherine Martin, Luhrmann's wife, who won both categories for Luhrmann's "Moulin Rouge" in 2001. And three of the last four Best Cinematography winners – "Avatar," "Hugo," and "Life of Pi" – have also been technically audacious 3D productions.
Only 30-percent of readers think the film will be nominated for Best Picture, however, with just 12-percent expecting the film to win. Another 13-percent predict nominations in major categories, but not Best Picture.
Reviews for the film were mixed, scoring 55 on MetaCritic and 50% on Rotten Tomatoes, but that alone may not be a deal-breaker. A handful of films with similarly mixed reviews – "The Reader," "The Blind Side," and "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close" – have managed Best Picture nominations in recent years. And last year, "Les Miserables," which also met with strong criticism, still managed to earn a Best Picture nod and win three Oscars.
"The Great Gatsby," like "Les Mis," has the benefit of strong box office. It opened with a better-than-expected $50 million domestic haul; "Les Mis" had a softer opening – $27 million – but nevertheless reached $148 million domestically and almost half a billion dollars worldwide. If "Gatsby" continues to perform well, it could minimize the sting of some of its negative notices when it comes to its awards prospects.
Its last major hurdle will be its release date. Oscar voters often have short memories and typically vote for fall and winter films over long-gone summer fare, but several early releases have prevailed at the Oscars, including "Gladiator" and "Crash," both May releases, and "The Hurt Locker," which opened in June.
Fortunately for "The Great Gatsby," only seven-percent of readers think it will be snubbed entirely, so even if its Best Picture hopes are dashed, it may not leave the Oscars empty-handed.