NEW YORK -- The Signature Theatre Company revival of August Wilson's 1930s-set drama The Piano Lesson, and Manhattan Theatre Club's dark romantic musical Murder Ballad, by Julia Jordan and Juliana Nash, dominate the nominations for the Lucille Lortel Awards, honoring the best in Off Broadway theater.
Reflecting the steady presence of name actors on New York stages beyond Broadway, nominations for the 2013 awards include The Daily Show correspondent Aasif Mandvi as lead actor for his turn in Disgraced; America Ferrera as lead actress for Bethany, alongside Vanessa Redgrave for Jesse Eisenberg's play The Revisionist; and Jake Gyllenhaal as featured actor for If There Is I Haven't Found It Yet.
Among top-tier non-profit companies, Playwrights Horizons had a strong showing, picking up ten nominations, including three of the five slots for Outstanding Play: Lisa D'Amour's Detroit, Annie Baker's The Flick, and Samuel D. Hunter's The Whale. Those works are up against Laura Marks' Bethany, from Women's Project Theater; and Mike Bartlett's Cock, the sole commercial production of the bunch.
Scoring five nominations, Murder Ballad will compete for Outstanding Musical with Dogfight, Giant, The Other Josh Cohen and Skippyjon Jones.
The six nominations for The Piano Lesson include nods for Outstanding Revival, director Ruben Santiago-Hudson and actors Brandon J. Dirden, Roslyn Ruff and Chuck Cooper. Signature landed additional nominations for its productions of Will Eno's Title and Deed, Athol Fugard's My Children! My Africa! and David Henry Hwang's Golden Child, as well as Outstanding Alternative Theatrical Experience for Old Hats, a clown show created and performed by Bill Irwin and David Shiner, featuring composer Nellie McKay.
A Lifetime Achievement Award will go to Todd Haimes, artistic director of the Roundabout Theatre Company, which picked up multiple nominations for its productions of If There Is I Haven't Found It Yet and Talley's Folly. This year's inductee to the Playwrights' Sidewalk (Off Broadway's equivalent to the Hollywood Walk of Fame) is Neil LaBute.
Winners of the 28th Annual Lucille Lortel Awards will be announced May 5 during a ceremony at NYU Skirball Center, hosted by Mandvi and Maura Tierney, who is currently starring opposite Tom Hanks on Broadway in Lucky Guy.
A complete list of nominations can be found at this link.