'9 to 5' Clocks Overtime at Drama Desk

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Photo Source: Joan Marcus
9 to 5, the musical version of the 1980 hit movie comedy, received a generous stimulus package from the Drama Desk, netting a record 15 nominations from the organization of New York-based theatre critics, reporters, and editors for its annual awards. The nominations were announced April 27 at the Friars Club by previous Drama Desk Award winners Faith Prince and Jim Dale. The previous record for most nominations was 14, shared by five shows—The Secret Garden, Ragtime, The Producers, Hairspray, and The Drowsy Chaperone. 9 to 5 opens March 30 on the same night as Roundabout Theatre Company's revival of Waiting for Godot which received two nominations. These are the last two productions of the 2007-08 Broadway season.

Unlike the Tony Awards, the DDs consider Broadway, Off-Broadway, and Off-Off-Broadway equally in all of its categories. The nominations were determined by a seven-member committee, chaired by Barbara Siegel of TalkinBroadway.com and TheatreMania.com. The winners will be voted on by the membership and presented on May 17 in a ceremony at the LaGuardia Concert Hall in Lincoln Center.

Special awards will be presented to Liza Minnelli for her career and her performance in Liza's at the Palace, Forbidden Broadway which recently concluded a nearly three-decade run Off-Broadway; the Atlantic Theatre Company; TADA! Youth Theater; and the casts of the revivals of The Cripple of Inishmaan and The Norman Conquests for ensemble performance.

There were several unexpected inclusions and omissions in the nomination list. The Story of My Life, the two-character tuner which received mixed to bad reviews and barely eked out a week's run at the Booth Theatre, garnered four nominations while several highly touted productions such as All My Sons, Irena's Vow, Joe Turner's Come and Gone, and Rock of Ages were shut out completely. Also missing from the list were such noted performances as Tovah Felshuh in Irena's Vow, Harriet Walter in Mary Stuart, Kristin Scott Thomas in The Seagull, and Nathan Lane in Waiting for Godot. Another noticeable omission was the three young boys who alternate in the lead role of Billy Elliot. The Drama Desk press release explained, "Only one actor playing Billy in Billy Elliot was seen by all the nominators, who were not invited to see the other two for consideration unless the Drama Desk executive board agreed to classify all three separate performances as one unit for outstanding actor in a musical. The board rejected that request, as well as the request that as an alternative no actor playing Billy be considered." The Tony Awards have ruled the three Billy will be eligible for one joint nomination and the Outer Critics Circle solved the dilemma by presenting a special award to the trio.

Broadway productions of Next to Normal, Dividing the Estate, and [title of show] were eligible for Drama Desks in their Off-Broadway incarnations in previous seasons and declared ineligible this season.

A complete list of nominees follows:

Outstanding Play
Annie Baker, Body Awareness
Gina Gionfriddo, Becky Shaw
Neil LaBute, reasons to be pretty
Lynn Nottage, Ruined
Michael Weller, Fifty Words
Craig Wright, Lady

Outstanding Musical
9 to 5
Billy Elliot The Musical
Liza's at the Palace....
Shrek The Musical
The Story of My Life

Outstanding Revival of a Play
Blithe Spirit
Exit the King
Mary Stuart
The Cripple of Inishmaan
The Norman Conquests
Waiting for Godot

Outstanding Revival of a Musical
Enter Laughing The Musical
Pal Joey
West Side Story

Outstanding 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

Outstanding Actress in a Play
Saidah Arrika Ekulona, Ruined
Jane Fonda, 33 Variations
Marcia Gay Harden, God of Carnage
Elizabeth Marvel, Fifty Words
Jan Maxwell, Scenes From an Execution
Janet McTeer, Mary Stuart

Outstanding Actor in a Musical
James Barbour, A Tale of Two Cities
Daniel Breaker, Shrek The Musical
Brian d'Arcy James, Shrek The Musical
Josh Grisetti, Enter Laughing The Musical
Sahr Ngaujah, Fela!
Will Swenson, Hair

Outstanding Actress in a Musical
Stephanie J. Block, 9 to 5
Stockard Channing, Pal Joey
Sutton Foster, Shrek The Musical
Megan Hilty, 9 to 5
Allison Janney, 9 to 5
Karen Murphy, My Vaudeville Man!

Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play
Brian d'Arcy James, Port Authority
Jeremy Davidson, Back Back Back
Peter Friedman, Body Awareness
Ethan Hawke, The Winter's Tale
Pablo Schreiber, reasons to be pretty (Off-Broadway)
Jeremy Shamos, Animals Out of Paper

Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play
Rebecca Hall, The Cherry Orchard
Zoe Kazan, The Seagull
Angela Lansbury, Blithe Spirit
Andrea Martin, Exit the King
Carey Mulligan, The Seagull
Condola Rashad, Ruined

Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical
Hunter Foster, Happiness
Demond Green, The Toxic Avenger
Gregory Jbara, Billy Elliot The Musical
Marc Kudisch, 9 to 5
Bryce Ryness, Hair
Christopher Sieber, Shrek The Musical

Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical
Farah Alvin, The Marvelous Wonderettes
Christina Bianco, Forbidden Broadway Goes to Rehab
Haydn Gwynne, Billy Elliot The Musical
Karen Olivo, West Side Story
Nancy Opel, The Toxic Avenger
Martha Plimpton, Pal Joey

