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U.K.’s Standard honors ‘Angels,’ ‘Spider’

Two American shows, “Angels in America” and “Kiss of the Spider Woman,” were named the year’s best play and best musical, respectively, in the 37th Evening Standard Drama Awards on Tuesday.

“Angels in America” is a two-part epic about AIDS and the Reagan era.

Playwright Tony Kushner of New York accepted his award at London’s Savoy Hotel after flying overnight from Los Angeles, where the play is running.

The London award is only for the play’s first part, “Millennium Approaches.” Part two, “Perestroika,” has yet to be seen in London.

“Kiss of the Spider Woman” is a musical adaptation of Manuel Puig’s stark novel of torture, Marxism and homosexuality in a Latin American prison.

Drabinsky vindicated

Its prize vindicated Canadian producer Garth Drabinsky’s faith in the material. The show — written by Terrence McNally, directed by Hal Prince and scored by John Kander and Fred Ebb — had foundered in its workshop version in the United States two years ago. Its London bow last month received mixed reviews.

A Broadway opening in March has been suggested.

Nigel Hawthorne was named best actor for his turn in the title role in Alan Bennett’s “The Madness of George III,” and Diana Rigg was named best actress for her portrayal of the vengeful Greek heroine “Medea.”

The awards, sponsored by London’s afternoon daily newspaper, are chosen by a panel of critics.

Best comedy went to Jim Cartwright for “The Rise and Fall of Little Voice”; most promising playwright to Philip Ridley for “The Fastest Clock in the Universe”; and best director to Stephen Daldry for his staging of an old English warhorse, J.B. Priestley’s “An Inspector Calls.”

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