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, publishers, and broadcasters covering theater without any vested interest in the results. For this reason, the awards reflect both enthusiasm for all aspects of New York City's professional theater and a level of erudition and theatrical experience unparalleled in the industry's other prize-giving organizations. This year's awards ceremony is hosted by Michael Urie.
About the Awards
Drama Desk Awards, which are given annually in a number of categories, are the only major New York City theater honors for which productions on Broadway, Off-Broadway and Off-Off Broadway compete against each other in the same category. What sets 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.
Formed in 1949 by a group of New York City theater critics, editors, reporters, and publishers, the organization was created to educate the community on vital issues concerning the theater.
In 1955, Drama Desk became the first major organization to honor Outstanding Achievement Off-Broadway, with their Vernon Rice Awards, named for the late New York Post critic who had pioneered Off-Broadway coverage in the New York press.
In 1974, as Off and Off-Off Broadway grew in importance, Drama Desk began what has become its distinct tradition – evaluating all three venues by the same criteria. In 1974 Drama Desk also became incorporated as a not-for-profit organization.In keeping with its original mission, the organization sponsors guest panel luncheons with theater professionals.Panels address topics of current interest – covering the season on Broadway, Off Broadway and Off-Off Broadway, with the aim of prompting informative and stimulating discussion.All of Drama Desk officers and Nominating Committee members perform their various services for the organization on a voluntary basis. The Nominating Committee generally meets twice a month to discuss the many eligible shows they are responsible for seeing. They then choose the productions for nomination on which the entire membership will vote. What sets the organization apart is that the awards are voted on by media people only without any vested interests in the results.
Founded in 1999, TheaterMania connects the theater industry to a mass consumer audience, with comprehensive listings, news, reviews, features, interviews and video content that covers theater across the United States and the United Kingdom. TheaterMania's widely distributed email newsletters provide special offers to over 1 million 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 ticket sales and manage fundraising and patron information. TheaterMania owns London-based WhatsOnStage, a source for information and tickets to UK theater, and also produces the annual WhatsOnStage Awards. TheaterMania became presenter of the Drama Desk Awards in 2012. In July of 2017 TheaterMania became part of AudienceView Ticketing Corporation, a leading provider of ticketing software to major performing arts, sports and other organizations around the globe.