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‘Soft Power’ leads Drama Desk nominations

“Soft Power,” an Off-Broadway musical by David Henry Hwang and Jeanine Tesori, received the highest number of Drama Desk nominations Tuesday.

Mandy Hackett, Sam Pinkleton, David Henry Hwang, Leigh Silverman and Oskar Eustis attend the 'Soft Power' opening night. (Photo by Jim Spellman/Getty Images)

“Soft Power,” an Off-Broadway musical by David Henry Hwang and Jeanine Tesori, received the highest number of Drama Desk nominations Tuesday.

The musical, which was directed by Leigh Silverman and played the Public Theater in September 2019, received 11 nominations, followed by “The Wrong Man” with nine nominations and “Halfway Bitches Go Straight to Heaven” with eight. The nominations took into consideration Broadway, Off-Broadway and Off-Off-Broadway shows that opened before March 11.

The nominations were announced on Stars in the House Tuesday afternoon. The winners will be announced on May 31.

In regards to the Broadway productions of “Slave Play” and “Girl from the North Country,” both of which had recent Off-Broadway runs, the nominating committee only considered elements which constituted new work.

“Sea Wall / A Life,” “Derren Brown: Secret,” “Slava’s Snowshow” and “Pip’s Island” were not eligible because they had been considered in past seasons.

Special awards were given to the ensemble of “Octet,” to actress Mary Bacon, the Actors Fund, Seth Rudetsky and James Wesley, to the Public Theater’s Mobile Unit, to WP Theater and Julia Miles and to intimacy coordinator Claire Warden.

Full list of nominations:

Outstanding Play

Cambodian Rock Band, by Lauren Yee, Signature Theatre

Greater Clements, by Samuel D. Hunter, Lincoln Center Theater

Halfway Bitches Go Straight to Heaven, by Stephen Adly Guirgis, Atlantic Theater Company/LAByrinth Theater Company

