Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play

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Drama Desk Award Outstanding Featured Actress
Awarded for Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Play
Location United States New York City
Currently held by Judith Light for Other Desert Cities

The Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play was first awarded at the 1974-1975 Drama Desk Awards and has been awarded every year since. Before the 21st Drama Desk Awards, acting awards were given without making distinctions between roles in straight dramas as opposed to musicals, nor were there separate categories for actors and actresses. The Drama Desk Award is unique in that it recognizes performances from Broadway, Off-Broadway, and beyond.

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

List of winners and nominees[edit]


Year Actress Play Character
Frances Sternhagen Equus Dora Strang ‡
Carole Shelley Absurd Person Singular Jane ‡
Maureen Anderman Seascape Sarah
Elizabeth Spriggs London Assurance Lady Gay Spanker ‡
Caroline Lagerfelt The Constant Wife Marie-Louise Durham
Marcia Wallace Avon Lady Avon Lady
Polly Adams London Assurance Grace Harkaway
Rachel Roberts Habeas Corpus Mrs. Wicksteed
Kaiulani Lee Kennedy's Children Rona
Alice Drummond A Memory of Two Mondays Agnes
Toni Darnay The Heiress Mrs. Montgomery
June Havoc Habeas Corpus Mrs. Swabb
Lynn Ann Leveridge Yentl Hadass
Rosemary De Angelis The Transfiguration of Benno Blimpie Mother
Joyce Ebert The Shadow Box Maggie
Patricia Roe The Oldest Living Graduate Maureen Kinkaid
Rose Gregorio The Shadow Box Agnes ‡
Meryl Streep The Cherry Orchard Dunyasha
Gretchen Wyler Sly Fox Miss Fancy
Cecilia Hart Dirty Linen Maddie
Eileen Atkins The Night of the Tribades Marie Caroline David
Carol Kane The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds Matilda "Tillie" Hunsdorfer
Pamela Reed Curse of the Starving Class Emma
Swoosie Kurtz Uncommon Women and Others Rita Altabel
Martha Gaylord The Elusive Angel Bo-Peep Braxton
Pamela Reed Getting Out Arlie
Susan Littler Bedroom Farce Kate ‡
Laurie Kennedy Man and Superman Violet Robinson ‡
Joan Hickson Bedroom Farce Delia †
Dixie Carter Fathers and Sons Martha "Calamity Jane" Canary
Frances Foster Nevis Mountain Dew Everalda Philibert Griffin


Year Actress Play Character
Lois de Banzie Morning's at Seven Myrtle Brown ‡
Pamela Brook Goodbye Fidel Peggy Sinclair
Frances Conroy Othello Desdemona
Mia Dillon Once a Catholic Mary Mooney
Dianne Wiest The Art of Dining Elizabeth Barrow Colt
Swoosie Kurtz Fifth of July Gwen Landis †
Jessica Tandy Rose Rose's Mother ‡
Fran Brill Knuckle Jenny
Zoë Wanamaker Piaf Tione ‡
Jean Smart Last Summer at Bluefish Cove Lil
Carrie Nye The Man Who Came to Dinner Lorraine Sheldon
Amanda Plummer Agnes of God Agnes †
Cheryl Giannini Grown Ups Louise
Pauline Flanagan Medea The First Woman of Corinth
Aideen O'Kelly Othello Emilia
Estelle Getty Torch Song Trilogy Mrs. Beckoff
E. Katherine Kerr Cloud Nine Ellen / Mrs. Saunders
Judith Ivey Steaming Josie †
Kate McGregor-Stewart Beyond Therapy Charlotte
Dana Ivey Present Laughter & Quartermaine's Terms Monica Reed / Melanie Garth
Anne Twomey Vieux Carré Jane
Maureen Anderman You Can't Take It with You Alice Sycamore
Christine Baranski The Real Thing Charlotte †
Amy Irving Heartbreak House Ellie Dunn
Dianne Wiest Serenading Louie & Other Places Gabby / Deborah
Jo Henderson Isn't it Romantic Lillian Cornwall
Dody Goodman Ah, Wilderness! Essie Miller
Lisa Banes Isn't it Romantic Harriet Cornwall
Judith Ivey Hurlyburly Bonnie †
Anne Pitoniak The Octette Bridge Club Martha McDermitt
Joanna Gleason Joe Egg Pam ‡
Nancy Marchand The Octette Bridge Club Connie Emerson
Sudie Bond The Foreigner Betty Meeks
Margaret Tyzack Tom and Viv Rose Robinson Haigh-Wood
Joanna Gleason Social Security & It's Only a Play Trudy Heyman / Virginia Noyes
Elizabeth Berridge Cruise Control & Wrestlers Suze / Angie
Kathryn Grody The Marriage of Betty and Boo Emily Brennan
Zoë Wanamaker Loot Fay ‡
Ann Wedgeworth A Lie of the Mind Meg
Mary Alice Fences Rose Maxson †
Suzanne Burden Dangerous Liaisons Madame de Tourvel
Jane Carr The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby Various Characters
Christine Estabrook North Shore Fish Florence Rizzo
Janet Eilber Stepping Out Andy
Vickilyn Reynolds The Colored Museum Lawanda / Mama
Christine Estabrook The Boys Next Door Sheila
Kimberleigh Aarn Joe Turner's Come and Gone Mattie Cambell ‡
Frances McDormand A Streetcar Named Desire Stella Kowalski ‡
Kimberly Scott Joe Turner's Come and Gone Molly Cunningham ‡
Tovah Feldshuh Lend Me a Tenor Maria Merelli ‡
Joanne Camp The Heidi Chronicles Fran / Molly / Betsy / April ‡
Holland Taylor The Cocktail Hour Nina
Penelope Ann Miller Our Town Emily Webb ‡
Alice Playten Spoils of War Emma
Margaret Colin Aristocrats Alice





  • Mary Alice and Viola Davis are the only two women who have won for playing the same character, Rose Maxson, from Fences