The New York Drama Critics Circle voted Jonathan Larson's Rent as Best Musical, and August Wilson's Seven Guitars as Best Play of 1995-96 on May 13. The 61st annual vote for the Best in Broadway and Off-Broadway also named Brian Friel's Molly Sweeney as Best Foreign Play, and gave a special award to the "Encores!" series at the New York City Center for its staged readings of worthy productions that otherwise rarely get revived. The most recent "Encores!" show was Chicago.
The Drama Critics Circle includes theatre critics for major New York City newspapers and magazines.
Seven Guitars reportedly beat Master Class and Racing Demon. The Circle ruled that Sam Shepard's Buried Child was ineligible because it has been produced before, in 1979. The drama is nominated for a Tony Award; it was ruled eligible by the Tony committee because it was substantially rewritten.