Awards & Winners

Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actress in a Play

Drama Desk Award

The Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actress 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 Actress in a Play presented under Drama Desk Award since 1975 .

Audra McDonald

Honored for : Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill

Nominations 2014 »

Nominee Nominated Work
Barbara Andres I Remember Mama
Tyne Daly Mothers and Sons
Audra McDonald Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill
Laurie Metcalf Domesticated
J. Smith-Cameron Juno and the Paycock
Harriet Walter Julius Caesar

Cicely Tyson

Honored for : The Trip to Bountiful

Nominations 2013 »

Nominee Nominated Work
Julia Murney Falling
Vanessa Redgrave The Revisionist
Miriam Silverman Finks
Cicely Tyson The Trip to Bountiful
Amy Morton Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Maria Dizzia Belleville

Tracie Bennett

Honored for : End of the Rainbow

Nominations 2012 »

Nominee Nominated Work
Sanaa Lathan By the Way, Meet Vera Stark
Kim Martin-Cotten A Moon for the Misbegotten
Carey Mulligan Through a Glass Darkly
Joely Richardson Side Effects
Tracie Bennett End of the Rainbow
Jennifer Lim Chinglish
Linda Lavin The Lyons

Frances McDormand

Honored for : Good People

Nominations 2011 »

Nominee Nominated Work
Frances McDormand Good People
Laurie Metcalf The Other Place
Michele Pawk A Small Fire
Stockard Channing Other Desert Cities
Nina Arianda Born Yesterday
Lily Rabe The Merchant of Venice

Jan Maxwell

Honored for : The Royal Family

Nominations 2010 »

Nominee Nominated Work
Ayesha Antoine My Wonderful Day
Melissa Errico Candida
Anne Hathaway Twelfth Night
Kristen Johnston So Help Me God!
Jan Maxwell The Royal Family
Laura Linney Time Stands Still

Janet McTeer

Honored for : Mary Stuart

Nominations 2009 »

Nominee Nominated Work
Janet McTeer Mary Stuart
Saidah Arrika Ekulona Ruined
Jane Fonda 33 Variations
Marcia Gay Harden God of Carnage
Elizabeth Marvel Fifty Words
Jan Maxwell Scenes From An Execution

Deanna Dunagan

Honored for : August: Osage County

Nominations 2008 »

Nominee Nominated Work
Deanna Dunagan August: Osage County
Fiona Shaw Happy Days
Julie White From Up Here
Sinéad Cusack Rock 'n' Roll
Frances McDormand The Country Girl
Amy Morton August: Osage County

Eve Best

Honored for : A Moon for the Misbegotten

Nominations 2007 »

Nominee Nominated Work
Eve Best A Moon for the Misbegotten
Orlagh Cassidy The Field
Blythe Danner Suddenly, Last Summer
Jennifer Mudge Dutchman
Sandra Oh Satellites
Annie Parisse The Internationalist
Meryl Streep Mother Courage and Her Children

Lois Smith

Honored for : The Trip to Bountiful

Nominations 2006 »

Nominee Nominated Work
Margaret Colin Defiance
Jennifer Jason Leigh Abigail's Party
Jan Maxwell Entertaining Mr. Sloane
Lois Smith The Trip to Bountiful
Julie White The Little Dog Laughed
Cherry Jones Faith Healer

Cherry Jones

Honored for : Doubt: A Parable

Nominations 2005 »

Nominee Nominated Work
Veanne Cox Last Easter
Frances Sternhagen Echoes of the War
Cherry Jones Doubt: A Parable
Laura Linney Sight Unseen
Judy Kaye Souvenir
Kathleen Turner Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

Viola Davis

Honored for : Intimate Apparel

Nominations 2004 »

Nominee Nominated Work
Phylicia Rash?d A Raisin in the Sun
Viola Davis Intimate Apparel
Shannon Cochran Bug
Lizan Mitchell The Trojan Women
J. Smith-Cameron Sarah, Sarah
Eileen Atkins The Retreat from Moscow

Phylicia Rash?d

Honored for : A Raisin in the Sun

Nominations 2004 »

Nominee Nominated Work
Phylicia Rash?d A Raisin in the Sun
Viola Davis Intimate Apparel
Shannon Cochran Bug
Lizan Mitchell The Trojan Women
J. Smith-Cameron Sarah, Sarah
Eileen Atkins The Retreat from Moscow

Vanessa Redgrave

Honored for : Long Day's Journey into Night

Nominations 2003 »

Nominee Nominated Work
Marylouise Burke Kimberly Akimbo
Dael Orlandersmith Yellowman
Vanessa Redgrave Long Day's Journey Into Night
Jayne Atkinson Enchanted April
Fiona Shaw Medea
Clare Higgins Vincent in Brixton

Lindsay Duncan

Honored for : Private Lives

Nominations 2002 »

Nominee Nominated Work
Lindsay Duncan Private Lives
Robin Bartlett Everett Beekin
Anna Paquin The Glory of Living
Sarah Jessica Parker Wonder of the World
Meryl Streep The Seagull
Mercedes Ruehl The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia?

