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‘Once’ and ‘Sons of the Prophet’ Win Top Lucille Lortel Awards

‘Once’ and ‘Sons of the Prophet’ Win Top Lucille Lortel Awards
Photo Source: Joan Marcus
The Off-Broadway-turned-Broadway hit musical “Once” and 2012 Pulitzer Prize finalist “Sons of the Prophet” took home the awards for Outstanding Musical and Outstanding Play, respectively, at the 27th Annual Lucille Lortel Awards at the NYU Skirball Center Sunday night.

Hosted by actor and comedian Mario Cantone, the ceremony celebrated the best in Off-Broadway theater, where “actors really get to work on their craft and challenge themselves,” according to Tonya Pinkins, who won Outstanding Featured Actress for “Milk Like Sugar” at Playwrights Horizons. Adam Driver won Outstanding Featured Actor for “Look Back in Anger” at the Roundabout Theatre Company.

“This is the real deal,” Cantone said in his opening speech, acknowledging the 91 eligible productions from the season. Cantone kept the presentation just under a two-hour running time, but the evening was not short on accolades about the community.

There were many special performances throughout the evening. The Broadway Boys performed a medley of songs from shows that started Off-Broadway, including “Godspell” and “Rent,” while the 2012 recipient of Outstanding Alternative Theatrical Experience, “Voca People,” sporting their signature white make-up, performed a tribute to the history of music that became the running joke of the evening.

“I just wanted to make sure the white make-up was gone because I’m one of the Voca People,” said actor Jeremy Shamos, nominated for a Tony for his work in “Clybourne Park,” as he and “Park” co-star Annie Parisse presented the award for Best Revival, which went to Classic Stage Company’s “The Cherry Orchard.”

“I’ll give you an alternative theatrical experience when we get home,” Paige Davis lovingly said to husband Patrick Page, who plays the Green Goblin in “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark,” as they presented best choreographer to Steven Hoggett for “Once.”

“300 performances,” Page said, commenting on “Voca People’s” success. “’Spider-Man’ had that many previews.”

Santino Fontana won the award for Outstanding Lead Actor for his work in “Sons of the Prophet,” and he was thankful to the creative team for “choosing me and not Jake Gyllenhaal. Because he wanted to do a play.” Sanaa Lathan won Outstanding Lead Actress for “By the Way, Meet Vera Stark.”

Tony-winner Laura Benanti paid tribute to her friend and theater producer Richard Frankel, who received the evening’s lifetime achievement award, and performed “Something Good” from “The Sound of Music,” the show in which Benanti made her Broadway debut. Benanti auditioned for Liesl, and Frankel cast her as the understudy to Maria. Benanti had to drop out of college at NYU to take the job, and to reassure her parents, Frankel called Benanti’s mom and said, “I will always employ her.”

Playwright Richard Foreman was honored as the Playwrights' Sidewalk Inductee. "I have to thank legions of actors who've agreed to do things they don't normally do," said Foreman, who is the founder of the Ontological-Hysteric Theater. The Fire Department of the City of New York was honored with the Service to Off-Broadway Award and received extended applause from the audience.

"Smash’s” Will Chase and Christian Borle capped off the night with the award for Best Play. “Sons of the Prophets’’ playwright Stephen Karam was brimming with nerves on stage, but he left the audience with a true feeling of camaraderie, what the awards are all about.

“I always wanted to be a part of the theater community here,” Karam said. “And I really felt it this year.”

A complete list of nominees and winners is below. Winners are noted with an asterisk.

Outstanding Play

“Blood and Gifts” – Produced by Lincoln Center Theater; Written by J. T. Rogers
“Milk Like Sugar” – Produced by Playwrights Horizons and Women's Project Theater; Written by Kirsten Greenidge
*“Sons of the Prophet” – Produced by Roundabout Theatre Company; Written by Stephen Karam
“The Big Meal” – Produced by Playwrights Horizons; Written by Dan LeFranc
“The School For Lies” – Produced by Classic Stage Company; Written by David Ives
Outstanding Musical

*“Once” – Produced by New York Theatre Workshop; Book by Enda Walsh, Music and Lyrics by Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová
“Queen of the Mist” – Produced by Transport Group; Words and Music by Michael John LaChiusa
“SILENCE! The Musical” – Produced by Victoria Lang, Rich Affannato, Donna Trinkoff in association with Scott Kirschenbaum, Theater Mogul, Kitefliers Studio, Terry Schnuck and John Arthur Pinckard; Music and Lyrics by Jon Kaplan and Al Kaplan, Book by Hunter Bell, Adapted from the screenplay Silence! The Musical by Jon and Al Kaplan
“The Blue Flower” – Produced by Second Stage Theatre; By Jim Bauer and Ruth Bauer
“The Shaggs: Philosophy of the World” – Produced by Playwrights Horizons and New York Theatre Workshop; Book by Joy Gregory, Music by Gunnar Madsen, Lyrics by Joy Gregory and Gunnar Madsen, Story by Joy Gregory, Gunnar Madsen, and John Langs

