Drama Desk Award
for Outstanding Music
Awarded forOutstanding Music
LocationNew York City
CountryUnited States
Presented byDrama Desk
First awarded1968
Currently held byShaina Taub for Suffs (2024)
Websitedramadesk.org (defunct)

The Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Music is an annual award presented by Drama Desk in recognition of achievements in musical theatre (distinct from incidental music in plays) across collective Broadway, off-Broadway and off-off-Broadway productions in New York City. The award was originally entitled Best Composer, before being renamed to its current title in 1969. The award is often referred to as Outstanding Score of a Musical.

Winners and nominees


Year Composer Production
Al Carmines In Circles
Galt MacDermot Hair
Al Carmines Peace
Burt Bacharach Promises, Promises


Year Composer Production
Stephen Sondheim Company
Kurt Weill Mahagonny
Stephen Sondheim Follies
Galt MacDermot Two Gentlemen of Verona
Stephen Sondheim A Little Night Music
Al Carmines The Faggot
Charlie Smalls The Wiz
Gene Curty, Nitra Scharfman & Chuck Strand The Lieutenant
Jerry Herman Mack and Mabel
Fred Silver In Gay Company
Marvin Hamlisch A Chorus Line
Leonard Bernstein 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Bill Heyer & Hank Beebe Tuscaloosa's Calling Me
Stephen Sondheim Pacific Overtures
Cy Coleman I Love My Wife
Charles Strouse Annie
Elizabeth Swados Nightclub Cantata
Robert Waldman The Robber Bridegroom
Cy Coleman On the Twentieth Century
Carol Hall The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas
Elizabeth Swados Runaways
Stephen Sondheim Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
Nancy Ford I'm Getting My Act Together and Taking It on the Road
Marvin Hamlisch & Neil Simon They're Playing Our Song
Jerome Kass Ballroom
Michel Legrand The Umbrellas of Cherbourg


Year Composer Production
Andrew Lloyd Webber Evita
Cy Coleman Barnum
Elizabeth Swados Runaways
Maury Yeston Nine
Stephen Sondheim Merrily We Roll Along
Jim Wann Pump Boys and Dinettes
Andrew Lloyd Webber Cats
Larry Grossman A Doll's Life
Gerald Jay Markee Charlotte Sweet
Des McAnuff Death of Von Richthofen
Alan Menken Little Shop of Horrors
Jerry Herman La Cage aux Folles
Galt MacDermot The Human Comedy
David Shire Baby
Stephen Sondheim Sunday in the Park with George
Larry Grossman Grind
Roger Miller Big River
Michael Rupert 3 Guys Naked from the Waist Down
Rupert Holmes The Mystery of Edwin Drood
Polly Pen Goblin Market
Charles Strouse Mayor
Andrew Lloyd Webber Song and Dance
Noel Gay Me and My Girl
Claude-Michel Schönberg Les Misérables
Nick Bicat The Knife
Charles Strouse Rags
Andrew Lloyd Webber Starlight Express
Andrew Lloyd Webber Phantom of the Opera
Benny Andersson & Björn Ulvaeus Chess
David Evans Birds of Paradise
Hugh Masekela & Mbongeni Ngema Sarafina!
Stephen Sondheim Into the Woods


Year Composer Production
Cy Coleman City of Angels
Chet Forrest, Bob Wright & Maury Yeston Grand Hotel
Ástor Piazzolla Dangerous Games
David Shire Closer Than Ever
Andrew Lloyd Webber Aspects of Love
Cy Coleman The Will Rogers Follies
David Bucknam The Waves
William Finn Falsettoland
Lucy Simon The Secret Garden
Stephen Sondheim Assassins
Erik Frandsen, Michael Garin, Robert Hipkins & Paul Lockheart Song of Singapore
Marvin Hamlisch The Goodbye Girl
John Kander Kiss of the Spider Woman
Jeffrey Lunden Wings
Stephen Sondheim Passion
Michael John LaChiusa Hello Again
Alan Menken Beauty and the Beast
Polly Pen Christina Alberta's Father
Tom Waits The Black Rider
Jonathan Larson Rent
Cy Coleman The Life
John Kander Steel Pier
Jeanine Tesori Violet
Stephen Flaherty Ragtime
Paul Simon The Capeman
Stephen Trask Hedwig and the Angry Inch
Frank Wildhorn The Scarlet Pimpernel
Jason Robert Brown Parade
Cy Coleman Exactly Like You
William Finn A New Brain
Frank Wildhorn The Civil War


