Texas in New York
Tony and Drama Desk award nominations put Texas in the spotlight
Theater award season fever has struck New York, but we are feeling the effects all the way down in Texas. The nominations for the Drama Desk Awards came out yesterday, and this morning theater-turned-TV stars Sutton Foster (Bunheads) and Jesse Tyler Ferguson (Modern Family) announced who would soon be vying for a Tony Award. Shows with Texas ties showed up on both lists.
Productions from Broadway, Off-Broadway and Off-Off-Broadway are eligible for the Drama Desk Awards, which are voted on by theater critics, journalists, editors and publishers covering theater “without any vested interest in the results.” The ceremony will be held May 19 at The Town Hall (a nonprofit culture organization and performance venue) in Manhattan.
The Antoinette Perry “Tony” Awards are a joint venture by the Broadway League and the American Theatre Wing and salute “excellence in Broadway theater.” The three-hour show will be broadcast live by CBS on June 9.
Below, a quick rundown of who’s in the hunt and how it relates to Texas:
Dallas Theater Center and New York’s The Public Theater co-produced the reworked musical version of Edna Ferber’s sprawling, Texas-set 1952 novel last January, and it made the jump to Off-Broadway in October. Now it leads the pack of Drama Desk contenders with nine nominations, including Outstanding Musical, Outstanding Music and Outstanding Lyrics for Michael John LaChiusa, and Outstanding Book of a Musical for Sybille Pearson.
Kate Baldwin and John Dossett, who played Leslie Benedict and Uncle Bawley, respectively, during both the Dallas and New York runs, are up for Outstanding Actress in a Musical and Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical.
Holland Taylor is getting recognized by both groups for her turn as the late Ann Richards. The one-woman show about the charismatic former Texas governor — which she also wrote — has been playing on Broadway since March, following productions mounted in Galveston, San Antonio and Austin, as well as Chicago and Washington, D.C. Taylor is up for a Tony for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play; she is a nominee for Outstanding Solo Performance at the Drama Desk Awards.
Bring It On: The Musical
Okay, so there are no Texans behind this show per se, but it did make a surprisingly well-received stop at Dallas Summer Musicals before hitting Broadway for a limited engagement in August. Dallas critics were pleasantly taken in by the show’s infectious music (by Lin-Manuel Miranda, Amanda Green and Tom Kitt) and high-flying choreography (by Andy Blankenbuehler).
The Tonys are recognizing both with nominations for Best Musical and Best Choreography. The Drama Desk Awards are doling out the love with noms for Outstanding Director of a Musical and Outstanding Choreography (both Blankenbuehler), Outstanding Lyrics for Green and Miranda, Outstanding Sound Design for Brian Ronan, and Outstanding Book of a Musical for Jeff Whitty.
Hands on a Hardbody
Even though it shuttered on the Great White Way earlier in April, the documentary-based musical about a yearly competition in Longview, Texas, where contestants see who can keep their hands on a pickup truck the longest, scored quite a few nominations. Besides one for Outstanding Musical, the Drama Desk bestowed eight others on the show, tying it with Giant for most nominations.
The rest are Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical (Keala Settle) and Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical (Keith Carradine), Outstanding Choreography for Sergio Trujillo, Outstanding Book of a Musical for Dallas native Doug Wright, Outstanding Sound Design in a Musical for Steve Canyon Kennedy, Outstanding Music for Trey Anastasio and Amanda Green, Outstanding Orchestrations for Anastasio and Don Hart, and Outstanding Lyrics for Green (who’s having a killer awards season so far).
As for Tony nominations, Hands on a Hardbody weighed in with three: Best Original Score and Best Featured Actor/Actress in a Musical for Carradine and Settle.