NY Drama Critics' Circle Chooses Tribes, Sons of the Prophet, Once as 2011-12 Season's Best

News   NY Drama Critics' Circle Chooses Tribes, Sons of the Prophet, Once as 2011-12 Season's Best
The New York Drama Critics' Circle named Stephen Karam's Sons of the Prophet the Best Play of the 2011-12 season following a meeting of its members on May 7. The 77th annual awards also recognized Nina Raine's Tribes as Best Foreign Play and Once as Best Musical.

Mare Winningham, Jeff Perry and Russell Harvard
Mare Winningham, Jeff Perry and Russell Harvard Photo by Gregory Costanzo

Special citations were given to Off-Broadway's Signature Theatre Company and (for contribution to the theatre) director Mike Nichols.

Karam's Sons of the Prophet received its New York City premiere in a fall 2011 production by Roundabout Theatre Company that was glowingly reviewed. The comedy-drama about a two gay brothers in a tragedy-touched Lebanese-American family in Pennsylvania (they have distant ties to the writer Kahlil Gibran, who penned "The Prophet") was also finalist for the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. There has been some buzz that the play may eventually get a Broadway production. Karam's earlier Speech & Debate was also acclaimed; its success at Roundabout's 62-seat Underground space led to the production of Sons of the Prophet.

On May 6, Sons of the Prophet and Once also won Lucille Lortel awards in the categories of Outstanding Play and Musical, respectively. 

Tribes, Raine's British drama about an insular, bohemian London family and their tug-of-war with a deaf member of the brood, who is uneasily finding his own community, is currently playing at the Barrow Street Theatre in Greenwich Village. David Cromer (Our Town) directs the well-reviewed play, presented in-the-round. Read the Playbill.com feature about Russell Harvard, who plays the son and brother at odds with his family.

Once, based on the hit indie film, spreads Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova's pop-folk score (including the Oscar-winning "Falling Slowly") across two acts in which a dozen actor-musicians play multiple roles surrounding a Guy and Girl in Dublin. It played developmental engagements at A.R.T. in Cambridge, MA, and New York Theatre Workshop before moving to the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre on Broadway, where it continues. It was nominated for 11 Tony Awards on May 1. Read the Playbill.com interviews with stars Steve Kazee and Cristin Milioti. Mike Nichols is the famed stage and film director currently represented on Broadway with a revival of Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman.

Off-Broadway's Signature Theatre Company, previously devoted to only one resident playwright per season, has greatly expanded its mission in the past year. Earlier this year, it opened a new three-venue complex, The Pershing Square Signature Center.


The NYDCC, whose president is Adam Feldman, met at the offices of Time Out New York magazine May 7 to select the 2012 winners.

The awards will be presented at a cocktail reception to be held May 14 at Angus McIndoe Restaurant.

The New York Drama Critics' Circle comprises 26 drama critics from daily newspapers, magazines, wire services and websites based in the New York metropolitan area. The New York Drama Critics' Circle Award, which has been awarded every year since 1936 to the best new play of the season (with optional awards for foreign or American plays, musicals and performers), is the nation's second-oldest theatre award, after the Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

The award for Best Play carries a cash prize of $2,500. Also, a cash award of $1,000 goes to the winner for best American or foreign play. The prizes are made possible by a grant from the Lucille Lortel Foundation.

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

In addition to Feldman, Vincentelli, Dziemianowicz and Grode, the members of the New York Drama Critics' Circle are Hilton Als, The New Yorker; Melissa Rose Bernardo, Entertainment Weekly; Scott Brown, New York; David Cote, Time Out New York; Michael Feingold, Village Voice; Robert Feldberg, Bergen Record; David Finkle, TheaterMania; Elysa Gardner, USA Today; Jeremy Gerard, Bloomberg News; Erik Haagensen, Back Stage; Mark Kennedy, Associated Press; Jesse Oxfeld, New York Observer; David Rooney, Hollywood Reporter; Frank Scheck, New York Post; David Sheward, Back Stage; John Simon,Westchester Guardian; Alexis Soloski, Village Voice; Marilyn Stasio, Variety; Steven Suskin, Variety; Terry Teachout, Wall Street Journal; Linda Winer, Newsday; and Richard Zoglin, Time. Michael Sommers serves as an emeritus member.

For more information on the New York Drama Critics' Circle and details of this year's voting, visit www.dramacritics.org.

Mare Winningham, Jeff Perry, Susan Pourfar, Gayle Rankin, Russell Harvard and Will Brill
Mare Winningham, Jeff Perry, Susan Pourfar, Gayle Rankin, Russell Harvard and Will Brill Photo by Gregory Costanzo
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