The Outer Critics Circle Nominations (and Winners) Announced 2016

2DF8FAF21-B44F-20EF-AD631F642E2894CDThe Outer Critics Circle Nominations (and Winners*), and What I think of it all.

by Ross

She Loves Me and American Psycho head the list with eight nominations each. Where is Hamilton do you ask? Look at last years awards where it swept the categories. These awards mix on and off broadway shows with abandonment, and once a show is nominated in a category, even if it transfers to Broadway, it can’t be nominated again. Only the new elements of Hamilton, Disaster! and Blackbird, which were eligible in their Off-Broadway incarnations in 2015, were considered for 2016 nominations. Much to my surprise, owing to Shuffle Along’s late opening date, it will be considered eligible in the 2016-17 season.

90-1These lists though tell a strong tale of what to expect when the Tony Award nominations are announced in a few weeks.  Subtract the odd off-broadway show, and sometimes one other, and put in its place, Hamilton, and possibly Jeff Daniels, and we might see a lot of similarities.  Truth be told, I didn’t see Tuck Everlasting, Shuffle Along yet (seeing both this week), Long Day’s Journey Into Night (early June), nor did I see Disaster!, On Your Feet!, Fully Committed, or Dames at Sea and in regards to these four shows, I guess I’m not all that interested, I’m sorry to say.  And my list of off-broadway shows that I missed is shockingly long, I’m even more sorry to say.

That said, I did my best to make a few comments or predictions for almost all the categories.  After seeing Tuck Everlasting, I may come back and revisit and adjust.  Time will tell. I’m sad not to see Megan Hilty on the list for Noises Off, Tim Pigott-Smith for King Charles III, and a few other performances from some stellar shows off-broadway. And I had a lot more love for the Waitress then these guys did.  Give it a peek, and let me know what you think.

Here is a full list of the nominations (winners are in bold with a *):

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OUTSTANDING NEW BROADWAY PLAY
Eclipsed
The Father
*The Humans
King Charles III
Thérèse Raquin

Not sure what to say about Therese Raquin being on this list.  All the others are sure to also be on the Tony Award list of nominations, but that play, although beautifully designed, was a slight bore to sit through.  I can’t decide which play I like more, King Charles III and The Father…

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OUTSTANDING NEW BROADWAY MUSICAL
American Psycho the Musical
*Bright Star
On Your Feet!
Tuck Everlasting the Musical
Waitress

Remember, Hamilton is not eligible for this as it swept the awards last year when it played at the Public Theatre.  So, all I can say to this is, enjoy it while you can On Your Feet! because this will be your only chance to be included in this list…. and for the winner, which I hope is Waitress (full disclosure, I haven’t seen Tuck yet, that is this weekend), I am thrilled you will be able to proclaim yourself a winner of a Best Musical award, because we all know who will win the Tony Award, right? Mr. Pulitzer will tell you if you don’t already know.

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OUTSTANDING NEW OFF-BROADWAY PLAY
*The Christians
Familiar
Gloria
Hold On to Me Darling
The Legend of Georgia McBride

Well, I only saw one out of the five, but Familiar was one of my favorite plays of the year, so I’m thrilled to see it here. And what about The Effect, Marjorie Prime, Heisenberg, HIR, or even Red Speedo.

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OUTSTANDING NEW OFF-BROADWAY MUSICAL
Cagney
Daddy Long Legs
*Dear Evan Hansen
Lazarus
Southern Comfort

Anyone who has read my blog knows what a fan I am of Dear Evan Hansen, and I’m so glad to see it nominated.  Please let it win.

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OUTSTANDING BOOK OF A MUSICAL
(Broadway or Off-Broadway)
Bright Star
Daddy Long Legs
*Dear Evan Hansen
Lazarus
On Your Feet!

With this list of shows, I’m going to say it’s a toss up between Bright Star and Dear Evan Hansen.  Bright Star leans on the corny side of the bluegrass cob, so my vote would go with the emotionally power and relevant Dear Evan Hansen.

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OUTSTANDING NEW SCORE
(Broadway or Off-Broadway)
American Psycho the Musical
*Bright Star
Daddy Long Legs
Dear Evan Hansen
Waitress

From this list of five, I loved three of these shows (I will admit I never saw Daddy Long Legs). Bright Star, Dear Evan Hansen, and Waitress are all absolutely wonderful, but my favorite, score wise, would be Waitress.  I’m thrilled for these shows in these categories because with the Tonys, Hamilton is going to steal all the thunder when the awards are given out, so I’m happy a few of my other favorites will have some awards to flaunt.

'A View From the Bridge' Play performed at Wyndham's Theatre, London. UK
A View from the Bridge performed at Wyndham’s Theatre Richard Hansell as Louis, Nicola Walker as Beatrice, Mark Strong as Eddie, Michael Gould as Alfieri, Emun Elliott as Marco ©Alastair Muir 16.02.15

OUTSTANDING REVIVAL OF A PLAY
(Broadway or Off-Broadway)
Blackbird
The Crucible
Fool for Love
*Long Day’s Journey Into Night
A View From the Bridge

I have yet to see Long Day’s yet, but I loved all the other nominations on this list, and would find it difficult to decide between the two Arthur Miller plays, both directed by Ivo Van Hove.  But it is one or the other….

