2003 Lucille Lortel Awards Announced; Take Me Out, Avenue Q Big Winners

By Kenneth Jones
05 May 2003

Take Me Out and Avenue Q were winners of 2003 Lucille Lortel Awards at the May 5 ceremony honoring the best of Off-Broadway.



The League of Off-Broadway Theatres & Producers' 18th Annual Lucille Lortel Awards were presented at the Lucille Lortel Theatre in Greenwich Village, one of the hot spots of the post-World War II Off-Broadway movement (home of the famous American staging of The Threepenny Opera). At the Lortel (the former Theatre De Lys), The Public Theater staging of Take Me Out, which has since moved to Broadway, also won for Best Actor (Daniel Sunjata) and Outstanding Featured Actor (Denis O'Hare). Joe Mantello was also named Outstanding Director for the Richard Greenberg play about baseball and American ideas and ideals.

Tovah Feldshuh was named Outstanding Actress for the current Golda's Balcony, and Jan Maxwell snagged the award for Outstanding Featured Actress for My Old Lady.

Frank McGuinness' Observe the Sons of Ulster Marching Towards the Somme garnered the most 2003 nominations — six —including one for Outstanding Play, and walked away with awards for Outstanding Scenic Design (Alexander Dodge) and Lighting Design (Donald Holder). The quirky Avenue Q, currently at the Vineyard Theatre and leaping to Broadway in July, won Outstanding Musical and Outstanding Sound Design (Brett Jarvis). Devanand Janki was named Outstanding Choreographer for his imaginative Zanna, Don't! musical staging.

Michael Bottari and Ronald Case won the award for Outstanding Costume Design for their rich B-movie designs for Chalres Busch's Shanghai Moon, set in the exotic Orient.

Signature Theatre Company's now-closed revival of Lanford Wilson's Fifth of July won for Outstanding Revival.

B.D. Wong, who starred in Shanghai Moon, served as host of the awards, replacing an under-the-weather Caroline Rhea.

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Special awards were presented to the Vineyard Theatre (Outstanding Body of Work), Tony Award-winning actress Marian Seldes (The Edith Oliver Award for Sustained Excellence) and to Jessica Blank and Erik Jensen's The Exonerated (Unique Theatrical Experience).

The Lucille Lortel Awards, which honor outstanding achievement Off-Broadway, were created by The League of Off-Broadway Theatres & Producers in recognition of Lortel's devotion to Off-Broadway. The nominating and voting committee for the awards include representatives of the League of Off-Broadway Theatres & Producers, the Lucille Lortel Foundation, Actors' Equity Association, Society of Stage Directors & Choreographers, journalists, educators and other artistic contributors to Off Broadway.

The nominees and winners are listed below. Winners are in boldface type:

Outstanding Play
Dublin Carol
by Conor McPherson
Producer: Atlantic Theater Company

Observe the Sons of Ulster Marching Towards the Somme
by Frank McGuinness
Producer: Lincoln Center Theater

Our Lady of 121st Street
by Stephen Adly Guirgis
Producer: John Gould Rubin, Ira Pittelman, Robyn Goodman, Ruth Hendel, Daryl Roth, and the LAByrinth Theater Company

Take Me Out
by Richard Greenberg
Producer: The Joseph Papp Public Theater/New York Shakespeare Festival and The Donmar Warehouse

Outstanding Musical
Avenue Q
Music and lyrics by Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx, book by Jeff Whitty, based on an original concept by Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx
Producer: Vineyard Theatre and The New Group

Hank Williams: Lost Highway
By Randal Myler and Mark Harelik
Producer: Manhattan Ensemble Theater

Radiant Baby
Book by Stuart Ross, music by Debra Barsha, lyrics by Ira Gasman, Stuart Ross and Debra Barsha
Producer: The Joseph Papp Public Theater/New York Shakespeare Festival

Zanna, Don't!
Book, music, and lyrics by Tim Acito, additional book and lyrics by Alexander Dinelaris
Producer: Jack M. Dalgleish in association with Stephanie Joel

Outstanding Revival
Burn This by Lanford Wilson
Producer: Signature Theatre Company

Comedians by Trevor Griffiths
Producer: The New Group

Don Juan by Molière, translated by Christopher Hampton
Producer: Theatre for a New Audience

Fifth of July by Lanford Wilson
Producer: Signature Theatre Company

Outstanding Director
Jo Bonney, Fifth of July
Philip Seymour Hoffman,Our Lady of 121st Street
Joe Mantello, Take Me Out
Nicholas Martin, Observe the Sons of Ulster Marching Towards the Somme
Jason Moore, Avenue Q

Outstanding Choreographer
Ronald K. Brown, Crowns
Martha Clarke, Vienna: Lusthaus (revisited)
Devanand Janki, Zanna, Don't!
Ken Roberson, Avenue Q
Fatima Robinson, Radiant Baby

Outstanding Lead Actor
Charles Busch, Shanghai Moon
Jim Dale, Comedians
Edward Norton, Burn This
Jason Petty, Hank Williams: Lost Highway
Daniel Sunjata, Take Me Out

Outstanding Lead Actress
Tovah Feldshuh, Golda's Balcony
S. Epatha Merkerson, Fucking A
Kate Mulgrew, Tea At Five
Pamela Payton-Wright, Fifth of July
Parker Posey, Fifth of July

Outstanding Featured Actor
Walter Bobbie, Polish Joke
Mos Def, Fucking A
Ron Cephas Jones, Our Lady of 121st Street
Denis O'Hare, Take Me Out
Justin Theroux, Observe the Sons of Ulster Marching Towards the Somme

Outstanding Featured Actress
Anika Larsen, Zanna, Don't!
Jan Maxwell, My Old Lady
Nancy Opel, Polish Joke
Portia, Our Lady of 121st Street
Daphne Rubin-Vega, Fucking A

Outstanding Scenic Design
Christopher Akerlind, Don Juan
John Lee Beatty, My Old Lady
Alexander Dodge, Observe the Sons of Ulster Marching Towards the Somme
Anna Louizos, Avenue Q
Mark Wendland, The World Over

Outstanding Costume Design
Michael Bottari and Ronald Case, Shanghai Moon
Susan Hilferty, My Life With Albertine
Paul Tazewell, Boston Marriage
Catherine Zuber, Far Away

Outstanding Lighting Design
Christopher Akerlind, Don Juan
Howell Binkley, Radiant Baby
Donald Holder, Observe the Sons of Ulster Marching Towards the Somme
James F. Ingalls, My Life With Albertine
James Vermeulen, Fifth of July

Outstanding Sound Design
Paul Arditti, Far Away
Mark Bennett, Golda’s Balcony
Brett Jarvis, Avenue Q
Jerry Yager, Observe the Sons of Ulster Marching Towards the Somme