'9 to 5' still timely to Drama Desk

Musical clocks a record 15 nominations

"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, "Irving Berlin's White Christmas" with six and the "Hair" revival with eight.

The previous record for the most noms was 14 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 on the same night as Roundabout Theatre Company's revival of "Waiting for Godot," which received two nominations. Those are the last two productions of the 2007-08 Broadway season.

Unlike the Tony Awards, the DDs consider Broadway, off-Broadway and off-off-Broadway equally in all of its categories. The noms were determined by a seven-member committee. The winners will be voted on by the membership and presented on May 17 in a 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," the two-character tuner that received mixed to bad reviews and barely eked out a week's run at the Booth Theatre, garnered four noms, while highly touted productions such as "All My Sons," "Irena's Vow," "Joe Turner's Come and Gone" and "Rock of Ages" were shut out.

Also missing were such noted performances as Tovah Felshuh in "Irena's Vow," Harriet Walter in "Mary Stuart," Kristin Scott Thomas in "The Seagull" and Nathan Lane in "Waiting for Godot."

Special awards will be presented to Liza Minnelli for her career and her performance in Liza's at the Palace; Forbidden Broadway, which recently concluded a nearly three-decade run off-Broadway; the Atlantic Theatre Company; TADA! Youth Theater; and to the casts of the revivals of "The Cripple of Inishmaan" and "The Norman Conquests" for ensemble performance.

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

A list of nominees follows:

Outstanding play
Annie Baker, Body Awareness
Gina Gionfriddo, Becky Shaw
Neil LaBute, Reasons to Be Pretty
Lynn Nottage, Ruined
Michael Weller, Fifty Words
Craig Wright, Lady

Outstanding musical
9 to 5
Billy Elliot the Musical
Fela!
Liza's at the Palace ...
Shrek the Musical
The Story of My Life

Outstanding revival of a play
Blithe Spirit
Exit the King
Mary Stuart
The Cripple of Inishmaan
The Norman Conquests
Waiting for Godot

Outstanding revival of a musical
Enter Laughing the Musical
Hair
Pal Joey
West Side Story

Outstanding actor in a play
Simon Russell Beale, The Winter's Tale
Reed Birney, Blasted
Raul Esparza, Speed-the-Plow
Bill Irwin, Waiting for Godot
Daniel Radcliffe, Equus
Geoffrey Rush, Exit the King
Thomas Sadoski, reasons to be pretty

Outstanding actress in a play
Saidah Arrika Ekulona, Ruined
Jane Fonda, 33 Variations
Marcia Gay Harden, God of Carnage
Elizabeth Marvel, Fifty Words
Jan Maxwell, Scenes From an Execution
Janet McTeer, Mary Stuart

Outstanding actor in a musical
James Barbour, A Tale of Two Cities
Daniel Breaker, Shrek
Brian d'Arcy James, Shrek
Josh Grisetti, Enter Laughing
Sahr Ngaujah, Fela!
Will Swenson, Hair

Outstanding actress in a musical
Stephanie J. Block, 9 to 5
Stockard Channing, Pal Joey
Sutton Foster, Shrek
Megan Hilty, 9 to 5
Allison Janney, 9 to 5
Karen Murphy, My Vaudeville Man!

Outstanding featured actor in a play
Brian d'Arcy James, Port Authority
Jeremy Davidson, Back Back Back
Peter Friedman, Body Awareness
Ethan Hawke, The Winter's Tale
Pablo Schreiber, reasons to be pretty (off-Broadway)
Jeremy Shamos, Animals Out of Paper

Outstanding featured actress in a play
Rebecca Hall, The Cherry Orchard
Zoe Kazan, The Seagull
Angela Lansbury, Blithe Spirit
Andrea Martin, Exit the King
Carey Mulligan, The Seagull
Condola Rashad, Ruined

Outstanding featured actor in a musical
Hunter Foster, Happiness
Demond Green, The Toxic Avenger
Gregory Jbara, Billy Elliot
Marc Kudisch, 9 to 5
Bryce Ryness, Hair
Christopher Sieber, Shrek

Outstanding featured actress in a musical
Farah Alvin, The Marvelous Wonderettes
Christina Bianco, Forbidden Broadway Goes to Rehab
Haydn Gwynne, Billy Elliot
Karen Olivo, West Side Story
Nancy Opel, The Toxic Avenger
Martha Plimpton, Pal Joey

Outstanding director of a play
Sarah Benson, Blasted
Michael Blakemore, Blithe Spirit
Garry Hynes, The Cripple of Inishmaan
Terry Kinney, reasons to be pretty
Matthew Warchus, The Norman Conquests
Kate Whoriskey, Ruined

Outstanding director of a musical
Walter Bobbie, Irving Berlin's White Christmas
Stephen Daldry, Billy Elliot
Joe Mantello, 9 to 5
Jason Moore, Shrek
Diane Paulus, Hair
Stuart Ross, Enter Laughing

Outstanding choreography
Karole Armitage, Hair
Andy Blankenbuehler, 9 to 5
Peter Darling, Billy Elliot
Bill T. Jones, Fela!
Randy Skinner, Irving Berlin's White Christmas
Lynne Taylor-Corbett and Shonn Wiley, My Vaudeville Man!
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