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N.Y. crix tap ‘Invention,’ ‘Producers’

'Proof' honored as the best American play

NEW YORK — Tom Stoppard’s “The Invention of Love” was named best play of the season by the New York Drama Critics Circle on Tuesday, while the Mel Brooks tuner “The Producers” was named best musical.

David Auburn’s “Proof” was honored as the best American play of the 2000-01 theater season.

The awards will be given out at a May 22 ceremony at the Palm Restaurant.

During initial balloting for best play, “Invention” received eight votes from the 20 members voting in person or by proxy; other plays receiving more than one vote were “Proof” (three), Edward Albee’s “The Play About the Baby” (three) and Kenneth Lonergan’s “Lobby Hero” (two).

Since “Invention” lacked a majority of votes, a weighted ballot ensued in which “Invention” prevailed.

The org then voted to give the award for American play, with “Play About the Baby” leading the balloting in the first round with eight votes, followed by three each for “Proof” and August Wilson’s “King Hedley II,” two each for “Lobby Hero” and Wallace Shawn’s “The Designated Mourner” and single votes for Kia Corthron’s “Force Continuum” and Rebecca Gilman’s “Boy Gets Girl.”

Since no single play won a majority of the votes, a second, third and eventually fourth ballot were required. “Proof” beat out “Play About the Baby” in a final vote between the two plays by a vote of 11 to seven.

“The Producers’ ” path to the winners circle was considerably smoother: It won with a strong majority on the first ballot, winning 15 votes of the 20.

There were two votes for “Urinetown,” one for “The Full Monty,” one for “And God Created Great Whales” and one abstention.

Meeting was chaired by the org’s prexy Michael Sommers of the Star-Ledger/Newhouse Newspapers. The New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award is the nation’s second-oldest theater award, after the Pulitzer Prize for drama.