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UPDATE: Responding to Public Outcry, Drama Desk Adds 'Best Book of a Musical' Category

UPDATE: Responding to Public Outcry, Drama Desk Adds 'Best Book of a Musical' Category

As BroadwayWorld previously reported, the nominations for the 61st Annual Drama Desk Awards were revealed last week, April 28. However, the 'Best Book of a Musical' category was not included this year.

After a community outcry on social media for leaving the category out of the initial nominations (reminiscent of a previous controversy when they did the same, and then reinstated Best Orchestrations), the Drama Desk Awards quietly added the category back this afternoon on their web site.

So, the 2016 Outstanding Book of a Musical nominees include:

John Caird, Daddy Long Legs
Michael John LaChiusa, First Daughter Suite
Jessie Nelson, Waitress

Click here for the full list of 2016 Drama Desk Nominees.

In response to the exclusion of the category, Doug Wright, President of the Dramatists Guild of America, wrote a letter to the Drama Desk's president saying he and his team are "painfully aggrieved" this season's book writers aren't being given the credit they deserve.

Read the full letter below:

April 29, 2016

Drama Desk

Charles Wright, President

Dear Mr. Wright,

The Dramatists Guild was disappointed to see that the Award for Best Book of a Musical was shelved this year, and that the reason cited was a dearth of worthy candidates. The nominating committee was able to select five potential Best Musicals, so it's curious that it found no commendable book among them.

Admittedly, the book writer's specific contributions are often hard to discern; they can sometimes be found in story-telling conceits, in dialogue or in the crafting of particular scenes. But more often than not, the book writer is the architect of the show as a whole. While his or her work isn't always apparent, it is essential. Musicals cannot exist without the storytellers at their core.

It's been a compelling season both aesthetically and financially on Broadway. Musical book writers deserve at least some of the credit for the year's success, and we're painfully aggrieved that it's being denied to them.

Sincerely,

Doug Wright

President, Dramatists Guild of America

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