The top honors for off-Broadway theater were presented Sunday in New York, with 'Guards at the Taj' and 'The Robber Bridegroom' leading the winners.
Rajiv Joseph's blood-soaked drama Guards at the Taj, about two sentries at the site of the soon-to-be-unveiled Taj Mahal in 17th century India, was the big winner Sunday night at the 31st Annual Lucille Lortel Awards, the top honors for off-Broadway theater.
The Atlantic Theater Company production, directed by Amy Morton and starring Omar Metwally and Arian Moayed, was named best play, in addition to taking prizes for best scenic design, lighting and sound.
Also faring well was Roundabout Theatre Company's staging of the Mississippi bluegrass fairy tale, The Robber Bridegroom, which took trophies for best revival, lead actor Steven Pasquale (pictured above) and featured actress Leslie Kritzer.
Without Hamilton in the mix to dominate (Lin-Manuel Miranda's monster hit took top honors last year for its original off-Broadway run), musical plaudits were spread among three shows, including The Robber Bridegroom.
The Soho Rep/Ars Nova collaboration, Futurity, a folk-infused Civil War-set reflection on artificial intelligence, was named best musical; and Southern Comfort, another bluegrass/country musical, this one about the dying patriarch of a makeshift transgender family, scored lead actress in a musical for Annette O'Toole and featured actor for Jeffrey Kuhn.
Performance honors for plays went to lead actress Phylicia Rashad and featured actress Alana Arenas for Head of Passes; to lead actor Timothee Chalamet for Prodigal Son; and featured actor Matt McGrath for The Legend of Georgia McBride, which also won for costumes.
Julie Taymor's production for the Public Theater of George Brant's Grounded, which starred Anne Hathaway as a pregnant drone pilot stationed in the Nevada desert, won for best solo play.
A play that has bounced to Broadway since its premiere and is widely considered a Tony Awards frontrunner, Stephen Karam's The Humans, had led the field with six Lortel nominations but came away empty-handed. However, another Broadway transfer and Tony contender, Danai Gurira's Eclipsed, scored a directing award for Liesl Tommy, one of three nominees for the Liberian war drama.
The Lortel awards ceremony was held at NYU Skirball Center and was hosted by Zachary Levi, who is currently appearing on Broadway in the musical revival, She Loves Me. "Last year, Hamilton took home ten awards ... Tonight, anyone can win. Literally, anyone else!" he joked onstage.
Michael Shannon, Danielle Brooks, Cynthia Erivo, Phillipa Soo, Renee Elise Goldsberry, Daveed Diggs, Jonathan Groff, Ana Villafane, Anna Chlumsky, Jefferson Mays, Carol Kane and Molly Ringwald were on hand to present the night's honors, which included the Lifetime Achievement Award presented by Laura Linney to Signature Theatre Company founder James Houghton.
Norm Lewis paid tribute to this year's Playwrights' Sidewalk inductee Suzan-Lori Parks, who laughed, "You know you've made it when your name is on the ground before you're in the ground!"
See the full list of winners below.
Ashley Lee contributed to this report.
Guards at the Taj (WINNER)
Produced by Atlantic Theater Company, Written by Rajiv Joseph
Produced by Playwrights Horizons and Center Theatre Group, Written by Lucas Hnath
Produced by The Public Theater, Written by Danai Gurira
Produced by Vineyard Theatre, Written by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins
Produced by Signature Theatre, Written by Annie Baker
Produced by Soho Rep. and Ars Nova in association with Carole Shorenstein Hays, Music by César Alvarez with The Lisps, Lyrics and Book by César Alvarez
Produced by Playwrights Horizons, Written by Jenny Schwartz, Music by Todd Almond, Lyrics by Todd Almond and Jenny Schwartz
