Drama Desk Award
for Outstanding Featured Actress
Awarded forOutstanding Featured Actress in a Play
LocationNew York City
CountryUnited States
Presented byDrama Desk
First awarded1975
Last awarded2022
Websitedramadesk.org (defunct)

The Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play was an annual award presented by Drama Desk in recognition of achievements in the theatre across collective Broadway, off-Broadway and off-off-Broadway productions in New York City. The award was one of eight new acting awards first presented in 1975, when Drama Desk retired an earlier award that had made no distinction between work in plays and musicals, nor between actors and actresses, nor between lead performers and featured performers.

After the 2022 ceremony, all eight acting categories introduced in 1975 were retired. The award for Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play, along with Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play, were replaced in 2023 with the gender neutral category of Outstanding Featured Performance in a Play.

Winners and nominees


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


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
Fran Brill Knuckle Jenny
Carrie Nye The Man Who Came to Dinner Lorraine Sheldon
Jean Smart Last Summer at Bluefish Cove Lil
Jessica Tandy Rose Rose's Mother
Zoë Wanamaker Piaf Tione
Amanda Plummer Agnes of God Agnes
Pauline Flanagan Medea The First Woman of Corinth
Estelle Getty Torch Song Trilogy Mrs. Beckoff
Cheryl Giannini Grown Ups Louise
E. Katherine Kerr Cloud Nine Ellen / Mrs. Saunders
Aideen O'Kelly Othello Emilia
Judith Ivey Steaming Josie
Maureen Anderman You Can't Take It with You Alice Sycamore
Dana Ivey Present Laughter Monica Reed
Quartermaine's Terms Melanie Garth
Kate McGregor-Stewart Beyond Therapy Charlotte
Anne Twomey Vieux Carré Jane
Christine Baranski The Real Thing Charlotte
Lisa Banes Isn't it Romantic Harriet Cornwall
Dody Goodman Ah, Wilderness! Essie Miller
Jo Henderson Isn't it Romantic Lillian Cornwall
Amy Irving Heartbreak House Ellie Dunn
Dianne Wiest Serenading Louie Gabby
Other Places Deborah
Judith Ivey Hurlyburly Bonnie
Sudie Bond The Foreigner Betty Meeks
Joanna Gleason A Day in the Death of Joe Egg Pam
Nancy Marchand The Octette Bridge Club Connie Emerson
Anne Pitoniak The Octette Bridge Club Martha McDermitt
Margaret Tyzack Tom and Viv Rose Robinson Haigh-Wood
Joanna Gleason Social Security Trudy Heyman
It's Only a Play Virginia Noyes
Elizabeth Berridge Cruise Control Suze
Wrestlers 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
Janet Eilber Stepping Out Andy
Christine Estabrook North Shore Fish Florence Rizzo
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
Margaret Colin Aristocrats Alice
Penelope Ann Miller Our Town Emily Webb
Alice Playten Spoils of War Emma
Holland Taylor The Cocktail Hour Nina


Year Actress Play Character
Frances Conroy The Secret Rapture Marion French
Jayne Atkinson The Art of Success Sarah Sprackling
Kate Burton Some Americans Abroad Betty McNeil
Marcia Jean Kurtz When She Danced Miss Belzer
Stephanie Roth Artist Descending a Staircase Sophie
Irene Worth Lost in Yonkers Grandma Kurnitz
Jane Adams I Hate Hamlet Deirdre McDavey
Tracey Ellis Our Country's Good Lieutenant George Johnston
Julie Halston Red Scare on Sunset Pat Pilford
Deirdre O'Connell Love and Anger Sarah Downey
Christine Baranski Lips Together, Teeth Apart Chloe Haddock
Lisa Emery Marvin's Room Lee
Harriet Harris Bella, Bell of Byelorussia Ludmilla / Waitress
Laura Linney Sight Unseen Grete
Nancy Marchand The End of the Day Rosamund Brackett / Jocelyn Massey
Madeline Kahn The Sisters Rosensweig Gorgeous Teitlebaum
Kathleen Chalfant Angels in America: Millennium Approaches Various Characters
Marcia Gay Harden Angels in America: Millennium Approaches Various Characters
Harriet Harris Jeffrey Ann Marwood Bartle
Kathryn Meisle As You Like It Rosalind
Jane Adams An Inspector Calls Sheila Biring
Frances Conroy In the Summer House Mrs. Constable
Hope Davis Pterodactyls Emma
Marcia Gay Harden Angels in America: Perestroika Various Characters
Kristen Johnston The Lights Rose
Tara Fitzgerald Hamlet Ophelia
Hallie Foote The Horton Foote Plays Performer
Penny Fuller Three Viewings Virginia
Camryn Manheim Missing Persons Gemma
J. Smith-Cameron The Naked Truth Sissy Bermiss Darnley
Sheila Tousey Iphigenia and Other Daughters Electra
Elaine Stritch A Delicate Balance Claire
Viola Davis Seven Guitars Vera
Eileen Heckart Northeast Local Mair
Donna Murphy Twelve Dreams Dorothy Trowbridge
Roberta Wallach The Model Apartment Debby
Amy Wright Mrs. Klein Paula
Dana Ivey Sex and Longing Bridget McCrea
The Last Night of Ballyhoo Boo Levy
Kathleen Chalfant Nine Armenians Marie
Linda Emond Nine Armenians Armine
Melissa Errico The Importance of Being Earnest Gwendolen Fairfax
Allison Janney Present Laughter Liz
Celia Weston The Last Night of Ballyhoo Aunt Reba
Allison Janney A View from the Bridge Beatrice Carbone
Patricia Clarkson The Maiden's Prayer Libby
Linda Lavin The Diary of Anne Frank Mrs. Van Daan
Patti LuPone The Old Neighborhood Jolly
Marian Seldes Ivanov Zinaida Savishna
Carolyn Seymour Goose-Pimples Jackie
Anna Friel Closer Alice Ayers
Viola Davis Everybody's Ruby Ruby McCollum
Kristine Nielsen Betty's Summer Vacation Mrs. Siezmagraff
Natasha Richardson Closer Anna
Marian Seldes Ring Round the Moon Madame Desmermortes
Mary Louise Wilson Bosoms and Neglect Henny


