Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actor in a Play

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Drama Desk Award
for Outstanding Actor
Awarded for Outstanding Actor in a Play
Location  United States
Presented by Drama Desk
Currently held by Bryan Cranston for All the Way (2014)
Official website DramaDesk.org

The Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actor in a Play is an annual award presented by Drama Desk in recognition of achievements in the theatre among Broadway, Off Broadway and Off-Off Broadway productions. The awards were established in 1955, with acting awards being given without making distinctions between roles in plays and musicals, or actors and actresses. The new award categories were later created in the 1975 ceremony.

† - indicates the performance won the Tony Award
‡ - indicates the performance was also nominated for the Tony Award

Winners and nominees[edit]

1970s[edit]

Year Actor Play Character
1975
Anthony Hopkins Equus Dysart
Roy Dotrice Brief Lives John Aubrey
Peter Firth Equus Alan Strang ‡
Charles Grodin Same Time, Next Year George
John Kani Sizwe Banzi Is Dead Styles / Buntu
The Island John
Alec McCowen The Misanthrope Alceste
Richard Monette Hosanna Hosanna
Tony Musante P.S. Your Cat Is Dead Vito
Winston Ntshona The Island Winston
Donald Sinden London Assurance Sir Harcourt Courtly
1976
John Wood Travesties Henry Carr †
Peter Evans Streamers Richie
Ben Gazzara Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? George ‡
Richard Kiley The Heiress Dr. Austin Sloper
Frank Quinn Lamppost Reunion Mac
Louis Zorich They Knew What They Wanted Tony
1977
Al Pacino The Basic Training of Pavlo Hummel Pavlo Hummel †
Martin Balsam Cold Storage Joseph Parmigian
Richard Chamberlain The Night of the Iguana Rev. Shannon
Tom Courtney Otherwise Engaged Simon ‡
Robert Duvall American Buffalo Walter Cole
Fred Gwynne A Texas Trilogy Colonel J. C. Kinkaid
John Heard G.R. Point Micah
Jonathan Pryce Comedians Gethin Price
1978
Barnard Hughes Da Da †
Hume Cronyn The Gin Game Weller Martin ‡
Judd Hirsch Chapter Two George
James Earl Jones Paul Robeson Paul Robeson
Frank Langella Dracula Dracula
Brian Murray Da Charlie Now
1979
Philip Anglim The Elephant Man John Merrick
Tom Aldredge On Golden Pond Norman Thayer Jr.
Richard Chamberlain Fathers and Sons Wild Bill Hickock
Tom Conti Whose Life is It Anyway? Ken Harrison †
Donal Donnelly Faith Healer Frank Hardy
Jack Lemmon Tribute Scottie Templeton ‡

1980s[edit]

