Bette Midler, Vanessa Williams, Edie Falco and Alan Cumming were also in the running for the Distinguished Performance prize, but it was Lane's turn in Douglas Carter Beane's burlesque drama The Nance which bagged him the prestigious accolade.
Cyndi Lauper added another award to her collection for Kinky Boots, which was named Distinguished Production of a Musical, while Distinguished Revival of a Musical went to Pippin.
Distinguished Play was bestowed upon Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, and Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? landed the Distinguished Revival of a Play honour.
Bernadette Peters walked away with the Distinguished Achievement in Musical Theatre trophy and Jerry Mitchell received the Founders Award for Excellence in Directing during the ceremony, which was held at the Marriott Marquis Times Square.
The New York Drama League Awards celebrate the best in Broadway and Off Broadway and are voted for by the public.