Lin-Manuel Miranda of In the Heights and Leslie Kritzer of Legally Blonde have been named winners of the 62nd annual Clarence Derwent Awards, presented by the Actors' Equity Foundation to honor "the most promising female and male performers on the New York metropolitan scene." Miranda and Kritzer will receive a prize of $2,000 and an engraved crystal trophy to be presented on June 12 in the Equity offices.
The Derwent Awards are the oldest awards on Broadway and were established in 1945 by Clarence Derwent, a distinguished actor and former President of Actors' Equity. Recent winners include Felicia P. Fields for The Color Purple, Kritzer's Legally Blonde co-star Christian Borle for Spamalot and John Tartaglia for Avenue Q. Among the many former Derwent Award winners who went on to great fame are Calista Flockhart, Christopher Walken, Morgan Freeman, Annette Bening, Billy Crudup, James Woods and Joan Allen.
Kritzer, who plays Serena in Legally Blonde, has appeared on Broadway in Hairspray and received a Drama Desk nomination for the off-Broadway production of The Great American Trailer Park Musical She also appeared off-Broadway in Bat Boy and Godspell and in regional productions of Funny Girl and Grease. Kritzer recently won a MAC Award for her cabaret show "Leslie Kritzer Is Patti LuPone at Les Mouches."
Judges for the 2007 Derwent Awards included theater journalists Irene Backalenick, Adam Feldman, Harry Haun, Michael Kuchwara, David Rosenberg and Michael Sommers.