By Robert Simonson
10 May 2002
Urinetown and Metamorphoses have won the 2002 Drama League Awards for best play and musical, with The Crucible seizing the honor for best revival.
Liam Neeson, the star of The Crucible, was cited for Distinguished Performance.
The prizes were announced at a May 10 luncheon at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Manhattan.
The winners were a near mirror of the Lucille Lortel Awards, where Urinetown and Metamorphoses were also named best musical and play of the season. Both shows are up for Tony Awards this year.
This year's nominees (with winners in boldface) are:
Distinguished Production of a Play:
The Castle (Manhattan Ensemble Theatre)
Metamorphoses (Second Stage, later transferred to Broadway)
Topdog/Underdog (Public Theater, later transferred to Broadway)
QED (Lincoln Center Theater)
The Shape of Things
The Phantom Lady (Pearl Theatre Company)
Distinguished Production of a Musical:
Thoroughly Modern Millie
Sweet Smell of Success
Spitfire Grill (Playwrights Horizons)
Streets of New York (Irish Repertory Theatre)
Swimming with Watermelons (Vineyard Theatre)
Distinguished Production of a Revival:
The Dance of Death
Into the Woods
Major Barbara (Roundabout Theatre Company)
Morning's at Seven (Lincoln Center Theater)
Sweet Smell of Success star John Lithgow manned the podium at the May 10 Drama League soiree. Kathleen Chalfant and Marian Seldes served as honorary co-chairs of the event.
The Drama League also honored Julia Hansen with the Unique Contribution to Theatre Award. Hansen, president of the organization for 21 years, recently stepped down. The Distinguished Achievement Award in Musical Theatre, meanwhile, went to Elaine Stritch, now starring on Broadway in her one-woman show, Elaine Stritch at Liberty. Stritch's other musical credits include Pal Joey, Sail Away, Company and Show Boat.
The Drama League Award is the nation's oldest acting honor, first presented in 1935, predating the Tony Awards by 12 years. The Drama League's national membership votes for the performance and production awards in the days preceding the event. Proceeds from the Annual Awards Luncheon support The Drama League Directors Project.
The Drama League is devoted to supporting and strengthening theatre in America by broadening and stimulating the audience for quality theatre and by developing emerging talents for careers in the theatre.