Conor McPherson's The Night Alive scoops best play from New York critics

Irish playwright wins highest accolade at New York Drama Critics' Circle awards alongside special citations for the Globe's Richard III and Twelfth Night

The celebrated Irish dramatist Conor McPherson scooped the highest accolade at the New York Drama Critics' Circle awards last night for his play The Night Alive.

The critically acclaimed production was named best play at the 79th annual ceremony in Manhattan.

Written and directed by McPherson and starring Road to Perdition actor Ciarán Hinds, The Night Alive is set in the groundfloor bedsit of a Dublin house and tells the story of a random encounter between a working-class Dubliner and a prostitute he rescues from an abusive relationship.

After premiering at London's Donmar Warehouse last year, it transferred to New York and was lauded by critics for its "boisterous comedy as well as its aching poignancy". Time Out New York called it a "spellbinding and absolutely gorgeous new play by one of the true poets of the theatre".

The awards are some of the oldest and most prestigious in American theatre and are decided by a panel of 22 magazine and newspaper theatre critics. The winning play receives a a cash prize of $2,500.

Robert Schenkken's Washington power play All the Way, which stars Breaking Bad's Bryan Cranston as President Lyndon Johnson and has received several Tony award nominations, was named best American play by the drama critics as it enjoys a successful sell-out run on Broadway.

It was also a triumphant night for British theatre, with the Shakespeare's Globe productions of Twelfth Night and Richard III that transferred from London to Broadway last November receiving special citations. The two plays starred Stephen Fry and Mark Rylance as part of an all-male company, with Rylance taking on the role of Olivia in Twelfth Night.

It is not the first time Rylance has been recognised by the awards. He received a special citation in 2011 for his roles in La Bête and as the enigmatic Johnny "Rooster" Byron in Jerusalem by Jez Butterworth, which was named best foreign play in the same year.

The best musical award went to Fun Home, based on the graphic memoir by Alison Bechdel, which was written by Jeanine Tesori and Lisa Kron and tells the story of a lesbian cartoonist and her memories of childhood and her father. Former winners of the best musical award include The Book of Mormon, which is still enjoying a successful run both on Broadway and in London's West End, and Tim Minchin and Dennis Kelly's version of Matilda.

The awards will be presented on 16 May at a reception at 54 Below.


Hannah Ellis-Petersen

The GuardianTramp

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