“You’re all very in touch with your emotions here,” the very British Jonathan Sayer said wryly after listening to some of the acceptance speeches at the 67th annual Drama Desk Awards at Sardi’s restaurant. “I want to say something beautiful and profound but I don’t quite have it in me.” In accepting his award for Unique Theatrical Experience, he thanked the New York theater community for “all of your warmth and generosity that just oozes out of you in a beautiful and disgusting way.”
Nobody oozed more warmth than Mandy Patinkin, who was co-host with his wife Kathryn Grody of the ceremony, which took place on June 6, 2023. Among the videos below of the highlights of the afternoon, none is longer than the one that captures Patinkin’s entertaining digressions, which included (among many other remarks) his rousing support for the Writers Guild of America strike and his dream of a single union representing all the storytellers in the world, and his evisceration of critic Charles Isherwood for his 2009 review of a play with puppets at St Ann’s Warehouse called “Disfarmer” (For the curious, here is that review, which strikes me as a lot milder than Patinkin’s condemnation of it.) At one point, he informed the gathering that they were running 45 minutes behind. Nobody seemed to mind.
Some of the speeches and presentations excerpted below may (or may not) be previews of speeches at the Tony Awards on Sunday, because several of the winners of the 67th Drama Desk Awards are also among the nominees for the 76th annual Tony Awards, including Jessica Chastain (“A Doll’s House”), Jodie Comer, (“Prima Facie”) Annaleigh Ashford (“Sweeney Todd), Jordan E. Cooper (“Ain’t No Mo'”), Miriam Silverman (“The Sign in Sidney Brustein’s Window”), and Kevin Del Aguila (“Some Like It Hot.”)
But it’s only here that you’ll hear Ryan J. Haddad pointedly thank Sardi’s for being more accessible than the Broadway theater across the street, or Myles Frost introducing Lin-Manuel Miranda as “my sister’s favorite person in the world,” and Miranda presenting an award to Tommy Kail, who invokes the ghosts of Sardi’s.