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by Michael Portantiere

High Drama


    Theater vets and up-and-comers gathered at the Arte Cafe on Thursday, May 1 at a reception for nominees for this year's Drama Desk Awards, which honor excellence in all areas of New York theatre: Broadway, Off-Broadway, Off-Off-Broadway, and not-for-profit. Here are Michael Portantiere's photos of some of the talents who came to pick up their nomination ceritificates, meet the press, and chat with their colleagues. The 53rd Annual Drama Desk Awards will be held on Sunday, May 18 at in the F.H. LaGuardia Concert Hall at Lincoln Center, beginning at 9pm. For more information, including a complete list of the nominees, visit www.dramadesk.org.


    The one-and-only Stew, co-creator and one of the stars of Passing Strange.


    Daniel Breaker, who plays Stew's younger self in the show.


    Faith Prince (A Catered Affair) and Gerard Alessandrini (Forbidden Broadway).


    Linda Lavin, who has audiences rolling in the aisles nightly with her brilliant comic performance in Paul Rudnick's The New Century.


    Two of the stars of Gypsy: the beautiful Laura Benanti, who has the title role...


    ...and the always terrific Boyd Gaines, who plays Herbie.


    The great Elizabeth Ashley, who starred in Dividing the Estate at Primary Stages, with Andrew Leynse, artistic director of that company.


    Michael McKean, one of the superb actors nominated for their ensemble performance in The Homecoming.

    De Shields-Jue2-edit.jpg

    André De Shields and Francis Jue, respectively nominated for their work in Black Nativity and Yellow Face.


    The gorgeous Sierra Boggess (The Little Mermaid).


    The gorgeous Cheyenne Jackson (Xanadu).


    Jenna Russell and Daniel Evans, who nightly spend Sunday in the Park With George.


    Two of the stars of Young Frankenstein: Andrea Martin, who plays Frau Blucher...


    ...and Shuler Hensley, who plays the Monster.


    Composers John Bucchino (A Catered Affair) and Stephen Flaherty (The Glorious Ones).


    Choreographer Rob Ashford (Cry-Baby).


    Tom Kitt and Alice Ripley, the composer and star of Next to Normal.


    Danny Burstein, a.k.a. Luther Billis in South Pacific.


    Leslie Kritzer, a.k.a. Jane in A Catered Affair.


    Deanna Dunagan, who plays the mother of all mothers in August: Osage County.


    Amy Morton (August: Osage County) with Bill Pullman (Peter and Jerry).


    Bobby Steggert, nominated for his performance in The Slug Bearers of Kayrol Island at the Vineyard, with that theater's executive director, Jennifer Garvey-Blackwell.

    Published on Friday, May 2, 2008

    Michael Portantiere has more than 30 years' experience as an editor and writer for TheaterMania.com, InTHEATER magazine, and BACK STAGE. He has interviewed theater notables for NPR.org, PLAYBILL, STAGEBILL, and OPERA NEWS, and has written notes for several cast albums. Michael is co-author of FORBIDDEN BROADWAY: BEHIND THE MYLAR CURTAIN, published in 2008 by Hal Leonard/Applause. Additionally, he is a professional photographer whose pictures have been published by THE NEW YORK TIMES, the DAILY NEWS, and several major websites. (Visit www.followspotphoto.com for more information.) He can be reached at [email protected]

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