Monday, May 24, 2010

Memphis, Red Take Top Drama Desk Awards

Memphis. Photo: Joan Marcus

Two Ties Announced: Catherine Zeta-Jones and Montego Glover tie for Outstanding Actress in Musical; A View from the Bridge and Fences share Outstanding Revival of a Play
Memphis captured Drama Desk trophies for Outstanding New Musical, Outstanding Music (David Bryan) and Outstanding Orchestrations (Daryl Waters and David Bryan) while Oustanding Play Red also won for Outstanding Director (Michael Grandage) and Outstanding Lighting Design (Neil Austin).
In addition to sharing the Outstanding Revival of a Play award, Fences also garnered the Outstanding Actress in a Play award for Viola Davis and Outstanding Music in a Play award for Branford Marsalis. La Cage Aux Folles won for Outstanding Revival of a Musical, for Outstanding Actor in a Musical (Douglas Hodge) and for Outstanding Costume Design (Matthew Wright).
Jan Maxwell (The Royal Family) was voted Outstanding Actress in a Play. The Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical award went to Katie Finneran (revival of Promises, Promises) and the Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical trophy was presented to Christopher Fitzgerald (the revival of Finian’s Rainbow). Santino Fontana (Brighton Beach Memoirs) won the Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play Award

Michael Mayer (American Idiot) was named Outstanding Director of a Musical and Twyla Tharp (Come Fly Away) was voted Outstanding Choreographer. Sondheim on Sondheim won the Drama Desk Award as Outstanding Musical Revue and John Kander and Fred Ebb (The Scottsboro Boys) were voted Drama Desk Awards for Outstanding Lyrics. The Outstanding Book of a Musical went to Alex Timbers (Off Broadway’s Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson).
The Outstanding Set Design Drama Desk was won by Phelim McDermott, Julian Crouch & Basil Twist for The Addams Family. The Outstanding Sound Design in a Musical went to Acme Sound Partners (Ragtime), and Fitz Patton (When The Rain Stops Falling) captured the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Sound Design in a Play.
Jim Brochu won the Outstanding Solo Performance Drama Desk Award for his portrayal of Zero Mostel in Zero Hour. The Unique Theatrical Experience Drama Desk award was voted to Love, Loss and What I Wore. Matthew Wright (La Cage Aux Folles) won the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Costumes. Acme Sound Partners (Ragtime) was voted the award for Outstanding Sound Design in a Musical and Fitz Patton (When The Rain Stops Falling) won for Outstanding Sound Design in a Play.
The following awards were voted by the nominating committee and were presented at the 55th awards ceremony, hosted by Patti LuPone Sunday, May 23:
Outstanding Ensemble Awards for acting were presented to the cast members of two shows -- The Temperamentals and The Orphan’s Home Cycle. Therefore, individual cast members for these shows were not eligible for acting awards in the competitive categories.
Each year the Drama Desk votes special awards to recognize excellence and significant contributions to the theater. These awards were presented this evening to:
• To the cast, creative team and producers of Horton Foote’s epic The Orphan’s Home Cycle: saluting the breadth of vision, which inspired the exceptional direction, performances, sets, lighting, costumes, music and sound that maItalicde it the theatrical event for this season.
• To Jerry Herman for enchanting and dazzling audiences with his exuberant music for more than half a century.
• To Godlight Theatre Company for consistent originality and excellence in dramatizing modern literature, and especially for the vibrant theatricality of its innovative productions.
• To Ma-Yi Theater Company for more than two decades of excellence and for nurturing Asian-American voices in stylistically varied and engaging theater.

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Our reviews are professional reviews written without a religious bias. At the end of them, you can find a listing of language, content or theological issues that Christians might want to know about when deciding which shows to see.

** Mature indicates that the show has posted an advisory because of content. Usually this means I would recommend no one under the age of 16 attend.

