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Vanessa Williams & Matthew Morrison Will Announce 2016 Drama Desk Awards Nominations

Drama Desk, Tony®, and Emmy® Award nominee and Theater World Award and NAACP Image Award winner Vanessa Williams (Into The Woods, The Trip to Bountiful, "Ugly Betty") and Drama Desk, Tony®, Emmy, Golden Globe, and Drama League Award Nominee and SAG & TV Land Award winner Matthew Morrison (Finding Neverland, Hairspray, The Light in the Piazza, "Glee") will announce the nominations for the 61st Annual Drama Desk Awards on Thursday, April 28th, 2016 at 10:00 AM at Feinstein's/54 Below (254 W. 54th Street), it was announced today by Charles Wright, Drama Desk President and Gretchen Shugart, CEO of TheaterMania.com.

"It is an honor to have Vanessa Williams and Matthew Morrison, both recognized by the Drama Desk for their excellent work on the New York stage, announce this year's Drama Desk nominations," said Gretchen Shugart. "We invite the industry and public to follow the nominations on TheaterMania.com's live webcast from Feinstein's/54 Below."

The 61st Annual Drama Desk Awards, hosted by Michael Urie, will be held at The Town Hall(123 W. 43rd Street) on June 5th.

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. 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.

The 2015-2016 Drama Desk Nominating Committee is composed of: David Barbour(Lighting&Sound America), Chair; Peter Filichia (Broadway Select, author, most recently, of The Great Parade: The Remarkable 1963-64 Broadway Season); David Finkle (Blogger, Huffington Post; Clyde Fitch Report); Sandy MacDonald (Time Out New York, TheaterNewsOnline.com);Andy Propst (AmericanTheaterWeb.com, author, You Fascinate Me So: The Life & Times of Cy Coleman); Diane Snyder (Cititour.com, Time Out New York); Douglas Strassler (Garden State Journal), Charles Wright (President, Drama Desk), ex officio.

For the fifth 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 anddirected by Jack Cummings III (co-founder and artistic director of Transport Group).

Tickets to the 61st Annual Drama Desk Awards are available to the general public at www.dramadeskawards.com.

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 2015-2016 Board of Directors of the Drama Desk is composed of: Charles Wright (A+E Networks), President; Richard Ridge (BroadwayWorld.com), 1st Vice President and Secretary;Lauren Yarger (Manchester Journal-Inquirer, reflectionsinthelight.blogspot.com), 2nd Vice President; Edward Karam (offoffonline.com), Treasurer; David Barbour (Lighting&Sound America), Chair, Awards Nominating Committee; Leslie (Hoban) Blake (Two on the Aisle/MNN/YouTube/Daily Motion), Historian; Arlene Epstein (Richner Communications/South Shore Record, liherald.com); Elysa Gardner (USA Today); Isa Goldberg (East Hampton Independent, Southampton Press); John Istel (Managing editor, DramaDesk.org; freelance arts editor and journalist); David Kaufman (author and freelance); Andy Lefkowitz(TheaterMania); William Wolf (Adjunct professor, NYU, WolfEntertainmentGuide.com)

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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