A Massive Number of Columbia Artists Nominated in Drama Desk 65th Annual Awards

BY Robbie Armstrong, April 27, 2020

The 65th annual Drama Desk Award nominees include productions featuring Columbia Faculty, alumni, and current students. In total, Columbia artists earned 56 nominations at the 2020 Drama Desk Awards.


With 11 nominations, Softpower by Professor David Henry Hwang and Barnard alumna Jeanine Tesori ’83 received the most nominations this year. Professor Leigh Silverman is nominated for Outstanding Director of a Musical, Hwang is nominated for Outstanding Book of a Musical, and Tesori is nominated for Outstanding Music. 


Professor Lynn Nottage penned the book for The Secret Life of Bees which received 7 nominations including one for Nottage for Outstanding Book of Musical. Jagged Little Pill directed by alumna Diane Paulus '97 with orchestration from Columbia College alumnus Tom Kitt '99 received 3 nominations.


Moulin Rouge! earned 5 nominations and features Professor Michael Passaro as Production Stage Manager, alumna Lynn Spector ’15 as Script Supervisor, and current Stage Management students Hadley Armstrong and Robbie Armstrong as Stage Management Interns. Tina: The Tina Turner Musical featured alumnae Rachel Zucker ’17 and Jessica Emmanus ’19 as Stage Manager and Production Assistant respectively. 


Two original new musicals made waves in the Off Broadway scene this season, featuring Theatre Management & Producing alumnae. The Wrong Man with Beth Dembrow ’04 as the General Manager, earned 9 nominations while the musical A Strange Loop, produced by Barbara Whitman ’05 earned 6 nominations.  


Beyond Babel produced by Theatre Management & Producing alumni Josh Aviner '16 and Lyndsay Magid Aviner '16 earned a nomination for Outstanding Choreography and a nomination for Unique Theatrical Experience alongside Midsummer: A Banquet featuring Acting alumna Adrienne Paquin ’17 and produced by Theatre Management & Producing alumna Amy Kaissar ’05.


Writing alumnus Christopher Wolfe ’18 consulted the Broadway production of A Soldier's Play, which earned three nominations. Einstein’s Dreams, Production Stage Managed by Stage Management alumna Elizabeth Goodman '13 earned 4 nominations and Hamlet, associate directed by Directing alumnus Marc Atkinson '16 earned one nomination. Current Acting student Kristin Dodson performed in STEW, Adjunct Assistant Professor Ryan Murphy served as the Production Manager for the new adaptation of A Christmas Carol, and Adjunct Assistant Professor Dan Hoffman served as the Head Carpenter on The Sound Inside, with all three shows earning one nomination each.  


The 2020 Drama Desk Awards will have a virtual ceremony on Sunday May 31st where awards will be announced during a special presentation of Spectrum News NY1’s show On Stage. The awards ceremony will also stream on NY1.com, and DramaDeskAwards.com