Mary-Louise Parker

Honored for : Proof

Nominations 2001 »

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

Eileen Heckart

Honored for : The Waverly Gallery

Nominations 2000 »

Nominee Nominated Work
Sinéad Cusack Our Lady of Sligo
Eileen Heckart The Waverly Gallery
Lynne Thigpen Jar the Floor
Charlayne Woodard In the Blood
Claudia Shear Dirty Blonde
Linda Lavin The Tale of the Allergist's Wife

Kathleen Chalfant

Honored for : Wit

Nominations 1999 »

Nominee Nominated Work
Kathleen Chalfant Wit
Lindsay Duncan Ashes to Ashes
Swoosie Kurtz The Mineola Twins
Judi Dench Amy's View
Elizabeth Franz Death of a Salesman
Zoë Wanamaker Electra

Cherry Jones

Honored for : Pride's Crossing

Nominations 1998 »

Nominee Nominated Work
Cherry Jones Pride's Crossing
J. Smith-Cameron As Bees in Honey Drown
Frances Sternhagen Long Day's Journey Into Night
Edie Falco Side Man
Anna Manahan The Beauty Queen of Leenane
Marie Mullen The Beauty Queen of Leenane

Janet McTeer

Honored for : A Doll's House

Nominations 1997 »

Nominee Nominated Work
Jayne Atkinson The Skriker
Vanessa Redgrave Antony and Cleopatra
Janet McTeer A Doll's House
Lia Williams Skylight
Frances Conroy The Rehearsal
Shirley Knight The Young Man From Atlanta

Zoe Caldwell

Honored for : Master Class

Nominations 1996 »

Nominee Nominated Work
Zoe Caldwell Master Class
Rosemary Harris A Delicate Balance
Sarah Jessica Parker Sylvia
Lisa Gay Hamilton Valley Song
Uta Hagen Mrs. Klein
Catherine Byrne Molly Sweeney

Cherry Jones

Honored for : The Heiress

Nominations 1995 »

Nominee Nominated Work
Cherry Jones The Heiress
Linda Lavin Death Defying Acts
Stockard Channing Hapgood
Helen Mirren A Month in the Country
Mary Alice Having Our Say
Mercedes Ruehl The Rose Tattoo

Myra Carter

Honored for : Three Tall Women

Nominations 1994 »

Nominee Nominated Work
Myra Carter Three Tall Women
Harriet Walter Three Birds Alighting on a Field
Kathleen Chalfant Angels in America: Perestroika
Amy Irving Broken Glass
Diana Rigg Medea
Joan Rivers Sally Marr...and Her Escorts

Jane Alexander

Honored for : The Sisters Rosensweig

Nominations 1993 »

Nominee Nominated Work
Jane Alexander The Sisters Rosensweig
Juliana Carneiro da Cunha Les Atrides
Christine Lahti Three Hotels
Natasha Richardson Anna Christie
Debra Monk Redwood Curtain

Laura Esterman

Honored for : Marvin's Room

Nominations 1992 »

Nominee Nominated Work
Laura Esterman Marvin's Room
Deborah Hedwall Sight Unseen
Glenn Close Death and the Maiden
Jane Alexander The Visit

Mercedes Ruehl

Honored for : Lost in Yonkers

Nominations 1991 »

Nominee Nominated Work
Mercedes Ruehl Lost in Yonkers
Stockard Channing Six Degrees of Separation
Angela Goethals The Good Times Are Killing Me
Audra Lindley About Time

Geraldine James

Honored for : The Merchant of Venice

Nominations 1990 »

Nominee Nominated Work
Geraldine James The Merchant of Venice
Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio Twelfth Night
Mary-Louise Parker Prelude to a Kiss
S. Epatha Merkerson The Piano Lesson

Pauline Collins

Honored for : Shirley Valentine

Nominations 1989 »

Nominee Nominated Work
Pauline Collins Shirley Valentine
Colleen Dewhurst Long Day's Journey Into Night
Joan Allen The Heidi Chronicles
Robin Bartlett Reckless
Gloria Foster The Forbidden City
Nancy Marchand The Cocktail Hour

Stockard Channing

Honored for : Woman in Mind

Nominations 1988 »

Nominee Nominated Work
Stockard Channing Woman in Mind
Amy Irving The Road to Mecca
E. Katherine Kerr Laughing Wild
Gordana Rashovich A Shayna Maidel
Glenda Jackson Macbeth
Kathy Bates Frankie & Johnny in the Clair de Lune

Linda Lavin

Honored for : Broadway Bound

Nominations 1987 »

Nominee Nominated Work
Linda Lavin Broadway Bound
Robin Bartlett The Early Girl
Dana Ivey Driving Miss Daisy
Amy Madigan The Lucky Spot
Dianne Wiest Hunting Cockroaches
Lindsay Duncan Les Liaisons Dangereuses

