Michael Urie arrived at the flagship store of menswear brand Stephen F, accompanied by bae Ryan Spahn, for guidance in achieving the sartorial authority to host the 62nd Drama Desk Awards, presented by TheaterMania on June 4. As he conferred with creative director Stephen Ferber over suits, piqué shirts, and the appropriate cufflinks provided by Gabriel & Co, there emerged a complementary accord between the actor and the line’s sophisticated verve. The sharp tailoring frames him well and could’ve been pulled from the closet of Marc St. James, the dapper breakthrough character he played in ABC’s “Ugly Betty”. That character was originally conceived as a vitriolic one-off in a running gag of revolving door fashion assistants but stayed for the series’ four season run because Mr. Urie elevated his line readings with ebullient charm and mischief. Having played the fictitiously stylish role and subsequently the factual iconic designer Rudi Gernreich in Jon Maran’s play “The Temperamentals”, it would’ve been fair to suspect Mr. Urie of being a fashion devotee. But that would be incorrect; because more precisely, he truly is to the theater born.
His fidelity to the stage was sealed at tenth grade in a school production of John Patrick’s “The Curious Savage” where he earned his first audience laughter. He has since professionally appeared in numerous plays including Anton Chekov’s “The Cherry Orchard”, the revival of Tony Kushner’s “Angels in America”, and Douglas Carter Beane’s “Shows For Days”. The most recent revival of “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying” marked his Broadway debut. Next up is the New York premiere of Jeffrey Hatcher’s adaptation of Nikolai Gogol’s “The Government Inspector” at The Duke; and depending on the vagaries of the business – a possible pick-up for a Fox pilot from Melissa McCarthy’s production company; or the lead in “Torch”, Harvey Fierstein’s new version of his own “Torch Song Trilogy”.
No stranger to awards, Mr. Urie received the John Houseman Prize in his graduating class at Juilliard in 2002; a Clarence Derwent award for playing multiple roles in his one-man Off-Broadway tour de force “Buyer & Cellar”; and a Lucille Lortel outstanding actor award for the aforementioned “The Temperamentals”. All this qualifies the multi hyphenated talent as an appealing choice to preside over The Drama Desk Awards, a uniquely New York celebration that levels the entirety of Broadway, Off, and Off-Off Broadway performances along equitable standards. Theater critics, journalists, editors and publishers formed the Drama Desk in 1949 (incorporated as a non-profit in 1974) to address industry issues and promote the theater through the awards, informative panels and forums. DramaDeskAwards
Drama Desk Awards Promotional Image by Seth Walters/Images of Michael Urie at Stephen F with Stephen Ferber by New York Style Guide