‘Hamilton,’ Tonya Pinkins Honored at 30th Annual Lucille Lortel Awards

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Photo Source: Joan Marcus

The winners of the 30th annual Lucille Lortel Awards were announced in a festive ceremony at the NYU Skirball Center on May 10. The event, co-hosted by Jesse Tyler Ferguson (“Modern Family,” Shakespeare in the Park) and Anna Chlumsky (“Veep,” “Living on Love”), honored the best of Off-Broadway theater in the 2014–15 season.

As expected, Lin-Manuel Miranda’s “Hamilton” did considerably well, sweeping every category in which it was nominated, including outstanding musical and director. The Broadway-bound musical set a record for the most Lortel nominations for a single show, winning 10 out of 12. Meanwhile, Roundabout’s production of Fiasco Theater’s “Into the Woods” won outstanding revival, and Stephen Adly Guirgis’ Pulitzer Prize-winning “Between Riverside and Crazy” earned outstanding play, lead actor for Stephen McKinley Henderson, and featured actress for Liza Colón-Zayas. Outstanding lead actress in a play and musical went to Tonya Pinkins for “Rasheeda Speaking” and Phillipa Soo for “Hamilton,” respectively. For the first time in the awards’ 30 years, every acting award was given to a person of color.

“Race in America is a conversation that everyone wants to have,” said Pinkins in her acceptance speech. “It’s an invention of America; Thomas Jefferson asked scientists and doctors to invent the concept of race in order to justify human bondage in the land of the free. So I am glad to be here to receive this award for this play written by Joel Drake Johnson called ‘Rasheeda Speaking,’ which I hope begins to plant the seed to change this propaganda that threatens to tear the fabric of our United States.”

“Hamilton’s” Paul Tazewell was recognized for costume design, Howell Binkley for lighting, and Nevin Steinberg for sound design. Jan Versweyveld won outstanding scenic design for New York Theatre Workshop’s “Scenes From a Marriage.”

Terrence McNally accepted the Lifetime Achievement Award, describing in his moving speech how he met F. Murray Abraham and Micah Stock, the actors who introduced him. “I am deeply, deeply honored,” he said, concluding by thanking his high school English teacher. “She taught us that Shakespeare could be my best friend for my life. And that is the greatest gift you can give a 14- or 15-year-old, the gift of Shakespeare, the gift of theater, the gift of that community that only theater can create; being in a room together like we are now.”

The Edith Oliver Service to Off-Broadway Award was awarded to general manager Nancy Nagel Gibbs, who was given a touching introduction from James Monroe Iglehart. Jeanine Tesori, whose show “Fun Home” won outstanding musical at last year’s ceremony, became the first female composer inducted into the famous Playwrights’ Sidewalk with a plaque outside the Lucille Lortel Theatre. “I have lost so many awards in this building,” she quipped. “Making work above, below, behind a musical is unbelievably difficult. I appreciate anybody who wakes up and does work. Awards, this stuff, they’re beautiful shiny things. But the real shiny thing is the work.”

The Lucille Lortel Awards were created by the Off-Broadway League in 1985. The voting committee is made up of members of the League, Actors’ Equity Association, the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society, the Lucille Lortel Foundation, and other theater professionals and journalists. For more information, visit LortelAwards.org.

A full list of winners is below.

Outstanding Play
Between Riverside and Crazy
Produced by Atlantic Theater Company
Written by Stephen Adly Guirgis

Father Comes Home From the Wars (Parts 1, 2 & 3)
Produced by The Public Theater in association with American Repertory Theater
Written by Suzan-Lori Parks

The Invisible Hand
Produced by New York Theatre Workshop
Written by Ayad Akhtar

My Mañana Comes
Produced by The Playwrights Realm
Written by Elizabeth Irwin

The Nether
Produced by MCC Theater
Written by Jennifer Haley

Outstanding Musical
The Fortress of Solitude
Produced by The Public Theater in association with Dallas Theater Center
Book by Itamar Moses, Music and Lyrics by Michael Friedman
Conceived by Daniel Aukin, Based upon the novel by Jonathan Lethem

Produced by The Public Theater
Book, Music and Lyrics by Lin-Manuel Miranda
Inspired by the book Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow

The Lightning Thief
Produced by Theatreworks USA
Music and Lyrics by Rob Rokicki, Book by Joe Tracz
Adapted from the book by Rick Riordan

Nevermore - The Imaginary Life and Mysterious Death of Edgar Allan Poe
Produced by Radio Mouse Entertainment, Martin Hummel, Caiola Productions, Terry Schnuck, Susan Jaffe Tane, Hernreich-Horvath Productions, Catalyst Theatre in association with Fireboat Productions, Mary Cossette, Meredith Lynsey Schade
Written and Composed by Jonathan Christenson

Pretty Filthy
Produced by The Civilians in association with Jon B. Platt
Music and Lyrics by Michael Friedman, Book by Bess Wohl
Conceived by Steve Cosson, Michael Friedman & Bess Wohl

Outstanding Revival
Fashions for Men
Produced by Mint Theater Company
Written by Ferenc Molnár

