'Doubt' and 'Spamalot' Win Drama Desk Nods

"Doubt" (search) by John Patrick Shanley was chosen best play of the New York theater season, and "Monty Python's Spamalot (search)" was named best musical in awards given Sunday by the Drama Desk, an organization of theater journalists and critics.

"Doubt," already the recipient this year of the Pulitzer Prize for drama and the New York Drama Critics' Circle Award for best play, was one of the night's big winners, along with the musical "The Light in the Piazza (search)." Each collected five awards.

Shanley's play, the tale of an authoritarian, parochial-school nun and her suspicions about a parish priest, took three of four acting honors in the play category. They include prizes for its stars, Cherry Jones, who is the nun, and Brian F. O'Bryne, who portrays the priest, as well as for Adriane Lenox, who plays the distraught mother of a young student. Its director, Doug Hughes, also was honored.

Victoria Clark, who portrays an unhappy Southern matron on an Italian vacation in "The Light in the Piazza," was named best actress in a musical. Norbert Leo Butz, an obnoxious con man in "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels," was chosen best actor-musical.

"Piazza" also picked up prizes for its music, Adam Guettel; sets, Michael Yeargan; lighting, Christopher Akerlind, and orchestrations, Guettel, Ted Sperling and Bruce Coughlin.

Besides best musical, "Spamalot" won awards for its lyrics, given to original Python member Eric Idle, and for costumes, Tim Hatley.

Revival prizes went to the Roundabout Theatre Company's popular production of Reginald Rose's "Twelve Angry Men" (play) and to "La Cage aux Folles" (musical), which now stars Robert Goulet and Gary Beach. "La Cage" also won for choreography, Jerry Mitchell.

Billy Crystal's autobiographical "700 Sundays" won the solo performance award.

Winners in the featured-acting musical categories were Denis O'Hare, the nerdy accountant in the revival of "Sweet Charity," and Jan Maxwell, the child-hating baroness in "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang."

"The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee" may not have won the top musical prize, but it did grab honors for director-musical, James Lapine, and for book of a musical, Rachel Sheinkin.

Martin McDonagh's "The Pillowman," thought to be the main competition for "Doubt," managed to get only two awards — in the featured actor-play category, Michael Stuhlbarg, and for sound, Paul Arditti.

"Forbidden Broadway: Special Victims Unit" was named best revue, while "Slava's Snowshow" took the prize for unique theatrical experience.

The set design prize was won by Santo Loquasto for his work on David Mamet's "Glengarry Glen Ross."

Special, non-competitive awards for ensemble acting were given to the casts of both "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee" and "Glengarry Glen Rose."

The awards show was held in the concert hall at F.H. LaGuardia High School of Music and Art and the Performing Arts.

The Drama Desk, which was founded in 1949, honors both Broadway and off-Broadway productions.