Outstanding Revival

“Blood Knot” – Produced by Signature Theatre; Written by Athol Fugard
“Edward Albee's The Lady from Dubuque” – Produced by Signature Theatre; Written by Edward Albee
“Look Back in Anger” – Produced by Roundabout Theatre Company; Written by John Osborne
*“The Cherry Orchard” – Produced by Classic Stage Company; Written by Anton Chekhov, Translated by John Christopher Jones
“The Maids” – Produced by Red Bull Theater; Written by Jean Genet, Translated by Bernard Frechtman
Outstanding Solo Show

*“An Iliad” – Produced by New York Theatre Workshop; Written by Denis O'Hare and Lisa Peterson; Performed by Denis O'Hare and Stephen Spinella; Based on Homer's The Iliad translated by Robert Fagles
“The Devil's Music: The Life and Blues of Bessie Smith” – Produced by Penguin Rep Theatre and Edmund Gaynes in association with Lizanne and Don Mitchell; Written by Angelo Parra; Performed by Miche Braden
Outstanding Director

Jo Bonney, “By the Way, Meet Vera Stark”
David Cromer, “Tribes”
Sam Gold, “Look Back in Anger”
*Sam Gold, “The Big Meal”
John Tiffany, “Once”
Outstanding Choreographer

Chase Brock, “The Blue Flower”
Bill Castellino, “Ionescopade”
Christopher Gattelli, “SILENCE! The Musical”
*Steven Hoggett, “Once”
Annie-B Parson, “The Broken Heart”
Outstanding Lead Actor

*Santino Fontana, “Sons of the Prophet”
Russell Harvard, “Tribes”
Hamish Linklater, “The School For Lies”
Jefferson Mays, “Blood and Gifts”
Jay O. Sanders, “Titus Andronicus”
Outstanding Lead Actress

*Sanaa Lathan, “By the Way, Meet Vera Stark”
Cristin Milioti, “Once”
Carey Mulligan, “Through a Glass Darkly”
Molly Ranson, “Carrie”
Mary Testa, “Queen of the Mist”
Outstanding Featured Actor

David Wilson Barnes, “The Big Meal”
*Adam Driver, “Look Back in Anger”
Alvin Epstein, “The Cherry Orchard”
Peter Francis James, “Edward Albee’s The Lady from Dubuque”
Jeff Perry, “Tribes”
Outstanding Featured Actress

Anita Gillette, “The Big Meal”
Kimberly Hébert Gregory, “By the Way, Meet Vera Stark”
Marin Mazzie, “Carrie”
*Tonya Pinkins, “Milk Like Sugar”
Mare Winningham, “Tribes”
Outstanding Scenic Design

Bob Crowley, “Once”
*Lauren Helpern, “4000 Miles”
Andrew Lieberman, “Look Back in Anger”
Adrianne Lobel, “Galileo”
David Zinn, “The Select (The Sun Also Rises)”
Outstanding Costume Design

*ESosa, “By the Way, Meet Vera Stark”
Toni-Leslie James, “Milk Like Sugar”
William Ivey Long, “The School For Lies”
Ilona Somogyi, “Maple and Vine”
Catherine Zuber, “Death Takes a Holiday”
Outstanding Lighting Design

*This category was a tie.
*Natasha Katz, “Once”
Keith Parham, Tribes
Justin Townsend, Unnatural Acts
*David Weiner, “Through a Glass Darkly”
Scott Zielinski, An Iliad
Outstanding Sound Design

Mark Bennett, An Iliad
Clive Goodwin, Once
Daniel Kluger, Tribes
*Matt Tierney and Ben Williams, “The Select (The Sun Also Rises)”
David Van Tieghem, Through a Glass Darkly
Lifetime Achievement Award
Richard Frankel
Playwrights’ Sidewalk Inductee
Richard Foreman
Service to Off-Broadway Award
Fire Department of the City of New York (FDNY)
Outstanding Alternative Theatrical Experience
“Voca People” – Produced by Doron Lida, Revital Kalfo, Leeorna Solomons and Eva Price

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