Announcing its awards for New York’s 2001-02 theater season, the Outer Critics Circle gave its top honors to Edward Albee’s “The Goat” and Greg Kotis and Mark Hollmann’s “Urinetown,” naming them best Broadway play and musical, respectively.
Both shows are currently languishing at the box office and can use the boost, although upcoming nom announcements from the higher-profile Tony Awards (May 6) and the Drama Desk (April 30) are likely to quickly overshadow the media exposure of the OCC awards.
The 52-year-old org, made up Gotham theater critics for out-of-town newspapers, national publications and other media, spread its largesse this year, honoring no less than a dozen Broadway productions and two Off Broadway shows.
Top musical actor honors went to Sutton Foster in “Thoroughly Modern Millie” and John Lithgow in “Sweet Smell of Success,” while on the dramatic side Alan Bates in “Fortune’s Fool” and Mercedes Ruehl in “The Goat” took the star-thesp awards. As previously announced, Mos Def and Jeffrey Wright received a special-achievement award for their turns in “Topdog/Underdog” by Suzan-Lori Parks, who won the John Gassner Award, an honor that usually goes to a young American playwright.
“Oklahoma!” took the most awards, with five. The Rodgers & Hammerstein classic won for outstanding revival of a musical, featured actor in a musical (Shuler Hensley), choreographer (Susan Stroman), set designer (Anthony Ward) and lighting designer (David Hersey).
In addition to best musical, “Urinetown” won awards for its director, John Rando, and featured actress, Spencer Kayden.
Other OCC awards:
Off-Broadway play: Richard Greenberg’s “The Dazzle”
Off-Broadway musical: Jonathan Larson’s “Tick, Tick…Boom”
Revival of a play: Paul Osborn’s “Morning’s at Seven”
Featured actor in a play: Frank Langella, “Fortune’s Fool”
Featured actress in a play: Katie Finneran, “Noises Off”
Solo performer: Elaine Stritch, “Elaine Stritch at Liberty”
Costume designer: Isaac Mizrahi, “The Women”
Another legit tradition
Jeffrey Eric Jenkins, editor of “The Best Plays of 2000-2001,” announced this season’s edition of the drama compilation that has been published since 1920.
The plays included are “Boy Gets Girl” by Rebecca Gilman, “The Invention of Love” by Tom Stoppard, “King Hedley II” by August Wilson, “Lobby Hero” by Kenneth Lonergan, “Mnemonic” by Complicite, “Nocturne” by Adam Rapp, “The Play About the Baby” by Edward Albee, “The Producers” by Mel Brooks and Thomas Meehan, “Proof” by David Auburn and “Urinetown” by Greg Kotis and Mark Hollmann.
The selections are made by Jenkins in consultation with the “Best Plays” editorial board: Robert Brustein, Tish Dace, Christine Dolen, Mel Gussow, Robert Hurwitt, John Istel, Chris Jones, Julius Novick, Michael Phillips, Christopher Rawson, Alisa Solomon, Jeffrey Sweet, Linda Winer and Charles Wright.