Matthew Lopez’s latest project is in a League of its own…
The 43-year-old Puerto Rican playwright and screenwriter’s two-part play The Inheritance was named the outstanding play of the 2019-20 theater season by New York’s Drama League.
The 86th Annual Drama League Awards – announced virtually in lieu of an in-person gathering – covered the shortened theater season for both Broadway and Off Broadway.
The Inheritance opened at the Young Vic Theatre in London in 2018, before transferring to the Noel Coward Theatre in the West End. The production was directed by Stephen Daldry. The play premiered on Broadway at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre on September 27, 2019 in previews, with the official opening on November 17.
Set in New York three decades after the height of the AIDS epidemic, The Inheritance wrestles with what it means to be a gay man today, exploring relationships and connections across age and social class and asking what one generation’s responsibilities may be to the next. The play is a loose adaptation of E.M. Forster‘s novel Howards End.
Meanwhile, Moulin Rouge!, starring 43-year-old part Dominican & part Puerto Rican actress Karen Olivo, was named musical of the year.
Olivo stars as Satine in the musical, which is based on the 2001 film Moulin Rouge! It’s directed by Baz Luhrmann and written by Luhrmann and Craig Pearce.
Chosen by the Drama League’s nationwide organization of theater artists, industry professionals and audience members, this year’s award winners also include Moulin Rouge! actor Danny Burstein (Distinguished Performance Award); Broadway’s A Soldier’s Play (Outstanding Revival of a Play) and Off Broadway’s Little Shop of Horrors (Outstanding Revival of a Musical).
Previously announced special awards and honors went to director Marianne Elliott, playwright Terrence McNally, and director/playwright James Lapine.
The 49-year-old Cuban American stage and television actor is among this year’s Outer Critics Circle Awards recipients, a collection of Broadway and Off Broadway ecipients that make up the organization’s first-ever slate of multiple honorees.
With the Tony Awards remaining a mere possibility this year, the 70th Annual Outer Critics Circle Awards took a different approach to an unusual, pandemic-shortened theater season: Instead of selecting traditional nominees with one winner from each category, the OCCnamed five honorees in each of its technical categories and up to six honorees in the acting categories.
Esparza was named one of the honorees in the Outstanding Actor in a Playcategory for his acclaimed performance in Seared.
Esparza’s Searedco-star Krysta Rodriguezwas one of the honorees in the Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play category.
Matthew Lopez’s The Inheritance picked up an honoree designation for Outstanding New Broadway Play.
The Puerto Rican playwright penned the two-part play, which is set in New York three decades after the height of the AIDS epidemic.
John Ortiz was one of the honorees in the Outstanding Director of a Play for helming Halfway Bitches Go Straight to Heaven, while one of the play’s stars, Liza Colón-Zayas, was named an Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play honoree.
Karen Olivo picked up an honoree designation for Outstanding Actress in a Musical for her starring role in Moulin Rouge!
Recalibrated to celebrate “widespread excellence in New York theater this season,” the OCC Awards – chosen by the official organization of writers on New York theatre for out-of-town newspapers and national publications – were announced by past honorees Kristin Chenoweth, Bryan Cranston, Patti LuPone, Lin-Manuel Miranda, and Patrick Stewart.
The OCC is making a donation to The Actors’ Fundin support of its emergency relief efforts.
