Awards & Winners

Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actor in a Play

Drama Desk Award

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

Check all the winners of Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actor in a Play presented under Drama Desk Award since 1975 .

Bryan Cranston

Honored for : All The Way

Nominations 2014 »

Nominee Nominated Work
Bryan Cranston All The Way
Hamish Linklater The Comedy of Errors
Ian McKellen No Man's Land
David Morse The Unavoidable Disappearance of Tom Durnin
Chris O'Dowd Of Mice and Men
Daniel Radcliffe The Cripple of Inishmaan
Denzel Washington A Raisin In The Sun

Tracy Letts

Honored for : Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

Nominations 2013 »

Nominee Nominated Work
Reed Birney Uncle Vanya
Daniel Everidge Falling
Shuler Hensley The Whale
Tracy Letts Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Tom Hanks Lucky Guy
Nathan Lane The Nance

James Corden

Honored for : One Man, Two Guvnors

Nominations 2012 »

Nominee Nominated Work
Claybourne Elder One Arm
Santino Fontana Sons of the Prophet
Joseph Franchini The Navigator
Kevin Spacey Richard III
James Corden One Man, Two Guvnors
Philip Seymour Hoffman Death of a Salesman
Hugh Dancy Venus in Fur

Bobby Cannavale

Honored for : The Motherfucker with the Hat

Nominations 2011 »

Nominee Nominated Work
Charles Busch The Divine Sister
Geoffrey Rush The Diary of a Madman
Paul Sparks Dusk Rings a Bell
Michael Shannon Mistakes Were Made
Bobby Cannavale The Motherfucker with the Hat
Mark Rylance Jerusalem
Al Pacino The Merchant of Venice

Liev Schreiber

Honored for : A View from the Bridge

Nominations 2010 »

Nominee Nominated Work
Bill Heck The Orphans' Home Cycle
John Douglas Thompson The Emperor Jones
Liev Schreiber A View from the Bridge
Christopher Walken A Behanding in Spokane
Jude Law Hamlet
Alfred Molina Red
Eddie Redmayne Red

Geoffrey Rush

Honored for : Exit the King

Nominations 2009 »

Nominee Nominated Work
Simon Russell Beale The Winter's Tale
Reed Birney Blasted
Geoffrey Rush Exit the King
Daniel Radcliffe Equus
Thomas Sadoski Reasons to Be Pretty
Raúl Esparza Speed-the-Plow
Bill Irwin Waiting for Godot

Mark Rylance

Honored for : Boeing Boeing

Nominations 2008 »

Nominee Nominated Work
Mark Rylance Boeing Boeing
Bill Champion Intimate Exchanges
Kevin Kline Cyrano de Bergerac
Bill Pullman Peter and Jerry
Tobias Segal From Up Here
Rufus Sewell Rock 'n' Roll

Frank Langella

Honored for : Frost/Nixon

Nominations 2007 »

Nominee Nominated Work
Frank Langella Frost/Nixon
Philip Seymour Hoffman Jack Goes Boating
Paul Sparks Essential Self-Defense
Kevin Spacey A Moon for the Misbegotten
Christopher Plummer Inherit the Wind
Liev Schreiber Talk Radio
Brían F. O'Byrne The Coast of Utopia: Voyage","The Coast of Utopia: Shipwreck","The Coast of Utopia: Salvage

Richard Griffiths

Honored for : The History Boys

Nominations 2006 »

Nominee Nominated Work
Vince Gatton Candy & Dorothy
John Glover The Paris Letter
Nathan Lane Dedication or The Stuff of Dreams
Richard Griffiths The History Boys
Brían F. O'Byrne Shining City
Željko Ivanek The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial

Brían F. O'Byrne

Honored for : Doubt: A Parable

Nominations 2005 »

Nominee Nominated Work
John Cullum Sin (A Cardinal Deposed)
Jeremy Piven Fat Pig
John Turturro Souls of Naples
Brían F. O'Byrne Doubt: A Parable
Adam Arkin Brooklyn Boy
Bill Irwin Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

Kevin Kline

Honored for : Henry IV

Nominations 2004 »

Nominee Nominated Work
Kevin Kline Henry IV
John Michael Higgins Big Bill
Brían F. O'Byrne Frozen
Christopher Plummer King Lear
Frank Langella Match
Paul Sparks Blackbird

Eddie Izzard

Honored for : A Day in the Death of Joe Egg

Nominations 2003 »

Nominee Nominated Work
Eddie Izzard A Day in the Death of Joe Egg
Daniel Sunjata Take Me Out
Brian Dennehy Long Day's Journey Into Night
Jim Dale Comedians
Norbert Leo Butz Buicks
Simon Russell Beale Uncle Vanya

Alan Bates

Honored for : Fortune's Fool

Nominations 2002 »

Nominee Nominated Work
Alan Bates Fortune's Fool
Dallas Roberts Nocturne
Alan Rickman Private Lives
Liam Neeson The Crucible
Bill Pullman The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia?
Jeffrey Wright Topdog/Underdog

