Laura Benanti to return as host for the 60th Annual Drama Desk Awards

Posted by theatermania on April 9, 2015 in News


New York, NY, April 9, 2015 — Tony award, and two time Drama Desk winner Laura Benanti (Gypsy, Sound of Music live, ABC’ “Nashville”) will return as host of the 60th Annual Drama Desk Awards on Sunday, May 31, 2015 at 8:00 PM at The Town Hall (123 W. 43rd Street), it was announced today by Gretchen Shugart, CEO of, and Charles Wright, Drama Desk President.

For the fourth consecutive year, TheaterMania will present the awards ceremony and Joey Parnes Productions will produce and manage the show. Shugart is the Managing Executive Producer of the Drama Desk Awards. The Awards show will be written by Bill Rosenfield (with additional material by Benanti) and directed by Jack Cummings III (co-founder and artistic director of Transport Group).

“Laura Benanti was a fantastic host last year – bringing her brand of humor and charm to a wonderful evening. We are excited to welcome her back to Town Hall to lead us in our annual celebration of excellence in New York theater,” said Shugart.

Laura Benanti said “THIRD TIME’S A CHARM! Oh, wait…I’m hosting this for the second time? Well, I’m sure it will be fine.”

Tickets to the 60th Annual Drama Desk Awards are available to the general public at

The Nominations Announcement News Conference will take place on Thursday, April 23, 2015 at 2:00 PM at 54 Below and will be live-streamed on

The Drama Desk Awards, which are presented annually, honor outstanding achievement by professional theater artists on Broadway, Off-Broadway and Off-Off Broadway. What sets the Drama Desk Awards apart is that they are voted on and bestowed by theater critics, journalists, editors and publishers covering theater, without any vested interest in the results. For this reason, Drama Desk Awards reflect both enthusiasm for all aspects of New York’s professional theater and a level of erudition and theatrical experience unparalleled in our industry’s other prize-giving organizations.

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The Drama Desk was founded in 1949 to explore key issues in the theater and to bring together critics and writers in an organization to support the ongoing development of theater in New York. The organization began presenting its awards in 1955, and it is the only critics’ organization to honor achievement in the theater with competition among Broadway, Off Broadway and Off-Off Broadway productions in the same categories.

The 2014-2015 Drama Desk nominating committee is composed of: Barbara Siegel, chairperson, (author and freelance critic); Benjamin Coleman (literary associate, Samuel French, Inc.); Adrian Dimanlig (“Interludes,”; Steve Garrin (broadcast producer; sound designer); Mahayana Landowne (theater director; interactive artist); and Steve Marsh (Director, Graduate Studies, Department of Theatre Arts, Stony Brook University).

The 2014-2015 Board of Directors of the Drama Desk consists of: David Barbour (Lighting&Sound America), Leslie (Hoban) Blake (, Arlene Epstein (South Shore Record and Herald Community Newspapers), Elysa Gardner (USA Today), Isa Goldberg (, John Istel (Freelance), Edward Karam (, David Kaufman (Author & Freelance), Richard Ridge (, William Wolf (adjunct professor, NYU and, Charles Wright (A+E Networks), Lauren Yarger (Manchester Journal-Inquirer &

In addition to Gretchen Shugart as Managing Executive Producer, Robert R. Blume and David S. Stone, in association with Renee McCurry, are Executive Producers of the Drama Desk Awards.

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About Laura Benanti

Laura Benanti stars on ABC’s “Nashville,” and can be seen in a recurring role on CBS’s “The Good Wife.” She is a four-time Tony Award-nominated stage actress, earning the Tony for Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical, Drama Desk, and Outer Critics Circle Awards for Gypsy. Broadway: The Wedding Singer, Nine, Swing! (Tony nomination), Into the Woods (Drama Desk, Outer Critics and Tony nomination),Women on the Verge (Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle Awards and Tony nomination) and In the Next Room or The Vibrator Play. Laura made her Broadway debut as Maria in The Sound of Music opposite Richard Chamberlain. TV: “The Sound of Music Live,” “The Playboy Club,” “Go On,” “Starved,” “Nurse Jackie,” “Law & Order: SVU,” “Royal Pains,” “Eli Stone,” “The Big C,” and “Elementary.” She currently stars in Radio City Music Hall’s New York Spring Spectacular™ and will star in a 2016 Broadway revival of She Loves Me with Josh Radnor.


Founded in 1999, TheaterMania connects the theater industry to a mass consumer audience, with comprehensive listings, news, reviews, features, interviews, and video content covering theater across the United States. TheaterMania’s widely distributed email newsletters provide special ticket offers to over one million subscribers.  In addition to providing theaters with online marketing programs to drive ticket sales, TheaterMania’s proprietary ticketing system OvationTix™ is used throughout America by hundreds of performing arts organizations, museums, concerts, festivals, and events to process tickets sales, and manage fundraising and patron information.  TheaterMania also owns London-based, a source for information and tickets to UK theatre, and the producer of the annual WhatsOnStage Awards.

About Joey Parnes Productions

Led by Joey Parnes, a Broadway producer and general manager with over 35 years’ experience, Joey Parnes Productions produces, executive produces, and general manages theatrical productions from the commercial and non-profit worlds, both on and off Broadway, internationally and on the road. Currently represented on Broadway by The Tony Award winning A Gentleman’s Guide To Love and MurderFish in the Dark, and Skylight; recent credits include A Delicate BalanceThis Is Our YouthA Raisin In The Sun (2014; Tony Award), Betrayal (2013), Vanya and Sonya and Masha and Spike (Tony Award), and the revival of HAIR (2011; Tony Award). Joey served as the Coordinating Producer of the Tony Awards from 2001 to 2008 and with his colleagues Sue Wagner and John Johnson has produced the Drama Desk Awards since 2012.

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