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'Ruined' Among NY Critics' Top Picks

'Ruined' Among NY Critics' Top Picks
Ruined, Black Watch, and Billy Elliot were chosen as the top productions of the 2008-09 theatre season by the New York Drama Critics Circle, the organization of print-based reviewers, which met to vote for their annual awards on May 4. Ruined by Lynn Nottage, currently playing at Manhattan Theatre Club, was the group's selection for best play on the first round of voting. This is the second win for Nottage from the circle. Her Intimate Apparel was named best play in 2004.

Having chosen an American work as best of the season, the critics then voted on a best foreign play. After two rounds of voting, Gregory Burke's Black Watch, a collage-like piece about a Scottish regiment, won the day. A production of the play by the National Theatre of Scotland had a limited run at St. Ann's Warehouse in Brooklyn last season to which not all of the circle's members were invited. Since there were plans for a return engagement during this season, the group voted to allow Black Watch to be eligible for a 2008-09 award. The late Sarah Kane's Blasted and Yasmina Reza's God of Carnage also figured in the voting.

After two rounds of voting, the circle's choice for best musical was Billy Elliot, the stage version of the hit movie featuring music by Elton John and book and lyrics by Lee Hall. Next to Normal and Road Show finished second and third respectively. Normal which had a run Off-Broadway last season and then an engagement at the Arena Stage in Washington, D.C., was voted as eligible for its current Broadway stand because there were substantial changes in the script and score since its last New York appearance.

The critics also voted special citations to director Matthew Warchus and the cast of the revival of The Normal Conquests; to Angela Lansbury for her contributions to the American theatre; and to Gerard Alessandrini for his Forbidden Broadway series of satiric revues which recently concluded a  nearly three-decade run Off-Broadway.

The awards will be presented on May 11 at the Algonquin Hotel.

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