Year Actress Play Character
Marylouise Burke Fuddy Meers Gertie
Jillian Armenante The Cider House Rules, Part One Melony
Seana Kofoed An Experiment with an Air Pump Isobel Bridie
Phyllis Newman The Moment When Paula
Çiğdem Onat The Time of the Cuckoo Signora Fioria
Amy Sedaris The Country Club Froggy
Viola Davis King Hedley II Tonya
Anita Durst The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant Marlene
Barbara Jefford Coriolanus Volumnia
Marthe Keller Judgment at Nuremberg Mrs. Bertholt
Marian Seldes The Butterfly Collection Margaret
Robin Weigert Madame Melville Ruth
Katie Finneran Noises Off Brooke Ashton
Jennifer Coolidge The Women Edith / Mrs. Phelps Potter
Kathleen Doyle Kilt Mary
Linda Emond Homebody/Kabul The Homebody
Elizabeth Franz Morning's at Seven Aaronetta Gibbs
Kathleen Widdoes Franny's Way Marjorie
Lynn Redgrave Talking Heads Miss Fozzard
Christine Ebersole Talking Heads Irene
Jan Maxwell My Old Lady Chloe Giffard
Helen McCrory Uncle Vanya Elena
Nancy Opel Polish Joke Various Characters
Jeanine Serralles Hold Please Jessica
Audra McDonald A Raisin in the Sun Ruth Younger
Jayne Houdyshell Well Ann Kron
Mikel Sarah Lambert The Daughter-in-Law Mrs. Gascoyne
Margo Martindale Cat on a Hot Tin Roof Big Mama
Jan Maxwell Sixteen Wounded Sonya
Mary Louise Wilson The Beard of Avon Queen Elizabeth I
Adriane Lenox Doubt Mrs. Miller
Julie Halston White Chocolate Vivian Beale Somerset
Portia McReele Opal
Lily Rabe Steel Magnolias Annelle
Lee Roy Rogers Orson's Shadow Vivien Leigh
Mary Testa String of Pearls Various Characters
Frances de la Tour The History Boys Mrs. Lintott
Lisa Emery Abigail's Party Susan
Judith Hawking A Soldier's Wife Florence
Michele Pawk The Paris Letter Katie
Lynn Redgrave The Constant Wife Mrs. Culver
Marian Seldes Dedication or The Stuff of Dreams Annabelle Willard
Martha Plimpton The Coast of Utopia Various Characters
Myriam Acharki Woyzeck Marie
Xanthe Elbrick Coram Boy Alexander Ashbrook / Aaron
Sarah Nina Hayon Rearviewmirror Inez
Jan Maxwell Coram Boy Mrs. Lynch
Rita Wolf The American Pilot Sarah
Linda Lavin The New Century Helene Nadler
Elizabeth Ashley Dividing the Estate Stella
Johanna Day Peter and Jerry Ann
Zoe Kazan 100 Saints You Should Know Abby
Rondi Reed August: Osage County Mattie Fae Aiken
Marisa Tomei Top Girls Isabella Bird / Joyce / Mrs. Kidd
Angela Lansbury Blithe Spirit Madame Arcati
Rebecca Hall The Cherry Orchard Varya
Zoe Kazan The Seagull Masha
Andrea Martin Exit the King Juliette
Carey Mulligan The Seagull Nina
Condola Rashād Ruined Sophie


