By Rohan Preston
Minnesota was in the mix at the 64th annual Drama Desk Awards, held Sunday in New York and chosen by a cross-section of the city’s arts journalists and critics.
“All Is Calm: The Christmas Truce of 1914” is a holiday show created in 2007 by Theater Latté Da founder Peter Rothstein. The production, which combines music with text from World War I-era figures, played off Broadway at the Sheen Center for Thought & Culture in New York in 2018. Also presented annually in the Twin Cities, the show won the Drama Desk for “unique theatrical experience.”
“I was really not expecting it, to be honest, but I’m thrilled,” Rothstein said Tuesday as he landed in Austin, Tex., where he’s directing the world premiere of a new Terrence McNally play, “Immortal Longings.”
“When the producer first approached me about doing it in New York, I right away advocated for the hometown designers and actors who’d been doing the show for years,” Rothstein continued. “The producer agreed to the whole creative team and seven actors from Minnesota. We have such extraordinary talent, and our artists deserve to be working on — and recognized at — a national level.”
Latté Da is not the only Minnesota-connected talent to win a Drama Desk this year. Actor Santino Fontana, who graduated in the first class of the University of Minnesota/Guthrie Theater BFA program and famously essayed Hamlet at the Guthrie Theater, won a Drama Desk for outstanding actor in a musical for playing the title character in “Tootsie.”
And “Hadestown,” whose producers include a group of theater-loving Minnesotans, took home Drama Desk statues for outstanding director (Rachel Chavkin) and outstanding featured actor (André de Shields).
The Drama Desks are high honors in their own right, but are often regarded like the Golden Globes are to the Oscars. They suggest possible winners of the Tonys, theater’s highest honor. Those awards will be broadcast Sunday on CBS.