Year Actor Play Character
1980
John Rubinstein Children of a Lesser God James Leeds †
F. Murray Abraham Teibele and Her Demon Alchonon
Philip Bosco Major Barbara Andrew Undershaft
Charles Brown Home Cephus Miles ‡
Gerald Hiken Strider Strider ‡
Judd Hirsch Talley's Folly Matt Friedman ‡
1981
Ian McKellen Amadeus Antonio Salieri
Tim Curry Amadeus Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
John Heard The Chekhov Sketchbook Various Characters
Derek Jacobi The Suicide Semyon Semyonovich Podsekalnikov
Milo O'Shea Mass Appeal Tim Farley ‡
Remak Ramsay The Winslow Boy Sir Robert Morton
1982
Christopher Plummer Othello Iago ‡
Bob Gunton How I Got That Story The Historical Event
Zakes Mokae "Master Harold"...and the Boys Sam
Paul Rogers The Dresser Sir
Robert Stattel King Lear Edgar
1983
Harvey Fierstein Torch Song Trilogy Arnold Beckoff †
Matthew Broderick Torch Song Trilogy David
Jeff Daniels Johnny Got His Gun Joe Bonham
John Malkovich True West Lee
Remak Ramsay Quartermaine's Terms St. John Quartermaine
John Rubinstein The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial Barney Greenwald
James Russo Extremities Raul
1984
Dustin Hoffman Death of a Salesman Willy Loman
Rex Harrison Heartbreak House Captain Shotover ‡
Jeremy Irons The Real Thing Henry †
David McCallum The Philanthropist Philip
Donald Moffat Play Memory Cam MacMillan
Al Pacino American Buffalo Walter Cole
1985
John Lithgow Requiem for a Heavyweight Harlan "Mountain" McClintock ‡
Jim Dale A Day in the Death of Joe Egg Bri ‡
Anthony Heald Digby Digby Merton
The Foreigner Charlie
Jonathan Hogan As Is Rich ‡
Derek Jacobi Cyrano de Bergerac Cyrano de Bergerac
Much Ado About Nothing Benedick †
Patrick McGoohan Pack of Lies Stewart
Jonathan Pryce Accidental Death of an Anarchist The Fool
1986
Ed Harris Precious Sons Fred ‡
Jeff Daniels Lemon Sky Alan
Kevin Kline Hamlet Prince Hamlet
Jack Lemmon Long Day's Journey into Night James Tyrone, Sr. ‡
John Mahoney The House of Blue Leaves Artie Shaughnessy
Roshan Seth A Map of the World Victor Mehta
1987
James Earl Jones Fences Troy Maxson †
Don Bloomfield Lily Dale Horace Robedaux
Morgan Freeman Driving Miss Daisy Hoke Coleburn
Victor Garber You Never Can Tell Dr. Valentine
Ian McKellen Wild Honey Mikhail Platonov
Alan Rickman Les Liaisons Dangereuses Le Vicomte de Valmont ‡
1988
Ron Silver Speed-the-Plow Charlie Fox †
Derek Jacobi Breaking the Code Alan Turing ‡
Delroy Lindo Joe Turner's Come and Gone Herald Loomis
John Lithgow M. Butterfly Rene Gallimard ‡
John Malkovich Burn This Pale
Joe Mantegna Speed-the-Plow Gould
1989
Philip Bosco Lend Me a Tenor Saunders †
Mikhail Baryshnikov Metamorphosis Gregor Samsa ‡
Niall Buggy Aristocrats Casimir
Peter Friedman The Heidi Chronicles Scoop
John Kavanagh Juno and the Paycock Joxer Daly
Stephen McHattie Ghetto Kittel
Paul Provenza Only Kidding! Jerry Goldstein

1990s[edit]

