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For Release: May 21 at 11:30 PM 

THE DROWSY CHAPERONE HEADS LIST OF 2005/2006 DRAMA DESK WINNERS WITH 7 AWARDS, FOLLOWED BY THE HISTORY BOYS WITH 5

 OTHER MULTIPLE AWARD WINNING SHOWS INCLUDE SWEENEY TODD WITH 4, AND AWAKE AND SING! AND JERSEY BOYS WITH 2 EACH  

RICHARD GRIFFITHS (THE HISTORY BOYS) AND LOIS SMITH (THE TRIP TO BOUNTIFUL) NAMED OUTSTANDING ACTOR AND ACTRESS IN A PLAY

 JOHN LLOYD YOUNG (JERSEY BOYS) and CHRISTINE EBERSOLE ( GREY GARDENS) VOTED OUTSTANDING ACTOR AND ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL

 New York, NY, May 21, 2006 – The Drowsy Chaperone , the new musical that pokes fun at stage musicals and their conventions, won seven awards, including Outstanding Musical, to head the list of 2005/2006 Drama Desk winners at the 51 st Annual Drama Desk Awards held tonight at the F.H. LaGuardia Concert Hall at Lincoln Center. AlanBennett’s funny and insightful new drama, The History Boys, in which faculty room rivalry and the anarchy of adolescence provoke questions about history and how it is taught, followed with five Awards, including one for Outstanding Play.

Sweeney Todd, the revival about “The Demon Barber of Fleet Street,” won four Drama Desk Awards, including Outstanding Revival of a Musical. Other multiple Drama Desk Award winners were Jersey Boys, the “jukebox” musical about Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons, which won two awards (including one to John Lloyd Young as Outstanding Actor in a Musical), and Awake and Sing!, the 1935 Depression Era drama by Clifford Odets, which also captured two awards (including Outstanding Revival of a Play).  

Richard Griffiths (The History Boys) and Lois Smith (The Trip to Bountiful) were voted Outstanding Actor and Actress in a Play, and Christine Ebersole was voted Outstanding Actress in a Musical for her starring role in Grey Gardens.

Jim Dale captured the Drama Desk Award as Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical (The Threepenny Opera), and Beth Leavel (The Drowsy Chaperone), was voted Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical. Samuel Barnett and Frances de la Tour, both appearing in The History Boys, won as Outstanding Featured Actor and Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play.

The Drama Desk Awards for staging went to Nicholas Hytner (The History Boys) as Outstanding Director of a Play, and to John Doyle (Sweeney Todd) as Outstanding Director of a Musical. Kathleen Marshall was honored for Outstanding Choreography for her work on The Pajama Game.

Lisa Lambert and Greg Morrison won the Outstanding Music and Outstanding Lyrics Drama Desk Awards for their creative contributions to The Drowsy Chaperone. Bob Martin and Don McKellar (The Drowsy Chaperone) were winners of the Outstanding Book of a Musical award. Sarah Travis captured the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Orchestrations for her work on Sweeney Todd.

In the design categories, Michael Yeargan (Awake and Sing!) won for outstanding Set Design of a Play, and David Gallo (The Drowsy Chaperone) received the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Set Design of a Musical. The Outstanding Costume Design award was given to Gregg Barnes (The Drowsy Chaperone). Richard G. Jones (Sweeney Todd) won for Outstanding Lighting Design and Steve Canyon Kennedy ( Jersey Boys) was honored for his Outstanding Sound Design.

The Outstanding Solo Performance Drama Desk Award went to Antony Sher (Primo) and the award for Unique Theatrical Experience was presented to Christine Jorgensen Reveals.

Outstanding Ensemble Drama Desk Awards, voted on by the Drama Desk nominating Committee, were presented to the casts of Awake and Sing! and Stuff Happens.

Each year, the Drama Desk votes special awards to recognize excellence and significant contributions to the theater. For 2005/2006, these awards were presented to:

The BMI—Lehman Engel Musical Theater Workshop for nurturing, developing and promoting new talent for the musical theater.

The York Theatre Company for its vital contributions to theater by developing and presenting new musicals.

Sh-K-Boom and its label Ghostlight Records for dedication to the preservation of musical theater through cast recordings.

