New York Drama Critics Awards: Ruined wins best play and Billy Elliot wins Best musical

'Ruined,' by Lynn Nottage, won the New York Drama Critics' Circle Award (NYDCC) for Best Play of the 2008-2009 season. The Best Musical award was given to 'Billy Elliot,' music by Elton John, and book and lyrics by Lee Hall. The award for Best Foreign Play was given to 'Black Watch' by Gregory Burke.

The selections were made at the 74th annual voting meeting of the organization on 4 May 2009 at the offices of Time Out New York in Manhattan.

Special citations were awarded to Angela Lansbury for her contribution to the American theatre; Matthew Warchus and the cast of The Norman Conquests; and Gerard Alessandrini for Forbidden Broadway. The awards will be presented at a cocktail reception to be held on 11 May 2009, at the Algonquin Hotel, where the NYDCC was founded in 1935 by such legendary critics as Brooks Atkinson, Walter Winchell and Robert Benchley.

The award for best play carries with it a cash prize of $2,500; the award for best foreign play carries a cash prize of $1,000. The awards are made possible by a grant from the Lucille Lortel Foundation.

Ruined, written by Lynn Nottage and directed by Kate Whoriskey, is a co-production between Manhattan Theatre Club and Chicago�s Goodman Theatre. It had its world premiere on 18 Nov 2008 at the Goodman Theatre, and its New York premiere 10 Feb 2009 at Manhattan Theatre Club, where it is currently playing.

Billy Elliot, directed by Stephen Daldry, with music by Elton John, and book and lyrics by Lee Hall, had its world premiere in London on 11 May 2005. It had its New York premiere at the Imperial Theatre, where it is still playing, on 1 Oct 2008 and opened 13 Nov 2008.

Black Watch, written by Gregory Burke and directed by John Tiffany, had its world premiere at the Edinburgh Festival in 2006. A production of the National Theatre of Scotland, the play had its New York premiere at St. Ann�s Warehouse in the fall of 2007 and played a return engagement there 9 Oct 2008 through to 21 Dec 2008.

Angela Lansbury has won four Tony Awards and has been nominated five times. She has a career in the New York theatre has spanned more than 50 years. Lansbury can currently be seen in the revival of Noel Coward�s Blithe Spirit, which plays the Shubert Theatre.

The revival of The Norman Conquests, written by Alan Ayckbourn and directed by Matthew Warchus, premiered on 6 Oct 2008 at The Old Vic, and opened at Circle in the Square on 23 Apr 2009, where it is currently playing. The cast is Amelia Bullmore, Jessica Hynes, Stephen Mangan, Ben Miles, Paul Ritter, and Amanda Root.

Forbidden Broadway was first seen at Palsson's Supper Club on New York's Upper West Side in Jan 1982. Updated regularly, Forbidden Broadway has had several editions, countless revisions, three New York City performance spaces, several national and international tours, and thousands of special performances.

The New York Drama Critics� Circle comprises 20 drama critics from daily newspapers, magazines, and wire services based in the New York metropolitan area. The New York Drama Critics' Circle Award is the nation's second-oldest theatre award, after the Pulitzer Prize for drama; it has been awarded every year since 1936 to the best new play of the season (with additional awards for musicals and foreign or American plays as well as citations for special achievement).