Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Director of a Play

The Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Director of 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 the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Director being presented to directors of both plays and musicals. The new award categories were later created in the 1975 ceremony.

Drama Desk Award
for Outstanding Director
Awarded forOutstanding Director of a Play
LocationUnited States
Presented byDrama Desk
Currently held bySam Mendes for The Ferryman (2019)

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

Winners and nominees


Year Director Production
John Dexter Equus
Frank Dunlop Sherlock Holmes
Athol Fugard Sizwe Banzi Is Dead
The Island
Peter H. Hunt Goodtime Charlie
Ron Link Women Behind Bars
Gene Saks Same Time, Next Year
Ellis Rabb The Royal Family
Edward Albee Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Arvin Brown Dual Bill
Mike Nichols Streamers
Stephen Porter They Knew What They Wanted
Tom Signorelli Lamppost Reunion
Mike Nichols Comedians
Alan Schneider A Texas Trilogy
Frank Dunlop The New York Idea
Tony Giordano G.R. Point
Ulu Grosbard American Buffalo
Oz Scott For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf
Melvin Bernhardt Da
Peter Bennett Dracula
Joseph Chaikin The Dybbuk
Mike Nichols The Gin Game
Steven Robman Uncommon Women
Garland Wright K
Jack Hofsiss The Elephant Man
Alan Ayckbourn Bedroom Farce
John Madden Wings
Stephen Porter Man and Superman
Horacena J. Taylor Nevis Mt. Dew
Ted Weiant The Miracle Worker


Year Director Production
Vivian Matalon Morning's at Seven
Kevin Conway Mecca
Gordon Davidson Children of a Lesser God
Lynne Gannaway and Robert Kalfin Strider
Marshall W. Mason Talley's Folly
Alan Schneider Loose Ends
Peter Hall Amadeus
Melvin Bernhardt Crimes of the Heart
Geraldine Fitzgerald Mass Appeal
Douglas Seale The Winslow Boy
Tommy Tune Cloud Nine
Athol Fugard "Master Harold"...and the Boys
Jacques Levy Potsdam Quartet
John Tillinger Entertaining Mr Sloane
Douglas Turner Ward A Soldier's Play
Trevor Nunn All's Well That Ends Well
Robert Allan Ackerman Extremities
Michael Bennett Third Street
George C. Scott Present Laughter
Arthur Sherman The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial
Gary Sinise True West
Michael Blakemore Noises Off
Lee Grant A Private View
Gerald Gutierrez Isn't It Romantic
Terry Kinney And a Nightingale Sang
Gregory Mosher Glengarry Glen Ross
Mike Nichols The Real Thing
John Malkovich Balm in Gilead
Ron Lagomarsino Digby
Marshall W. Mason As Is
Gene Saks Biloxi Blues
Claudia Weill Found a Peanut
Jerry Zaks The Marriage of Bette & Boo
The House of Blue Leaves
Liviu Ciulei Hamlet
Jonathan Miller Long Day's Journey into Night
Mary B. Robinson Lemon Sky
Gary Sinise Orphans
John Tillinger It's Only a Play
Howard Davies Les Liaisons Dangereuses
Simon Gray and Michael McGuire The Common Pursuit
Ron Lagomarsino Driving Miss Daisy
Lloyd Richards Fences
Carole Rothman Coastal Disturbances
Gene Saks Broadway Bound
John Dexter M. Butterfly
W. H. Macy Boys' Life
Lynne Meadow Woman in Mind
Gregory Mosher Speed-the-Plow
Lloyd Richards Joe Turner's Come and Gone
Jerry Zaks Lend Me a Tenor
Simon Callow Shirley Valentine
Robin Lefèvre Aristocrats
Jack O'Brien The Cocktail Hour
Norman René Reckless
Daniel Sullivan The Heidi Chronicles


Year Director Production
Frank Galati The Grapes of Wrath
Roger Michell Some Americans Abroad
Adrian Noble The Art of Success
Norman René Prelude to a Kiss
Lloyd Richards The Piano Lesson
Jerry Zaks Six Degrees of Separation
Michael Greif Machinal
Richard Jones La Bête
Kevin Kline Hamlet
Patrick Mason Dancing at Lughnasa
JoAnne Akalaitis 'Tis Pity She's a Whore
Michael Bloom Sight Unseen
David Chambers Search and Destroy
Mark Wing-Davey Mad Forest
George C. Wolfe Angels in America: Millennium Approaches
Christopher Ashley Jeffrey
Adrian Hall As You Like It
Ariane Mnouchkine Les Atrides
Daniel Sullivan The Sisters Rosensweig
Stephen Daldry An Inspector Calls
JoAnne Akalaitis In the Summer House
Jonathan Kent Medea
Mark Wing-Davey The Lights
Mary Zimmerman Arabian Nights
Gerald Gutierrez The Heiress
Declan Donnellan As You Like It
David Esbjornson Iphigenia and Other Daughters
Emily Mann Having Our Say
Joe Mantello Love! Valour! Compassion!
Sean Mathias Indiscretions
Gerald Gutierrez A Delicate Balance
Scott Elliott The Monogamist
Doug Hughes The Grey Zone
Adrian Noble A Midsummer Night's Dream
Lloyd Richards Seven Guitars
George C. Wolfe The Tempest
Mark Brokaw How I Learned to Drive
Robert La Page The Seven Streams of the River Ota
Lynne Meadow Nine Armenians
Deborah Warner The Waste Land
Mark Wing-Davey The Skriker
Michael Mayer A View from the Bridge
Side Man
Scott Elliott Goose-Pimples
James Houghton The American Clock
Garry Hynes The Beauty Queen of Leenane
Joe Mantello Mizlansky/Zilinsky or 'Schmucks'
Simon McBurney The Chairs
Trevor Nunn Not About Nightingales
Derek Anson Jones Wit
Howard Davies The Iceman Cometh
Robert Falls Death of a Salesman
Patrick Marber Closer
Nicholas Martin Betty's Summer Vacation