Heroes of the Fourth Turning, by Will Arbery, Playwrights Horizons

The Inheritance, by Matthew Lopez

Outstanding Musical

Octet, Signature Theatre

The Secret Life of Bees, Atlantic Theater Company

Soft Power, The Public Theater

A Strange Loop, Playwrights Horizons/Page 73 Productions

The Wrong Man, MCC Theater

Outstanding Revival of a Play

Fefu and Her Friends, Theatre for a New Audience

for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf, The Public Theater

Mac Beth, Red Bull Theater/Hunter Theater Project

Much Ado About Nothing, The Public Theater

A Soldier’s Play, Roundabout Theatre Company

Outstanding Revival of a Musical

Little Shop of Horrors

The Unsinkable Molly Brown, Transport Group

West Side Story

Outstanding Actor in a Play

Charles Busch, The Confession of Lily Dare

Edmund Donovan, Greater Clements

Raúl Esparza, Seared

Francis Jue, Cambodian Rock Band

Triney Sandoval, 72 Miles to Go…

Kyle Soller, The Inheritance

Outstanding Actress in a Play

Rose Byrne, Medea

Liza Colón-Zayas, Halfway Bitches Go Straight to Heaven

Emily Davis, Is This A Room

April Matthis, Toni Stone

Ruth Negga, Hamlet

Outstanding Actor in a Musical

David Aron Damane, The Unsinkable Molly Brown

Chris Dwan, Enter Laughing

Joshua Henry, The Wrong Man

Francis Jue, Soft Power

Larry Owens, A Strange Loop

Outstanding Actress in a Musical

Tammy Blanchard, Little Shop of Horrors

Beth Malone, The Unsinkable Molly Brown

Saycon Sengbloh, The Secret Life of Bees

Elizabeth Stanley, Jagged Little Pill

Adrienne Warren, Tina: The Tina Turner Musical

Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play

Victor Almanzar, Halfway Bitches Go Straight to Heaven

Esteban Andres Cruz, Halfway Bitches Go Straight to Heaven

David Alan Grier, A Soldier’s Play

Paul Hilton, The Inheritance

Chris Perfetti, Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow

Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play

Patrice Johnson Chevannes, runboyrun & In Old Age

Kristina Poe, Halfway Bitches Go Straight to Heaven

Belange Rodríguez, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

Elizabeth Rodriguez, Halfway Bitches Go Straight to Heaven

Lois Smith, The Inheritance

Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical

George Abud, Emojiland

Christian Borle, Little Shop of Horrors

Jay Armstrong Johnson, Scotland, PA

Conrad Ricamora, Soft Power

Ryan Vasquez, The Wrong Man

Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical

Yesenia Ayala, West Side Story

Paula Leggett Chase, The Unsinkable Molly Brown

LaChanze, The Secret Life of Bees

Alyse Alan Louis, Soft Power

Lauren Patten, Jagged Little Pill

Outstanding Director of a Play

Jessica Blank, Coal Country

Stephen Daldry, The Inheritance

John Ortiz, Halfway Bitches Go Straight to Heaven

Tina Satter, Is This A Room

Erica Schmidt, Mac Beth

Outstanding Director of a Musical

Stephen Brackett, A Strange Loop

Thomas Kail, The Wrong Man

Kathleen Marshall, The Unsinkable Molly Brown

Leigh Silverman, Soft Power

Annie Tippe, Octet

Outstanding Choreography

Camille A. Brown, for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf

Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker, West Side Story

Keone Madrid and Mari Madrid, Beyond Babel

Kathleen Marshall, The Unsinkable Molly Brown

Sonya Tayeh, Moulin Rouge!

Travis Wall, The Wrong Man

Outstanding Music

Ross Golan, The Wrong Man

Michael R. Jackson, A Strange Loop

Dave Malloy, Octet

Joshua Rosenblum, Einstein’s Dreams

Duncan Sheik, The Secret Life of Bees

Jeanine Tesori, Soft Power

Outstanding Lyrics

Susan Birkenhead, The Secret Life of Bees

Adam Gwon, Scotland, PA

Michael R. Jackson, A Strange Loop

Joanne Sydney Lessner and Joshua Rosenblum, Einstein’s Dreams

Dave Malloy, Octet

Mark Saltzman, Romeo & Bernadette

Outstanding Book of a Musical

David Henry Hwang, Soft Power

Michael R. Jackson, A Strange Loop

Dave Malloy, Octet

Lynn Nottage, The Secret Life of Bees

Mark Saltzman, Romeo & Bernadette

Dick Scanlan, The Unsinkable Molly Brown

Outstanding Orchestrations

Tom Kitt, Jagged Little Pill

Alex Lacamoire, The Wrong Man

Or Matias and Dave Malloy, Octet

Danny Troob, John Clancy, and Larry Hochman, Soft Power

Jonathan Tunick, West Side Story

Outstanding Music in a Play

Steve Earle, Coal Country

Frightened Rabbit, Square Go

Jim Harbourne, Feral

Martha Redbone, for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf

Adam Seidel, Jane Bruce, and Daniel Ocanto, Original Sound

Outstanding Scenic Design for a Play

Catherine Cornell, Mac Beth

Clint Ramos, Grand Horizons

Adam Rigg, Fefu and Her Friends

Paul Steinberg, Judgment Day

B.T. Whitehill, The Confession of Lily Dare

Outstanding Scenic Design for a Musical

Julian Crouch, Little Shop of Horrors

Anna Louizos, Scotland, PA

Derek McLane, Moulin Rouge!

Clint Ramos, Soft Power

Amy Rubin and Brittany Vasta, Octet

Outstanding Costume Design for a Play

Asa Benally, Blues for an Alabama Sky

Montana Levi Blanco, Fefu and Her Friends

Toni-Leslie James, for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf

Antony McDonald, Judgment Day

Rachel Townsend and Jessica Jahn, The Confession of Lily Dare

Kaye Voyce, Coriolanus

Outstanding Costume Design for a Musical

Vanessa Leuck, Emojiland

Jeff Mahshie, Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice

Mark Thompson, Tina: The Tina Turner Musical

Anita Yavich, Soft Power

Catherine Zuber, Moulin Rouge!

Outstanding Lighting Design for a Play

Isabella Byrd, Heroes of the Fourth Turning

Oona Curley, Dr. Ride’s American Beach House

Heather Gilbert, The Sound Inside

Mimi Jordan Sherin, Judgment Day

Yi Zhao, Greater Clements

Outstanding Lighting Design for a Musical

Betsy Adams, The Wrong Man

Jane Cox, The Secret Life of Bees

Herrick Goldman, Einstein’s Dreams

Bruno Poet, Tina: The Tina Turner Musical

Justin Townsend, Moulin Rouge!

