It is astonishingly impossible to be cool when you are anywhere in the vicinity of Helen Mirren. I don’t know if it’s because she’s played royalty so frequently that she’s actually just become royalty, or if it’s because she’s so fucking cool that she actually absorbs all the coolness around her and makes it her own in some sort of weird cool-combustion engine situation wherein she always gets better and you always get less articulate. Which would explain a lot about how fucking cool Dame Mirren is.
But I digress.
The real point here is that somehow, I was seated within literal touching distance of Helen Mirren last night at the Drama Desk Awards, and I have never felt less simultaneously awesome and uncool in my life. And when I wasn’t counting down the seconds until someone came and told me they usher had messed up and I actually belonged in a seat much closer to like… the roof, I was still not watching the awards ceremony. No. I was watching Helen Mirren watch the awards ceremony. Which is almost the same, but not quite.
For what it’s worth. It appears Dame Mirren had a nice time. She was smart enough to bring a cocktail to her seat — which she topped up with the Vodka nips passed out part-way though the show. (Christian Borle gave her two, because he’s no fool.) She was highly charmed by the show at some moments, and just as annoyed by the drunk bro shouting “KUDISCH!!” at the stage as we were. Because stars, they’re just like us. Only they wear Oscar de la Renta, while we’re in like… Eloquii and Macy’s and Aerosoles’ finest.
But the thing is. It’s kind of hard not to enjoy the Drama Desks. There are performances! Laura Benanti is funny and charming and just generally pretty great at hosting things. They run that ship real fucking tightly and power through those awards like they know your time is pretty precious to you. And it feels… fancy. With The Town Hall’s old-school velvet seats and the celebs all around — Broadway famous and Hollywood famous alike — the Drama Desks kind of feel like a less-intoxicated Golden Globes. Which makes sense, because like the Globes, the Drama Desks are given by writers and journalists, and they have more (and cooler) categories, and they’re given right in the lead-up to the big event of the season.
The other cool thing about the Drama Desks is that you can buy tickets. Like. You, Jo Shmo, reading this website right now, can be in the room next year. (Of note, you can also buy tix for the Lortel Awards.) Which may be worth thinking about.
I dunno if you can buy a ticket that includes access to the After Party. But Dame Helen Mirren doesn’t make it to things like that anyway, either, so even if you miss out, you’re in very excellent company.
I mean, the view of Times Square last night was cool. And you can dick around and take selfies of people taking selfies with Times Square like some other foolish writer types I know. So that’s cool.
But really. No one will ever be as cool as Helen Mirren, so in the end, does any of that matter?
Photo: David Gordon