'Spring Awakening' takes top musical prize
Add another notch in the belt of “The Coast of Utopia.”Lincoln Center Theater’s Broadway production of Tom Stoppard’s three-play epic about 19th century Russian intellectuals scored seven Drama Desk Awards on Sunday, including the top play prize. “Spring Awakening” took the trophy for tuner, one of four awards for the rock musical (and kudos fave) about German teens coming of age in the 1890s. Three awards each went to the soon-to-close “Journey’s End,” which was top revival of a play, and “Company,” which nabbed revival of a musical. “Utopia” is fresh off a week in which it took the most noms of any play up for the 2007 Tonys. The production also scored honors from the New York Drama Critics Circle, the Outer Critics Circle, and the Drama League — as did “Spring Awakening,” nommed for 11 Tonys. List of Drama Desk wins for “Utopia” included director (Jack O’Brien), featured actress (Martha Plimpton), music for a play (Mark Bennett) and three design awards. “Spring Awakening” took music (Duncan Sheik), lyrics (Steven Sater) and direction of a musical (Michael Mayer). Lead actor in a play went to Frank Langella for his widely praised portrait of Richard Nixon in “Frost/Nixon.” Langella also won an Outer Critics Award, and is up for a Tony in a competitive race with thesps Christopher Plummer (“Inherit the Wind”) and Liev Schreiber (“Talk Radio”). Also matching the Outer Critics, best actress in a play went to Eve Best, who co-stars in the revival of “A Moon for the Misbegotten” with Kevin Spacey. Actor in a tuner went to Raul Esparza, while two lead actresses tied in the tuner category: Audra McDonald in “110 in the Shade” and Donna Murphy in “LoveMusik.” (Both actresses are up for a Tony, where they face off against Christine Ebersole in “Grey Gardens.” “Gardens” was not eligible for the Drama Desk awards this season because it was considered last year in its Off Broadway incarnation.) Kurt Weill-Lotte Lenya bio tuner “LoveMusik” was the show most-nommed by the Drama Desks, receiving 12 nods. It won two awards, the laurels for Murphy as well as for orchestration (Jonathan Tunick), in a tie with Mary Mitchell Campbell for “Company.” Outstanding solo perf went to Vanessa Redgrave for “The Year of Magical Thinking,” and unique theatrical experience to Matthew Bourne’s ballet version of “Edward Scissorhands.” Drama Desks put Broadway, Off Broadway and Off Off Broadway productions in competition in the same categories. Membership consists of critics, reporters and editors, more than 140 of whom vote on the awards. At the ceremony for the 52nd annual awards, held Sunday night at the F.H. LaGuardia Concert Hall in Gotham, non-competitive prizes were given to the ensemble casts of Off Broadway offerings “In the Heights” and “Lebensraum.” Also receiving special trophies were John Kander and the late Fred Ebb (“Curtains,” “Chicago”), thesp-helmer-scribe Austin Pendleton, Off Broadway troupe Transport Group and the National Yiddish Theater Folksbiene.