Year Composer Production
Andrew Lippa The Wild Party
Shaun Davey James Joyce's The Dead
Stephen Sondheim Saturday Night
David Yazbek The Full Monty
Kirsten Childs The Bubbly Black Girl Sheds Her Chameleon Skin
Stephen Flaherty Seussical
Mark Hollmann Urinetown
Ed Kleban A Class Act
Laurence O'Keefe Bat Boy: The Musical
Jason Robert Brown The Last Five Years
Marvin Hamlisch Sweet Smell of Success
Jonathan Larson Tick, Tick... BOOM!
Jeanine Tesori Thoroughly Modern Millie
Marc Shaiman Hairspray
Tim Acito Zanna, Don't!
Stephen Flaherty A Man of No Importance
Michel Legrand Amour
Robert Lopez & Jeff Marx Avenue Q
Anderson Edwards, Keith Glover & Keb' Mo' Thunder Knocking on the Door
Jeanine Tesori Caroline, or Change
RaRa Avis & Andrew Yeater Ramayana 2K3
Boy George Taboo
Eric Rockwell The Musical of Musicals (The Musical!)
Stephen Schwartz Wicked
Martin Silvestri & Joel Higgins Johnny Guitar
Adam Guettel The Light in the Piazza
Gary Adler & Michael Patrick Walker Altar Boyz
Terry Davies Play Without Words
William Finn The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee
Stephen Flaherty Dessa Rose
David Yazbek Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
Lisa Lambert & Greg Morrison The Drowsy Chaperone
Stephen Dolginoff Thrill Me
Scott Frankel Grey Gardens
Michael John LaChiusa See What I Wanna See
Peter Mills The Pursuit of Persephone
Matthew Sklar The Wedding Singer
Duncan Sheik Spring Awakening
John Kander Curtains
Paul Leschen & Gila Sand Twist: Please, Sir, May I Have Some More?
Peter Rodgers Melnick Adrift in Macao
Lin-Manuel Miranda In the Heights
Laurence O'Keefe & Nell Benjamin Legally Blonde
Heidi Rodewald & Stew Passing Strange
John Bucchino A Catered Affair
Stephen Flaherty The Glorious Ones
Tom Kitt Next to Normal
Mark Mulcahy The Slug Bearers of Kayrol Island
Joshua Schmidt Adding Machine
Elton John Billy Elliot the Musical
Neil Bartram The Story of My Life
Zina Goldrich Dear Edwina
Dolly Parton 9 to 5
Stephen Sondheim Road Show
Jeanine Tesori Shrek the Musical


Year Composer Production
David Bryan Memphis
Michael Friedman Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson
Joe Iconis Bloodsong of Love
John Kander & Fred Ebb The Scottsboro Boys
Andrew Lippa The Addams Family
Joseph Zellnik Yank!
Trey Parker, Robert Lopez & Matt Stone The Book of Mormon
Brad Alexander See Rock City & Other Destinations
Alan Menken Sister Act
Marc Shaiman Catch Me If You Can
Mike Stoller & Artie Butler The People in the Picture
David Yazbek Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown
Alan Menken Newsies
Glen Hansard & Markéta Irglová Once
Michael John LaChiusa Queen of the Mist
Alan Menken Leap of Faith
Frank Wildhorn Bonnie & Clyde
Maury Yeston Death Takes a Holiday
David Byrne & Fatboy Slim Here Lies Love
Trey Anastasio & Amanda Green Hands on a Hardbody
Michael John LaChiusa Giant
Dave Malloy Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812
Benj Pasek & Justin Paul A Christmas Story: The Musical
David Rossmer & Steve Rosen The Other Josh Cohen
Jason Robert Brown The Bridges of Madison County
Andrew Lippa Big Fish
Steven Lutvak A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder
Alan Menken Aladdin
Kevin Murphy & Laurence O'Keefe Heathers: The Musical
Jeanine Tesori Fun Home
Lin-Manuel Miranda Hamilton
Jason Robert Brown Honeymoon in Vegas
Michael Friedman The Fortress of Solitude
John Kander The Visit
Dave Malloy Ghost Quartet
Sting The Last Ship
Steve Martin & Edie Brickell Bright Star
Sara Bareilles Waitress
Michael John LaChiusa First Daughter Suite
Andrew Lloyd Webber School of Rock
The Lobbyists SeaWife
David Yazbek The Band's Visit
Stephen Flaherty Anastasia
Dave Malloy Beardo
Richard Oberacker Bandstand
Irene Sankoff & David Hein Come from Away
David Friedman Desperate Measures
The Bengsons The Lucky Ones
Ben Caplan & Christian Barry Old Stock: A Refugee Love Story
Erin McKeown Miss You Like Hell
Helen Park & Max Vernon KPOP
David Yazbek Tootsie
Andrew R. Butler Rags Parkland Sings the Songs of the Future
Joe Iconis Be More Chill
Peter Mills The Hello Girls
Mark Sonnenblick Midnight at the Never Get
Shaina Taub Twelfth Night


Year Composer Production
Dave Malloy Octet
Ross Golan The Wrong Man
Michael R. Jackson A Strange Loop
Joshua Rosenblum Einstein's Dreams
Duncan Sheik The Secret Life of Bees
Jeanine Tesori Soft Power
2021 No awards: New York theatres shuttered, March 2020 to September 2021, due to the COVID-19 pandemic in New York City[1]
Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss Six
Jason Howland Paradise Square
Matt Ray The Hang
Carrie Rodriguez ¡Americano!
Jeanine Tesori Kimberly Akimbo
Brandy Clark and Shane McAnally Shucked
Michael R. Jackson White Girl in Danger
Tom Kitt and AnnMarie Milazzo Almost Famous
Elyssa Samsel and Kate Anderson Between the Lines
The Kilbanes Weightless
Shaina Taub Suffs
Jason Robert Brown The Connector
Justin Huertas Lizard Boy: The Musical
Jamestown Revival (Jonathan Clay and Zach Chance) and Justin Levine The Outsiders
David Yazbek and Erik Della Penna Dead Outlaw

Multiple wins

Multiple nominations

See also


  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.
  2. ^ "Stereophonic Leads 2024 Drama Desk Awards with 7 Wins Including Outstanding Play - Playbill.com". 2024-06-10. Retrieved 2024-06-13.