Best Actor Adrian Lester
Adrian Lester pulled out all the stops as the 19th-century theater actor Ira Aldridge in Lolita Chakrabarti’s Red Velvet, a powerful and detailed examination of the racism Aldridge faced and the way he chose to deal with it. Lester offered a three-dimensional portrait of a man who was ahead of his time.
Best Return Engagement Here Lies Love
Director Alex Timbers and choreographer Annie-B Parson designed a superlative production for Here Lies Love, a musical about Imelda Marcos that originated as a David Byrne concept album. It played at the Public Theater in 2013 and then came back this year for a return engagement, and it’s so good that it can keep coming back as often as it wants.
Best Bargain Picture Ourselves in Latvia
A free summer production, with a suggested donation of ten dollars, the world premiere of British playwright Ross Howard’s Picture Ourselves in Latvia was a stripped-down delight. With almost no set or costumes or lighting effects, the actors made magic together with Howard’s words and their own considerable talents.
Best All-Around Performance Neil Patrick Harris
Neil Patrick Harris had a triumph on Broadway in Hedwig and the Angry Inch , a rock musical that played for years downtown with John Cameron Mitchell. The popular Harris could have picked a much easier role for his return to the musical stage, but instead he went all-out in a part that asked for everything he had, and then some.
Best Supporting Actress Martha Plimpton and Lindsay Duncan
In the revival of Edward Albee’s A Delicate Balance , two actresses colorfully met significant challenges. In the difficult role of the unpleasant daughter Julia, Martha Plimpton re-interpreted the part and made Julia sexier, more vital, and more truly damaged. Lindsay Duncan had to deal with the memory of Elaine Stritch’s performance as Claire in the 1996 production of the play, and she offered her own much gentler, sensual version of the role. Both of them significantly enriched the play.