New York, NY – “Calling someone ugly doesn’t make you better looking, calling someone stupid doesn’t make you smarter,” said Tina Fey, accepting the award for Outstanding Book of a Musical, for Mean Girls, on Monday night at the 63rd Annual Drama Desk Awards. Saying that was the message of the show, she added, “Our world is a dumpster right now.”
Other winners of the prestigious awards didn’t mince words either. The great Glenda Jackson , who won Outstanding Actress in a Play for her role in Edward Albee’s Three Tall Women, said working in the theater was about interdependence, and that the Drama Desk Awards, which are unique in that they offer equal recognition to Off and Off-Off Broadway as well as Broadway productions, provide, “a great moral thrust – what the world needs.”
The theme of standing up against bigotry was echoed in the multiple wins of Tony Kushner’s Angels in America, which took awards for Outstanding Revival of a Play, Outstanding Actor in a Play (Andrew Garfield) and Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play (Nathan Lane). “I’m sure Roy Cohn is smiling in hell,” said Lane, referring to his win for portraying the notorious lawyer, whose resume included active roles in the conviction and execution of the Rosenbergs, defending Mafia dons, and helping Senator Joseph McCarthy to persecute homosexuals. Cohn, also a mentor to Donald Trump, died of AIDS in 1986. Lane thanked his husband as he accepted the award. Andrew Garfield, who plays a dying AIDS patient in the Pulitzer Prize-winning play, began his acceptance speech by saying, “Happy Pride Month!” “This play changes people,” he declared. His voice nearly broke as he described a young lesbian couple who came to see the play multiple times and told him it was the first work of art that made them feel they were special.
Amy and the Orphan’s Jamie Brewer looked radiant as she took the prize for Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play. “Thank you for showing what people with disabilities can do,” she said. The play focuses on people with Down Syndrome. “This will really raise [our] profile,” Brewer added.
Amy and the Orphan’s Jamie Brewer looked radiant as she took the prize for Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play. ‘Thank you for showing what people with disabilities can do,’ she said.
Behind-the-scenes winners gave props to their fellow workers. The value of team effort was extolled by Michael Curry, whose award, for Outstanding Puppet Design in Frozen, is the only one of its kind. “All I do is extend the abilities the actors already have,” he said. Curry, who began his arts career as a sculptor showing his work in galleries, said changing technology has created an audience that “demands more.” “They think the world is computer generated – [backstage] techs are my heroes.” Charles G. LaPointe, the Outstanding Wig and Hair Design winner with twenty-five years in the industry, said being in the spotlight was “surreal.” “My studio is skilled in all aspects of the theater. I work with my friends. We all got into it because we loved it. We have fun, even though it’s a business [too]. I love my life. That’s why they call it a ‘play.’”