Year Actor Play Character
1990
Nathan Lane The Lisbon Traviata Mendy
Alec Baldwin Prelude to a Kiss Peter Hoskins
Charles S. Dutton The Piano Lesson Boy Willie ‡
Gary Sinise The Grapes of Wrath Tom Joad
Colin Stinton Some Americans Abroad Joe Taylor
1991
Ron Rifkin The Substance of Fire Isaac Geldhart
Kevin Kline Hamlet Prince Hamlet
Tom McGowan La Bête Valere ‡
Sab Shimono The Wash Sadao
1992
Brian Bedford Two Shakespearean Actors William Charles Macready ‡
F. Murray Abraham A Life in the Theatre Robert
Dennis Boutsikaris Sight Unseen Jonathan
James McDaniel Before it Hits Home Wendall
Brian Murray A Small Family Business Jack McCracken
1993
Ron Leibman Angels in America Roy Cohn, et al. †
John Cameron Mitchell The Destiny of Me Alexander
Denis O'Hare Hauptmann Richard Hauptmann
Everett Quinton Brother Truckers Lyla Balskin
Ron Rifkin Three Hotels Kenneth Hoyle
1994
Brian Bedford Timon of Athens Timon ‡
Stacy Keach The Kentucky Cycle Various Characters
Christopher Plummer No Man's Land Spooner ‡
Stephen Spinella Angels in America: Perestroika Prior Walter †
Sam Waterston Abe Lincoln in Illinois Abraham Lincoln
1995
Ralph Fiennes Hamlet Prince Hamlet
Tom Aldredge Incommunicado Ezra Pound
Philip Bosco The Heiress Dr. Austin Sloper
Philip Goodwin Henry VI Henry VI of England
Ron Leibman The Merchant of Venice Shylock
Roger Rees Indiscretions George ‡
1996
Frank Langella The Father The Captain
Gerry Bamman Nixon's Nixon Richard M. Nixon
George Grizzard A Delicate Balance Tobias †
Mark Nelson Picasso at the Lapin Agile Albert Einstein
Rocco Sisto Quills The Marquis
Patrick Stewart The Tempest Prospero
1997
David Morse How I Learned to Drive Uncle Peck
Christopher Plummer Barrymore John Barrymore †
Michael Gambon Skylight Tom Sergeant ‡
Frank Langella Present Laughter Garry
Daniel Massey Taking Sides Wilhelm Furtwängler
Donal McCann The Steward of Christendom Thomas Dunne
1998
Anthony LaPaglia A View from the Bridge Eddie Carbone †
Jason Bowcutt Never the Sinner Nathan Leopold
Richard Briers The Chairs Old Man ‡
Brian Cox St. Nicholas Performer
John Slattery Three Days of Rain Walker
Eli Wallach Visiting Mr. Green Mr. Green
1999
Brian Dennehy Death of a Salesman Willy Loman
Scott Glenn Killer Joe Killer Joe Cooper
Finbar Lynch Not About Nightingales Canary Jim
Corin Redgrave Not About Nightingales Bert "Boss" Whalen ‡
Toby Stephens Ring Round the Moon Hugo / Frederick
Patrick Stewart The Ride Down Mt. Morgan Lyman Felt

2000s[edit]

Year Actor Play Character
2000
Stephen Dillane The Real Thing Henry †
Gabriel Byrne A Moon for the Misbegotten James Tyrone, Jr. ‡
Kevin Chamberlin Dirty Blonde Charlie
Philip Seymour Hoffman True West Austin (Alternated with Lee)
Derek Jacobi Uncle Vanya Ivan Petrovich Voinitsky
Paul Sparks Coyote on a Fence Robert Alvin "Bobby" Reyburn
2001
Richard Easton The Invention of Love A.E. Houseman †
Alan Bates The Unexpected Man The Man
Ralph Fiennes Richard II Richard II of England
Brian Stokes Mitchell King Hedley II King ‡
John Ortiz Jesus Hopped the 'A' Train Angel Cruz
Liev Schreiber Betrayal Jerry
2002
Alan Bates Fortune's Fool Vassily Semyonitch Kuzovkin †
Liam Neeson The Crucible John Proctor ‡
Bill Pullman The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia? Martin Gray
Alan Rickman Private Lives Elyot Chase ‡
Dallas Roberts Nocturne The Son
Jeffrey Wright Topdog/Underdog Lincoln ‡
2003
Eddie Izzard A Day in the Death of Joe Egg Bri ‡
Simon Russell Beale Uncle Vanya Ivan Petrovich Voinitsky
Norbert Leo Butz Buicks Bill
Jim Dale Comedians Eddie Waters
Brian Dennehy Long Day's Journey into Night James Tyrone, Sr. †
Daniel Sunjata Take Me Out Darren Lemming
2004
Kevin Kline Henry IV Sir John Falstaff ‡
John Michael Higgins Big Bill Bill Tilden
Frank Langella Match Tobi ‡
Brían F. O'Byrne Frozen Ralph
Christopher Plummer King Lear King Lear
Paul Sparks Blackbird Baylis
2005
Brían F. O'Byrne Doubt Father Flynn ‡
Adam Arkin Brooklyn Boy Eric Weiss
John Cullum Sin (A Cardinal Deposed) Cardinal Bernard Law
Bill Irwin Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? George †
Jeremy Piven Fat Pig Tom
John Turturro Souls of Naples Pasquale
2006
Richard Griffiths The History Boys Hector †
Vince Gatton Candy & Dorothy Candy
John Glover The Paris Letter Anton Kilgallen
Željko Ivanek The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial Lt. Com. Phillip Francis Queeg ‡
Nathan Lane Dedication or The Stuff of Dreams Lou Nuncle
Brían F. O'Byrne Shining City Ian
2007
Frank Langella Frost/Nixon Richard Nixon
Brían F. O'Byrne The Coast of Utopia: Voyage Alexander Herzen ‡
Christopher Plummer Inherit the Wind Henry Drummond ‡
Philip Seymour Hoffman Jack Goes Boating Jack
Liev Schreiber Talk Radio Barry Champlain ‡
Kevin Spacey A Moon for the Misbegotten James Tyrone, Jr.
Paul Sparks Essential Self-Defense Yul Carroll
2008
Mark Rylance Boeing-Boeing Robert †
Bill Champion Intimate Exchanges Toby
Kevin Kline Cyrano de Bergerac Cyrano de Bergerac
Bill Pullman Peter & Jerry Peter
Tobias Segal From Up Here Kenny Barrett
Rufus Sewell Rock 'n' Roll Jan ‡
2009
Geoffrey Rush Exit the King King Berenger †
Simon Russell Beale The Winter's Tale Leontes
Reed Birney Blasted Ian
Raúl Esparza Speed-the-Plow Charlie Fox ‡
Bill Irwin Waiting for Godot Lucky
Daniel Radcliffe Equus Alan Strang
Thomas Sadoski reasons to be pretty Greg ‡

