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Outer Critics laud ‘Utopia,’ ‘Spring’

Stoppard trilogy wins six awards

“The Coast of Utopia” got a major thumbs-up from legit’s Outer Critics Circle: The epic Tom Stoppard trilogy scored six trophies, with tuner “Spring Awakening” nabbing three.

Lincoln Center Theater production of “Coast” is starting to look like the play to beat come Tony time. The show has already won top laurels from the Drama League and the New York Drama Critics Circle. Both orgs also annointed “Spring Awakening” with musical kudos.

Tallying two OCC wins each were “Journey’s End,” “Company,” “LoveMusik,” “In the Heights” and “No Child.”

Outer Critics, made up mainly of scribes who cover Gotham theater for media outlets outside New York, announced the winners’ list Sunday ahead of a ceremony May 24 at Sardi’s. “Mary Poppins” was the org’s most-nommed production, but the Disney stage musical didn’t pick up a single award.

“Utopia” won for play, director of a play (Jack O’Brien), set (Bob Crowley and Scott Pask), costumes (Catherine Zuber), lights (Brian MacDevitt, Kenneth Posner and Natasha Katz) and featured actress (Martha Plimpton). “Spring Awakening” took musical, score (Duncan Sheik and Steven Sater) and director of a tuner (Michael Mayer).

In repeats of their Drama League wins, David Grindley’s production of “Journey’s End” and John Doyle’s staging of “Company” took revival of a play and revival of a musical, respectively. “Company” scored the lead actor in a tuner award for Raul Esparza, while thesp Boyd Gaines of “Journey’s End” won the laurels for featured actor in a play.

Actress in a musical went to Donna Murphy for her role as Lotte Lenya in “LoveMusik.” She’s nearly assured a Tony nom, but her OCC competish didn’t include strong Tony contender Christine Ebersole in “Grey Gardens” — “Gardens,” while eligible for the Tonys this season, was ineligible for the Outer Critics because of its Off Broadway run last season.

Second “LoveMusik” award went to David Pittu for featured actor in a tuner.

Trophy for actor in a play went to Frank Langella, who portrays the presidential half of “Frost/Nixon.” Thesp beat out actors who will likely be his Tony competitors in a tough race: Brian F. O’Byrne (“Utopia”), Christopher Plummer (“Inherit the Wind”) and Liev Schreiber (“Talk Radio”). Schreiber recently picked up an acting award from the Drama League.

Brit actress Eve Best, who co-stars with Kevin Spacey in London import “A Moon for the Misbegotten,” won for lead actress in play.

“In the Heights,” a tuner about life in an upper Manhattan neighborhood, won for Off Broadway musical, and also got the nod for choreography (Andy Blankenbuehler). A.R. Gurney play “Indian Blood” was tops for Off Broadway play.

Nilaja Sun, the writer-performer of “No Child…,” has two awards for her mantle: one for solo perf, and one, the John Gassner Award, given to a new American play written by a new playwright.

Featured actress in a tuner went to Karen Ziemba for “Curtains.”

Angela Lansbury and Marian Seldes, co-stars of “Deuce,” will be given special awards in recognition of their long careers in legit. “Deuce” itself, however, was not eligible for the Outer Critics this year because it could not be seen by nominators before the cutoff date. Production will be considered for the 2007-08 season kudos.

Next up in the legit awards frenzy: The Tony noms, announced this morning.

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