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The Stars Align to Celebrate the Best of Off-Broadway at the Lortel Awards

By Megan Wrappe, Contributing Writer, May 10, 2017

In the world of theatre it seems that Broadway often steals the spotlight, but this past Sunday, it was Off-Broadway’s turn to shine at the 32nd annual Lucille Lortel Awards honoring Off-Broadway plays and musicals.

The celebratory event was held at the NYU Skirball Center for the Performing Arts and was hosted by current Hamilton cast member Taran Killam.  Receiving statuettes were the Broadway transfers Dear Evan Hansen, Indecent and Oslo, revivals of Sweeney Todd and Sweet Charity, as well as nominations and awards for new works such as The Band’s Visit, Vietgone, Hadestown, The Total Bent, Underground Railroad Game, and Ride the Cyclone.

In addition to the awards associated with productions, there were three honorary awards bestowed as well, to playwright Lynn Nottage, costume designer William Ivey Long, and former Roundabout Theatre Company managing director Harold Wolpert. All three have had lengthy careers in and outside of theatre, but in each of their acceptance speeches they indicated that their work is far from over. While giving their own spin on fighting for the arts in these trying times, which received thunderous applause from the audience, they all acknowledged what brought them to New York to pursue theatre in the first place.

Inductee Lynn Nottage speaks onstage during 32nd Annual Lucille Lortel Awards; photo: Monica Schipper/Getty Images.

“New York was always my dream, but I started out performing and designing costumes for The Lost Colony in North Carolina because my parents worked there,” said William Ivey Long. “My style has changed by being calmer, I can hold things in now, I was a rambunctious young man to work with.”

William Ivey Long at 32nd Annual Lucille Lortel Awards at NYU Skirball Center; photo: Monica Schipper/Getty Images.

Besides political statements, the message that was most prevalent throughout the awards ceremony was appreciation for the amount of creative freedom enjoyed by so many actors, directors and playwrights during the creation of each production. Will Davis, director of Men On Boats, said that without the open collaboration he experienced during the rehearsal process, the production would not have resulted in the ultimate success it achieved.

The awards also gave attendees a great opportunity to be initiated into the theatre community. With its easy-going feel, newcomers received a warm welcome from seasoned veterans, making it obvious how strong the bonds are.

“This is my first Lortel Awards, and I’m so excited to be here,” said presenter Rachel Brosnahan. “Seeing people I’ve loved forever is great, and it’s different to be on the other side of it. This gives me a chance to be more involved in theatre because I haven’t been as involved as I would’ve liked to be yet.”

Annie Parisse and Bobby Cannavale speak onstage during 32nd Annual Lucille Lortel Awards; photo: Monica Schipper/Getty Images

 

 

RECIPIENTS OF THE 2017 LUCILLE LORTEL AWARDS

* winners are in bold

OUTSTANDING PLAY

Oslo
Indecent
Underground Railroad Game
Vietgone
The Wolves

OUTSTANDING MUSICAL

The Band’s Visit
Dear Evan Hansen
Hadestown
Ride the Cyclone
The Total Bent

OUTSTANDING REVIVAL

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
The Death of the Last Black Man in the Whole Entire World AKA the Negro Book of the Dead
Othello

Sweet Charity
Signature Plays: Edward Albee’s ‘The Sandbox,’ María Irene Fornés’ ‘Drowning,’ and Adrienne Kennedy’s ‘Funnyhouse of a Negro’

OUTSTANDING SOLO SHOW

Notes From The Field
Chris Gethard: Career Suicide
Latin History for Morons

The Outer Space
Sell/Buy/Date

OUTSTANDING DIRECTOR

Bartlett Sher, Oslo
Will Davis, Men On Boats
Anne Kauffman, A Life
Lila Neugebauer, The Wolves
Rebecca Taichman, Indecent

OUTSTANDING CHOREOGRAPHER

David Dorfman, Indecent
Joshua Bergasse, Sweet Charity
Georgina Lamb, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
David Neumann, Hadestown
David Neumann, The Total Bent

OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTOR IN A PLAY

Joe Morton, Turn Me Loose
Reed Birney, Man From Nebraska
Michael Emerson, Wakey, Wakey
Lucas Hedges, YEN
David Hyde Pierce, A Life

OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTRESS IN A PLAY

Jennifer Ehle, Oslo
Johanna Day, Sweat
Jennifer Kidwell, Underground Railroad Game
Kecia Lewis, Marie and Rosetta
Maryann Plunkett, Women of a Certain Age

OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTOR IN A MUSICAL

Ben Platt, Dear Evan Hansen
Ato Blankson-Wood, The Total Bent
Shuler Hensley, Sweet Charity
Patrick Page, Hadestown
Jeremy Secomb, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL

Katrina Lenk, The Band’s Visit
Sutton Foster, Sweet Charity
Amber Gray, Hadestown
Siobhan McCarthy, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
Jo Lampert, Joan of Arc: Into the Fire

OUTSTANDING FEATURED ACTOR IN A PLAY

Michael Aronov, Oslo
Charlie Cox, Incognito
Matthew Maher, Othello
Justice Smith, YEN
Paco Tolson, Vietgone

OUTSTANDING FEATURED ACTRESS IN A PLAY

Randy Graff, The Babylon Line
Jocelyn Bioh, Everybody
Hannah Cabell, The Moors
Ari Graynor, YEN
Nana Mensah, Man From Nebraska

OUTSTANDING FEATURED ACTOR IN A MUSICAL

Joel Perez, Sweet Charity
Nathan Lee Graham, The View UpStairs
Gus Halper, Ride the Cyclone
Ari’el Stachel, The Band’s Visit
Chris Sullivan, Hadestown

OUTSTANDING FEATURED ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL

Rachel Bay Jones, Dear Evan Hansen
Asmeret Ghebremichael, Sweet Charity
Betsy Morgan, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
Emily Rohm, Ride the Cyclone
Karen Ziemba, Kid Victory

OUTSTANDING SCENIC DESIGN

Laura Jellinek, A Life
Scott Davis, Ride the Cyclone
Rachel Hauck, Hadestown
Mimi Lien, Signature Plays: Edward Albee’s The Sandbox, María Irene Fornés’ Drowning, and Adrienne Kennedy’s ‘Funnyhouse of a Negro
Jason Sherwood, The View UpStairs

OUTSTANDING COSTUME DESIGN

Susan Hilferty, Love, Love, Love
Montana Blanco, The Death of the Last Black Man in the Whole Entire World AKA the
Negro Book of the Dead

Tilly Grimes, Underground Railroad Game
Sarah Laux, The Band’s Visit
Emily Rebholz, Indecent

OUTSTANDING LIGHTING DESIGN

Mark Barton, Signature Plays: Edward Albee’s The Sandbox, María Irene Fornés’ Drowning, Adrienne Kennedy’s Funnyhouse of a Negro
Jane Cox, Othello
Greg Hofmann, Ride the Cyclone
Amy Mae, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
Ben Stanton, YEN

OUTSTANDING SOUND DESIGN

Mikhail Fiksel, A Life
Robert Kaplowitz, Hadestown
Stowe Nelson, Small Mouth Sounds
Nevin Steinberg, Wakey, Wakey
Matt Stine, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

OUTSTANDING PROJECTION DESIGN

Jared Mezzocchi, Vietgone
Elaine McCarthy, Notes From The Field
Duncan McLean, Privacy
Peter Nigrini, Dear Evan Hansen
Peter Nigrini, Wakey, Wakey

HONORARY AWARDS

Lifetime Achievement Award
William Ivey Long

Playwrights’ Sidewalk Inductee
Lynn Nottage

Edith Oliver Service to Off-Broadway Award
Harold Wolpert

 

Cover: Bartlett Sher, Jennifer Ehle, J.T. Rogers and Anthony Azizi at 32nd Annual Lucille Lortel Awards at NYU Skirball Center on May 7, 2017 in New York City; photo: Ben Gabbe/Getty Images.


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