Tuesday, May 19, 2009

"It's Like The Golden Globes For Theatre!"

"It's Like The Golden Globes For Theatre!"

Last Friday, the 75th Annual Drama League Awards were presented to honor the best on Broadway and off.

Award winners included:

Distinguished Revival of a Play: Blithe Spirit
Distinguished Revival of a Musical: Hair
Distinguished Production of a Play: God Of Carnage
Distinguished Production of a Musical: Billy Elliot - The Musical
Distinguished Performance: Geoffrey Rush - Exit The King
Unique Contribution to the Theatre Award: Angela Lansbury
Distinguished Achievement in Musical Theatre: Sir Elton John
The Julia Hansen Award for Excellence in Directing: Arthur Laurents

After attending last year's Tony Awards -- certainly Broadway's equivalent to the Academy Awards -- I was thrilled to attend the Drama League Awards. Shrek The Musical star Christopher Sieber, one of the 71 nominees for distinguished performance, quipped to me, "It's like the Golden Globes for theatre!"

And so it was with nearly all of the nominees assembled for a wine-filled luncheon on a three-tiered dais that reminded one nominee of a large "Match Game" set (it looked more to me like a celebrity telethon minus the telephones).

The glory of the Drama League Awards is that while there are all those nominees ranging from the famous Oscar-winning stars to the actors who've just experienced their first major breaks Off-Broadway, they all have an equal opportunity to say a few words. And they do it with such a welcome flourish.

Despite the fact they were all vying for one award, the sense of community they shared as actors was palpable. It was truly incredible and one of the best celebrations of the theatrical art form I've ever enjoyed.

Founded in 1916, the Drama League bills itself as "America's best-kept secret for theatre lovers." Click here for more information on how you, too, can become a Drama League member.

This is Steve On Broadway (SOB).

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