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Awards Season

‘Come From Away,’ Bette Midler, and Andy Karl Win at 2017 Drama Desk Awards

‘Come From Away,’ Bette Midler, and Andy Karl Win at 2017 Drama Desk Awards
Photo Source: Matthew Murphy - Drama Desk Award winner Jenn Colella and the cast of “Come From Away”

The 62nd annual Drama Desk Awards honored Broadway, Off-Broadway, and Off-Off-Broadway, or as emcee and Drama Desk Award winner Michael Urie put it, “way the F-Off-Broadway,” on Sunday, June 4. The show opened with a performance by the Off-Broadway musical “Spamilton,” which featured rapping and singing about the rules for making acceptance speeches. The cast assured that there would be no “La La Land” debacle, as with the Academy Awards.

The night’s first award for outstanding featured actor in a play went to Danny DeVito for his role as Gregory Solomon in Arthur Miller’s “The Price.” His acceptance speech began with these three words: “Holy shit balls,” later followed by “I’m going to get the hell off and enjoy this.” Backstage cover star Cynthia Nixon won for outstanding featured actress in a play for “Lillian Hellman’s The Little Foxes.” Nixon thanked her co-star, Laura Linney, for having the idea that two actor should alternate the roles of Birdie and Regina. 

WATCH: Danny DeVito Gives Lessons on Eating While Acting in Broadway’s ‘The Price’

Gavin Creel took home the award for outstanding featured actor in a musical For “Hello, Dolly!” Creel credited director Jerry Zaks for his humor. “I am not funny. And you have somehow helped me become a little bit funnier, than my not funny self.” “Hello, Dolly!” also took home awards for outstanding actress in a musical for Bette Midler and outstanding revival of a musical. August Wilson’s “Jitney” took home the win for outstanding revival of a play.

The award for outstanding director of a musical was a tie: Rachel Chavkin won for “Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812,” as did David Cromer for “The Band’s Visit.”

READ: Broadway’s Denée Benton on Finding Your Keys to Success

The Drama Desk Awards come just one week before the Tony Awards; many present on Sunday night will also be in attendance at the June 11 ceremony, including Kevin Kline (“Present Laughter”) and Laura Linney (“The Little Foxes”), who took home the awards for outstanding play acting. Both Frank Langella and Jessica Lange, who won these awards last year, also picked up statues at the Tonys.

For outstanding actor in a musical, Andy Karl won for his role as Phil Connors in “Groundhog Day.” Karl tore his ACL back in April, just three days before opening night. On his way up to the stage, he gave a pratfall, tripping on the steps and calling the Drama Desk the “best pity award he’s ever gotten.” On a more serious note, Karl stood with friends at the Old Vic theater on the West End, where “Groundhog Day” originated. Following Saturday’s terrorist attack in London, Karl proclaimed, “Fear will never, never ever go over love.”

This is Karl’s fourth Drama Desk Award nomination and first win. He is also nominated for his third Tony Award, going up against Ben Platt (“Dear Evan Hansen”) come Sunday night.

READ: How Ben Platt Landed His First Tony Nomination

“Oslo” took home the award for outstanding play, and “Come From Away” was awarded outstanding musical. Junkyard Dog Productions’ Sue Frost accepted the award, extolling what theater can do for the human spirit. “It doesn’t matter how many times they try to beat us down, good will, kindness, heart, and humanity are going to win.”

A complete list of Drama Desk Award winners is below.

Outstanding Play
“Oslo,” by J. T. Rogers, Lincoln Center Theater 

Outstanding Musical
“Come From Away” 

Outstanding Revival of a Play
“Jitney,” Manhattan Theatre Club 

Outstanding Revival of a Musical
“Hello, Dolly!” 

Outstanding Actor in a Play
Kevin Kline, “Present Laughter” 

Outstanding Actress in a Play
Laura Linney, “The Little Foxes” 

Outstanding Actor in a Musical
Andy Karl, “Groundhog Day” 

Outstanding Actress in a Musical
Bette Midler, “Hello, Dolly!” 

Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play
Danny DeVito, “The Price,” Roundabout Theatre Company 

Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play
Cynthia Nixon, “The Little Foxes,” Manhattan Theatre Club

Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical
Gavin Creel, “Hello, Dolly!” 

Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical
Jenn Colella, “Come From Away” 

Outstanding Director of a Play
Ruben Santiago-Hudson, “Jitney,” Manhattan Theatre Club 

Outstanding Director of a Musical [TIE]
Rachel Chavkin, “Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812”
David Cromer, “The Band's Visit,” Atlantic Theater Company 

Outstanding Choreography
Andy Blankenbuehler, “Bandstand” 

Outstanding Book of a Musical
Irene Sankoff and David Hein, “Come From Away”

Outstanding Music
David Yazbek, “The Band’s Visit,” Atlantic Theater Company 

Outstanding Lyrics
David Yazbek, “The Band’s Visit,” Atlantic Theater Company

Outstanding Orchestrations
Bill Elliott and Greg Anthony Rassen, “Bandstand” 

Outstanding Music in a Play
Bill Sims Jr., “Jitney,” Manhattan Theatre Club 

Outstanding Revue
“Life Is for Living: Conversations With Coward,” 59E59 

Outstanding Set Design for a Play
Nigel Hook, “The Play That Goes Wrong” 

Outstanding Set Design for a Musical
Mimi Lien, “Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812” 

Outstanding Costume Design for a Play
Jane Greenwood, “The Little Foxes,” Manhattan Theatre Club 

Outstanding Costume Design for a Musical
Catherine Zuber, “War Paint” 

Outstanding Lighting Design for a Play
Christopher Akerlind, “Indecent,” Vineyard Theatre 

Outstanding Lighting Design for a Musical
Bradley King, “Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812” 

Outstanding Projection Design
Aaron Rhyne, “Anastasia” 

Outstanding Sound Design in a Play
Gareth Fry and Pete Malkin, “The Encounter” 

Outstanding Sound Design in a Musical
Nicholas Pope, “Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812”\

Outstanding Wig and Hair
David Brian Brown, “War Paint” 

Outstanding Solo Performance
Ed Dixon, Georgie: “My Adventures With George Rose” 

Unique Theatrical Experience
“The Strange Undoing of Prudencia Hart,” National Theatre of Scotland 

Outstanding Fight Choreography
U. Jonathan Toppo, “Sweat,” The Public Theater

Outstanding Adaptation
David Ives, “The Liar,” Classic Stage Company 

Outstanding Puppet Design
Basil Twist, “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” 

SPECIAL AWARDS

Outstanding Ensemble
“The Wolves,” the Playwrights Realm

Special Award to Phil LaDuca

Sam Norkin Award
Lila Neugebauer

Inspired? Check out Backstage’s theater audition listings! 

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