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Drama Critics' Circle Names MATILDA Best Musical; VANYA AND SONIA AND MASHA AND SPIKE Best Play

Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, written by Christopher Durang, today won the New York Drama Critics' Circle Award (NYDCC) for Best Play of the 2012-2013 season. Matilda received the award for Best Musical. The selections were made at the 78th annual voting meeting of the organization today at the offices of Time Out New York in Manhattan.

Special Citations were awarded to Soho Rep, New York City Center's Encores!, and John Lee Beatty.

The awards will be presented at a cocktail reception, hosted by Peter Bartlett and Harriet Harris, to be held on Monday, May 13, at 54 Below.

The award for best play carries a cash prize of $2,500. The prize is made possible by a grant from the Lucille Lortel Foundation.

Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, written by Christopher Durang and directed by Nicholas Martin, had its world premiere at Princeton's McCarter Theatre Center in September 2012 and its New York premiere at Lincoln Center Theater's Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater on November 12, 2012. It is currently playing at Broadway's John Golden Theatre where it opened March 14, 2013.

Matilda (book by Dennis Kelly, music and lyrics by Tim Minchin, based on the novel by Roald Dahl, directed by Matthew Warchus) had its world premiere November 9, 2010 in Stratford-upon-Avon. Its U.S. premiere was April 11, 2013 at Broadway's Shubert Theatre, where it is currently playing.

Founded in 1975, and on Walker Street since 1991, Soho Rep has built an outstanding reputation for being at the forefront of new and innovative theatre, serving as a vital center for Contemporary Theatre artists. Actors Kathleen Turner, Ed O'Neill, Allison Janney, John C. Reilly and Kevin Spacey made their professional debuts at Soho Rep, and the long list of illustrious Soho Rep acting alumni includes Steve Buscemi, Jonathan Frakes, Steve Mellor, Will Patton, Bill Sadler, John Seitz, Tim Blake Nelson, Margaret Whitton and Frank Wood. Many of our Mainstage productions have emerged from our new play development and commissioning programs, often resulting in artistically lauded productions. Since 2000, Soho Rep and our productions have garnered eleven OBIE Awards, six Drama Desk Nominations, the Oppenheimer Award, Kesselring Prize, and The New York Times Outstanding Playwrighting Award. Jerry Engelbach and Marlene Swartz founded Soho Rep in July 1975. As co-artistic directors they produced over a hundred plays. After Engelbach left to pursue other projects, Swartz ran the theater solo before handing the reins to English director Julian Webber. Soho Rep's founding mission was to present relatively rare classical plays. After several years producing works from Shakespeare to Shaw, the theater - under Webber - evolved its mission to include rarely seen modern plays and completely new works, the latter of which still holds as the theater's singular mission. In 1998 Daniel Aukin became Artistic Director alongside Executive Director Alexandra Conley. The two produced new work by artists including Adam Bock, Young Jean Lee, Richard Maxwell, Melissa James Gibson, Quincy Long, The Flying Machine and Maria Irene Fornes. In 2006, Sarah Benson became the fourth Artistic Director of the company. She directed the New York premiere of Sarah Kane's Blasted to critical acclaim in fall 2008, and has produced work by other writers and groups including John Jesurun, Nature Theater of Oklahoma, Dan LeFranc, Young Jean Lee and debbie tucker green.

