Theater Community Petitions Drama Desk’s Omission of Orchestrations

Theater Community Petitions Drama Desk’s Omission of Orchestrations

By Julienne Bilker

April 30, 2012


Photo by Getty Images
Jason Robert Brown
The Drama Desk Award nominations, announced Friday, are causing some drama of their own. After inexplicably not including the Outstanding Orchestrations category in this year’s awards – the press release says, “The Board also decided to eliminate the category of Orchestrations” - the Drama Desk board has ruffled more than a few industry feathers.

Drama Desk and Tony Award-winning composer Jason Robert Brown took to his blog to register his outrage. Calling on this year’s nominated composers - Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová (“Once”), Michael John LaChiusa (“Queen of the Mist”), Alan Menken (“Leap of Faith” and “Newsies The Musical”), Frank Wildhorn (“Bonnie & Clyde”), and Maury Yeston (“Death Takes a Holiday”) - to boycott the awards on June 3, Brown wrote:

“I think it's the duty of those writers to support the orchestrators who have served them so valiantly and brilliantly this season and throughout their careers. I think the Drama Desk's decision to simply delete the category this year (while retaining the Outstanding Sound Design in a Musical category) is a slap in the face to the people who are at the front lines of keeping a degree of musical integrity in the musical theatre scene, and it should be answered in kind.”

Brown also reprinted a letter he received from Isa Goldberg, Drama Desk President, which stated:

“To be clear: every possible category cannot be recognized in each Awards year. I want to emphasize that the absence of the Outstanding Orchestrations category is not a permanent matter...One practical issue each year is that the Board is committed to allocating equal time to each of the year's categories in the Drama Desk Awards event. Indeed, it is our desire to remain as inclusive as possible, and we will continue to pursue that goal while also grappling with the realities of time, space, and the costs of Awards presentation.”

A petition to reinstate the Orchestrations category, which, as of 7:48am on Monday, has 2,639 signatures, points out that the Drama Desks recognized orchestrators long before the Tonys did, arguing, “As you have been in the forefront of recognizing creative contributions, we fail to see the logic in your now continuing to honor design elements like sound and lights but not our musical efforts.”


Theater Community Petitions Drama Desk’s Omission of Orchestrations

By Julienne Bilker

April 30, 2012


Jason Robert Brown
PHOTO CREDIT
Getty Images
The Drama Desk Award nominations, announced Friday, are causing some drama of their own. After inexplicably not including the Outstanding Orchestrations category in this year’s awards – the press release says, “The Board also decided to eliminate the category of Orchestrations” - the Drama Desk board has ruffled more than a few industry feathers.

Drama Desk and Tony Award-winning composer Jason Robert Brown took to his blog to register his outrage. Calling on this year’s nominated composers - Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová (“Once”), Michael John LaChiusa (“Queen of the Mist”), Alan Menken (“Leap of Faith” and “Newsies The Musical”), Frank Wildhorn (“Bonnie & Clyde”), and Maury Yeston (“Death Takes a Holiday”) - to boycott the awards on June 3, Brown wrote:

“I think it's the duty of those writers to support the orchestrators who have served them so valiantly and brilliantly this season and throughout their careers. I think the Drama Desk's decision to simply delete the category this year (while retaining the Outstanding Sound Design in a Musical category) is a slap in the face to the people who are at the front lines of keeping a degree of musical integrity in the musical theatre scene, and it should be answered in kind.”

Brown also reprinted a letter he received from Isa Goldberg, Drama Desk President, which stated:

“To be clear: every possible category cannot be recognized in each Awards year. I want to emphasize that the absence of the Outstanding Orchestrations category is not a permanent matter...One practical issue each year is that the Board is committed to allocating equal time to each of the year's categories in the Drama Desk Awards event. Indeed, it is our desire to remain as inclusive as possible, and we will continue to pursue that goal while also grappling with the realities of time, space, and the costs of Awards presentation.”

A petition to reinstate the Orchestrations category, which, as of 7:48am on Monday, has 2,639 signatures, points out that the Drama Desks recognized orchestrators long before the Tonys did, arguing, “As you have been in the forefront of recognizing creative contributions, we fail to see the logic in your now continuing to honor design elements like sound and lights but not our musical efforts.”
 
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