Outstanding Director of a Play
Sarah Benson, Blasted
Michael Blakemore, Blithe Spirit
Garry Hynes, The Cripple of Inishmaan
Terry Kinney, reasons to be pretty
Matthew Warchus, The Norman Conquests
Kate Whoriskey, Ruined

Outstanding Director of a Musical
Walter Bobbie, Irving Berlin's White Christmas
Stephen Daldry, Billy Elliot The Musical
Joe Mantello, 9 to 5
Jason Moore, Shrek The Musical
Diane Paulus, Hair
Stuart Ross, Enter Laughing The Musical

Outstanding Choreography
Karole Armitage, Hair
Andy Blankenbuehler, 9 to 5
Peter Darling, Billy Elliot The Musical
Bill T. Jones, Fela!
Randy Skinner, Irving Berlin's White Christmas
Lynne Taylor-Corbett and Shonn Wiley, My Vaudeville Man!

Outstanding Music
Neil Bartram,The Story of My Life
Zina Goldrich, Dear Edwina
Elton John, Billy Elliot The Musical
Dolly Parton, 9 to 5
Stephen Sondheim, Road Show
Jeanine Tesori, Shrek The Musical

Outstanding Lyrics
Neil Bartram, The Story of My Life
Jason Robert Brown, 13
Marcy Heisler, Dear Edwina
David Lindsay-Abaire, Shrek The Musical
Dolly Parton, 9 to 5
Stephen Sondheim, Road Show

Outstanding Book of a Musical
Steven Cosson and Jim Lewis, This Beautiful City
Joe DiPietro, The Toxic Avenger
Lee Hall, Billy Elliot The Musical
Brian Hill, The Story of My Life
David Lindsay-Abaire, Shrek The Musical
Patricia Resnick, 9 to 5

Outstanding Orchestrations
Larry Blank, Irving Berlin's White Christmas
Bruce Coughlin, 9 to 5
Aaron Johnson and Antibalas, Fela!
Edward B. Kessel, A Tale of Two Cities
Martin Koch, Billy Elliot The Musical
Danny Troob, Shrek The Musical

Outstanding Music in a Play
Mark Bennett, The Cherry Orchard
Mark Bennett, The Winter's Tale
Dominic Kanza, Ruined
DJ Rekha, Rafta, Rafta...
Richard Woodbury, Desire Under the Elms
Gary Yershon, The Norman Conquests

Outstanding Set Design of a Play
Dale Ferguson, Exit the King
Rob Howell, The Norman Conquests
David Korins, Why Torture is Wrong, and the People Who Love Them
Derek McLane, 33 Variations
Neil Patel, Fifty Words
Walt Spangler, Desire Under the Elms

Outstanding Set Design of a Musical
Tim Hatley, Shrek The Musical
Anna Louizos, Irving Berlin's White Christmas
Thomas Lynch, Happiness
Scott Pask, 9 to 5
Scott Pask, Hair
Basil Twist, Arias With a Twist

Outstanding Costume Design
Tim Hatley, Shrek The Musical
Rob Howell, The Norman Conquests
William Ivey Long, 9 to 5
Michael McDonald, Hair
Martin Pakledinaz, Blithe Spirit
Carrie Robbins, Irving Berlin's White Christmas

Outstanding Lighting Design in a Play
Marcus Doshi, Hamlet (Theatre for a New Audience)
David Hersey, Equus
Ben Kato, Washing Machine
R. Lee Kennedy, Bury the Dead
Paul Pyant, The Winter's Tale
Hugh Vanstone, Mary Stuart

Outstanding Lighting Design in a Musical
Kevin Adams, Hair
Jules Fisher and Kenneth Posner, 9 to 5
Rick Fisher, Billy Elliot The Musical
Jason Lyons, Clay
Sinéad McKenna, Improbable Frequency
Richard Pilbrow, A Tale of Two Cities

Outstanding Sound Design
Acme Sound Partners, Irving Berlin's White Christmas
Paul Arditti, Billy Elliot The Musical
Gregory Clarke, Equus
John Gromada, Shipwrecked! An Entertainment The Amazing Adventures of Louis de Rougemont (As Told by Himself)
André J. Pluess, 33 Variations
John H. Shivers, 9 to 5

Outstanding Solo Performance
Mike Birbiglia, Sleepwalk With Me
Frank Blocker, Southern Gothic Novel
Michael Laurence, Krapp, 39
Lorenzo Pisoni, Humor Abuse
Matt Sax, Clay
Campbell Scott, The Atheist

Unique Theatrical Experience
Absinthe (2008 Edition)
Arias With a Twist
Celebrity Autobiography: In Their Own Words
Soul of Shaolin

Outstanding Ensemble Performances

The cast of The Cripple of Inishmaan
The cast of The Norman Conquests

Special Awards

Liza Minnelli, a beloved American musical theater icon, for her enduring career of sustained excellence, and her glorious performance in Liza's at the Palace.

Forbidden Broadway at the end of its nearly three-decade run and the creators, casts and designers who made it an unparalleled New York institution cherished for its satire and celebration of Broadway.

Atlantic Theater Company and artistic director Neil Pepe for exceptional craftsmanship, dedication to excellence and productions that engage, inspire and enlighten.

TADA! Youth Theater for providing an invaluable contribution to the future of the theater. The company makes outstanding training and experience accessible and affordable to young people and mounts productions remarkable for their quality and professionalism.