Here’s a look at the 2019-2020 Outer Critics Circle Award honorees:
OUTSTANDING NEW BROADWAY PLAY
Grand Horizons Written by Bess Wohl
The Height of the Storm Written by Florian Zeller Translated by Christopher Hampton
The Inheritance Written by Matthew Lopez
Linda Vista Written by Tracy Letts
The Sound Inside Written by Adam Rapp
OUTSTANDING NEW BROADWAY MUSICAL
Jagged Little Pill Music by Alanis Morissette and Glen Ballard Lyrics by Alanis Morissette Book by Diablo Cody
Moulin Rouge! Book by John Logan Based on the 2001 Twentieth Century Fox Motion Picture written by Baz Luhrmann and Craig Pearce
Tina: The Tina Turner Musical Book by Katori Hall With Frank Ketelaar and Kees Prins
OUTSTANDING NEW OFF-BROADWAY PLAY
Cambodian Rock Band Written by Lauren Yee
Greater Clements Written by Samuel D. Hunter
Halfway Bitches Go Straight to Heaven Written by Stephen Adly Guirgis
Make Believe Written by Bess Wohl
Seared Written by Theresa Rebeck
OUTSTANDING NEW OFF-BROADWAY MUSICAL
Darling Grenadine Book, Music, and Lyrics by Daniel Zaitchik
Octet Book, Music, and Lyrics by Dave Malloy
The Secret Life of Bees Book by Lynn Nottage Music by Duncan Sheik Lyrics by Susan Birkenhead Based on the novel by Sue Monk Kidd
Soft Power Book and Lyrics by David Henry Hwang Music and Additional Lyrics by Jeanine Tesori
A Strange Loop Book, Music, and Lyrics by Michael R. Jackson
OUTSTANDING REVIVAL OF A PLAY (Broadway or Off-Broadway)
Betrayal Written by Harold Pinter
Fires in the Mirror Written by Anna Deavere Smith
For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow Is Enuf Written by Ntozake Shange
Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune Written by Terrence McNally
A Soldier’s Play Written by Charles Fuller
OUTSTANDING REVIVAL OF A MUSICAL (Broadway or Off-Broadway)
Little Shop of Horrors Book and Lyrics by Howard Ashman Music by Alan Menken
The Unsinkable Molly Brown Music and Lyrics by Meredith Willson Book and New Lyrics by Dick Scanlan Based on the Original Book by Richard Morris Music Adapted by Michael Rafter
West Side Story Music by Leonard Bernstein Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim Book by Arthur Laurents Based on a Conception by Jerome Robbins
JOHN GASSNER AWARD (Presented for an American play, preferably by a new playwright)
Georgia Mertching Is Dead by Catya McMullen Heroes of the Fourth Turning by Will Arbery Our Dear Dead Drug Lord by Alexis Scheer Pari sby Eboni Booth
OUTSTANDING BOOK OF A MUSICAL (Broadway or Off-Broadway) Diablo Cody, Jagged Little Pill David Henry Hwang, Soft Power Michael R. Jackson, A Strange Loop Lynn Nottage, The Secret Life of Bees Mark Saltzman, Romeo and Bernadette
OUTSTANDING NEW SCORE (Broadway or Off-Broadway) Susan Birkenhead and Duncan Sheik, The Secret Life of Bees Ross Golan, The Wrong Man Michael R. Jackson, A Strange Loop Dave Malloy, Octet Jeanine Tesori and David Henry Hwang, Soft Power
OUTSTANDING DIRECTOR OF A PLAY David Cromer, The Sound Inside Stephen Daldry, The Inheritance Kenny Leon, A Soldier’s Play Jamie Lloyd, Betrayal John Ortiz, Halfway Bitches Go Straight to Heaven
OUTSTANDING DIRECTOR OF A MUSICAL Stephen Brackett, A Strange Loop Michael Mayer, Little Shop of Horrors Diane Paulus, Jagged Little Pill Alex Timbers,Moulin Rouge! Ivo van Hove, West Side Story
OUTSTANDING CHOREOGRAPHER Sidi Larbi Cherakoui, Jagged Little Pill Raja Feather Kelly, A Strange Loop Sonya Tayeh,Moulin Rouge! Anthony Van Laast, Tina: The Tina Turner Musical Travis Wall, The Wrong Man