2010s[edit]

Year Actor Play Character
2010
Liev Schreiber A View from the Bridge Eddie Carbone ‡
Bill Heck The Orphans' Home Cycle Various Characters
Jude Law Hamlet Hamlet ‡
Alfred Molina Red Mark Rothko ‡
Eddie Redmayne Red Ken ‡
John Douglas Thompson The Emperor Jones Jones
Christopher Walken A Behanding in Spokane Carmichael ‡
2011
Bobby Cannavale The Motherfucker With the Hat Jackie ‡
Charles Busch The Divine Sister Mother Superior
Al Pacino The Merchant of Venice Shylock
Geoffrey Rush The Diary of a Madman Poprishchin
Mark Rylance Jerusalem Johnny "Rooster" Byron †
Michael Shannon Mistakes Were Made Felix Artifex
Paul Sparks Dusk Rings a Bell Ray
2012
James Corden One Man, Two Guvnors Francis Henshall †
Hugh Dancy Venus in Fur Thomas
Claybourne Elder One Arm Ollie
Santino Fontana Sons of the Prophet Joseph
Joseph Franchini The Navigator Dave
Philip Seymour Hoffman Death of a Salesman Willy Loman
Kevin Spacey Richard III Richard III of England
2013
Tracy Letts Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? George †
Reed Birney Uncle Vanya Ivan Petrovich Voinitsky
Daniel Everidge Falling Performer
Tom Hanks Lucky Guy Mike McAlary
Shuler Hensley The Whale Charlie
Nathan Lane The Nance Chauncey ‡
2014
Bryan Cranston All the Way President Lyndon B. Johnson
Hamish Linklater The Comedy of Errors Antipholus
Ian McKellen No Man's Land Spooner
David Morse The Unavoidable Disappearance of Tom Durnin Tom Durnin
Chris O'Dowd Of Mice and Men Lennie Small ‡
Daniel Radcliffe The Cripple of Inishmaan Cripple Billy
Denzel Washington A Raisin in the Sun Walter Lee Younger

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]