The Pulitzer Prize may have gone to Dinner With Friends, but the New York Drama Critics Circle hath spoken, and in their opinion, this season's best play is August Wilson's Jitney, while best Foreign Play is Michael Frayn's Copenhagen (which also won the Outer Critics Circle Award last week). As for Best Musical, NYDCC chose James Joyce's The Dead.
The 66th annual awards, which were announced the afternoon of May 9, will be distributed at a Sardi's restaurant cocktail reception May 16.
According to the organization's press office, which represents the NY Drama Critics Circle, Wilson will receive $1,000 with his award for Jitney, a revised early work about denizens of a Pittsburgh taxi stand. Frayn's highly acclaimed Copenhagen, playing at Broadway's Royale Theatre, seems to be the favorite for upcoming Tony honors, which do not distinguish between American and foreign works.
As for the selection of The Dead, which has already closed, the NYDCC may be making a statement about what constitutes a new, original musical work, since Contact -- a dance piece using all pre-recorded classical and pop hits -- appears to be the odds-on favorite for Best Musical Tony honors.
Last year's NYDCC winners were Wit, Closer and Parade, plus a special award to David Hare, who opened three shows in one season. The Circle, headed by president Jacques LeSourd (Gannett Newspapers) was founded in 1935. Other current voters are Ben Brantley (NY Times), David Kaufman (Daily News), Donald Lyons (NY Post), Clive Barnes (NY Post), Linda Winer (Newsday), Ken Mandelbaum (Broadway.com), 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), Frank Scheck (Hollywood Reporter), David Sheward (Back Stage), Sam Whitehead (Time Out-NY) and Richard Zoglin (Time magazine).
-- By David Lefkowitz