Mary-Louise Parker

Honored for : Proof

Nominations 2001 »

Nominee Nominated Work
Eileen Atkins The Unexpected Man
Janie Dee Comic Potential
Mary Beth Fisher Boy Gets Girl
Marian Seldes The Play About the Baby
Lili Taylor The Dead Eye Boy
Mary-Louise Parker Proof

Stephen Dillane

Honored for : The Real Thing

Nominations 2000 »

Nominee Nominated Work
Paul Sparks Coyote on a Fence
Stephen Dillane The Real Thing
Gabriel Byrne A Moon for the Misbegotten
Kevin Chamberlin Dirty Blonde
Philip Seymour Hoffman True West
Derek Jacobi Uncle Vanya

Brian Dennehy

Honored for : Death of a Salesman

Nominations 1999 »

Nominee Nominated Work
Brian Dennehy Death of a Salesman
Scott Glenn Killer Joe
Corin Redgrave Not About Nightingales
Toby Stephens Ring Round the Moon
Patrick Stewart The Ride Down Mt. Morgan
Finbar Lynch Not About Nightingales

Anthony LaPaglia

Honored for : A View From the Bridge

Nominations 1998 »

Nominee Nominated Work
Anthony LaPaglia A View From the Bridge
Jason Bowcutt Never The Sinner
Richard Briers The Chairs
Brian Cox St. Nicholas
John Slattery Three Days of Rain
Eli Wallach Visiting Mr. Green

David Morse

Honored for : How I Learned to Drive

Nominations 1997 »

Nominee Nominated Work
Christopher Plummer Barrymore
David Morse How I Learned to Drive
Donal McCann The Steward of Christendom
Frank Langella Present Laughter
Michael Gambon Skylight
Daniel Massey Taking Sides

Christopher Plummer

Honored for : Barrymore

Nominations 1997 »

Nominee Nominated Work
Christopher Plummer Barrymore
David Morse How I Learned to Drive
Donal McCann The Steward of Christendom
Frank Langella Present Laughter
Michael Gambon Skylight
Daniel Massey Taking Sides

Frank Langella

Honored for : The Father

Nominations 1996 »

Nominee Nominated Work
Frank Langella The Father
George Grizzard A Delicate Balance
Patrick Stewart The Tempest
Gerry Bamman Nixon's Nixon
Mark Nelson Picasso at the Lapin Agile
Rocco Sisto Quills

Ralph Fiennes

Honored for : Hamlet

Nominations 1995 »

Nominee Nominated Work
Ralph Fiennes Hamlet
Tom Aldredge Incommunicado
Philip Goodwin Henry VI
Ron Leibman The Merchant of Venice
Roger Rees Indiscretions
Philip Bosco The Heiress

Stephen Spinella

Honored for : Angels in America: Perestroika

Nominations 1994 »

Nominee Nominated Work
Stephen Spinella Angels in America: Perestroika
Sam Waterston Abe Lincoln in Illinois
Christopher Plummer No Man's Land
Stacy Keach The Kentucky Cycle
Brian Bedford Timon of Athens

Ron Leibman

Honored for : Angels in America: Millennium Approaches

Nominations 1993 »

Nominee Nominated Work
John Cameron Mitchell The Destiny of Me
Denis O'Hare Hauptman
Everett Quinton Brother Truckers
Ron Rifkin Three Hotels
Ron Leibman Angels in America: Millennium Approaches

Brian Bedford

Honored for : Two Shakespearean Actors

Nominations 1992 »

Nominee Nominated Work
Brian Bedford Two Shakespearean Actors
Brian Murray A Small Family Business
James McDaniel Before It Hits Home
Dennis Boutsikaris Sight Unseen
F. Murray Abraham A Life in the Theater

Ron Rifkin

Honored for : The Substance of Fire

Nominations 1991 »

Nominee Nominated Work
Ron Rifkin The Substance of Fire
Kevin Kline Hamlet
Sab Shimono The Wash
Tom McGowan La Bête

Nathan Lane

Honored for : The Lisbon Traviata

Nominations 1990 »

Nominee Nominated Work
Nathan Lane The Lisbon Traviata
Alec Baldwin Prelude to a Kiss
Colin Stinton Some Americans Abroad
Gary Sinise The Grapes of Wrath
Charles S. Dutton The Piano Lesson

Philip Bosco

Honored for : Lend Me a Tenor

Nominations 1989 »

Nominee Nominated Work
Philip Bosco Lend Me a Tenor
Niall Buggy Aristocrats
Paul Provenza Only Kidding!
Stephen McHattie Ghetto
John Kavanagh Juno and the Paycock
Mikhail Baryshnikov Metamorphosis
Peter Friedman The Heidi Chronicles

Ron Silver

Honored for : Speed-the-Plow

Nominations 1988 »

Nominee Nominated Work
Ron Silver Speed-the-Plow
Derek Jacobi Breaking the Code
John Malkovich Burn This
Delroy Lindo Joe Turner's Come and Gone
John Lithgow M. Butterfly
Joe Mantegna Speed-the-Plow