Year Director Production
Michael Blakemore Copenhagen
Thomas Hulce and Jane Jones The Cider House Rules (Part One)
James Lapine Dirty Blonde
Michael Mayer Uncle Vanya
Marion McClinton Jitney
Daniel J. Sullivan Dinner with Friends
Jack O'Brien The Invention of Love
Mark Brokaw Lobby Hero
Michael Greif Dogeaters
Philip Seymour Hoffman Jesus Hopped the 'A' Train
Jonathan Kent Richard II
Matthew Warchus The Unexpected Man
Mary Zimmerman Metamorphoses
Howard Davies Private Lives
Richard Eyre The Crucible
Carl Forsman The Voice of the Turtle
Neil LaBute The Shape of Things
Bartlett Sher Cymbeline
Robert Falls Long Day's Journey into Night
Philip Seymour Hoffman Our Lady of 121st Street
Joe Mantello Take Me Out
Sam Mendes Twelfth Night
Uncle Vanya
Deborah Warner Medea
Jack O'Brien Henry IV
Hilary Adams Moby Dick
Dexter Bullard Bug
Edward Hall A Midsummer Night's Dream
Moisés Kaufman I Am My Own Wife
Kenny Leon A Raisin in the Sun
Doug Hughes Doubt
Josh Carlebach Frankenstein
Scott Elliott Hurlyburly
Scott Ellis Twelve Angry Men
Edward Hall Rose Rage
Joe Mantello Glengarry Glen Ross
Nicholas Hytner The History Boys
Alan Ayckbourn Private Fears in Public Places
Gisela Cardenas Agamemnon
Daniel J. Sullivan Stuff Happens
Robert Wilson Peer Gynt
Jerry Zaks The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial
Jack O'Brien The Coast of Utopia
Declan Donnellan Twelfth Night
Michael Grandage Frost/Nixon
Doug Hughes Inherit the Wind
Ciaran O'Reilly The Hairy Ape
Tom Ridgely Marco Millions
Anna D. Shapiro August: Osage County
David Schweizer Horizon
Leigh Silverman From Up Here
Jonathan Silverstein The Dining Room
Matthew Warchus Boeing-Boeing
Deborah Warner Happy Days
Matthew Warchus The Norman Conquests
Sarah Benson Blasted
Michael Blakemore Blithe Spirit
Garry Hynes The Cripple of Inishmaan
Terry Kinney reasons to be pretty
Kate Whoriskey Ruined


Year Director Production
Michael Grandage Red
Jonathan Bank So Help Me God!
Jack Cummings III The Boys in the Band
Sam Gold Circle Mirror Transformation
Michael Grandage Hamlet
Ethan Hawke A Lie of the Mind
Joel Grey and George C. Wolfe The Normal Heart
Trip Cullman A Small Fire
Moisés Kaufman Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo
Davis McCallum A Bright New Boise
Daniel J. Sullivan The Merchant of Venice
Kirjan Waage and Gwendolyn Warnock Baby Universe
Mike Nichols Death of a Salesman
Jo Bonney By the Way, Meet Vera Stark
David Cromer Tribes
Ed Sylvanus Iskandar These Seven Sicknesses
Sam Mendes Richard III
Tony Speciale Unnatural Acts
Pam MacKinnon Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Lear de Bessonet The Good Person of Szechwan
Sam Gold Uncle Vanya
Ed Sylvanus Iskandar Restoration Comedy
Lynne Meadow The Assembled Parties
Ruben Santiago-Hudson The Piano Lesson
Tim Carroll Twelfth Night
Joe Calarco A Christmas Carol
Thomas Kail Family Furniture
Bill Rauch All the Way
Anna D. Shapiro Domesticated
Julie Taymor A Midsummer Night's Dream
Marianne Elliott The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
Jeremy Herrin Wolf Hall: Parts One & Two
Anne Kauffman You Got Older
Lila Neugebauer The Wayside Motor Inn
Austin Pendleton Between Riverside and Crazy
Joe Tantalo Deliverance
John Tiffany Let the Right One In
Ivo van Hove A View from the Bridge
Rachel Chavkin The Royale
Sam Gold John
Rupert Goold King Charles III
Joe Mantello The Humans
Jenn Thompson Women Without Men
Ruben Santiago-Hudson Jitney
Anne Kauffman A Life
Richard Nelson What Did You Expect? and Women of a Certain Age
Daniel J. Sullivan The Little Foxes
If I Forget
John Tiffany Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
Marianne Elliott Angels in America
Jeremy Herrin People, Places and Things
Joe Mantello Three Tall Women
Lila Neugebauer Miles for Mary
Simon Stone Yerma
Sam Mendes The Ferryman
Sarah Benson Fairview
Stephen Daldry and Justin Martin The Jungle
Tyne Rafaeli Usual Girls
Taylor Reynolds Plano
Jeff Wise Life Sucks

See also


  • "Drama Desk Award for Director of a Play". Internet Broadway Database. 2008. Retrieved 2008-08-21.
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