N.Y. Desk Critics hand out awards

'Ruined,' 'Billy,' 'Black Watch' nab honors

“Ruined,” “Billy Elliot” and “Black Watch” snagged honors in the annual round of kudos handed out by the New York Drama Critics Circle.

“Ruined” took the award for play and Brit import “Billy Elliot” scored the laurel for tuner, while Scottish production “Black Watch” nabbed the title for foreign production.

Special citations went to director Matthew Warchus and the cast of “The Norman Conquests” on Broadway, and to Gerard Alessandrini, creator of the long-running “Forbidden Broadway” series of legit spoofs. A career award for her contribution to the American theater went to Angela Lansbury, currently appearing in the Rialto revival of “Blithe Spirit.”

The NYDCC kudo for “Ruined,” Lynn Nottage’s Congo-set drama loosely inspired by “Mother Courage and Her Children,” reps yet another win for the play, which scored the Pulitzer last month and the Lucille Lortel award for new play on Sunday.

It’s also the second NYDCC win for Nottage, whose play “Intimate Apparel” scored the org’s award in 2004. “Ruined” won with a clear majority in a first-round vote by the circle.

“Elliot,” meanwhile, has proved a critical fave both in London, where the tuner originated in 2005, and on Broadway when it opened in the fall. Composer Elton John and lyricist-book writer Lee Hall created the adaptation of the 2000 pic, for which Hall was the screenwriter. Tuner won the NYDCC kudo in a weighted ballot, following a first-round vote that did not yield a clear winner.

Current Broadway offering “Next to Normal” also received supporting votes, with the show reconsidered in its reworked Rialto version after being eligible originally for its Off Broadway preem during the 2007-08 season.

Every year the NYDCC has the option of giving a second play award, for foreign play if the top play winner is American or for American play if the main winner is an import. This year the kudo went to “Black Watch,” the National Theater of Scotland’s show about a Scottish military troop serving in Iraq. Show bested rivals “Blasted” and “God of Carnage.”

“Black Watch” played its second Gotham run in the fall following a popular New York stint the previous season. That initial outing wasn’t considered by the critics’ org because not enough of the circle’s members had seen it.

Both Lansbury and Alessandrini were awarded their citations by unanimous votes.

“Ruined” bowed at the Goodman Theater in Chicago earlier this year and is currently running Off Broadway at Manhattan Theater Club, where the show has extended multiple times, most recently getting a six-week extension through June 28. “Billy Elliot,” meanwhile, has become one of the Rialto’s top sellers, regularly grossing more than $1 million per week.

Membership of the NYDCC, founded in 1935, consists of about 20 reviewers from Gotham media outlets. Org’s roster diminished recently as the media biz, already threatened by the rise of the Internet, contracted at the onset of the economic downturn.

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