Though David Hare's plays were overlooked by the Tony nominators, the New York Drama Critics Circle no doubt made him feel a better. They're giving him a Special Award for his "contributions to the 1998/99 season."
That honor, plus kudos for Wit and Closer, will be offered May 11 at a 5-7 PM cocktail ceremony at Sardi's theatrical restaurant.
Wit added another laurel to its shrine (which already houses the Pulitzer for Drama). Margaret Edson's look at an erudite professor losing her battle to cancer was voted Best Play. Parade, which just picked up nine Tony nominations, was voted Best Musical. The most hotly contested battle, for Best Foreign Play, went to Patrick Marber's scalding (and not for the verbally prudish) Closer. The show beat out not only Hare's three plays, but The Weir and The Lonesome West, which both received their share of glowing notices. Wit's closest adversaries were likely to have been Side Man and Not About Nightingales.
One assumes the special award was given to Hare because The Blue Room became a cause celebre earlier in the season, because his critically-acclaimed Via Dolorosa is still playing at the Booth Theater (he also stars), and because Amy's View has proved strong with both critics and audiences (not to mention bringing Judi Dench back to Broadway). Also, Hare's The Judas Kiss opened at the end of last season but played for several weeks into this one, giving Hare four total shows on the boards since May 1998.
The Circle, headed by president Jacques LeSourd (Gannett Newspapers) was founded in 1935. Other current voters are Ben Brantley (NY Times), Donald Lyons (NY Post), Clive Barnes (NY Post), Linda Winer, Jan Stuart & Aileen Jacobson (Newsday), Michael Kuchwara & Mary Campbell (AP), Michael Sommers (Newhouse Newspapers), John Simon (New York magazine), Michael Feingold (Village Voice), Robert Feldberg (Bergen Record), John Heilpern (NY Observer), Charles Isherwood (Variety), Jack Kroll (Newsweek), Alexis Green & Ken Mandelbaum (InTheater), Frank Scheck (Hollywood Reporter), David Sheward (Back Stage), David Patrick Stearns (USA Today), Sam Whitehead (Time Out-NY) and Richard Zoglin (Time magazine). -- By David Lefkowitz