UPDATE, Tuesday AM: “Madonna” done preached on behalf of Hamilton following an embarrassing episode last month when she was called out for texting through a performance of the musical. The pop queen reportedly sent a message singling out every voting member of the New York Drama Critics’ Circle, encouraging them to make Hamilton their choice for best musical of the season (as it turned out, they didn’t need any help on that score; and as it further turned out, the bit was to punk Madonna on the issue):
To the tune of Madonna’s VOGUE (short version)
Come on vote (Vote)
Let your ballot move to that music
Come on vote (Vote)
Let your ballot give Lin the win
People who are in the know
Teachout, Winer, Windman, Scheck
They don’t put up with dreck
Rooney, Cote and Gerard
They’re thinking really hard
Feldman, Green, Dziemianowicz
Don’t just rubber-stamp the hits
Sheward, Hilton; Kennedy, Mark
Know what work gives off a spark
Bernardo, Feingold, Gardner, too
Give the very best its due
Stewart; Zoglin; Rooney, Dave
They do not blindly rave
Sellar, Simon, new and old
Love a work that’s brave and bold
Critics with a vote to cast
Gotta get the word out fast
Don’t just sit there, go on, do it
Cast the vote, there’s nothing to it
Vote, vote, vote
UPDATE, 4 P.M. Monday: More information throughout.
The New York Drama Critics’ Circle this afternoon named Lin-Manuel Miranda’s exuberant, rap-inflected show Hamilton as the best musical of the season. Stephen Adly Guirgis’ Between Riverside and Crazy was named the best play of the season. The play last month also won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. The Critics’ Circle award for best play carries a cash prize of $2,500.
Hamilton recently ended its sold-out run at the Public Theater and will move to Broadway this summer, with performances beginning July 13 at the Richard Rodgers Theatre. The show, which opened earlier this season to unanimous cheers from critics across the political spectrum, is based on Ron Chernow’s celebrated biography of the first U.S. Treasury Secretary, Federalist Papers main author and aide to George Washington, who infamously died in a duel with his political rival Aaron Burr. Miranda (In The Heights) wrote the show’s book and score and also stars as the title character.
Hamilton won on the first ballot. The members of the Circle voted not to give an award for best foreign play, which it can do when the winner is an American play. While there was some support for an award to the National Theater’s acclaimed production of The Curious Incident of the Boy In The Night-Time, and somewhat less discussion of the Royal Shakespeare Company’s adaptation, Wolf Hall Parts 1 and 2, neither generated enough votes for a second award.
Between Riverside and Crazy, about a retired policeman determined to hang on to his rent-controlled apartment and provide a safe haven for the various family and friends who congregate there, was produced by the Atlantic Theater Company and later transferred to the Second Stage. Both are off-Broadway companies, making the play ineligible for this year’s Tony Awards. Guirgis’ other plays include The Mothef**ker With the Hat, which ran on Broadway in 2011 and starred Chris Rock and Bobby Canavale.
The Circle also voted special citations to British designer Bob Crowley for “distinguished achievement in scenic and costume design” and to the off-Broadway company Ars Nova “for sustained quality and commitment to developmental work.” Crowley designed the sets and/or costumes for three current Broadway shows: An American In Paris, Skylight and The Audience. Ars Nova, founded in 2002, is a prolific development company whose best-known commission was Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812, the popular off-Broadway musical based on several chapters from War and Peace.
Founded in 1936, the Circle comprises 23 drama critics from daily newspapers, magazines, wire services and websites (with the notable exception of The New York Times, which limits its participation in awards to the Pulitzer Prizes) and is the second-oldest American theater award, after the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. Adam Feldman, theater critic for Time Out New York, is president; Elisabeth Vincentelli of the New York Post is vice president, and Joe Dziemianowicz of The Daily News is treasurer. Circle members are the only journalists who take part in voting for the Tony Awards.
The other members are Hilton Als, The New Yorker; Melissa Rose Bernardo, Entertainment Weekly; David Cote, Time Out New York; Michael Feingold, TheaterMania; Robert Feldberg, Bergen Record; Elysa Gardner, USA Today; Jeremy Gerard, Deadline.com; Jesse Green, New York magazine; Mark Kennedy, Associated Press; David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter; Frank Scheck, New York Post; Tom Sellar, Village Voice; David Sheward, Theaterlife; John Simon, Yonkers Tribune; Marilyn Stasio, Variety; Zachary Stewart, TheaterMania; Terry Teachout, Wall Street Journal; Matt Windman, amNewYork; Linda Winer, Newsday and Richard Zoglin, Time. Emeritus members include David Finkle, Brian Scott Lipton, Jesse Oxfeld, Michael Sommers and Steven Suskin.