James Earl Jones

Honored for : Fences

Nominations 1987 »

Nominee Nominated Work
Don Bloomfield Lily Dale
Morgan Freeman Driving Miss Daisy
James Earl Jones Fences
Alan Rickman Les Liaisons Dangereuses
Ian McKellen Wild Honey
Victor Garber You Never Can Tell

Ed Harris

Honored for : Precious Sons

Nominations 1986 »

Nominee Nominated Work
John Mahoney The House of Blue Leaves
Jack Lemmon Long Day's Journey Into Night
Ed Harris Precious Sons
Roshan Seth A Map of the World
Kevin Kline Hamlet
Jeff Daniels Lemon Sky

John Lithgow

Honored for : Requiem for a Heavyweight

Nominations 1985 »

Nominee Nominated Work
John Lithgow Requiem for a Heavyweight
Jonathan Pryce Accidental Death of an Anarchist
Jonathan Hogan As Is
Derek Jacobi Cyrano de Bergerac
Jim Dale Joe Egg
Derek Jacobi Much Ado About Nothing
Patrick McGoohan Pack of Lies
Anthony Heald Digby","The Foreigner

Dustin Hoffman

Honored for : Death of a Salesman

Nominations 1984 »

Nominee Nominated Work
Dustin Hoffman Death of a Salesman
Al Pacino American Buffalo
Rex Harrison Heartbreak House
Donald Moffat Play Memory
Jeremy Irons The Real Thing
David McCallum The Philanthropist

Harvey Fierstein

Honored for : Torch Song Trilogy

Nominations 1983 »

Nominee Nominated Work
Harvey Fierstein Torch Song Trilogy
Jeff Daniels Johnny Got His Gun
John Malkovich True West
James Russo Extremities
Remak Ramsay Quartermaine's Terms
Matthew Broderick Brighton Beach Memoirs
John Rubinstein The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial

Christopher Plummer

Honored for : Othello

Nominations 1982 »

Nominee Nominated Work
Christopher Plummer Othello
Harvey Fierstein Torch Song Trilogy
Bob Gunton How I Got That Story
Robert Stattel King Lear
Zakes Mokae Master Harold...and the Boys
Paul Rogers The Dresser

Ian McKellen

Honored for : Amadeus

Nominations 1981 »

Nominee Nominated Work
Ian McKellen Amadeus
John Heard The Chekhov Sketchbook
Remak Ramsay The Winslow Boy
Tim Curry Amadeus
Milo O'Shea Mass Appeal
Derek Jacobi The Suicide

John Rubinstein

Honored for : Children of a Lesser God

Nominations 1980 »

Nominee Nominated Work
John Rubinstein Children of a Lesser God
Charles Brown Home
Philip Bosco Major Barbara
Gerald Hiken Strider
Judd Hirsch Talley's Folly
F. Murray Abraham Teibele And Her Demon

Philip Anglim

Honored for : The Elephant Man

Nominations 1979 »

Nominee Nominated Work
Philip Anglim The Elephant Man
Richard Chamberlain Fathers and Sons
Donal Donnelly Faith Healer
Tom Aldredge On Golden Pond
Judd Hirsch Talley's Folly
Jack Lemmon Tribute
Tom Conti Whose Life is it Anyway?

Barnard Hughes

Honored for : Da

Nominations 1978 »

Nominee Nominated Work
Barnard Hughes Da
Judd Hirsch Chapter Two
Brian Murray Da
Frank Langella Dracula
James Earl Jones Paul Robeson
Hume Cronyn The Gin Game

Al Pacino

Honored for : The Basic Training of Pavlo Hummel

Nominations 1977 »

Nominee Nominated Work
Al Pacino The Basic Training of Pavlo Hummel
John Heard G.R. Point
Fred Gwynne A Texas Trilogy: The Last Meeting of the Knights of the White Magnolia
Fred Gwynne A Texas Trilogy: The Oldest Living Graduate
Robert Duvall American Buffalo
Martin Balsam Cold Storage
Jonathan Pryce Comedians
Tom Courtenay Otherwise Engaged
Richard Chamberlain The Night of the Iguana

John Wood

Honored for : Travesties

Nominations 1976 »

Nominee Nominated Work
John Wood Travesties
Frank P. Quinn Lamppost Reunion
Peter Evans Streamers
Richard Kiley The Heiress
Louis Zorich They Knew What They Wanted
Ben Gazzara Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

Anthony Hopkins

Honored for : Equus

Nominations 1975 »

Nominee Nominated Work
Anthony Hopkins Equus
Roy Dotrice Brief Lives
Peter Firth Equus
Richard Monette Hosanna
Donald Sinden London Assurance
Tony Musante P. S. Your Cat Is Dead!
Charles Grodin Same Time, Next Year
John Kani Sizwe Banzi is Dead
Winston Ntshona Sizwe Banzi is Dead
John Kani The Island
Winston Ntshona The Island
Alec McCowen The Misanthrope