Precursor awards don’t always translate into Tony Award success. But today the out-of-town critics announced their nominations for the Outer Critics Circle Awards, and here are six things I learned:
1. Don’t count out The Last Ship. Sting’s musical may be long closed, but it still has some steam left in it. Tony nominators often reward mainstream artists for attempting work on Broadway (Dolly Parton’s 9 to 5, anyone?). Watch for possible Tony nominations for Best Score or Best Book.
2. Debut directors are all the rage. David Hyde Pierce is a strong contender, despite mixed-to-negative reviews for It Shoulda Been You. And ballet-choreographer-turned-Broadway-director Christopher Wheeldon, and his extraordinary piece of art An American in Paris, will be a force to be reckoned with.
3. Victoria Clarke’s diva factor. Ross and I didn’t touch the Featured Actor/Actress categories in our prediction post, but watch out for Gigi‘s Victoria Clarke. Her 11th-hour ballad, “Say a Prayer For Her” blows the roof off the Neil Simon Theatre.
4. Where are the Hamilton performance nominations? Lin-Manuel Miranda, who wrote this off-Broadway juggernaut and stars in the title role, doesn’t get an acting nod from the Outer Critics Circle, and neither do any of the other performers. (No set or costume noms, either.) A little odd for a show with all the buzz right now.
5. Something Rotten! is beginning to smell like a hit. It took in 12 nominations here, followed by On the 20th Century‘s nine, and An American in Paris‘ eight. Could wins in precursor awards give it momentum against Fun Home‘s near-lock on the Tony for Best Musical? (By the way: Fun Home is not eligible for Outer Critics Circle Awards this year; it won for Outstanding Off-Broadway Musical last year.)
6. After critics universally panned Finding Neverland, it’s no big surprise that Harvey Weinstein’s project got the snub. But no nominations at all? Not even the gorgeous Laura Michelle Kelly, the show’s saving grace? Dare I predict that Tony nominators may just as easily give Finding Neverland the hook.