By Hart, Sarah
American Theatre , Vol. 22, No. 6
The juggernaut of this year's pre-Tony awards season boasted no 11 o'clock number, no flying machines, no swindlers and no knights who say "Ni." Instead, an unassuming drama--with a headlines-echoing plot and disquieting conclusion--swept the honors. (For complete awards listings go to www.tcg.org/americantheatre.)
Journeyman scribe John Patrick Shanley's Doubt--in which an unyielding nun suspects a charismatic priest of abusing a student--crossed the Broadway-and-Off divide (in a production by Manhattan Theatre Club) to round up the Pulitzer Prize and host of best-play accolades from the Drama League, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle, New York Drama Critics Circle, Lucille Lortel awards and the Obie committee. Adversaries-in-the-cloth Cherry Jones and Brian F. O'Byrne each won Outer Critics Circle and Drama Desk acting awards, and Jones was also Mother Superior at Off-Broadway's Lortel and Obie ceremonies. Supporting actor Adriane Lenox garnered Drama Desk and Lortel citations and newcomer Heather Goldenhersh was noted for her Broadway debut with a Theatre World Award. Director Doug Hughes was much-ballyhooed both for his work on Doubt and his Obieadorned production of W.S. Gilbert's Engaged at Theatre for a New Audience.
With Doubt clearly demarcated as the show to beat, other non-musicals jockeyed for the remaining categories--a difficult proposition with three male-heavy dramas (Martin McDonagh's snappily macabre The Pillowman and revivals of David Mamet's Glengarry Glen Ross and Reginald Rose's Twelve Angry Men) on the boards. Angry Men edged out Glengarry for the revival slots, while the London-tested Pillowman snagged the New York Drama Critics Circle award for best foreign play with supporting actors Jeff Goldblum (Outer Critics Circle) and Michael Stuhlbarg (Drama Desk) trading distinctions.
For his no-holds-barred performance in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, funnyman Norbert Leo Butz was the season's musical entertainer of choice, raking in acting awards from the Drama League, Outer Critics Circle and Drama Desk and a TDF/Astaire Award for dance. The David Yazbeck-Jeffrey Lane musical, based on the 1988 caper flick, went head-to-head with another film farce brought to life: odds-on favorite Spamalot. …