'Musical' wins trio of prizes
“Fela!” scored big at Off Broadway’s 24th annual Lucille Lortel Awards Sunday night, with the tuner walking away with three trophies including the new musical prize.“Ruined” took the new play honor, while “Our Town” notched a win in the revival category, for which revivals of both plays and musicals are eligible. A tuner about Afrobeat musician Fela Kuti, “Fela!” also won Lortels for choreographer (Bill T. Jones, also the co-conceiver, co-book writer and director of the musical) and costume design (Marina Draghici). Show’s limited run opened Off Broadway in September, scoring strong enough reviews to spur talk of a Broadway transfer, but that did not materialize during the 2008-09 season. Both “Ruined” and “Our Town” scored two laurels apiece. Saidah Arrika Ekulona, as the Congolese businesswoman at the heart of Lynn Nottage’s Pulitzer-winner “Ruined,” won the lead actress honor, while David Cromer picked up the directing prize for “Our Town” (in which he also has appeared as an actor, although he is on a hiatus from the role). “The Cripple of Inishmaan,” which played the Atlantic Theater Company in the spring, also took home two laurels, featured actor (Aaron Monaghan) and featured actress (Kerry Condon). John Douglas Thompson won the lead actor kudo for his perf in the title role of “Othello.” Rounding out the design awards were Roger Hanna (sets for “The Glass Cage”), Christopher Akerlind (lights for “Garden of Earthly Delights”) and John Gromada (sound for “Shipwrecked!”). “Humor Abuse,” co-created and performed by Lorenzo Pisoni, took home the award for solo show. Special honors were handed out to musical development maven Ira Weitzman for sustained excellence, and to the Lark Play Development Center for body of work. This year’s ceremony was hosted by Kristen Johnston at the Marriott Marquis in Gotham. The Lortel Awards are produced by the League of Off Broadway Theaters and Producers by special arrangement with the Lucille Lortel Foundation. Play: “Ruined” Musical: “Fela! A New Muscial” Revival: “Our Town” Solo Show: “Humor Abuse” Director: David Cromer, “Our Town” Choreographer: Bill Jones, “Fela! A New Musical” Lead Actor: John Thompson, “Othello” Lead Actress: Saidah Ekulona, “Ruined” Featured Actor: Aaron Monaghan, “ The Cripple of Inishmaan” Featured Actress: Kerry Condon, “The Cripple of Inishmaan” Scenic Design: Roger Hanna, “The Glass Cage” Costume Design: Marina Draghici, “Fela! A New Musical” Lighting Design: Christopher Akerlind, “Garden of Earthly Delights” Sound Design: John Gromada, “Shipwrecked! An Entertainment”
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