Outstanding Projection Design

David Bengali, Einstein’s Dreams

Julia Frey, Medea

Luke Halls, West Side Story

Lisa Renkel and POSSIBLE, Emojiland

Hannah Wasileski, Fires in the Mirror

Outstanding Sound Design for a Play

Paul Arditti and Christopher Reid, The Inheritance

Justin Ellington, Heroes of the Fourth Turning

Mikhail Fiksel, Dana H.

Palmer Hefferan, Fefu and Her Friends

Lee Kinney and Sanae Yamada, Is This A Room

Outstanding Sound Design for a Musical

Tom Gibbons, West Side Story

Kai Harada, Soft Power

Peter Hylenski, Moulin Rouge!

Hidenori Nakajo, Octet

Nevin Steinberg, The Wrong Man

Outstanding Wig and Hair Design

Campbell Young Associates, Tina: The Tina Turner Musical

Cookie Jordan, Fefu and Her Friends

Nikiya Mathis, STEW

Tom Watson, The Great Society

Bobbie Zlotnik, Emojiland

Outstanding Solo Performance

David Cale, We’re Only Alive for a Short Amount of Time

Kate del Castillo, the way she spoke

Laura Linney, My Name is Lucy Barton

Jacqueline Novak, Get on Your Knees

Deirdre O’Connell, Dana H.

Unique Theatrical Experience

Beyond Babel, Hideaway Circus

Feral, Tortoise in a Nutshell/Cumbernauld Theatre/59E59

Is This A Room, Vineyard Theatre

Midsummer: A Banquet, Food of Love Productions/Third Rail Projects

Outstanding Fight Choreography

Vicki Manderson, Square Go

Thomas Schall, A Soldier’s Play

UnkleDave’s Fight House, Halfway Bitches Go Straight to Heaven

Outstanding Adaptation

A Christmas Carol, by Jack Thorne

Judgment Day, by Christopher Shinn

Mojada, by Luis Alfaro

Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow, by Halley Feiffer

Outstanding Puppet Design

Raphael Mishler, Tumacho

Rockefeller Productions, Paddington Gets in a Jam

Amanda Villalobos, Is This A Room

Special Awards

Ensemble Award: To the eight pitch-perfect performers in Dave Malloy’s a cappella musical Octet:Adam Bashian, Kim Blanck, Starr Busby, Alex Gibson, Justin Gregory Lopez, J.D. Mollison, Margo Seibert, and Kuhoo Verma proved instrumental in giving a layered look at modern forms of addiction.

Sam Norkin Award: To actress Mary Bacon, who continued her versatile career of compassionate, searing work for such companies as The Mint, Primary Stages, The Public Theater, and The Actors Theater Company, with two of Off-Broadway’s most humane performances this season in Coal Country at the Public Theater and Nothing Gold Can Stay presented by Partial Comfort Productions.

To The Actors Fund, Seth Rudetsky, and James Wesley for connecting members of the theater community and lifting spirits during the coronavirus crisis. The Actors Fund has worked tirelessly to provide financial and health resources to those impacted by the pandemic; Rudetsky and Wesley’s semi-daily “Stars in the House” webcast is raising funds for The Actors Fund, while providing performances, reunions, and medical updates.

To The Public Theater’s Mobile Unit, a reinvention of Joseph Papp’s “Mobile Theater” that began in 1957 and evolved into the New York Shakespeare Festival and The Public Theater. The current Mobile Unit tours free Shakespeare throughout the five boroughs, including prisons, homeless shelters, and community centers, reminding audiences new and old that the play really is the thing.

To WP Theater and Julia Miles, the company’s founder who died this spring. Formerly known as The Women’s Project and Productions, the company began in 1978 at American Place Theatre, where Miles served as associate to visionary artistic director Wynn Handman, who also died this spring. WP is the largest, most enduring American company that nurtures and produces works by female-identified creators. Over a little more than four decades, it has changed the demographics of American drama through an unwavering focus on women writers, directors, producers, performers, and craftspeople.

