Saturday, June 1, 2019

2018-19 Tony and Drama Desk Predictions

Eva Noblezada, Andre De Shields and Reeve Carney in Hadestown
Credit: Matthew Murphy
Once again the Tonys (presented June 9) and Drama Desk Awards (given June 2) will have significantly different results. In previous seasons, the two accolade-dispensing organizations would honor almost the same recipients and the DDs were seen as a theatrical equivalent to the Golden Globes with the Tonys playing Oscars. The essential difference between the two prizes is the Tonys, given out by the American Theatre Wing and the Broadway League, are only for Broadway shows while the Drama Desk, composed of New York-based theater critics, journalists and editors, includes on, Off- and Off-Off-Broadway productions in their celebration of the best of Gotham stages. Because of this discrepancy, if a show moves from Off-Broadway to Broadway in separate seasons, it would be up for a Tony but ineligible for a DD award since it was in contention previously.

This year, the prime example is Hadestown which played Off-Broadway at the New York Theater Workshop in 2016, had a London staging and now is at the Walter Kerr. The Outer Critics Circle, which gives out separate awards for Outstanding Play and Musical for on and Off-Broadway and considers both for everything else, judged the modern adaptation of the Orpheus and Eurydice myth different enough to be under consideration in all categories, winning Broadway Musical, Score, Director of a Musical and Featured Actor and Actress. The Drama Desk has deemed Hadestown eligible only in categories which feature new work for the Broadway production, so new cast members, Rachel Chavkin's direction and design elements are eligible, but not Anais Mitchell's score and book. The New York Drama Critics Circle membership was divided on the question of the show's eligibility and had a vote by email to determine its status. The result was a tie and Hadestown was deemed ineligible.