The Drama Desk also presented the following special award:

A lifetime achievement award to Horton Foote for his bountiful body of work that sensitively explores the human condition.

Drama Desk 2006 Scholarship Awards , co-sponsored by The Smart Family Foundation, Jack and Susan Rudin, Jamie deRoy & friends, TheaterMania.com and Daryl Roth Productions, were presented to Rebecca Berkman-Rivera and Jaime Lynn Seaman, drama majors at F.H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts.

Presenters at the 51 st Annual Drama Desk Awards, hosted for the third year in a row by Harvey Fierstein, included Harry Connick, Jr., Barbara Cook, Jim Dale, Paige Davis, Fran Drescher, Hallie Foote, Victor Garber, Deborah Gibson, Richard Griffiths, Angela Lansbury, Patti LuPone, Cynthia Nixon, Kelli O’Hara, Oliver Platt and Jonathan Pryce.

In addition, there were live performances from seven current season Broadway and Off Broadway musicals: Bob Martin, Beth Leavel and Sutton Foster performed “As We Stumble Along” from The Drowsy Chaperone; Marc Kudisch performed “Central Park” from See What I Wanna See; Christine Ebersole sang “The Revolutionary Costume of Today” from Grey Gardens; Gay Marshall, Robert Cuccioli, Natascia Diaz and Rodney Hicks performed “Madeleine” from Jacques Brel; Stephen Dolginoff and Doug Kreeger sang “Superior” from Thrill Me; Michael Ceveris and Patti LuPone performed “Little Priest” from Sweeney Todd; and John Lloyd Young, Christian Hoff, Daniel Reichard and J. Robert Spencer performed “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” and “Walk Like A Man” from Jersey Boys.

Billy Stritch served as Musical Director and also played piano. The Drama Desk house band included Steve Doyle on bass, Mike Berkowitz on drums and Dan Willis on woodwinds.The announcer was Patrick Quinn.

The 51 st Annual Drama Desk Awards was videotaped and a two-hour version will be aired on Thirteen/WNET on Monday, May 29, at 3:00 PM and on NYC TV Channel 25 on Tuesday, May 30, and Thursday, June 1, at 10:00 PM each night. The television special will also be broadcast on many PBS stations across the United States during the month of June. The Drama Desk Awards were webcast with live streaming video from 9:00 PM to its conclusion by TheaterMania.com.

The 51 st Annual Drama Desk Awards is presented by Executive Producer Robert R. Blume in association with TheaterMania.com. Lauren Class Schneider is producer and Jeff Kalpak, the director. Terry Berliner is the writer. Associate Producers are Jackie Barlia- Florin, Corine Dana Cohen and Les Schecter. Elias EL-Hage is General Manager. Randie Levine-Miller is Special Events Director for the Drama Desk. Stuart F. Margulies (SFM Management Ltd.) is the Drama Desk Awards accountant. Roy A. Somlyo is Consulting Producer.

For NYC TV Channel 25, Arick Wierson and Trevor Scotland are Executive Producers. William Fitzgerald is Producer and Elliot Stern is Technical Director. Wiener Milien is Director of Photography.

The Drama Desk Awards has enlisted personal sketches from this year’s nominated performers and creative talent for its Art*Kive program created six years ago by Sarah Galvin. This annual program -- unique to the Drama Desk Awards -- invites nominees to render sketches that are relevant to the role or stage production that helped them achieve their nomination. The sketches were displayed at the awards ceremony.

The Drama Desk, which presented its first awards in 1955, is the only theater organization whose award nominations honor Broadway, Off-Broadway, Off-Off Broadway and not-for-profit theater productions equally in multiple categories. The Drama Desk membership includes over 140 voting theater critics, reporters and editors.

Major funding for the 51st Annual Drama Desk Awards was provided by David S. Stone, Esq. /Boies, Schiller and Flexner LLP, NJ office;Jack and Susan Rudin; The Smart Family Foundation; Lynn and Lewis Pell; and Richard I. Kandel. Additional benefactors include Ted Snowdon, Jackie Barlia-Florin, TheaterMania.com, The Dorothy Strelsin Foundation, Lawrence Fraiberg, Richard Blau and The Dorothy Loudon Foundation.