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OUTSTANDING REVIVAL OF A MUSICAL
(Broadway or Off-Broadway)
The Color Purple the Musical
Dames at Sea
Fiddler on the Roof
*She Loves Me
Spring Awakening

So sweet of them to put the flop, Dames at Sea on this list.  I didn’t see it, but it didn’t sound like it was a winner.  My guess and vote would go to She Loves Me, which is as perfect a production as can be.  With a close second going to The Color Purple. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely loved Spring Awakening, but I don’t think it will stand a chance here.

Saoirse-Ronan-and-the-Cast-of-THE-CRUCIBLE-directed-by-Ivo-van-Hove-photo-by-Jan-Versweyveld-641x420
OUTSTANDING DIRECTOR OF A PLAY
Evan Cabnet Gloria
Mike Donahue The Legend of Georgia McBride
Rupert Goold King Charles III
Joe Mantello The Humans
*Ivo van Hove A View From the Bridge

I’m thinking that Ivo van Hove has this all sewn up, although Goold and Mantello might sneak in and snatch it away.  Hove seems to be one of those ‘love him or hate him’ kinda directors. And I, not surprisingly am on the ‘love him’ side.

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OUTSTANDING DIRECTOR OF A MUSICAL
*Michael Arden Spring Awakening
Walter Bobbie Bright Star
Scott Ellis She Loves Me
Rupert Goold American Psycho the Musical
Michael Greif Dear Evan Hansen

This is a difficult one because i think they all did just incredible work.  And why isn’t the director of Waitress here?  Ellis is probably going to take the prize but the work that Bobbie and Greif did respectively, was amazing.  I am not a fan of American Psycho, and I will probably get boo’d for that, but I just can’t help not being moved by that piece.

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OUTSTANDING CHOREOGRAPHER
Joshua Bergasse Cagney
Spencer Liff Spring Awakening
Josh Rhodes Bright Star
Randy Skinner Dames at Sea
*Sergio Trujillo On Your Feet!

I hope that Liff from Spring Awakening gets this award.  What he did with sign language and dance was truly divine and beautiful.  Rhodes gets my second best prize.

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OUTSTANDING SET DESIGN
(Play or Musical)
Beowulf Boritt Thérèse Raquin
David Korins Misery
Mimi Lien John
*David Rockwell She Loves Me
Walt Spangler Tuck Everlasting the Musical

If Therese Raquin will win any award, this will be it.  It was a beautiful set, even the dark and dreary Paris apartment was perfection, but I think Rockwell may win, or maybe Spangler for Tuck.  I haven’t seen it yet, but I hear great things about the set design, and I’m crossing my fingers for a magical Saturday matinee this weekend.

american-psycho-broadway-benjamin-walker-shirtless-beach-scene
OUTSTANDING COSTUME DESIGN
(Play or Musical)
ESosa On Your Feet!
Jane Greenwood Bright Star
Katrina Lindsay American Psycho the Musical
*Jeff Mahshie She Loves Me
Tom Scutt King Charles III

My guess to win from this lot would be Mahshie for She Loves Me.  It was simple gorgeous visually.

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OUTSTANDING LIGHTING DESIGN
(Play or Musical)
Donald Holder She Loves Me
Natasha Katz Long Day’s Journey Into Night
Kenneth Posner On Your Feet!
Ben Stanton Spring Awakening
*Justin Townsend American Psycho the Musical

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OUTSTANDING PROJECTION DESIGN
(Play or Musical)
Lucy MacKinnon Spring Awakening
Peter Nigrini Grounded
Peter Nigrini Dear Evan Hansen
*Finn Ross American Psycho the Musical
Tal Yarden Lazarus

I do wish I had had an opportunity to see Lazarus.  I hear it was flawed but still something to see, and maybe the projections had a lot to do with it, but I’m going to say that Dear Evan Hansen might snare this away from the big boys of Broadway.

crucible_broadway
OUTSTANDING ACTOR IN A PLAY
Reed Birney The Humans
Gabriel Byrne Long Day’s Journey Into Night
*Frank Langella The Father
Mark Strong A View From the Bridge
Ben Whishaw The Crucible

Goodness gracious, what a list of great performances.  I’m going to have to say that it will be a toss up between Strong and Langella. But i also just loved Whishaw.  Bryne’s performance is still one I am waiting to see, and I won’t get to see it until early June.

