Columbia Artists Nominated for 2022 Drama Desk Awards

BY Angeline Dimambro, May 27, 2022

The nominees for the 66th annual Drama Desk Awards have been announced, and numerous Columbia artists are among the honorees. 

 

Intimate Apparel, with libretto by Associate Professor and Pulitzer Prize winner Lynn Nottage, received a total of eight nominations across the following categories: Outstanding Musical, Outstanding Actress in a Musical, Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical, Outstanding Director of a Musical, Outstanding Costume Design for a Musical, and Outstanding Lighting Design for a Musical. Nottage herself was nominated in the categories of Outstanding Lyrics and Outstanding Book of a Musical for her work on Intimate Apparel.

 

Set in 1905 in turn of the century New York, Intimate Apparel tells the story of Esther, a lonely, single African-American woman who makes her living sewing beautiful corsets and ladies’ undergarments. There is warm affection between her and the Orthodox Jewish man who sells fabrics to her, but any relationship between them, even a touch, is completely forbidden. Seeking love and romance, Esther eventually embarks on a letter-writing relationship with a mysterious suitor laboring on the Panama Canal. When he moves to New York they embark on an unhappy marriage, leading Esther to realize that only her self-reliance and certainty of her own worth will see her through life’s challenges.

 

MJ: The Musical, the new jukebox musical also written by Nottage, received seven total Drama Desk nominations, including Outstanding Actor in a Musical, Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical, Outstanding Choreography, Outstanding Orchestrations, Outstanding Lighting Design for a Musical, Outstanding Sound Design in a Musical, and Outstanding Wig and Hair Design. Nominated for 10 Tony Awards, MJ goes beyond the singular moves and signature sound of Michael Jackson, offering a rare look at the creative mind and collaborative spirit that catapulted him into legendary status. Find tickets for MJ here.

 

Nottage’s play Clyde’s also received five Drama Desk Award nominations in the categories of Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play, Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play, Outstanding Set Design of a Play, Outstanding Costume Design for a Play, and Outstanding Lighting Design for a Play. In Clyde’s, audiences will find a truck stop sandwich shop that offers its formerly incarcerated kitchen staff a shot at reclaiming their lives. Even as the shop’s callous owner tries to keep them under her thumb, the staff members are given purpose and permission to dream by their shared quest to create the perfect sandwich.

 

Also nominated in the category of Outstanding Musical is The Hang. Adjunct Associate Professor Morgan Jenness served as the dramaturg for the musical, which is also nominated for Outstanding Music, Outstanding Lyrics, and Outstanding Costume Design for a Musical. The Hang is a ritual celebration of queerness, questions, and the eternity of a moment. Rooted in the jazz tradition and operatic form, it imagines the final hours of the life of Socrates, as he asks his friends to use every moment left to think on virtue. What transpires is a centuries-long communal consideration, full of jazz, dance, debates, and queer romps.

 

Alumna and Dean’s Council Member Barbara Whitman ’05 is the co-producer of Diana, which scored three Drama Desk nominations for Outstanding Actress in a Musical, Outstanding Lighting Design for a Musical, and Outstanding Wig and Hair Design. Set in 1981, the world of Diana is hungry for a royal wedding. But is the 20-year-old bride prepared for what comes after? Following her fairytale union, Princess Diana faces a distant husband, an unmovable monarchy and overwhelming media scrutiny. But her modern perspective and remarkable compassion galvanizes a nation, even as it threatens the royal family’s hold on England.

 

Alumni Jocelyn Bioh '08 and Saheem Ali '07 are nominated for their work on Merry Wives. Bioh and Ali are both nominated for individual awards in the categories of Outstanding Adaptation and Outstanding Director of a Play respectively. The adaptation is also nominated for Outstanding Actor in a Play, Outstanding Music in a Play, and Outstanding Set Design of a Play. Set in South Harlem, amidst a vibrant and eclectic community of West African immigrants, Merry Wives is a New York story about tricks of the heart, performed in the heart of the City—Central Park’s magical Delacorte Theater. A raucous spinoff featuring the Bard’s most beloved comic characters, this hilarious farce tells the story of the trickster Falstaff and the wily wives who outwit him in a new celebration of Black joy, laughter, and vitality.  

 

The Drama Desk Awards honor the best in Broadway, off, and off-off-Broadway theater and are voted on (and bestowed by) theater critics, journalists, editors and publishers covering theater. The awards ceremony will take place on June 14, 2022.