OUTSTANDING ORCHESTRATIONS Tom Kitt, Jagged Little Pill Alex Lacamoire, The Wrong Man Justin Levine, with Matt Stine, Katie Kresek, and Charlie Rosen,Moulin Rouge! Christopher Nightingale, A Christmas Carol Duncan Sheik and John Clancy, The Secret Life of Bees
OUTSTANDING ACTOR IN A PLAY Ian Barford, Linda Vista Edmund Donovan, Greater Clements Raúl Esparza, Seared Tom Hiddleston, Betrayal Will Hochman, The Sound Inside Jonathan Pryce, The Height of the Storm
OUTSTANDING ACTRESS IN A PLAY Eileen Atkins, The Height of the Storm Judith Ivey, Greater Clements Joaquina Kalukango, Slave Play April Matthis,Toni Stone Mary-Louise Parker, The Sound Inside Portia, Stew
OUTSTANDING FEATURED ACTOR IN A PLAY David Alan Grier, A Soldier’s Play John Benjamin Hickey, The Inheritance Paul Hilton,The Inheritance Samuel H. Levine, The Inheritance John-Andrew Morrison, Blues for an Alabama Sky Chris Perfetti, Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow
OUTSTANDING FEATURED ACTRESS IN A PLAY Liza Colón-Zayas, Halfway Bitches Go Straight to Heaven Montego Glover, All the Natalie Portmans Marsha Mason,Little Gem Krysta Rodriguez, Seared Lois Smith, The Inheritance Jennifer Van Dyck, The Confession of Lily Dare
OUTSTANDING SOLO PERFORMANCE David Cale, We’re Only Alive For a Short Amount of Time Laura Linney, My Name Is Lucy Barton Aedin Moloney, Yes! Reflections of Molly Bloom Deirdre O’Connell, Dana H. Michael Benjamin Washington, Fires in the Mirror
OUTSTANDING ACTOR IN A MUSICAL Jonathan Groff,Little Shop of Horrors Joshua Henry, The Wrong Man Adam Kantor, Darling Grenadine Larry Owens, A Strange Loop Isaac Powell, West Side Story Aaron Tveit, Moulin Rouge!
OUTSTANDING ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL Beth Malone, The Unsinkable Molly Brown Janelle McDermoth, We’re Gonna Die Karen Olivo, Moulin Rouge! Shereen Pimentel, West Side Story Elizabeth Stanley, Jagged Little Pill Adrienne Warren, Tina: The Tina Turner Musical
OUTSTANDING FEATURED ACTOR IN A MUSICAL Christian Borle,Little Shop of Horrors Danny Burstein, Moulin Rouge! Gus Halper, Sing Street Jay Armstrong Johnson, Scotland, PA Francis Jue, Soft Power Daniel J. Watts, Tina: The Tina Turner Musical
OUTSTANDING FEATURED ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL Eisa Davis, The Secret Life of Bees Kathryn Gallagher, Jagged Little Pill LaChanze, The Secret Life of Bees Judy McLane, Romeo & Bernadette Lauren Patten, Jagged Little Pill Saycon Sengbloh, The Secret Life of Bees
OUTSTANDING SCENIC DESIGN (Play or Musical) Rob Howell, A Christmas Carol Tim Mackabee, Seared Derek McLane, Moulin Rouge! Clint Ramos, Grand Horizons Anthony Ward,The Height of the Storm
OUTSTANDING COSTUME DESIGN (Play or Musical) Vanessa Leuck, Emojiland Jeff Mahshie, Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice Mark Thompson, Tina: The Tina Turner Musical Rachel Townsend & Jessica Jahn, The Confession of Lily Dare Catherine Zuber, Moulin Rouge!
OUTSTANDING LIGHTING DESIGN (Play or Musical) Isabella Byrd, Heroes of the Fourth Turning Heather Gilbert, The Sound Inside Justin Townsend, Moulin Rouge! Hugh Vanstone, A Christmas Carol Hugh Vanstone, The Height of the Storm
OUTSTANDING PROJECTION DESIGN (Play or Musical) Luke Halls, West Side Story Brad Peterson, Broadway Bounty Hunter Lisa Renkel and Possible Productions, Emojiland Aaron Rhyne, The Sound Inside Hannah Wasileski, Fires in the Mirror
OUTSTANDING SOUND DESIGN (Play or Musical) Simon Baker, A Christmas Carol Mikhail Fiksel, Dana H. Peter Hylenski, Moulin Rouge! Lee Kinney and Sanae Yamada, Is This A Room Daniel Kluger, The Sound Inside