Humans, TheLaura Pels Theatre
Humans, The Laura Pels Theatre Cast List: Cassie Beck Reed Birney Jayne Houdyshell Lauren Klein Arian Moayed Sarah Steele Production Credits: Joe Mantello (director) David Zinn (scenic design) Sarah Laux (costume design) Justin Townsend (lighting design) Fitz Patton (sound design) Other Credits: Written by: Stephen Karam –

OUTSTANDING ACTRESS IN A PLAY
Jayne Houdyshell The Humans
*Jessica Lange Long Day’s Journey Into Night
Lupita Nyong’o Eclipsed
Nicola Walker A View From the Bridge
Michelle Williams Blackbird

Without the benefit of seeing Lange’s performance, I will say that this is a close race between Houdyshell and Nyong, with the prize going to the Oscar winner.  That’s my guess.  And what about all those great performances off-broadway? Kristine Nielsen in HIR for one. I guess in the acting categories, off broadway gets lost on its way to the Outer Critics Circle awards.

SCHOOL OF ROCK
SCHOOL OF ROCK – 2015 PRES ART- Pictured: Alex Brightman andn cast- Photo Credit: Timmy Blupe

OUTSTANDING ACTOR IN A MUSICAL
Alex Brightman School of Rock the Musical
*Danny Burstein Fiddler on the Roof
Robert Creighton Cagney
Ben Platt Dear Evan Hansen
Benjamin Walker American Psycho the Musical

Brightman was just so darn good in School of Rock, as was Burstein in Fiddler, but I’m hoping for Platt to win out over the Broadway boys, and bring home this prize to the show that I hope will transfer to Broadway next year.

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OUTSTANDING ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL
Laura Benanti She Loves Me
Carmen Cusack Bright Star
*Cynthia Erivo The Color Purple the Musical
Jessie Mueller Waitress
Ana Villafañe On Your Feet!

Here’s the one that I can’t decide.  I loved them all (I didn’t see On Your Feet! and most likely I won’t, just not my type of show).  I think it’s a contest between Benanti in a role she was born to play, and Erivo who brings down the Color Purple house, not once, but twice with two amazing show stopping numbers. My vote is going to Benanti, who is perfection; funny, smart, and spectacularly voiced. Mueller and Cusack are also just perfection and I’d be thrilled for either to sneak in and take home this prize.

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OUTSTANDING FEATURED ACTOR IN A PLAY
Sanjit De Silva Dry Powder
Matt McGrath The Legend of Georgia McBride
Jim Norton The Crucible
Robert Sella Sylvia
*Michael Shannon Long Day’s Journey Into Night

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OUTSTANDING FEATURED ACTRESS IN A PLAY (*tie)
*Pascale Armand Eclipsed
Zainab Jah Eclipsed
*Judith Light Thérèse Raquin
Saycon Sengbloh Eclipsed
Myra Lucretia Taylor Familiar

All the ladies from Danai Gurira’s two plays here are worthy of any prize given, but I loved the mother hen in Eclipsed, Sengbloh.  She brought something special to this piece, and crept into my heart. And comedy got left in the dust here, because I was sure Megan Hilty would be on this list for her hilarious turn in Noises Off.

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OUTSTANDING FEATURED ACTOR IN A MUSICAL
Nicholas Barasch She Loves Me
Roger Bart Disaster!
Michael Esper Lazarus
*Christopher Fitzgerald Waitress
Terrence Mann Tuck Everlasting the Musical

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OUTSTANDING FEATURED ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL
Danielle Brooks The Color Purple the Musical
Andrea Burns On Your Feet!
Sophia Anne Caruso Lazarus
*Jane Krakowski She Loves Me 
Heléne Yorke American Psycho the Musical

Once again it’s a battle between She Loves Me and The Color Purple, and this time I think it will go to Krakowski who almost stole the show.

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OUTSTANDING SOLO PERFORMANCE
Mike Birbiglia Thank God For Jokes
Kathleen Chalfant Rose
Anne Hathaway Grounded
*James Lecesne The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey
Daphne Rubin-Vega Empanada Loca

I only saw Hathaway out of these five, and I loved her in the part.  Is it coming to Broadway? I’m thinking, yes!

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JOHN GASSNER AWARD
(Presented for an American play, preferably by a new playwright)
Lindsey Ferrentino Ugly Lies the Bone
Lauren Gunderson I and You
Martyna Majok Ironbound
*Marco Ramirez The Royale
Anna Ziegler Boy

SPECIAL ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
James Houghton Signature Theatre Company
These shows had three or more nominations: 

American Psycho the Musical – 8, She Loves Me – 8, Bright Star – 7, On Your Feet – 7, Dear Evan Hansen – 6, Eclipsed – 5, Lazarus – 5, Long Day’s Journey Into Night – 5, Spring Awakening – 5, A View From the Bridge – 4, The Humans – 4, Waitress – 4, Cagney – 3, Daddy Long Legs – 3, King Charles III – 3, The Color Purple the Musical – 3, The Crucible – 3, The Legend of Georgia McBride – 3, Thérèse Raquin – 3Tuck Everlasting the Musical – 3.

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