Lortel Awards: 'KPOP,' 'Cost of Living,' 'School Girls' Take Top Off-Broadway Prizes

Billy Crudup  Lortel Awards - H Getty 2018
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'Jesus Hopped the "A" Train' was named outstanding revival, while Carrie Coon and Billy Crudup also earned awards at the 33rd annual ceremony.

While the Lucille Lortel Awards can often be an indicator of productions headed for Broadway, as with past winners like Hamilton and The Band’s Visit, this year’s winners showcased a wide spread of off-Broadway shows and performers, including a tie for outstanding play. 

Jocelyn Bioh’s School Girls; Or, the African Mean Girls Play and Martyna Majok’s Cost of Living shared that prize. MCC Theater plans to bring School Girls back to the stage this fall; the play about competitive students at a boarding school in Ghana also received featured actress honors for Mirirai Sithole. Produced by Manhattan Theatre Club, Cost of Living won his year’s Pulitzer Prize for Drama and also earned a Lortel award for featured actor Gregg Mozgala. The drama examines the human condition via the lives of four lonely people, two of them with physical disabilities.

KPOP, which had led the Lortels with nine nominations, was named outstanding musical, also winning for lead actress Ashley Park and featured actor Jason Tam. (Park is also nominated for a Tony Award this season for her performance in Mean Girls.) Produced by Ars Nova in association with Ma-Yi Theater Company and Woodshed Collective, the immersive musical follows the inner workings of a Korean pop music factory.

Carrie Coon received the award for leading actress in a play for her portrayal of a single mother struggling with a chronically ill child in Amy Herzog’s Mary Jane at New York Theatre Workshop, with Anne Kaufmann receiving the award for her direction of the play. 

Outstanding solo show went to Billy Crudup for his virtuoso performance in David Cale's Harry Clarke. which follows a man who leads a double life. It premiered at the Vineyard Theatre and is currently wrapping a transfer run at the Minetta Lane Theatre

Stephen Adly Guirgis’ Jesus Hopped the ‘A’ Train took the honors for outstanding revival. The Signature Theatre production also received an award for lead actor Sean Carvajal. The remaining acting winners were Tiffany Mann for featured actress in a musical for Jerry Springer – the Opera at The New Group and Damon Daunno for leading actor in a musical for The Lucky Ones at Ars Nova, the latter also winning the choreography prize for Sonya Tayeh.

The off-Broadway League's Lucille Lortel Awards were presented at NYU Skirball Center in a ceremony hosted by Laura Benanti and Jeremy Shamos, who co-starred on Broadway this season in Steve Martin’s Meteor Shower.

Presenters for the evening included many Tony Award nominees and stars from the Broadway season, among them Tina Fey, Denise Gough, Lauren Ridloff, Lauren Ambrose, Harry Hadden-Paton, Tony Shalhoub, Katrina Lenk, Ari’el Stachel, Condola Rashad, LaChanze and Grey Henson.