Nominations for the 54th Annual Drama Desk Awards were announced this morning at the New York Friars Club by Faith Prince and Jim Dale, multi-award winning stage stars. Nominators considered shows that opened on Broadway, off Broadway, and off-off Broadway during the 2008/2009 season in the same competitive categories. The awards ceremony will be held Sunday, May 17, 2009 in the LaGuardia Concert Hall at Lincoln Center. The awards show will be webcast live for the seventh year in a row by TheaterMania.com.

In addition to regular categories, special awards are being given to:

  1. Forbidden Broadway at the end of its nearly three-decade run and the creators, casts, and designers who made it an unparalleled New York institution cherished for its satire and celebration of Broadway.
  2. To Atlantic Theater Company and artistic director Neil Pepe for exceptional craftsmanship, dedication to excellence, and productions that engage and inspire.

Here are the design nominees for this year (there were no nominations this year in the category of Outstanding Projection and Video Design, as there were last year):

Outstanding Lighting Design in a Play:
Marcus Doshi, Hamlet (Theatre for a New Audience)
David Hersey, Equus
Ben Kato, Washing Machine
R. Lee Kennedy, Bury the Dead
Paul Pyant, The Winter's Tale
Hugh Vanstone, Mary Stuart

Outstanding Lighting Design in a Musical:
Kevin Adams, Hair
Jules Fisher and Kenneth Posner, 9 to 5
Rick Fisher, Billy Elliot The Musical
Jason Lyons, Clay
Sinéad McKenna, Improbable Frequency
Richard Pilbrow, A Tale of Two Cities

Outstanding Sound Design:
Acme Sound Partners, Irving Berlin's White Christmas
Paul Arditti, Billy Elliot The Musical
Gregory Clarke, Equus
John Gromada, Shipwrecked! An Entertainment The Amazing Adventures of Louis de Rougemont (As Told by Himself)
André J. Pluess, 33 Variations
John H. Shivers, 9 to 5

Outstanding Set Design of a Play:
Dale Ferguson, Exit the King
Rob Howell, The Norman Conquests
David Korins, Why Torture is Wrong, and the People Who Love Them
Derek McLane, 33 Variations
Neil Patel, Fifty Words
Walt Spangler, Desire Under the Elms

Outstanding Set Design of a Musical:
Tim Hatley, Shrek The Musical
Anna Louizos, Irving Berlin's White Christmas
Thomas Lynch, Happiness
Scott Pask, 9 to 5
Scott Pask, Hair
Basil Twist, Arias With a Twist

Outstanding Costume Design:
Tim Hatley, Shrek The Musical
Rob Howell, The Norman Conquests
William Ivey Long, 9 to 5
Michael McDonald, Hair
Martin Pakledinaz, Blithe Spirit
Carrie Robbins, Irving Berlin's White Christmas