March 3, 2005
For Immediate Release
HARVEY FIERSTEIN RETURNS AS HOST OF THE 50TH ANNUAL
DRAMA DESK AWARDS ON SUNDAY. MAY 22, 2005, AT 9 PM
AT LaGUARDIA CONCERT HALL AT LINCOLN CENTER
Awards Ceremony to be Televised by Public Television Stations Nationally,
Including Thirteen/WNET New York;
TheaterMania.com To Webcast Awards for Third Consecutive Year
New York, NY, March 3, 2005 -- Harvey Fierstein, the multi award-winning comic actor currently winning rave reviews in Fiddler on the Roof on Broadway, will host the 50TH ANNUAL DRAMA DESK AWARDS on Sunday, May 22, 2005 at 9:00 PM, at the LaGuardia Concert Hall at Lincoln Center, 100 Amsterdam Avenue, it was announced by William Wolf, President of the Drama Desk, and Robert R. Blume, Executive Producer of the Drama Desk Awards. It marks the first time in Drama Desk history that the awards ceremony will be hosted in back-to-back years by the same person.
The Drama Desk Awards, which celebrates excellence in all sectors of New York's theatre world, will be taped and later broadcast as a two hour special on Sunday, May 29, on Thirteen/WNET, the PBS flagship station in New York City. In addition, the National Education Television Association (NETA), which distributes programming to public television stations across the nation, will offer the two-hour taped awards special via satellite to its member stations on May 27 for delayed broadcast.
The broadcast package with Thirteen/WNET and NETA was arranged by Roy A. Somlyo, who joined the Drama Desk Awards as Consulting Producer in 2004 after serving five years as President and CEO of the American Theatre Wing. The winner of four Emmy Awards, Somlyo was associated with the Tony Awards since 1967 and was Managing Producer for the Tonys from 1987 to 1998.
For the third consecutive year, the awards ceremony will be webcast by TheaterMania (www.theatermania.com), the leading website covering theatre in over 40 markets in the United States, plus London and Toronto. TheaterMania.com registers nearly one-million visitors a month and has nearly 300,000 subscribers.
Nominations for the 2004/2005 Drama Desk Awards will be announced on Thursday, April 28, 2005, at 10:00 AM at The New York Friars Club, 57 East 55th Street. Nominees will be announced in multiple categories honoring excellence during the 2004/2005 New York theatre season. The Drama Desk is the only major theatre award which considers Broadway, Off and Off-Off Broadway equally in all its multiple categories. The Drama Desk membership includes more than 130 voting theatre critics, reporters and editors.
Nominees will receive their official Nomination Certificates at a Reception on Tuesday, May 3, 2005, from 5:00 to 7:00 PM, at Arte Cafe, 106 West 73rd Street in Manhattan, home of the Drama Desk Art*Kives.
"We are delighted that Harvey Fierstein is returning as host of the Golden Anniversary Drama Desk Awards special and that the awards will be seen by one of its largest viewing audiences ever," said Robert R. Blume, Executive Producer of the Drama Desk Awards for the past seven years. "Harvey is one of the biggest stars on Broadway and adds an additional dimension to the entertainment value of the show."
William Wolf, theatre critic for wolfentertainmentguide.com, and Drama Desk President, said, "The Drama Desk and its members are looking forward to this year's special 50th anniversary Drama Desk Awards. The public television broadcast and the TheaterMania.com webcast will provide national and global coverage of the awards, and with Harvey Fierstein as host, we are confident the awards ceremony will truly be special."
"Thirteen/WNET is proud to present the 50th anniversary Drama Desk Awards to its tri-state audience of television viewers and theatergoers," said Paula Kerger, Thirteen's executive vice president and chief operating officer. "Thirteen has long been a partner with New York's vibrant theatre community and one of the only sources of outstanding theatrical programming on television. With this telecast, we are offering our viewers a unique opportunity to experience one of the most exciting news-making theatre events of the year."
Harvey Fierstein, who assumed the starring role in Fiddler on the Roof earlier this year, shared the 2003 Drama Desk Award (with Antonio Banderas) and won the 2003 Tony Award for his starring role in Hairspray. During his career, which began in 1971 when he starred in Andy Warhol's Pork at the La Mama Experimental Theater Club, Fierstein has appeared in more than 60 Off Off-Broadway plays, writing and performing in many of his own productions.
His Torch Song Trilogy opened Off Off-Broadway in 1980, transferred to Off Broadway in 1981, and then moved to Broadway. For that show, Fierstein won two Drama Desk Awards, two Tony Awards, an Obie Award, and a Dramatists Guild Award. He won his third Tony Award for the book of La Cage aux Folles. For his performance in the smash hit musical Hairspray, Fierstein received the 2003 Drama Desk Award (Best Actor in a Musical), Drama League Award (Outstanding Performance of the Year), and New York Magazine Award. When he received the 2003 Tony Award (Best Actor in a Musical), he became only the second person in history to win Tonys in four different categories.
The theatre community has been loyally supporting the awards and participating in the ceremonies annually. In recent years, the Drama Desk Awards, produced and directed by Lauren Class Schneider and Jeff Kalpak, respectively, has been hosted by such luminaries as Harvey Fierstein, Chita Rivera, Bernadette Peters and Rue McClanahan. Participants have included Hugh Jackman, Antonio Banderas, Bebe Neuwirth, Lynn Redgrave, Vanessa Redgrave, Frank Langella, Alan Bates, Audra McDonald, Christopher Plummer, Kristin Chenoweth, Idina Menzel and John Lithgow, among others.
The Drama Desk Awards honors creative artists and stage productions in multiple categories and annually presents scholarships to two worthy seniors in the Drama Department of the LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts who are planning careers in the theatre.
For the fourth consecutive year, the Drama Desk Awards will invite personal sketches from this year's nominated performers and creative talent for its Art*KiveTM program created and overseen by Sarah Galvin. In this annual program -- unique to the Drama Desk Awards -- nominees who choose to participate render a sketch that is relevant to the role or stage production that helped them achieve their nomination. The sketches will be displayed at the awards ceremony.
Members of this year's Drama Desk Nominating Committee include: Barbara Siegel, TheaterMania.com and Siegel Entertainment Syndicate, chairperson; William Wolf, WolfEntertainmentGuide.com, Drama Desk President; Andy Buck, Playbill; Michael Buckley, Playbill On-Line; Christopher Byrne, Gay City News; Andrew Propst, American Theater Web; and Richard Ridge, Broadway Beat TV.
The Board of Directors of the Drama Desk is composed of: William Wolf, President; Leslie (Hoban) Blake, Vice President; Charles Wright, Treasurer and Second Vice President; Joyce Hauser, Secretary; and Members-at-Large: Michael Bracken, David Kaufman, Ellis Nassour, Sam Norkin, Barbara Siegel, and Elyse Sommer.
Robert R. Blume is Executive Producer of the 50th Annual Drama Desk Awards. Lauren Class Schneider is Producer and Jeff Kalpak is Director. Associate Producers are Sarah Galvin, Corine Dana Cohen, Jae French, and Les Schecter who is also Director of Publicity and Promotions. Felicia M. Lopes is the General Manager. Randie Levine-Miller is Director of Drama Desk Special Events. Roy A. Somlyo is Consulting Producer.
Les Schecter/Matthew Donohue (L.S. Public Relations)
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