'9 to 5' still timely

Musical clocks a record 15 Drama Desk noms

"9 to 5," the musical version of the 1980 hit movie comedy, received a generous stimulus package from the Drama Desk on Monday, netting a record 15 nominations from the organization of New York-based theater critics, reporters and editors for its annual awards.

Other top nominees included "Shrek the Musical" with 12, "Billy Elliot" with 10 and the "Hair" revival with eight.

The previous record for most noms, 14, was shared by five shows: "The Secret Garden" (1991), "Ragtime" (1998), "The Producers" (2001), "Hairspray" (2003) and "The Drowsy Chaperone" (2006).

"9 to 5" opened March 30, the same night as Roundabout Theatre Company's revival of "Waiting for Godot," which received two noms. Those are the last two productions of the 2008-09 Broadway season.

Unlike the Tonys, the Drama Desks consider Broadway, off-Broadway and off-off-Broadway equally in all of its categories. The noms were determined by a seven-member committee. Winners will be voted on by the membership and presented during a May 17 ceremony at the LaGuardia Concert Hall in Lincoln Center.

There were several unexpected inclusions and omissions in the nomination list. "The Story of My Life," a two-character tuner that received mixed to bad reviews and barely eked out a week's run at the Booth Theatre, garnered four noms, but such highly touted productions as "All My Sons," "Joe Turner's Come and Gone" and "Rock of Ages" were shut out.

The nominations were announced at the Friars Club by previous Drama Desk winners Faith Prince and Jim Dale.

David Sheward is executive editor of Back Stage.
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