Fela! — the new musical based on the life of groundbreaking African composer and activist Fela Anikulapo Kuti — was the big winner at the annual awards ceremony, picking up three awards, the most of any show of the season. The production was named Outstanding Musical and also nabbed awards for Outstanding Choreographer (Bill T. Jones) and Outstanding Costume Design (Marina Draghici).
Other productions that fared well include the Pulitzer Prize-winning Ruined (Outstanding Play and Outstanding Lead Actress) and the revivals of Our Town (Outstanding Revival and Outstanding Director) and The Cripple of Inishmaan (Outstanding Featured Actor and Actress).
Stage and screen star Kristen Johnston hosted the Lortel Awards, which featured a performance by Mike Birbiglia. Presenters included Jane Krakowski, Parker Posey, Marcia Gay Harden, Piper Perabo, Lisa Edelstein, Jeremy Irons, Ari Graynor, Ellen Burstyn, Craig Bierko, Christian Siriano, Tim Gunn, Mireille Enos, Olivia d'Abo, John Glover, Margarita Levieva, Mark Indelicato, Keith Nobbs, Kerry Butler, Marsha Mason, Robert Verdi, Karen Olivo, Boyd Gaines & Lynn Cohen, Stephanie J Block, Fern Mallis, Ty Burrell, Phyllis Newman, Michael T. Weiss, Kate Jennings Grant, Jessica Blank and Erik Jensen.
Winners of the 2009 Lucille Lortel Awards follow: (winners names are in bold and are preceded by an asterisk)
Animals Out of Paper; Second Stage Theatre, Producer; Rajiv Joseph, Playwright Becky Shaw; Second Stage Theatre, Producer; Gina Gionfriddo, Playwright
* Ruined; Manhattan Theatre Club and Goodman Theatre, Producer; Lynn Nottage, Playwright
The Good Negro; The Public Theater in association with Dallas Theater Center, Producers; Tracey Scott Wilson, Playwright
The Sound and the Fury (April Seventh, 1928); New York Theatre Workshop and Elevator Repair Service, Producers; Text by William Faulkner, Created by Elevator Repair Service
* Fela! A New Musical; Ruth and Stephen Hendel and Roy Gabay, Producers; Book by Jim Lewis and Bill T. Jones, Music and Lyrics by Fela Anikulapo Kuti, Add'l Music by Aaron Johnson and Jordan McLean, Add'l Lyrics by Jim Lewis.
My Vaudeville Man!; The York Theatre Company and Melanie Herman, Producers; Book by Jeff Hochhauser, Music by Bob Johnston, Lyrics by Bob Johnston and Jeff Hochhauser
Saved; Playwrights Horizons in association with Elephant Eye Theatrical, Producers; Music and Lyrics by Michael Friedman, Book and Lyrics by John Dempsey and Rinne Groff
This Beautiful City; Vineyard Theatre, Producer; Composer and Lyricist Michael Friedman, Librettist Steve Cosson and Jim Lewis, Created by The Civilians
Outstanding Solo Show
* Humor Abuse; Manhattan Theatre Club, Producer; Created by Lorenzo Pisoni and Erica Schmidt, Performed by Lorenzo Pisoni
Sleepwalk With Me; Eli Gonda, Ryan Scott Warren, Marc Turtletaub, Peter Saraf, and Nathan Lane, Producers; Written and Performed by Mike Birbiglia
Enter Laughing, The Musical; The York Theatre Company, Producer; Book by Joseph Stein, Music and Lyrics by Stan Daniels, Based on the play Enter Laughing by Joseph Stein, from the novel by Carl Reiner
Othello; Theatre for a New Audience, Producer; William Shakespeare, Playwright
* Our Town; Scott Morfee, Jean Doumanian, Tom Wirtshafter, Ted Snowdon, Eagle Productions, Dena Hammerstein/Pam Pariseau, The Weinstein Company, Burnt Umber Productions, Producers; Thornton Wilder, Playwright
The Glass Cage; Mint Theater Company, Producer; J.B. Priestley, Playwright
Arin Arbus, Othello
* David Cromer, Our Town
Garry Hynes, The Cripple of Inishmaan
Kate Whoriskey, Ruined
Robert Woodruff, Chair
Martha Clarke, Garden of Earthly Delights
* Bill T. Jones, Fela! A New Musical
Janet Miller, The Marvelous Wonderettes
Lynne Taylor-Corbett and Shonn Wiley, My Vaudeville Man!
Sergio Trujillo, Saved
Outstanding Lead Actor
Ned Eisenberg, Othello
Brian d'Arcy James, Port Authority
Josh Grisetti, Enter Laughing, The Musical
Sahr Ngaujah, Fela! A New Musical
* John Douglas Thompson, Othello
Outstanding Lead Actress
Ellen Burstyn, The Little Flower of East Orange
* Saidah Arrika Ekulona, Ruined
Carmen M. Herlihy, crooked
Kellie Overbey, The Savannah Disputation
Annie Parisse, Becky Shaw
Outstanding Featured Actress
Annika Boras, Chair
* Kerry Condon, The Cripple of Inishmaan
Lisa Emery, Distracted
Mamie Gummer, Uncle Vanya
Juliet Rylance, Othello
Outstanding Costume Design
* Marina Draghici, Fela! A New Musical
Ann Hould-Ward, Road Show
Toni-Leslie James, Wig Out!
Karen Perry, The First Breeze of Summer
Theresa Squire, Rafta, Rafta…
Outstanding Lighting Design
* Christopher Akerlind, Garden of Earthly Delights
Mark Barton, Chair
Lap Chi Chu, The Good Negro
Marcus Doshi, Othello
Jason Lyons, Mourning Becomes Electra
Outstanding Sound Design
Quentin Chiappetta, Irena's Vow
* John Gromada, Shipwrecked! An Entertainment
Robert Kaplowitz, Wig Out!
Jane Shaw, The Widowing of Mrs. Holroyd
Matt Tierney, The Sound and the Fury (April Seventh, 1928)
Edith Oliver Award for Sustained Excellence
Outstanding Body of Work
The Lark Play Development Center
Awarded since 1986, the Lucille Lortel Awards are produced by the League of Off-Broadway Theatres & Producers by special arrangement with the Lucille Lortel Foundation. Additional support is provided by Theatre Development Fund.
For more information, visit www.LortelAward.com.