The Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Solo Performance is presented by the Drama Desk, a committee of New York City theatre critics, writers, and editors. It honors an individual presenting a solo performance in a Broadway, off-Broadway, off-off-Broadway, or legitimate not-for-profit theater production.
The category was first presented at the 30th Annual Drama Desk Awards in 1984, when it was known as the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding One-Person Show. The first recipient was Ian McKellen for Acting Shakespeare. The award has been known by its current name since 1999.