Just two weeks after scoring a record 14 Tony nominations, his musical farce (featuring a chorus of high-stepping Nazis) picked up a record 11 Drama Desk Awards Sunday, including Best Musical. In fact, The Producers's sweep of the awards topples the old mark of nine awards set previously by Sweeney Todd in 1979 and City of Angels in 1990.
Considered an important tune-up for the Tonys, the Drama Desk awards are presented by an organization of theater journalists and critics who vote on the best productions on and off Broadway.
The Drama Desk also heiled Producers star Nathan Lane, while famed Broadway director Susan Stroman nabbed trophies for both Direction and Choreography and costars Gary Beach and Cady Hoffman won for Best Featured Actor and Actress in a Musical, respectively. The show's other star, Matthew Broderick, was also nominated in the Best Actor category but lost out to Lane.
Brooks' daffy musical also nabbed prizes for Best Costumes, Sets and Orchestrations, as well as two awards for the master himself: Best Lyrics and Best Book, which he shared with cowriter Thomas Meehan. The only category that Brooks failed to capture was for Best Music. That honor went to composer David Yazbek for The Full Monty, another musical based on a hit film that gave The Producers a run for its money with a dozen Drama Desk nominations, but only came away with the one award.
The Producers, based on Brooks' classic 1968 film comedy, follows a washed-up Broadway producer, Max Bialystock, and his timid accountant, Leo Bloom (played in the movie by Zero Mostel and Gene Wilder, respectively), who scheme to make a bundle of money by producing a show that flops.
Since its debut in April, The Producers has taken both Broadway and the critics by storm and is expected to rack up a record number of trophies at this year's Tony awards, which coincidentally, is being hosted by Lane and Broderick on June 3.
Oh yeah, we almost forgot--there were other winners at this year's Drama Desk. The Invention of Love and Mnemonic, both earned three nods apiece in the drama categories, while Best Play went to Proof, which also garnered acting honors for star Mary-Louise Parker.
Oustanding Revival, Musical went to 42nd Street, while Gore Vidal's The Best Man won for Best Revival, Drama, beating out One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (starring Gary Sinise) and The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life, Lily Tomlin's one-woman show (Tomlin also hosted Sunday's ceremonies).
Here's the complete rundown of winners at the New York Drama Desk Awards:
Play: Proof, Musical: The Producers Revival, Play: The Best Man, Gore Vidal Revival, Musical: 42nd Street Actor, Play: Richard Easton, The Invention of Love Actress, Play: Mary-Louise Parker, Proof Actor, Musical: Nathan Lane, The Producers Actress, Musical: Marla Schaffel, Jane Eyre Featured Actor, Play: Charles Brown, King Hedley II Featured Actress, Play: Viola Davis, King Hedley II Featured Actor, Musical: Gary Beach, The Producers Featured Actress, Musical: Cady Huffman, The Producers Director, Play: Jack O'Brien, The Invention of Love Director, Musical: Susan Stroman, The Producers Choreography: Susan Stroman, The Producers Music: David Yazbek, The Full Monty (off-B'way version) Lyrics: Mel Brooks, The Producers Orchestrations: Doug Besterman, The Producers Set Design, Play: Bob Crowley, The Invention of Love Set Design, Musical: Robin Wagner, The Producers Costume Design: William Ivey Long, The Producers Lighting Design: Paul Anderson, Mnemonic Sound Design: Christopher Shutt, Mnemonic Solo Peformance: Pamela Gien The Syringa Tree Unique Theatrical Experience: Mnemonic Special Awards: Reba McEntire, Sean Campion and Conleth Hill; Stones in His Pockets; the casts of Cobb and Tabletop