Hairspray Leads 2003 Drama Desk Award Nominations

Mister D: Congrats to Mr. Shaiman and Whitman on the nominations and all those involved, including Ms. Midler, since she is an investor.

Playbill Magazine
By Robert Simonson
May 1, 2003


The Drama Desk Award nominations for the 2002-03 season were announced 10 AM May 1 at the New York Friars Club. The Broadway musical Hairspray led the pack with 14 nods.Hairspray received nominations for Outstanding Musical, Outstanding Actor in a Musical (Harvey Fierstein), Outstanding Actress in a Musical (Marissa Jaret Winokur), Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical (Dick Latessa and Corey Reynolds), Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical (Kelly Butler), Outstanding Director of a Musical (Jack O’Brien), Outstanding Choreography (Jerry Mitchell), Outstanding Music (Marc Shaiman), Outstanding Lyrics (Scott Wittman and Marc Shaiman), Outstanding Book (Mark O’Donnell, Thomas Meehan), Outstanding Orchestrations (Harold Wheeler), Outstanding Set Design of a Musical (David Rockwell), Outstanding Costume Design (Williams Ivey Long).

Amour was the surprise recepient of nine noms. The short-lived Broadway musical will compete against Hairspray for Outstanding Musical.

Filling out the musical category are Avenue Q, A Man of No Importance, Movin’ Out and Zanna, Don’t!. All did well in the tallies.

Take Me Out won the most nominations for a play with seven. Other Outstanding Play noms included surprise notices for Buicks and Peter and Vandy.

A complete list of nominations follows:

Outstanding Play:
Buicks by Julian Sheppard
Our Lady of 121st Street by Stephen Adly Guirgis
Peter and Vandy by Jay DiPietro
Take Me Out by Richard Greenberg
Talking Heads by Alan Bennett
Yellowman by Dael Orlandersmith

Outstanding Musical:
Avenue Q
A Man of No Importance
Movin’ Out
Zanna, Don’t!

Outstanding Revival of a Play:
A Day in the Death of Joe Egg
Dinner at Eight
Long Day’s Journey Into Night
Twelfth Night (Donmar Warehouse/BAM)
Uncle Vanya (Donmar Warehouse/BAM)

Outstanding Revival of a Musical:
La Bohème
Man of La Mancha

Outstanding Actor in a Play:
Simon Russell Beale (Uncle Vanya)
Norbert Leo Butz (Buicks)
Jim Dale (Comedians)
Brian Dennehy (Long Day’s Journey Into Night)
Eddie Izzard (A Day in the Death of Joe Egg)
Daniel Sunjata (Take Me Out)

Outstanding Actress in a Play:
Jayne Atkinson (Enchanted April)
Marylouise Burke (Kimberly Akimbo)
Clare Higgins (Vincent in Brixton)
Dael Orlandersmith (Yellowman)
Vanessa Redgrave (Long Day’s Journey Into Night)
Fiona Shaw (Medea)

Outstanding Actor in a Musical:
Antonio Banderas (Nine)
Harvey Fierstein (Hairspray)
Malcolm Gets (Amour)
Brian Stokes Mitchell (Man of La Mancha)
Jason Petty (Hank Williams: Lost Highway)
John Selya (Movin’ Out)

Outstanding Actress in a Musical:
Stephanie D’Abruzzo (Avenue Q)
Ann Duquesnay (Cookin’ at the Cookery)
Wei Huang (La Bohème)
Elizabeth Parkinson (Movin’ Out)
Bernadette Peters (Gypsy)
Marissa Jaret Winokur (Hairspray)

Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play:
Simon Russell Beale (Twelfth Night)
Walter Bobbie (Polish Joke)
Philip Seymour Hoffman (Long Day’s Journey Into Night)
T.R. Knight (Scattergood)
Denis O’Hare (Take Me Out)
Frederick Weller (Take Me Out)

Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play:
Christine Ebersole (Talking Heads)
Jan Maxwell (My Old Lady)
Helen McCrory (Uncle Vanya)
Nancy Opel (Polish Joke)
Lynn Redgrave (Talking Heads)
Jeanine Serralles (Hold Please)

Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical:
John Dossett (Gypsy)
Christopher Fitzgerald (Amour)
Charles Keating (A Man of No Importance)
Dick Latessa (Hairspray)
Steven Pasquale (A Man of No Importance)
Corey Reynolds (Hairspray)

Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical:
Kerry Butler (Hairspray)
Jane Krakowski (Nine)
Mary Stuart Masterson (Nine)
Sally Mayes (Urban Cowboy)
Chita Rivera (Nine)
Debra Walton (Cookin’ at the Cookery)

Outstanding Director of a Play:
Robert Falls (Long Day’s Journey Into Night)
Philip Seymour Hoffman (Our Lady of 121st Street)
Joe Mantello (Take Me Out)
Sam Mendes (Twelfth Night)
Sam Mendes (Uncle Vanya)
Deborah Warner (Medea)

Outstanding Director of a Musical:
James Lapine (Amour)
David Leveaux (Nine)
Baz Luhrmann (La Bohème)
Joe Mantello (A Man of No Importance)
Jack O’Brien (Hairspray)
Twyla Tharp (Movin’ Out)

