The Inner Circle: Video---Paula Vogel and Lynn Nottage, Best Play

Every year since 1936, the New York Drama Critics' Circle has given out awards to what it considers the best theater of the year. The awards ceremony and cocktail reception—attended by the city's theatrical press agents as well as the critics and the award recipients and presenters—is a cozy industry affair, traditionally held at the Algonquin Hotel, where the group was founded in 1935. In olden days, the ceremony was broadcast live on the radio, but it has been many, many years since anyone not invited to the party could catch a glimpse inside. As president of the NYDCC since 2005, I have tried to make the workings of the Circle as transparent as possible—creating a website with photos of the members, for example, and posting the full details of our annual voting meeting as soon as it has concluded. So it is with great pleasure that I also revive the early tradition of inviting the public (now via video instead of radio) into the Circle's annual party.

We have recorded the entire ceremony in four installments, which we will be unveiling here daily for the next week or so. First up is the award for Best Play, which went to Lynn Nottage for Ruined. My intro here is truncated—there were some microphone problems—so what you need to know is that the presenter of the award is none other than the playwright and Yale professor Paula Vogel, who won the NYDCC Award herself in 1997 for How I Learned to Drive, and who taught Nottage at Brown University many years ago. Both Vogel's intro and Nottage's reaction were quite moving. We hope you enjoy this sneak peek, and the others to come.