New York Drama Critics' Circle Awards Go to Utopia, Spring, Golf and Journey's End

By Andrew Gans
and Ernio Hernandez
07 May 2007

Brían F. O'Byrne in Coast of Utopia, which was named Best Play by the New York Drama Critics' Circle.
Brían F. O'Byrne in Coast of Utopia, which was named Best Play by the New York Drama Critics' Circle.
Photo by Paul Kolnick

The Coast of Utopia, by Tom Stoppard, was named Best Play of the 2006-07 season by the New York Drama Critics' Circle, the membership announced May 7.

The Best Musical award was given to Spring Awakening, which features book and lyrics by Steven Sater and music by Duncan Sheik.

The late August Wilson's Radio Golf was named Best American Play.

A special citation was awarded to the revival of Journey's End, written by R. C. Sherriff and directed by David Grindley.

The selections were made at the 72nd annual voting meeting of the organization May 7 at the offices of Time Out New York in Manhattan.



The awards will be presented at a cocktail reception to be held on May 14, at the Algonquin Hotel, where the NYDCC was founded in 1935 by such legendary critics and journalists as Brooks Atkinson, Walter Winchell and Robert Benchley.

The award for Best Play carries with it a cash prize of $2,500. A cash award of $1,000 also goes to the playwright who receives the award for best American or foreign play. The awards are made possible by a grant from the Lucille Lortel Foundation.

Stoppard's epic Coast of Utopia trilogy — directed by Jack O'Brien — tells the story of a group of nineteenth-century Russian intellectuals who debate politics and philosophy and struggle to change their political system over a 30-year period. Voyage, which opened Nov. 27, 2006, is set in the Russian countryside and in Moscow and St. Petersburg. Part two, Shipwreck, which opened Dec. 21, begins outside Moscow 13 years after the first part and follows the characters to Paris, Dresden and Nice. Part three, Salvage, which opened Feb. 18, 2007, follows the characters to London and Geneva over the course of 12 years.

Spring Awakening features direction by Michael Mayer and choreography by Bill T. Jones. The musical is based on Frank Wedekind's 1891 expressionist play, which was scandalous in its day for addressing sex, violence and suicide. Two actors play all the adult roles, and the others in the ensemble cast play teenagers. Groff and Michele play the lead roles of two teens drawn to each other in a world where parents, ministers and teachers create an atmosphere of shame, silence and ignorance.

With Radio Golf, the late August Wilson ended his ten-play cycle which chronicles the African-American experience in the 20th century, decade by decade. The 1990s-set play involves real estate developers who look to tear down the home of recurring character Aunt Esther. Kenny Leon (Gem of the Ocean, A Raisin in the Sun) directs the play, which co-stars Tonya Pinkins and Harry Lennix.

Boyd Gaines, Jefferson Mays, Hugh Dancy and Stark Sands star in Journey's End, the Broadway revival of R.C. Sherriff's 1929 war play, which officially opened at the Belasco Theatre Feb. 22. The play, based on Sherriff's own experiences in the First World War, is about a group of British soldiers living together in a cramped trench in France while fighting the last great German offensive in March 1918. David Grindley directs.

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Last year, The History Boys, by Alan Bennett, was named Best Play. The Best Musical award went to The Drowsy Chaperone (book by Bob Martin and Don McKellar, music and lyrics by Lisa Lambert and Greg Morrison).

Adam Feldman, theatre critic for Time Out New York, has served as president of the NYDCC since 2005. Frank Scheck of the New York Post serves as vice president; Michael Kuchwara of the Associated Press is treasurer.

The other members of the New York Drama Critics' Circle are Clive Barnes (New York Post), Melissa Rose Bernardo (Entertainment Weekly), David Cote (Time Out New York), Joe Dziemianowicz (Daily News), Michael Feingold (Village Voice), Robert Feldberg (Bergen Record), Elysa Gardner (USA Today), Eric Grode (New York Sun), John Heilpern (New York Observer), Jacques le Sourd (Gannett Newspapers), Jeremy McCarter (New York), David Rooney (Variety), David Sheward (Back Stage), John Simon (Bloomberg News), Michael Sommers (The Star Ledger/Newhouse Newspapers), Terry Teachout (The Wall Street Journal), Linda Winer (Newsday) and Richard Zoglin (Time).