Passing Strange and August: Osage County Win 2007-08 NY Drama Critics Circle Award

By Kenneth Jones
12 May 2008

Amy Morton in August: Osage County.
Amy Morton in August: Osage County.
Photo by Michael Brosilow

August: Osage County by Tracy Letts and Passing Strange, with book and lyrics by Stew and music by Stew and Heidi Rodewald, were named winners of the New York Drama Critics' Circle Award (NYDCC) for Best Play and Best Musical, respectively, of the 2007-2008 season.

The announcement was made May 12. A ceremony will be held May 19.

No award was given for Best Foreign Play.

The selections were made at the 73rd annual voting meeting of the organization May 12 at the offices of Time Out New York in Manhattan. For more information about the New York Drama Critics' Circle and details of this year's voting, visit www.dramacritics.org.



The awards will be presented at a cocktail reception to be held on May 19, at the Algonquin Hotel, where the NYDCC was founded in 1935 by such legendary critics as Brooks Atkinson, Walter Winchell and Robert Benchley. Presenters will include Edward Albee and Marian Seldes.

The award for best play carries with it a cash prize of $2,500. The awards are made possible by a grant from the Lucille Lortel Foundation.

August: Osage County opened at Broadway's Imperial Theatre on Dec. 4, 2007, and recently transferred to the Music Box Theatre, where it currently plays. It had its world premiere June 28, 2007 at Chicago's Steppenwolf Theatre.

Passing Strange has book and lyrics by Stew and music by Stew and Heidi Rodewald. The musical, which is directed by and created in collaboration with Annie Dorsen, opened at Broadway's Belasco Theatre Feb. 28, 2008, where it currently plays. Its world premiere took place in October 2006 at the Berkeley Repertory Theatre and its New York premiere at the Public Theater where it opened May 14, 2007.

The New York Drama Critics’ Circle comprises 22 drama critics from daily newspapers, magazines, and wire services based in the New York metropolitan area. The New York Drama Critics' Circle Award is the nation's second-oldest theatre award, after the Pulitzer Prize for drama; it has been awarded every year since 1936 to the best new play of the season (with additional awards for musicals and foreign or American plays as well as citations for special achievement).

Adam Feldman, theatre critic for Time Out New York, has served as president of the NYDCC since 2005. Eric Grode of the New York Sun serves as vice president; Joe Dziemianowicz of the Daily News is treasurer.

In addition to Feldman, Grode, and Dziemianowicz, the members of the New York Drama Critics' Circle are: Hilton Als of The New Yorker; Clive Barnes of the New York Post; Melissa Rose Bernardo of Entertainment Weekly; David Cote of Time Out New York; Michael Feingold of the Village Voice; Robert Feldberg of The Record (Bergen); Elysa Gardner of USA Today; John Heilpern of The New York Observer; Michael Kuchwara of the Associated Press; Jacques le Sourd of Gannett Newspapers; Jeremy McCarter of New York; David Rooney of Variety; Frank Scheck of the New York Post; David Sheward of Back Stage; John Simon of Bloomberg News; Michael Sommers of The Star-Ledger/Newhouse Newspapers; Terry Teachout of The Wall Street Journal; Linda Winer of Newsday; and Richard Zoglin of Time.