By Bridget McCarthy ’17 / Emertainment Monthly Stage Editor
This past Sunday the 60th annual Drama Desk Awards took place at The Town Hall in New York City. Drama Desk results in past years have proved to serve as precursors as to how the Tony’s will turn out. But this year is a little different: the musical leading the pack in awards is Hamilton, an Off-Broadway production, making it ineligible to be nominated for this year’s Tony Awards.
Even though the Drama Desk Awards are known for honoring more quirky and eclectic productions Off-Broadway and Off-Off-Broadway, it isn’t a common occurrence that an Off-Broadway production gets the highest praise. Normally, the winners at the Drama Desk Awards give an indication as to what will win at its televised sister show, The Tony Awards. Especially in terms of Outstanding or Best Musical, the two Award shows have matched up for the past ten years, only not including Matilda the Musical (2013), Passing Strange (2008), and The Drowsy Chaperone (2006), which all won the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Musical but not the Tony for Best Musical.
Since it is impossible for Hamilton to win Best Musical this week, it puts an exclamation point next to the question mark as to who will win. Fun Home, which did not win any Drama Desk Awards last year despite being nominated for eight as an Off-Broadway production, could possibly take the coveted award home. However, An American in Paris is another big contender for Best Musical as a critic and fan-favorite alike, and Something Rotten! could be a surprise but well-deserved winner as well.
As for what will win Best Play this Sunday, the Drama Desk Awards did provide some insight. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time seems to be a favorite as it won six Drama Desk Awards, including Outstanding Play. Young Juilliard graduate Alex Sharp (Curious Incident), also seems to be the popular pick for Leading Actor in a Play, as he won Outstanding Actor last night over Academy Award winner Bradley Cooper in Elephant Man. Curious Incident also won three design awards for Outstanding Lighting, Sound, and Projections, as well as Outstanding Director for Marianne Elliot. These wins are favorites to happen again at the Tony Awards this week.
Helen Mirren, who won the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actress in a play, remains the shoe-in for the Tony. After all, Mirren has played Queen Elizabeth II so many times it must be in her blood.
Robert Fairchild won Outstanding Actor in a Play at the Drama Desk Awards, but it is less likely that he will beat out fellow nominee Michael Cerveris (Fun Home) for the Tony. Meanwhile, absent from the list of nominees for Outstanding Actress in a Musical at the Drama Desk Awards was Kelli O’Hara for The King and I. With six Tony nominations and no wins yet, this could be O’Hara’s year – if she didn’t have to compete against favorite-to-win Kristin Chenoweth for her return to Broadway performance in On the Twentieth Century. Chenoweth will be cohosting the Tony’s this Sunday alongside Alan Cumming, and although her performance in On the Twentieth Century is beyond Tony worthy, fans are crying out for the talented O’Hara to finally have a win. At this rate, they will run out of Rodgers and Hammerstein for O’Hara to revive before she finally gets the Tony statue. Still, it will be a great competition to see the two Broadway blondes battle it out this Sunday.