58th annual Drama Desk Awards '13 barely recognizes Black talent
LINDA ARMSTRONG Special to the AmNews | 5/31/2013, 11:29 a.m.
Sunday, May 19 was the date of the 58th annual Drama Desk Awards, which were held at Town Hall in Manhattan. The Drama Desk recognizes Broadway, off-Broadway and off-off-Broadway shows. Out of 30 categories, African-Americans came away with only two Drama Desk Awards. Cicely Tyson won Outstanding Actress in a Play for "The Trip to Bountiful" and Billy Porter won Outstanding Actor in a Musical for "Kinky Boots."
"The Piano Lesson," nominated for Best Revival of a Play; Chuck Cooper, nominated for Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play; and Ruben Santiago-Hudson, nominated for Outstanding Director of a Play, all came away with nothing, to my great disappointment. To sit in the theater and witness that play was a blessing. It was one of the most powerfully presented and directed plays you could experience in your lifetime. It took theater to a new level--and it won not one award!
"Pippin" won four Drama Desk awards: Outstanding Revival of a Musical, Outstanding Featured Actress (Andrea Martin), Outstanding Direction (Diane Paulus) and Outstanding Choreography (Chet Walker and Gypsy Snider). But there was never even a nomination for Patina Miller, who took over the part that Ben Vereen made famous as the Leading Player. Miller delivers it with such grace, sensuality, passion and humor; how could she not be part of the nomination process to receive the award in the Outstanding Actress in a Musical category?
Condola Rashad, although nominated, was passed over in the Featured Actress in a Play category for her dynamic role in "The Trip to Bountiful."
It is sad to me when Black thespians demonstrate their abilities and are not recognized with the highest honors they can receive. Hopefully, next year's Drama Desk Awards will be better to African-Americans.