Lily Tomlin

Honored for : The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe

Nominations 1986 »

Nominee Nominated Work
Swoosie Kurtz The House of Blue Leaves
Stockard Channing The House of Blue Leaves
Judith Ivey Precious Sons
Lily Tomlin The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe
Kathryn Pogson Aunt Dan and Lemon
Joan Allen The Marriage of Bette and Boo

Rosemary Harris

Honored for : Pack of Lies

Nominations 1985 »

Nominee Nominated Work
Rosemary Harris Pack of Lies
Lynn Redgrave Aren't We All?
Stockard Channing Joe Egg
Roxanne Hart Digby
Elizabeth Wilson Salonika

Joan Allen

Honored for : And a Nightingale Sang...

Nominations 1984 »

Nominee Nominated Work
Joan Allen And a Nightingale Sang...
Natsuko Ohama Sound and Beauty
Kate Nelligan A Moon for the Misbegotten
Rosemary Harris Heartbreak House
Marilyn Rockafellow Open Admissions
Irene Worth The Golden Age

Jessica Tandy

Honored for : Foxfire

Nominations 1983 »

Nominee Nominated Work
Jessica Tandy Foxfire
Colleen Dewhurst The Queen and the Rebels
Susan Sarandon Extremities
Suzanne Bertish Skirmishes
Christine Estabrook Win/Lose/Draw
Thuli Dumakude Poppie Nongena

Zoe Caldwell

Honored for : Medea

Nominations 1982 »

Nominee Nominated Work
Zoe Caldwell Medea
Barbara Bryne Entertaining Mr. Sloane
Constance Cummings The Chalk Garden
Elizabeth Franz Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All for You
Bernadette Peters Sally and Marsha

Joan Copeland

Honored for : The American Clock

Nominations 1981 »

Nominee Nominated Work
Joan Copeland The American Clock
Amanda Plummer A Taste of Honey
Mary Beth Hurt Crimes of the Heart
Elizabeth Taylor The Little Foxes
Eva Le Gallienne To Grandmother's House We Go

Pat Carroll

Honored for : Gertrude Stein Gertrude Stein Gertrude Stein

Nominations 1980 »

Nominee Nominated Work
Pat Carroll Gertrude Stein Gertrude Stein Gertrude Stein
Susan Sarandon A Couple White Chicks Sitting Around Talking
Blythe Danner Betrayal
Phyllis Frelich Children of a Lesser God
Mary Tyler Moore Whose Life Is It Anyway?

Constance Cummings

Honored for : Wings

Nominations 1979 »

Nominee Nominated Work
Constance Cummings Wings
Susie Stevens The price of genius
Kate Reid Bosoms and Neglect
Frances Sternhagen On Golden Pond
Carole Shelley The Elephant Man

Jessica Tandy

Honored for : The Gin Game

Nominations 1978 »

Nominee Nominated Work
Helen Burns Catsplay
Shirley Knight Landscape of the Body
Jessica Tandy The Gin Game
Patricia Elliott Tartuffe
Tammy Grimes Tartuffe
Carol Mayo Jenkins Zinnia

Irene Worth

Honored for : The Cherry Orchard

Nominations 1977 »

Nominee Nominated Work
Irene Worth The Cherry Orchard
Blythe Danner The New York Idea
Cara Duff-MacCormick The Philanderer
Sofia Landon Peg O' My Heart
Diane Ladd A Texas Trilogy: Lu Ann Hampton Laverty Oberlander
Trazana Beverley For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide / When the Rainbow is Enuf
Dorothy McGuire The Night of the Iguana

Rosemary Harris

Honored for : The Royal Family

Nominations 1976 »

Nominee Nominated Work
Rosemary Harris The Royal Family
Fran Brill What Every Woman Knows
Meryl Streep A Memory of Two Mondays / 27 Wagons Full of Cotton
Meryl Streep Trelawny of the Wells
Meryl Streep Secret Service
Lois Nettleton They Knew What They Wanted
Tovah Feldshuh Yentl

Ellen Burstyn

Honored for : Same Time, Next Year

Nominations 1975 »

Nominee Nominated Work
Ellen Burstyn Same Time, Next Year
Liv Ullmann A Doll's House
Elizabeth Ashley Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
Maggie Smith Private Lives
Diana Rigg The Misanthrope
Rita Moreno The Ritz
Tovah Feldshuh Yentl
Mary-Jennifer Mitchell Women Behind Bars
Madeleine De La Roux Women Behind Bars
Helen Hanft Women Behind Bars
Leslie Edgar Women Behind Bars
Maria DeLanda Women Behind Bars
Ann Collier Women Behind Bars
May Boylan Women Behind Bars
Pat Ast Women Behind Bars
Walker Stuart Women Behind Bars
Sharon Barr Women Behind Bars
Hope Stansbury Women Behind Bars