NEW YORK (Reuters) - The musical "Come From Away," the play "Oslo," and Bette Midler in a hit revival of "Hello, Dolly!" were among the top winners at Sunday's Drama Desk Awards, one of a series of theater honors leading up to Broadway's top honors, the Tony Awards.
"Come From Away," set in Gander, Newfoundland where dozens of jetliners were forced to land, stranding passengers after the Sept. 11 attacks, was named best musical, while Midler won best actress in a musical for her star turn in "Hello, Dolly!" which also took the best musical revival prize.
"Oslo," J.T. Rogers' play about the behind-the-scenes negotiations in Norway that led to the historic 1993 peace accord between Israel and the PLO, won best play, while August Wilson's "Jitney" was named best play revival.
Other big winners included best actor in a play Kevin Kline in Noel Coward's "Present Laughter" and Laura Linney, who took best actress in a play for "The Little Foxes."
Cynthia Nixon in "The Little Foxes" and Danny DeVito in "The Price" took honors for featured performances in a play.
Almost all the winners are seen as frontrunners for the Tony Awards, which will be handed out on June 11 at a gala ceremony hosted by Kevin Spacey at Radio City Music Hall, though Linney faces stiff competition from favorite Laurie Metcalf in "A Doll's House, Part 2."
Best actor in a musical went to Andy Karl for "Groundhog Day," an adaptation of the popular Bill Murray film.
"Dear Evan Hansen," the favorite for the best musical Tony, was not eligible for this year's Drama Desks, having played off-Broadway last year.
The Drama Desk awards are chosen by theater critics and writers to honor Broadway, off-Broadway and off-off-Broadway productions, unlike the Tonys, which are limited to Broadway shows.
Editing by Clarence Fernandez