Produced by The Public Theater, Book and Lyrics by Dan Collins, Music by Julianne Wick Davis, Based on the Film by Kate Davis, Conceived for the Stage by Robert DuSold and Thomas Caruso
Tappin' Thru Life
Produced by Leonard Soloway, Bud Martin, Riki Kane Larimer, Jeff Wolk, Phyllis and Buddy Aerenson, Darren P. DeVerna/Jeremiah J. Harris and the Shubert Organization, Written by Maurice Hines
The Wildness: Sky-Pony's Rock Fairy Tale
Produced by Ars Nova in collaboration with The Play Company Text by Kyle Jarrow & Lauren Worsham, Songs by Kyle Jarrow
The Robber Bridegroom (WINNER)
Produced by Roundabout Theatre Company in association with Daryl Roth, Book and Lyrics by Alfred Uhry, Music by Robert Waldman
'Tis Pity She's a Whore
Produced by Red Bull Theater, Written by John Ford
Produced by Atlantic Theater Company, Written by Caryl Churchill
Mother Courage And Her Children
Produced by Classic Stage Company, Written by Bertolt Brecht, Translated by John Willett
Women Without Men
Produced by Mint Theater Company, Written by Hazel Ellis
Produced by The Public Theater, Written by George Brant, Performed by Anne Hathaway
The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey
Produced by Darren Bagert, Daryl Roth, Co-Produced by Jane Dubin, Curtis Forsythe, Michael Mayer, Diane Procter, Seaview Productions and Minerva Productions/Joshua Goodman, Written and Performed by James Lecesne
Produced by New York Theatre Workshop, Created and Performed by Dael Orlandersmith
Mike Birbiglia: Thank God For Jokes
Produced by Mike Berkowitz, Joseph Birbiglia, Ron Delsener and Mike Lavoie, Written and Performed by Mike Birbiglia
Liesl Tommy, Eclipsed — (WINNER)
Rachel Chavkin, The Royale
Anne Kauffman, Marjorie Prime
Amy Morton, Guards at the Taj
Eric Tucker, Bedlam's Sense & Sensibility
Martha Clarke, Angel Reapers (WINNER)
Alexandra Beller, Bedlam's Sense & Sensibility
Maurice Hines, Tappin' Thru Life
Paul McGill, The Legend of Georgia McBride
David Neumann, Futurity
Timothée Chalamet, Prodigal Son (WINNER)
Denis Arndt, Heisenberg
Reed Birney, The Humans
Andrew Garman, The Christians
Ed Harris, Buried Child
Phylicia Rashad, Head of Passes (WINNER)
Ito Aghayere, Familiar
Georgia Engel, John
Jayne Houdyshell, The Humans
Chinasa Ogbuagu, Sojourners
Steven Pasquale, The Robber Bridegroom (WINNER)
Gabriel Ebert, Preludes
Michael C. Hall, Lazarus
Maurice Hines, Tappin' Thru Life
Michael Luwoye, Invisible Thread
Annette O'Toole, Southern Comfort (WINNER)
Sophia Anne Caruso, Lazarus
Alison Fraser, First Daughter Suite
Mary Testa, First Daughter Suite
Sammy Tunis, Futurity
Matt McGrath, The Legend of Georgia McBride (WINNER)
Sanjit De Silva, Dry Powder
Jonathan Hogan, Hold On To Me Darling
Paul Sparks, Buried Child
C.J. Wilson, Hold On To Me Darling
Alana Arenas, Head of Passes (WINNER)
Lauren Klein, The Humans
Jeanine Serralles, Gloria
Lois Smith, John
Myra Lucretia Taylor, Familiar
Jeffrey Kuhn, Southern Comfort (WINNER)
Greg Hildreth, The Robber Bridegroom
Or Matias, Preludes
Chris Sarandon, Preludes
Kevin Zak, Clinton the Musical
Leslie Kritzer, The Robber Bridegroom (WINNER)
Eisa Davis, Preludes
Karen Kandel, Futurity
Leslie Kritzer, Gigantic
Annie McNamara, Iowa
Timothy R. Mackabee, Guards at the Taj (WINNER)
Mimi Lien, John
G.W. Mercier, Head of Passes
Emily Orling and Matt Saunders, Futurity
David Zinn, The Humans
Anita Yavich, The Legend of Georgia McBride (WINNER)
Martha Hally, Women Without Men
Toni-Leslie James, First Daughter Suite
Clint Ramos, Eclipsed
Donna Zakowska, Angel Reapers
David Weiner, Guards at the Taj (WINNER)
Christopher Akerlind, Grounded
Mark Barton, John
Ben Stanton, The Legend of Georgia McBride
Justin Townsend, The Humans
Rob Milburn and Michael Bodeen, Guards at the Taj (WINNER)
Matt Hubbs, The Royale
Fitz Patton, The Humans
Will Pickens, Grounded
Bray Poor, Buzzer
Angel Reapers (WINNER)
By Martha Clarke and Alfred Uhry, Produced by Signature Theatre
Peter Nigrini, Projection Design, Grounded