Outstanding Choreography:
Jerry Mitchell (Hairspray)
Ken Roberson (Harlem Song)
Twyla Tharp (Movin’ Out)
Tommy Tune (Tommy Tune: White Tie and Tails)

Outstanding Music:
Tim Acito (Zanna, Don’t!)
Stephen Flaherty (A Man of No Importance)
Michel Legrand (Amour)
Robert Lopez, Jeff Marx (Avenue Q)
Keb’ Mo’, Anderson Edwards, Keith Glover (Thunder Knocking on the Door)
Marc Shaiman (Hairspray)

Outstanding Lyrics:
Tim Acito, Alexander Dinelaris (Zanna, Don’t!)
Lynn Ahrens (A Man of No Importance)
Craig Carnelia (Imaginary Friends)
Robert Lopez, Jeff Marx (Avenue Q)
Jeremy Sams, Didier van Cauwelaert (Amour)
Scott Wittman, Marc Shaiman (Hairspray)

Outstanding Book of a Musical:
Tim Acito, Alexander Dinelaris (Zanna, Don’t!)
Terrence McNally (A Man of No Importance)
Mark O’Donnell, Thomas Meehan (Hairspray)
Jeremy Sams, Didier van Cauwelaert (Amour)
Jeff Whitty (Avenue Q)

Outstanding Orchestrations:
Luther Henderson (Little Ham)
Michel Legrand (Amour)
Harold Wheeler (Hairspray)

Outstanding Set Design of a Play:
John Lee Beatty (Dinner at Eight)
John Lee Beatty (My Old Lady)
Troy Hourie (Temporary Help)
Scott Pask (Take Me Out)
Neil Patel (Endpapers)
B.T. Whitehall (Shanghai Moon)

Outstanding Set Design of a Musical:
Riccardo Hernandez, Batwin + Robin Productions (Radiant Baby)
Catherine Martin (La Bohème)
Scott Pask (Amour)
Stephane Roy (Cirque du Soleil: Varekai)
David Rockwell (Hairspray)

Outstanding Costume Design:
Michael Bottari, Ronald Case (Shanghai Moon)
Jess Goldstein (Enchanted April)
Eiko Ishioka (Cirque du Soleil: Varekai)
William Ivey Long (Hairspray)
Catherine Martin, Angus Strathie (La Bohème)
Catherine Zuber (Dinner at Eight)

Outstanding Lighting Design:
Kevin Adams (Take Me Out)
Russell H. Champa (Yellowman)
Donald Holder (Movin’ Out)
Donald Holder (Observe the Sons of Ulster Marching Toward the Somme)
Nigel Levings (La Bohème)
Peter Mumford (Vincent in Brixton)

Outstanding Sound Design:
Acme Sound Partners (La Bohème)
Mark Bennett (Golda’s Balcony)
Mark Bennett (Julius Caesar)
Francois Bergeron (Cirque du Soleil: Varekai)
Janet Kalas (Take Me Out)
David Meschter, Mel Mercier (Medea)

Outstanding Solo Performance:
Barbara Cook (Mostly Sondheim)
Tovah Feldshuh (Golda’s Balcony)
Frank Gorshin (Say Goodnight, Gracie)
Ricky Jay (Ricky Jay: On the Stem)
Priscilla Lopez (Class Mothers ’68)
Charlayne Woodard (In Real Life)

Unique Theatrical Experience:
Cirque du Soleil: Varekai
The Exonerated
The Play What I Wrote
Russell Simmons Def Poetry Jam on Broadway


Special Awards will be given to the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Charles Busch and to Geoffrey Johnson and Vincent Liff (posthumous) of Johnson-Liff Casting.


Two-time Tony Award winner and current star of Nine, Chita Rivera, will host the 2003 Drama Desk Awards May 18 at the Concert Hall in F.H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts at Lincoln Center. Rivera, a Broadway legend, has acted in the original productions of West Side Story, Bye Bye Birdie, The Rink, Chicago and Kiss of the Spider Woman. She is currently starring as Liliane La Fleur, the tough and sexy producer to Antonio Banderas’ filmmaker Guido Contini in Maury Yeston’s Nine. Together, they stop the show nightly with a highly theatrical tango.

The Drama Desk is an organization of theatre critics, editors and reporters. In a change from the past seven years, the May 18 ceremony will not be broadcast live on NY1 or rebroadcast on PBS’ Channel 13. Instead, the event will be webcast by TheaterMania. Executive director Robert R. Blume said video highlights of the evening will be available on the web within 48 hours. Blume said the television networks dropped out “because of budgetary problems.”

In another recent change to the organization, longtime president David Sheward is now sharing the position with William Wolf of William Wolf Entertainment Guide. This year’s nominating committee includes Sheward, Frank Scheck at The Hollywood Reporter, Robert Dominguez of The Daily News, David Finkle of, Susan Haskins of “Theater Talk,” Edward Karam of Manchester Guardian and Barbara Siegel of and Siegel Entertainment Syndicate.

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