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Laura Benanti to Host 59th Annual Drama Desk Awards




New York, NY, March 11, 2014 -- Drama Desk and Tony Award winner Laura Benanti ("The Sound of Music Live!", Gypsy, Women On The Verge of a Nervous Breakdown) will host the 59th Annual Drama Desk Awards on Sunday, June 1, 2014 at 8:00 PM at The Town Hall (123 W. 43rd Street), it was announced today by Gretchen Shugart, CEO of and Isa Goldberg, Drama Desk President.

For the third 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).

"As host, Laura Benanti brings a winning combination to the stage - talent, beauty and a great sense of humor.  We look forward to a great evening," said Shugart.

Laura Benanti said "I am thrilled to bring my particular brand of idiocy to what is usually a very classy affair. #ForThePeopleByThePeople"

Tickets to the 59th Annual Drama Desk Awards are available to the general public at

The Nominations Announcement News Conference will take place on Friday, April 25, 2014 at 11 AM at 54 Below and will be live-streamed on

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, without any vested interest in the results. 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.

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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 2013-2014 Drama Desk Nominating Committee is composed of: Barbara Siegel, Chairperson, (Author and Freelance Critic); Morgan Jenness (Dramaturg; Columbia & Pace University Professor); Samuel L. Leiter (Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Theatre, CUNY); Sandy MacDonald (freelance;; Chad McArver (Lighting and Set Designer; Professor, Fordham University); Martha Wade Steketee (Editor and Contributor, Chance Magazine;; and James Wilson (Theatre Professor, CUNY; Co-Editor of JADT).

The 2013-2014 Board of Directors of the Drama Desk is composed of: Isa Goldberg (The Broadway Channel), Leslie (Hoban) Blake (City Arts; Two on the Aisle), Charles Wright (A+E Networks), Richard Ridge (Broadway World), Arlene Epstein (South Shore Record & Herald Community Newspapers), Elysa Gardner (USA Today), Randy Gener (USA Editor, Critical Stages; Contributor, NPR), John Istel (Freelance), Edward Karam (, David Kaufman (Author & Freelance), William Wolf (Adjunct Professor, NYU &, Lauren Yarger (Manchester Journal-Inquirer &

In addition to Greatchen Shugart as Executive Producer, Robert R. Blume and David S. Stone, in association with Renee McCurry, are Producers of the Drama Desk Awards.


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About Laura Benanti

Laura has brought her unique abilities to comedies, dramas and musicals since she took Broadway by storm at the age of 18. Ms. Benanti earned the Tony, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards for her revelatory portrayal of Gypsy Rose Lee in Gypsy opposite Patti LuPone and directed by Arthur Laurents. She also received a Drama Desk Award, Outer Critics Circle Award and a Tony Nomination for her starring role in the Broadway production of Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown for Lincoln Center Theater, where she also starred in Sarah Ruhl's In the Next Room (or The Vibrator Play). Ms. Benanti also demonstrated her comic flair in the Public Theater's production of Christopher Durang's Why Torture is Wrong, and the People Who Love Them. Her other Broadway roles include her Tony and Drama Desk nominated performance in Stephen Sondheim's Into the Woods, her Tony nominated turn in Swing! andthe celebrated revival of Nine opposite Antonio Banderas. She debuted on Broadway as Maria in The Sound of Music opposite Richard Chamberlain. Her starring roles on TV include "The Sound of Music Live!" opposite Carrie Underwood, "Nurse Jackie," "Go On" opposite Matthew Perry, "The Playboy Club" and "Starved," in addition to recurring roles on "Royal Pains," "The Big C," "Law & Order: SVU," and "Eli Stone." Laura's guest-starring roles include "Elementary," "Life On Mars" and "The Good Wife" (upcoming). In Constant Search of the Right Kind of Attention, her critically-acclaimed debut solo CD, was recently released by Broadway Records. More information is available at Follow Laura on Twitter @LauraBenanti.


Founded in 1999, TheaterMania connects the theater industry with a mass consumer audience, comprehensive listings, news, reviews, features, interviews, and video content covering theater across the United States. TheaterMania's widely distributed email newsletters provide special offers to its subscribers.  In addition to providing theaters with online marketing programs to drive ticket sales, TheaterMania's proprietary ticketing system OvationTix™ is used throughout America by hundreds of performing arts organizations, museums, concerts, festivals, and events to process tickets sales, and manage fundraising and patron information.  TheaterMania also owns London-based, a source for information and tickets to UK theatre, and the producer of the annual WhatsOnStage Awards.  Gretchen Shugart, CEO of TheaterMania, became Executive Producer of the Drama Desk Awards in 2012.

About Joey Parnes Productions

Led by Joey Parnes, a veteran Broadway producer and general manager, Joey Parnes Productions produces, executive produces, and general manages plays and musicals for Broadway and the road in addition to working with non-profits on Broadway transfers. Currently represented on Broadway by A Gentleman's Guide To Love and Murder and A Raisin In The Sun, recent credits include Betrayal (2013), the Tony Award winning Vanya and Sonya and Masha and Spike, and the Tony Award winning revival of HAIR. Joey served as the Coordinating Producer of the Tony Awards from 2001 to 2008 and with his colleagues Sue Wagner and John Johnson produced the Drama Desk Awards in 2012 and 2013.

For more information, please visit:

Andrew C. McGibbon



Andrew C. McGibbon has spent the past thirty years working in live theatre as a stage manager, general manager, producer and leader in the convergence of Broadway and online.

Mr. McGibbon worked as a stage manager and general manager for ten years. In 1994 he created a website devoted to live theatre, The site was subsequently bought by, and became He continued to manage the site for Playbill for four years. In 2000 he became the website manager for With the 2008-09 season he finished his ninth year on the show. He has also worked as a webmaster for the Broadway LeagueJazz at Lincoln Center, and as the Director of Digital Media for the New Jersey Performing Arts Center.

Since 2015, Andrew has been working as an architectural photographer and virtual tour photographer known for his photography of theatres such as the Kimmel Center, Tanglewood, Signature Theatre Company, Roundabout Theatre Company, Arena Stage and the Goodspeed Opera House. His photography work can be previewed at

Mr. McGibbon is a member of the American Theatre Critics Association, the Independent Theatre Bloggers AssociationActors' Equity Association and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, as well as the American Society of Media Photographers

In addition to his work in the theatrical industry, Mr. McGibbon is also a partner in Simple Solutions Distributing, a manufacturer of filtration equipment for the waste-water industry.

Photo: Elizabeth Leitzell