To Claire Warden for her pioneering work as an intimacy choreographer in such recent projects as Frankie and Johnny in the Claire de Lune and Linda Vista, and her leadership in the rapidly emerging movement of intimacy direction. As part of the creative team of Intimacy Directors & Coordinators and Director of Engagement for and co-founder of Intimacy Directors International, she is helping create theater experiences that are safer for performers and more authentic for contemporary audiences.

AwardsRoundabout Theatre CompanyTom KittJoshua HenryDavid Henry HwangPaul SteinbergChristian BorleMark ThompsonLaura LinneyCatherine ZuberAlyse Alan LouisLincoln Center TheaterLynn NottageThe Actors FundJack ThornePeter HylenskiGeorge AbudPlaywrights HorizonsClint RamosCamille A. BrownJulian CrouchKai HaradaLaChanzeBeth MaloneJeanine TesoriThe Public TheaterLarry HochmanAlex LacamoireAtlantic Theater CompanySignature TheatreDerek McLaneMCC TheaterVineyard TheatreWP TheaterSonya TayehJustin TownsendNevin SteinbergDrama Desk AwardsTammy BlanchardTom GibbonsLeigh SilvermanDuncan SheikSusan BirkenheadJeff MahshiePalmer HefferanPaula Leggett ChaseAnne Teresa De KeersmaekerTriney SandovalToni-Leslie JamesThomas KailKaye VoyceJane CoxStephen BrackettCookie JordanThomas SchallAdrienne WarrenElizabeth StanleyLauren PattenTheatre for a New AudienceTom WatsonFrancis JueJonathan TunickDave MalloyLuke HallsMatthew LopezStephen DaldryJane BruceHeather GilbertPaul ArdittiChristopher ReidPaul HiltonKyle SollerYesenia AyalaClaire WardenLois SmithDavid Alan GrierAnita YavichJay Armstrong JohnsonKeone MadridMari MadridSeth RudetskyJames WesleyStars in the HouseWynn HandmanThe American Place TheatreMichael R. JacksonWill ArberyRyan VasquezLarry OwensStephen Adly GuirgisRose ByrnePatrice Johnson ChevannesLiza Colón-ZayasKate del CastilloEdmund DonovanRaúl EsparzaHalley FeifferApril MatthisDeirdre O'ConnellChris PerfettiElizabeth RodriguezMary BaconThe Public Theater’s Mobile UnitJulia MilesLauren YeeSamuel D. HunterLAByrinth Theater CompanyRed Bull TheaterHunter Theater ProjectCharles BuschEmily DavisRuth NeggaDavid Aron DamaneChris DwanSaycon SengblohVictor AlmanzarEsteban Andres CruzKristina PoeBelange RodríguezConrad RicamoraJessica BlankJohn OrtizTina SatterErica SchmidtKathleen MarshallAnnie TippeTravis WallRoss GolanJoshua RosenblumAdam GwonJoanne Sydney LessnerMark SaltzmanDick ScanlanMartha RedboneOr MatiasDanny TroobJohn ClancySteve EarleFrightened RabbitJim HarbourneAdam SeidelDaniel OcantoCatherine CornellAdam RiggB.T. WhitehillAnna LouizosAmy RubinBrittany VastaAsa BenallyMontana Levi BlancoAntony McDonaldRachel TownsendJessica JahnVanessa LeuckIsabella ByrdOona CurleyMimi Jordan SherinYi ZhaoBetsy AdamsHerrick GoldmanBruno PoetDavid BengaliJulia FreyLisa RenkelPOSSIBLEHannah WasileskiJustin EllingtonMikhail FikselLee KinneySanae YamadaHidenori NakajoCampbell Young AssociatesNikiya MathisBobbie ZlotnikDavid CaleJacqueline NovakTortoise in a NutshellCumbernauld Theatre59E59 TheatersHideaway CircusFood of Love ProductionsThird Rail ProjectsVicki MandersonUnkleDave’s Fight HouseChristopher ShinnLuis AlfaroRaphael MishlerRockefeller ProductionsAmanda VillalobosPage 73 ProductionsNew York Shakespeare FestivalAdam BashianKim BlanckStarr BusbyAlex GibsonJustin Gregory LopezJ.D. MollisonMargo SeibertKuhoo VermaThe MintPrimary StagesThe Actors Theater CompanyPartial Comfort ProductionsThe Women’s Project and ProductionsIntimacy Directors InternationalNews