Theater Critic Lauren Yarger

Theater Critic Lauren Yarger

My Bio

Lauren Yarger has written, directed and produced numerous shows and special events for both secular and Christian audiences. She co-wrote a Christian musical version of “A Christmas Carol” which played to sold-out audiences of over 3,000 in Vermont and was awarded the 2000 Vermont Bessie (theater and film awards) for “People’s Choice for Theatre.” She also has written two other dinner theaters, sketches for church services and devotions for Christian artists.

Yarger trained for three years in the Broadway League’s Producer Development Program, completed the Commercial Theater Institute's Producing Three-Day Training and produced a one-woman musical about Mary Magdalene that toured nationally and closed with an off-Broadway run.

She was a Fellow at the National Critics Institute at the O'Neill Theater Center in Waterford, CT. She writes reviews of Broadway and off-Broadway theater (the only ones you can find in the US with an added Christian perspective) at

She is editor of The Connecticut Arts Connection (, an award-winning website featuring theater and arts news for the state. She is a contributing editor for and is a theater reviewer for the Manchester Journal-Inquirer. She previously served as Connecticut theater editor for and as Connecticut and New York reviewer for American Theater Web.

Yarger is a book reviewer for Publishers Weekly and freelances for other sites. She is a member of the National Book Critics Circle.

She is a freelance writer and playwright and member of The Drama Desk, The Outer Critics Circle, The American Theater Critics Association and The League of Professional Theatre Women. She served as a judge for the SDX Awards presented by the Society of Professional Journalists. She also is a member of the Connecticut Critics Circle and the CT Press Club.

A former newspaper editor and graduate of the University of Missouri’s School of Journalism, Yarger also worked in arts management for the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts, the Hartford Symphony Orchestra and served for nine years as the Executive Director of Masterwork Productions, Inc. She lives with her husband in West Granby, CT. They have two adult children.


All material is copyright 2008- 2017 by Lauren Yarger. Reviews and articles may not be reprinted without permission. Contact


Key to Content Notes:

God's name taken in vain -- means God or Jesus is used in dialogue without speaking directly to or about them.

Language -- means some curse words are used. "Minor" usually means the words are not too strong or that it only occurs once or twice throughout the show.

Strong Language -- means some of the more heavy duty curse words are used.

Nudity -- means a man or woman's backside, a man's lower front or a woman's front are revealed.

Scantily clad -- means actors' private areas are technically covered, but I can see a lot of them.

Sexual Language -- means the dialogue contains sexually explicit language but there's no action.

Sexual Activity -- means a man and woman are performing sexual acts.

Adultery -- Means a married man or woman is involved sexually with someone besides their spouse. If this is depicted with sexual acts on stage, the list would include "sexual activity" as well.

Sex Outside of Marriage -- means a man and woman are involved sexually without being married. If this is depicted sexually on stage, the list would include "sexual activity" as well.

Homosexuality -- means this is in the show, but not physically depicted.

Homosexual activity -- means two persons of the same sex are embracing/kissing. If they do more than that, the list would include "sexual activity" as well.

Cross Dresser -- Means someone is dressing as the opposite sex. If they do more than that on stage the listing would include the corresponding "sexual activity" and/or "homosexual activity" as well.

Cross Gender -- A man is playing a female part or a woman is playing a man's part.

Suggestive Dancing -- means dancing contains sexually suggestive moves.

Derogatory (category added Fall 2012) Language or circumstances where women are referred to or treated in a negative and demeaning manner.

Other content matters such as torture, suicide or rape will be noted, with details revealed only as necessary in the review itself.

The term "throughout" added to any of the above means it happens many times throughout the show.

Reviewing Policy

I receive free seats to Broadway and Off-Broadway shows made available to all voting members of the Outer Critics Circle and The Drama Desk, the two professional critics organizations with journalists covering NY theater. Journalistically, I provide an unbiased review and am under no obligation to make positive statements. Sometimes shows do not make tickets available to reviewers. If these are shows my readers want to know about (I review all Broadway shows and pertinent Off-Broadway shows), I will purchase a ticket. If a personal friend is involved in a production, I'll let you know, but it won't influence a review. If I feel there is a conflict, I won't review their portion of the production.

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