NEW YORK CITY: Lin-Manuel Miranda’s wildly buzzed-about hip-hop musical Hamilton, which recently closed at the Public Theater and will transfer to Broadway in July, won 10 awards at the 30th annual Lucille Lortel Awards on Sunday, May 10. The awards are intended to honor the best in Off-Broadway theatre.
“I have seen some wacky, crazy stuff Off-Broadway,” said host Jesse Tyler Ferguson at the ceremony at the New York University Skirball Center. Ferguson went on to joke that only he and his “friend Michelle Obama” had seen this “weird show” at the Public. “You would never see anything like it on Broadway!” he quipped. “It just wouldn’t work!” Ferguson cohosted the event with Anna Chlumsky.
Hamilton won in every category it was nominated, taking home best lighting, sound design, costumes, featured actress, featured actor, leading actress, leading actor, director, choreographer and best musical. In true Miranda form, the multi-hyphenate wrote out a rap as his acceptance speech for the final award, giving thanks to Joseph Papp and to the Public Theater for being his artistic home for the show.
Many of the show’s winning actors, including Miranda, were shocked by and appreciative of the honor.
“There’d be a million reasons to go with someone else,” said Daveed Diggs, who won featured actor in a musical. “Thank you for making room for me in this community.”
“I’ve been performing for a really long time, and I’ve never received an award before,” an overwhelmed Renée Elise Goldsberry said from the podium. Goldsberry won for featured actress in a musical.
“Zoey Bartlet just handed me a Lortel Award!” Miranda exclaimed as he received the prize for leading actor in a musical from presenter Elisabeth Moss, referring to her “West Wing” role. “This is the first award I’ve ever gotten for acting.”
The evening marked the 30th anniversary of the awards, which are named for the so-called “Queen of Off-Broadway,” actress/producer Lucille Lortel. Hamilton was not the only production which received multiple prizes on Sunday night: Between Riverside and Crazy took home three accolades. Stephen Adly Guirgis received the best play award for his Upper West Side family drama, and the play also took awards for best actor in a play for Stephen McKinley Henderson and featured actress in a play for Liza Colón-Zayas. The play premiered last year at Atlantic Theater Company and then was remounted in the same season at Second Stage Theatre.
“I wish it happened with all plays,” Guirgis said of getting a second production. “We should have five goes at it.”
The evening also included a series of special awards. Producer Nancy Gibbs received the Edith Oliver Service to Off-Broadway Award, presented by James Monroe Iglehart, who recalled working on his first Broadway contract with Gibbs on The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.
Tony Kushner presented Jeanine Tesori as the Playwrights Sidewalk inductee, making her the first female composer to have a star outside the Lucille Lortel Theatre. “Jeanine doesn’t have a penis,” Kushner said of his Caroline, or Change collaborator. “If she did, I might have asked her to run away with me.”
Current Tony nominee Micah Stock and F. Murray Abraham presented playwright Terrence McNally with a lifetime achievement award. Stock marks his second time around with McNally on It’s Only a Play, after And Away We Go at the Pearl Theatre Company last year, while Abraham, who also appears in It’s Only a Play, has appeared in no fewer than seven plays by McNally.
Upon reception of his award, McNally summed up the evening best, saying, “I’ve always felt very at home Off Broadway.”
The Lucille Lortel Awards are presented by the League of Off-Broadway Theatres and producers by special arrangement with the Lucille Lortel Foundation, with additional support from the Theatre Development Fund. The voting body is made up of members of the Off Broadway League, Actors’ Equity, the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society and the Lortel Foundation, as well as theatre journalists, academics and Off Broadway professionals.
The complete list of winners is below:
Between Riverside and Crazy
By Stephen Adly Guirgis
Produced by Atlantic Theater Company
Book, music and lyrics by Lin-Manuel Miranda, inspired by the book Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow
Produced by the Public Theater
Into the Woods
Music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, book by James Lapine
Produced by Roundabout Theatre Company in association with McCarter Theatre Center, a Fiasco Theater production
Josephine and I
Written and Performed by Cush Jumbo
Produced by The Public Theater
Thomas Kail, Hamilton, Public Theater
Andy Blankenbuehler, Hamilton, Public Theater
LEAD ACTOR IN A PLAY
Stephen McKinley Henderson, Between Riverside and Crazy, Atlantic Theater Company
LEAD ACTRESS IN A PLAY
Tonya Pinkins, Rasheeda Speaking, The New Group
LEAD ACTOR IN A MUSICAL
Lin-Manuel Miranda, Hamilton, Public Theater
LEAD ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL
Phillipa Soo, Hamilton, Public Theater
FEATURED ACTOR IN A PLAY
Jacob Ming-Trent, Father Comes Home From the Wars (Parts 1, 2 & 3), Public Theater
FEATURED ACTRESS IN A PLAY
Liza Colón-Zayas, Between Riverside and Crazy, Atlantic Theater Company
FEATURED ACTOR IN A MUSICAL
Daveed Diggs, Hamilton, Public Theater
FEATURED ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL
Renée Elise Goldsberry, Hamilton, Public Theater
Jan Versweyveld, Scenes From a Marriage, New York Theatre Workshop
Paul Tazewell, Hamilton, Public Theater
Howell Binkley, Hamilton, Public Theater
Nevin Steinberg, Hamilton
LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
PLAYWRIGHTS’ SIDEWALK INDUCTEE
EDITH OLIVER SERVICE TO OFF-BROADWAY AWARD
Nancy Nagel Gibbs