Year Actress Play Character
Viola Davis Fences Rose Maxson
Victoria Clark When the Rain Stops Falling Older Gabrielle York
Xanthe Elbrick Candida Proserpine Garnett
Mary Beth Hurt When the Rain Stops Falling Older Elizabeth Law
Scarlett Johansson A View from the Bridge Catherine Carbone
Andrea Riseborough The Pride Sylvia
Edie Falco The House of Blue Leaves Bananas Shaughnessy
Lisa Emery The Collection and A Kind of Alaska Deborah
Julie Halston The Divine Sister Sister Acacius
Sarah Nina Hayon A Bright New Boise Anna
Celia Keenan-Bolger Peter and the Starcatcher Molly
Linda Lavin Other Desert Cities Silda Grauman
Judith Light Lombardi Marie Lombardi
Judith Light Other Desert Cities Silda Grauman
Stephanie J. Block By the Way, Meet Vera Stark Gloria Mitchell
Anna Camp All New People Kim
Kimberly Hebert Gregory By the Way, Meet Vera Stark Lottie
Lisa Joyce The Ugly One Fanny
Joaquina Kalukango Hurt Village Cookie
Angela Lansbury The Best Man Sue Ellen Gamadge
Judith Light The Assembled Parties Faye
Tasha Lawrence The Whale Mary
Kellie Overbey Sleeping Rough Joanna
Maryann Plunkett Sorry Barbara Apple
Condola Rashād The Trip to Bountiful Thelma
Laila Robins Sorry Marian Apple
Celia Keenan-Bolger The Glass Menagerie Laura Wingfield
Betty Buckley The Old Friends Gertrude Hayhurst Sylvester Ratliff
Julia Coffey London Wall Miss Janus
Diane Davis The Model Apartment Debby
Jan Maxwell The Castle Skinner
Sophie Okonedo A Raisin in the Sun Ruth Younger
Annaleigh Ashford You Can't Take It with You Essie Carmichael
Beth Dixon The City of Conversation Jean Swift
Julie Halston You Can't Take It with You Gay Wellington
Paola Lázaro-Muñoz To the Bone Lupe
Lydia Leonard Wolf Hall Parts One & Two Anne Boleyn
Julie White Airline Highway Tanya
Saycon Sengbloh Eclipsed Helena
Brooke Bloom Cloud 9 Edward / Betty
Megan Hilty Noises Off Brooke Ashton
Kellie Overbey Women Without Men Miss Connor
Jeanine Serralles Gloria Gloria
Cynthia Nixon The Little Foxes Birdie Hubbard
Jayne Houdyshell A Doll's House, Part 2 Anne-Marie
Randy Graff The Babylon Line Frieda Cohen
Marie Mullen The Beauty Queen of Leenane Mag Folan
Emily Skinner Picnic Rosemary
Kate Walsh If I Forget Holly
Jamie Brewer Amy and the Orphans Amy
Jocelyn Bioh In the Blood The Welfare Lady
Barbara Marten People, Places and Things Doctor and Mum
Deirdre O'Connell Fulfillment Center Suzan
Constance Shulman Bobbie Clearly Darla London
Celia Keenan-Bolger To Kill a Mockingbird Scout Finch
Harriett D. Foy The House That Will Not Stand Makeda
Megan Hill Eddie and Dave Dave
Ruth Wilson King Lear Cordelia / Fool
Alison Wright Othello Emilia


Year Actress Play Character
Lois Smith The Inheritance Margaret
Patrice Johnson Chevannes runboyrun & In Old Age Abasiama Ufot
Kristina Poe Halfway Bitches Go Straight to Heaven Betty Woods
Belange Rodríguez The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao Ybón
Elizabeth Rodriguez Halfway Bitches Go Straight to Heaven Miss Rivera
2021 No awards: New York theatres shuttered, March 2020 to September 2021, due to the COVID-19 pandemic in New York City[1]
Francis Benhamou Prayer for the French Republic Elodie
Stephanie Berry On Sugarland Evelyn
Sonnie Brown what you are now Chantrea
Page Leong Out of Time Woman
Kenita R. Miller for colored girls who have considered suicide / when the rainbow is enuf Lady in Red
Kara Young Clyde's Letitia

Multiple Wins

2 wins



  1. ^ Evans, Greg (2021-05-05). "Broadway To Reopen Sept. 14, Says Gov. Andrew Cuomo; Broadway League "Cautiously Optimistic"". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on 2023-06-02. Retrieved 2023-12-03.