Indian Ink
Produced by Roundabout Theatre Company in association with American Conservatory Theater
Written by Tom Stoppard

Into the Woods
Produced by Roundabout Theatre Company in association with McCarter Theatre Center, a Fiasco Theater production
Music and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, Book by James Lapine

Sticks and Bones
Produced by The New Group Written by David Rabe

The Wayside Motor Inn
Produced by Signature Theatre Written by A.R. Gurney

Outstanding Solo Show
Every Brilliant Thing
Produced by Scott Morfee, Jean Doumanian, Tom Wirtshafter, Patrick Daly, Kelpie Arts LLC, Scott Rudin, Marc & Lisa Biales, Terry Allen Kramer, Michael Ostin
Written by Duncan Macmillan with Jonny Donahoe
Performed by Jonny Donahoe

Josephine and I
Produced by The Public Theater
Written and Performed by Cush Jumbo

Just Jim Dale
Produced by Roundabout Theatre Company
Written and Performed by Jim Dale

The Lion
Produced by Manhattan Theatre Club
Written and Performed by Benjamin Scheuer

Outstanding Director
Michael Greif, Our Lady of Kibeho
Thomas Kail, Hamilton
Austin Pendleton, Between Riverside and Crazy
Ken Rus Schmoll, The Invisible Hand
Ivo van Hove, Scenes From a Marriage

Outstanding Choreographer
Andy Blankenbuehler, Hamilton
Camille A. Brown, The Fortress of Solitude
Denis Jones, Piece of My Heart: The Bert Berns Story
Laura Krewski, Nevermore - The Imaginary Life and Mysterious Death of Edgar Allan Poe
Lisa Shriver, Into the Woods

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Play
Usman Ally, The Invisible Hand
Carson Elrod, The Heir Apparent
Stephen McKinley Henderson, Between Riverside and Crazy
Owiso Odera, Our Lady of Kibeho
Bill Pullman, Sticks and Bones

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Play
Quincy Tyler Bernstine, Grand Concourse
Anna Gunn, Sex With Strangers
Jan Maxwell, The City of Conversation
S. Epatha Merkerson, While I Yet Live
Tonya Pinkins, Rasheeda Speaking

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Musical
Adam Chanler-Berat, The Fortress of Solitude
Claybourne Elder, Allegro
Lin-Manuel Miranda, Hamilton
Leslie Odom Jr., Hamilton
Ben Steinfeld, Into the Woods

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Musical
Michelle Knight, Disenchanted!
Jennifer Mudge, Into the Woods
Sally Murphy, The Threepenny Opera
Phillipa Soo, Hamilton
Lillias White, Texas in Paris

Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play
Victor Almanzar, Between Riverside and Crazy
Jacob Ming-Trent, Father Comes Home From the Wars (Parts 1, 2 & 3)
Jesse Pennington, Bootycandy
Will Pullen, Punk Rock
Scott Shepherd, The Village Bike

Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play
Sophia Anne Caruso, The Nether
Sun Mee Chomet, brownsville song (b-side for tray)
Liza Colón-Zayas, Between Riverside and Crazy
Beth Dixon, The City of Conversation
Deirdre O'Connell, By the Water

Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical
Daveed Diggs, Hamilton
Andy Grotelueschen, Into the Woods
Brian d'Arcy James, Hamilton
Kevin Mambo, The Fortress of Solitude
Steve Rosen, Pretty Filthy

Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical
Renée Elise Goldsberry, Hamilton
Luba Mason, Pretty Filthy
Lulu Picart, Disenchanted!
Jessica Tyler Wright, Allegro
Emily Young, Into the Woods

Outstanding Scenic Design
Brett J. Banakis, Big Love
Laura Jellinek, The Nether
Derek McLane, Into the Woods
Walt Spangler, Between Riverside and Crazy
Jan Versweyveld, Scenes From a Marriage

Outstanding Costume Design
Candice Donnelly, Indian Ink
Bretta Gerecke, Nevermore - The Imaginary Life and Mysterious Death of Edgar Allan Poe
Clint Ramos, Bootycandy
Paul Tazewell, Hamilton
Anthony Ward, Josephine and I

Outstanding Lighting Design
Howell Binkley, Hamilton
David Lander, The Library
Tyler Micoleau, The Invisible Hand
Ben Stanton, The Nether
Japhy Weideman, Punk Rock

Outstanding Sound Design
Mikhail Fiksel, My Mañana Comes
Leah Gelpe, The Invisible Hand
Daniel Kluger and Brandon Wolcott, The Nether
Nevin Steinberg, Hamilton
Matt Tierney, Pocatello

Lifetime Achievement Award
Terrence McNally

Playwrights' Sidewalk Inductee
Jeanine Tesori

Edith Oliver Service to Off-Broadway Award
Nancy Nagel Gibbs

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Jack Smart
Jack Smart is the awards editor at Backstage, where he covers all things Emmy, SAG, Oscar, and Tony Awards. He also produces and hosts Backstage’s awards podcast “In the Envelope” and has interviewed some of the biggest stars of stage and screen.
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