IN BRIEF: Witches, Assassins win NY drama awards, more

Witches and The Boy From Oz take drama awards

NEW YORK - Wicked , Broadway's musical prequel to the Wizard of Oz , was the big winner at the Drama Desk Awards in New York Sunday.

The musical, based on the Gregory Maguire novel about the witches in Oz before Dorothy arrives, won six awards, including best musical, best direction and best lyrics.

The Drama Desk, an organization of theatre journalists and critics, also named I Am My Own Wife best play of the New York theatre season. The work, a solo show portraying a German transvestite who survives the Nazis and the Communists, won actor Jefferson Mays the solo performance award.

Hollywood actor Hugh Jackman has been a hit on the Great White Way, winning best actor in a musical for his portrayal of flamboyant entertainer Peter Allen in The Boy From Oz . The show's Judy Garland, played by Isabel Keating, also won an award in the featured-acting musical category.

The revival of Assassins , the Stephen Sondheim-John Weidman musical about presidential killers, won four prizes, include best musical revival.

Other winners included Wonderful Town 's Donna Murphy, the Lincoln Center Theatre's production of Henry IV , Ned Beatty, who plays Big Daddy in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and Phylicia Rashad and Audra McDonald from A Raisin in the Sun .

Founded in 1949, the Drama Desk honours both Broadway and off-Broadway productions.

Chinese artist dies at 92

HONG KONG - Yang Shen-sum, a Chinese artist considered a second-generation master of the Lingnan school of painting, died in Hong Kong Saturday. He was 92.

The Canadian resident apparently suffered a heart attack while visiting Hong Kong.

Yang was known as a master of the southern Chinese painting style known as Lingnan, which combines traditional Chinese techniques with Japanese and western approaches. Known for his depictions of birds, animals and landscapes, his 2002 painting Evergreen Forest is displayed in Beijing's Great Hall of the People.

Born in 1913 in the southern Chinese province of Guangdong, Yang later moved to Hong Kong and studied art in Kyoto, Japan. He moved to Canada in 1988.