Major in-kind sponsors for the 51st Annual Drama Desk Awards are The New York Times,ShadowBox Design Management, TheaterMania.com, Variety, Hit Show Club, Federico Salon and PBand J Partners. Receptions were sponsored by Arte Café, Trump Restaurants at The Trump Tower, John’s Pizzeria of Times Square, NY Friars Club and Coyote Rep. Additional food and beverages were provided by Bolla Wines, Grey Goose Vodka, Tony’s Di Napoli and The Original SoupMan. VisionMix Creative Services manages the official Drama Desk website (www.dramadesk.org). Transportation was provided by Gray Line NY Sightseeing.

The 2005–2006 Drama Desk Nominating Committee is composed of Barbara Siegel, TheaterMania.com , TalkinBroadway.com , chairperson; Michael Buckley, Playbill On-Line; Christopher Byrne, Gay City News, The Villager; Matthew Murray, TalkinBroadway.com, Stage Directions Magazine; Andrew Propst, American Theater Web, XM Satellite Radio; Richard Ridge, Broadway Beat TV; and William Wolf, WolfEntertainmentGuide.com, President of the Drama Desk.

The Board of Directors of the Drama Desk is composed of William Wolf, President; Leslie (Hoban) Blake, Vice President; Charles Wright, Treasurer and Second Vice President; Joyce Hauser, Secretary; and Board Members-at-large Michael Bracken, David Kaufman, Ellis Nassour, Sam Norkin, Barbara Siegel and Elyse Sommer.

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Press Contacts: Les Schecter/Matthew P. Donoghue (L.S. Public Relations)

Tel: 212/586-2600 email: lester.schecter@verizon.net

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2005/2006 DRAMA DESK AWARD WINNERS

Outstanding Play: The History Boys by Alan Bennett

Outstanding Musical: The Drowsy Chaperone

Outstanding Revival of a Play: Awake and Sing! by Clifford Odets

Outstanding Revival of a Musical: Sweeney Todd

Outstanding Actor in a Play: Richard Griffiths (The History Boys)

Outstanding Actress in a Play: Lois Smith (The Trip to Bountiful)

Outstanding Actor in a Musical: John Lloyd Young ( Jersey Boys)

Outstanding Actress in a Musical: Christine Ebersole ( Grey Gardens)

Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play: Samuel Barnett (The History Boys)

Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play: Frances de la Tour (The History Boys)

Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical: Jim Dale (The Threepenny Opera)

Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical: Beth Leavel (The Drowsy Chaperone)

Outstanding Director of a Play: Nicholas Hytner (The History Boys)

Outstanding Director of a Musical: John Doyle (Sweeney Todd)

Outstanding Choreography: Kathleen Marshall (The Pajama Game)

Outstanding Music: Lisa Lambert & Greg Morrison

(The Drowsy Chaperone)

Outstanding Lyrics: Lisa Lambert & Greg Morrison

( The Drowsy Chaperone)

Outstanding Book of a Musical: Bob Martin and Don McKellar

(The Drowsy Chaperone)

Outstanding Orchestrations: Sarah Travis (Sweeney Todd)

Outstanding Set Design of a Play: Michael Yeargan (Awake and Sing!)

Outstanding Set Design of a Musical: David Gallo (The Drowsy Chaperone)

Outstanding Costume Design: Gregg Barnes (The Drowsy Chaperone)

Outstanding Lighting Design: Richard G. Jones (Sweeney Todd)

Outstanding Sound Design: Steve Canyon Kennedy ( Jersey Boys)

Outstanding Solo Performance: Antony Sher (Primo)

Unique Theatrical Experience: Christine Jorgensen Reveals

In addition, the following non-competitive awards were presented:

Outstanding Ensemble Performances: The cast of Stuff Happens

The cast of Awake and Sing!

To the BMI—Lehman Engel Musical Theater Workshop for nurturing, developing and promoting new talent for the musical theater.

To The York Theatre Company for its vital contributions to theater by developing and presenting new musicals.

To Sh-K-Boom and its label Ghostlight Records for dedication to the preservation of musical theater through cast recordings.

 To Horton Foote, a lifetime achievement award for his bountiful body of work that sensitively explores the human condition.

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