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'Wicked' selected best musical by Drama Desk

'I Am My Own Wife' named best play at annual awards
/ Source: The Associated Press

“Wicked” was chosen best musical of the New York theater season, and “I Am My Own Wife” by Doug Wright was named best play in awards given Sunday by the Drama Desk, an organization of theater journalists and critics.

“Wicked,” based on Gregory Maguire’s cult novel about the witches in Oz before Dorothy arrives on the Yellow Brick Road, took six Drama Desk honors. “Assassins,” a revival of the Stephen Sondheim-John Weidman musical, about presidential killers picked up four prizes, including the award for musical revival.

The Lincoln Center Theater production of “Henry IV” received three awards, including a top acting honor for its star, Kevin Kline, who played Falstaff. The Shakespeare drama also won for play-revival and for director-play, Jack O’Brien.

Phylicia Rashad, who portrays the determined matriarch in the revival of “A Raisin in the Sun,” and Viola Davis, a lonely seamstress in off-Broadway’s “Intimate Apparel,” tied in the leading actress-play category.

Hugh Jackman, whose portrayal of flamboyant entertainer Peter Allen galvanizes “The Boy From Oz,” was named best actor in a musical. Donna Murphy, the wry, older sister in the revival of “Wonderful Town,” was named best actress-musical.

Featured-acting prizes in the play categories went to Ned Beatty, Big Daddy in a revival of Tennessee Williams’ “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof,” and Audra McDonald, the patient, hardworking wife in “A Raisin in the Sun.”

Winners in the featured-acting musical categories were Isabel Keating, who plays Judy Garland in “The Boy From Oz,” and Raul Esparza, the extravagant narrator in the Boy George musical “Taboo.”

Jefferson Mays, who portrays a German transvestite who survives both the Nazis and the communists in “I Am My Own Wife,” won the solo performance award.

Besides best musical, “Wicked” received prizes for its direction, Joe Mantello; lyrics, Stephen Schwartz; book, Winnie Holzman; sets, Eugene Lee (a tie with John Lee Beatty for “Twentieth Century”), and costumes, Susan Hilferty.

The prize for best music went to Jeanine Tesori for her eclectic melodies in the Tony Kushner musical “Caroline, or Change.” Kathleen Marshall won the choreography award for her work on “Wonderful Town.”

“Assassins” also picked up prizes for orchestrations, Michael Starobin; lighting, Jules Fisher and Peggy Eisenhauer, and sound design, Dan Moses Schreier.

The awards show was held in the concert hall at F.H. LaGuardia High School of Music and Art and the Performing Arts.

The Drama Desk, which was founded in 1949, honors both Broadway and off-Broadway productions.