New York City Center Encores! (Artistic Director Jack Viertel and Music Director Rob Berman), celebrates the rarely heard works of America's most important composers and lyricists. Conceived in 1994 as concert performances, Encores! gives three glorious scores the chance to be heard as their creators originally intended. Each production is a whirlwind, with just eight days of rehearsals, one day of dress rehearsal and five performances. The cast, backed by The Encores! Orchestra (often more than 30 players strong), takes the stage with books in hand. As Jack Viertel says, Encores! "in some ways more resembles an athletic feat than a Broadway show." Over the years, Encores! has presented the works of Harold Arlen, Burt Bacharach, Irving Berlin, Leonard Bernstein, George and Ira Gershwin, Lorenz Hart, Oscar Hammerstein II, Jerome Kern, John Kander and Fred Ebb, Johnny Mercer, Cole Porter, Richard Rodgers, Stephen Sondheim, Kurt Weill and many others. The program received a special 2000 Tony Honor for Excellence in the Theatre, as well as an Outer Critics Circle Award, Lucille Lortel Award and Jujamcyn Theater Award. Each book for an Encores! production is carefully edited by the likes of John Guare, David Ives, Terrence McNally and Neil Simon. The casting mixes established and new talent. Previous productions have included Christine Baranski, Kristin Chenoweth, Tyne Daly, Christine Ebersole, Anne Hathaway, Heather Headley, Ruthie Henshall, Cheyenne Jackson, Patti LuPone, Donna McKechnie, Donna Murphy, Bebe Neuwirth, Rosie O'Donnell, Faith Prince, Lynn Redgrave, Ann Reinking, Vanessa L. Williams, Charles Dutton, Peter Gallagher, Nathan Lane, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Robert Morse, James Naughton, Martin Short, Jock Soto, Patrick Wilson and Jerry Zaks-truly a Broadway "Who's Who."

John Lee Beatty has designed the sets for The Nance, The Big Knife, Orphans, An Enemy of the People, Don't Dress for Dinner, Other Desert Cities, Venus in Fur, Good People,Time Stands Still, Doubt, Chicago, The Royal Family, Proof, The Color Purple, The Sisters Rosenzweig, A Delicate Balance, The Heiress, Crimes of the Heart, Ain't Misbehavin',Rabbit Hole, Talley's Folley, Burn This, and many more. Off-Broadway credits includeSylvia; Lips Together, Teeth Apart; A Life in the Theatre. His long relationships with Manhattan Theatre Club, Lincoln Center Theater, Circle Repertory, and City Center Encores! have to led to Tony, Obie, Outer Critics' Circle, and Drama Desk awards, and the Theater Hall of Fame. He is a graduate oF Brown and the Yale School of Drama.

For more information on the New York Drama Critics' Circle and details of this year's voting, visit www.dramacritics.org. In keeping with NYDCC's tradition of openness, a full breakdown of the vote will be posted on the website.

The New York Drama Critics' Circle comprises 26 drama critics from daily newspapers, magazines, wire services and websites based in the New York metropolitan area. The New York Drama Critics' Circle Award, which has been awarded every year since 1936 to the best new play of the season (with optional awards for foreign or American plays, musicals and performers), is the nation's second-oldest theatre award, after the Pulitzer Prize for drama.

Adam Feldman, theatre critic for Time Out New York, has served as president of the NYDCC since 2005. Elisabeth Vincentelli of the New York Post serves as vice president; Joe Dziemianowicz of the Daily News is treasurer.

In addition to Feldman, Vincentelli, and Dziemianowicz, the members of the New York Drama Critics' Circle are: Hilton Als, The New Yorker; Melissa Rose Bernardo,Entertainment Weekly; Scott Brown, New York; David Cote, Time Out New York; Michael Feingold, Village Voice; Robert Feldberg, Bergen Record; Elysa Gardner, USA Today; Jeremy Gerard, Bloomberg News; Erik Haagensen, Back Stage; Mark Kennedy, Associated Press; Brian Scott Lipton, TheaterMania.com; Jesse Oxfeld, New York Observer; David Rooney, Hollywood Reporter; Frank Scheck, New York Post; David Sheward, Back Stage; John Simon, Westchester Guardian; Alexis Soloski, Village Voice; Marilyn Stasio, Variety; Steven Suskin, Variety; Terry Teachout, Wall Street Journal; Matt Windman, amNewYork; Linda Winer, Newsday; and Richard Zoglin, Time. David Finkle and Michael Sommers serve as emeritus members.

Photo Credit: Walter McBride / WM Photos



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