The 2016 Drama Desk Awards were last night, and although Hamilton wasn't eligible (it won seven awards last year as an Off-Broadway production), dance was still prevalent amongst the winners. Shuffle Along was named Outstanding Musical, with Savion Glover taking home the award for Outstanding Choreography. Also nominated in the choreography category: Joshua Bergasse's old-school tapping in Cagney, Spencer Liff's integration of sign language and dance in Spring Awakening, Lynne Page's cool, sensual work for the eerie American Psycho and Randy Skinner's exuberant Dames at Sea. Notably missing from the above list is Hofesh Shechter for Fiddler on the Roof (though the musical did bag directing and acting nods).
Savion Glover. Courtesy Savion Glover Productions.
It's been exciting to see such different dance styles in the Broadway spotlight this year, between Glover's hoofing, Shechter's folky Fiddler on the Roof and Andy Blankebuehler's contemporary/hip-hop Hamilton. Broadway seems to be expanding it's choreographic pallet ever further beyond the classic song-and-dance model (remember how excited we were for Christopher Wheeldon's ballets in An American in Paris last year?), and it will be interesting to see what other stories and audiences dance can open up for the musical theatre genre.
The Drama Desk Awards have long been considered a predictor of the Tony Awards, now less than a week away. Can Shuffle Along beat out the seemingly unstoppable Hamilton? Or will Fiddler make a surprise comeback? Tune in to CBS on Sunday, June 12 at 8/7c to find out!
Tony Awards, here we come!
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