Drama Desk presents:
59th Annual Drama Desk Awards Nominations Announcement
Robert Lopez, Kristen Anderson-Lopez, and Fran Drescher
Friday, April 25, 2014 at 11am
54 Below, 254 West 54th Street

The first of several events capping off my season of theatre-going on behalf of the Drama Desk transpired a week ago. After  viewing and discussing 300 shows from May 2013 through April 2014 as a Drama Desk nominator, the team and the organization announced the nominees and special award recipients at a press conference type announcement event for cameras, for people assembled in the room, for the record. Here are some factoids I assembled for my own purposes about the 2013-2014 nominator season of work and the resulting nominations: 300 shows attended and discussed, 175 total nominations (98 or 56% Broadway,  77 or 44% Off-Broadway) and 89 total productions honored with 1 or more nominations (27 or 30% Broadway, 62 or 70% Off-Broadway). The breadth of theatrical productions covered by this awards program, by nominators and voting members alike, distinguishes it from the Broadway-only and the Off- and Off-Off-Broadway only awards programs that cover New York theatre. The Drama Desk voting members ultimately determine the winners that will be announced on June 1st, except the four “special awards” conveyed by the committee at the time of the announcement. For now, the news is list of nominees.

Several local and international celebrities were involved in the announcement event in the relatively new and instantly iconic cabaret venue 54 Below. Isa Goldberg (President of Drama Desk), Barbara Siegel (Chair of Drama Desk Nominating Committee), and Randie Levine Miller (Director of Special Events for the Drama Desk) spoke or presided at the proceedings before handing over the event to the announcement of the nominees.

(L-R) Kristen Anderson Lopez, Robert Lopez, Fran Descher. Laughter was frequent and raucous during this short announcement event.
25 April 2014. (L-R) Kristen Anderson Lopez, Robert Lopez, Fran Descher. Laughter was frequent and raucous during this short announcement event.

Robert Lopez (Avenue Q and The Book of Mormon), Kristen Anderson Lopez (In Transit and “Frozen” with Robert Lopez), and Fran Drescher (“The Nanny,” and currently replacing Harriet Harris as the wicked stepmother / Madame in Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella) read from cards, improvised on the spot, and generally were as entertaining as one can be when the task is to read lists of names for 20 minutes or so. Some riffs were so entertaining I couldn’t stop myself from taking notes.

  • “Girls from Flushing are not the arbiters of how to enunciate.” (Fran Drescher making fun of her town of origin and her own stumbling over a word or two.)
  • “I have serious personality envy right now.” (Robert Lopez laughingly and admiringly taking the stage after Drescher’s hysterical initial solo turn.)
  • “When you get a special award, you  know you put on those Spanx for a reason.” (Kristin Anderson-Lopez speaking spontaneously in enthusiastic support of the announced Special Award recipients,who were already winners, and who could dress up with the knowledge that they had already won.)

From my ringside seat and without a real camera like that used by one of the official Drama Desk event photographers who captured the image above, I snapped away, attempting to capture the fun and camaraderie around me. The rosy light light shrouded the adventures in this daytime visit to a night-time venue, embracing the excitement and the instant reactions (positive and negative) that were audible in the crowd.

(L-R) Robert Lopez, Kristin Anderson Lopez, Fran Drescher. Image by Martha Wade Steketee. Image quality demonstrating yet again that professional photographers with real equipment do it better. But I was there.
(L-R) Robert Lopez, Kristin Anderson Lopez, Fran Drescher. Image by Martha Wade Steketee. Image quality demonstrating yet again that professional photographers with real equipment do it better. But I was there.

The next stages for the Drama Desk chapters of theatre awards season this year are the Nominees reception at the JW Marriott Essex House on Central Park South on Wednesday, May 7, 2014 and the Drama Desk Awards ceremony at Town Hall on Sunday June 1, 2014. I am thrilled and exhausted by my participation again this year, and convey my hearty congratulations to all of the nominees.

Martha Wade Steketee (April 30, 2014)

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