Lortel noms lift ‘Trip,’ ‘Grey’

Leigh, Foote get kudofest kick

NEW YORK — The revival of Horton Foote’s “The Trip to Bountiful,” the Mike Leigh hit “Abigail’s Party” and new musical “Grey Gardens” lead the nominations for the 21st annual Lucille Lortel Awards for achievement in Off Broadway productions.

Written by Doug Wright, Scott Frankel and Michael Korie and produced by Playwrights Horizons, “Grey Gardens” will compete for musical kudos with two shows by composer Michael John LaChiusa: “Bernarda Alba,” staged by Lincoln Center Theater, and “See What I Wanna See,” which was performed at the Public Theater. Rounding out the category is Will Power’s hip-hop Greek tragedy “The Seven,” done at New York Theater Workshop.

Competing for play honors are the Atlantic’s production of Martin McDonagh’s “The Lieutenant of Inishmore”; Jon Robin Baitz’s “The Paris Letter,” from Roundabout; Adam Rapp’s “Red Light Winter,” produced by Scott Rudin/Paramount, Robyn Goodman, Roger Berlind and Stuart Thompson; and the Public’s staging of Rinne Groff’s “The Ruby Sunrise.”

While it’s the first New York production of Leigh’s 1977 play, the New Group’s “Abigail’s Party” will nevertheless compete for revival honors with Signature Theater’s “Bountiful”; Classical Theater of Harlem’s “Funnyhouse of a Negro”; the Atlantic’s double bill of Pinter one-acts, “Celebration” and “The Room”; and “Mrs. Warren’s Profession,” from Irish Rep.

Contending in the actress race are Jennifer Jason Leigh in “Abigail’s Party,” Lois Smith in “Bountiful,” Julie White in “The Little Dog Laughed,” S. Epatha Merkerson in “Birdie Blue” and Dianne Wiest in “Third,” by Wendy Wasserstein. The playwright, who died earlier this year, will receive a special lifetime achievement award.

The crowded field for actresses this year resulted in the surprising shutout of Christine Ebersole in “Grey Gardens,” arguably the most universally lauded performance of the season. Her co-star, Mary Louise Wilson, was nominated for featured actress.

Contenders for actor are Christopher Denham in “Red Light Winter,” Conor Donovan in “Privilege,” John Glover in “The Paris Letter,” Michael Stuhlbarg in “Measure for Pleasure” and David Wilmot in “Inishmore.” The latter play is readying for a Broadway transfer, opening May 3 at the Lyceum.

Directing noms went to Billie Allen for “Funnyhouse,” Scott Elliott for “Abigail’s Party,” Scott Ellis for “The Little Dog,” Wilson Milam for “Inishmore” and Harris Yulin for “Bountiful.”

The Lortel awards will be presented May 1 by the League of Off Broadway Theaters and Producers at the recently rechristened New World Stages (formerly Dodger Stages).

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