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'Gentleman's Guide' Big Winner at 2014 Drama Desk Awards

By Jon Sobel j.sobel@classicalite.com on Jun 02, 2014 11:55 AM EDT

The Drama Desk universe encompasses Broadway, Off-Broadway, and Off-Off-Broadway, but Broadway's A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder maintained its awards-season momentum this weekend, taking seven Drama Desk Awards including Outstanding Musical at the 2014 ceremony hosted by Laura Benanti.

It's worth nothing, though, that non-Broadway shows were nearly shut out again, even though Off- and Off-Off-Broadway productions had netted 68 of the 165 nominations. (Paul Sheehan sums up the extent to which Off- and Off-Off-Broadway shows have come up dry in the last few years at GoldDerby.) John Douglas Thompson did win Outstanding Solo Performance for Satchmo at the Waldorf, and the Unique Theatrical Experience award went to Cirkopolis, the circus-theater show from Montreal's Cirque éloize that ran at the Skirball Center late in the year.

Outstanding Play went to LBJ drama All the Way, with star Bryan Cranston receiving the Outstanding Leading Actor in a Play award.

A Gentleman's Guide's Jefferson Mays netted Outstanding Actor in a Musical, in a tie with Neil Patrick Harris for Hedwig and the Angry Inch. Gentleman's book, lyrics and production design also won, as did Darko Tresnjak (Director) and Lauren Worsham (Featured Actress).

In recognition of the most recent important addition to the art of theater, Aaron Rhyne won the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Projection Design for A Gentleman's Guide. Other awards committees, including the Tonys, haven't absorbed the independent importance of projection yet, and perhaps it's time they did. I can think of any number of major productions I've seen over the past half-dozen years in which projections played a key role in the overall theatrical experience.

In a distant second place in the awards count, Beautiful: The Carole King Musical took three Drama Desk Awards, including Jessie Mueller's win for Outstanding Actress in a Musical. Indeed, lead actresses in plays without music didn't have a chance this year, as Audra McDonald took Best Actress in a Play for her channeling of Billie Holiday in Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill.

The Drama Desk website has a complete list of nominees and winners.

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Tagsbroadway, Off-Broadway, Off Off Broadway, Drama Desk, Laura Benanti, A Gentlemans Guide to Love and Murder, Beautiful, Carole King, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Neil Patrick Harris, Projection Design, Audra McDonald, Jessie Mueller