The Official 2011 Outer Critics Circle Award Nominations

Here are this year's Outer Critics Circle Award nominations:

Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo

Good People
The Motherf**ker With the Hat
War Horse

The Book of Mormon

Priscilla Queen of the Desert
Sister Act
Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown

Blood From a Stone

Other Desert Cities
The Other Place

Freckleface Strawberry

In Transit
The Kid
Tomorrow Morning

(Broadway or Off-Broadway)

The Book of Mormon
Catch Me If You Can
Sister Act
Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown

(Broadway or Off-Broadway)

Born Yesterday
The Importance of Being Earnest
The Merchant of Venice
The Normal Heart

(Broadway or Off-Broadway)

Anything Goes
How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying
Hello Again
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

Marianne Elliott & Tom Morris War Horse

Emma Rice Brief Encounter
Anna D. Shapiro The Motherf**cker With the Hat
Daniel Sullivan Good People

Rob Ashford How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying

Kathleen Marshall Anything Goes
Casey Nicholaw & Trey Parker The Book of Mormon
Jerry Zaks Sister Act

Rob Ashford How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying

Ross Coleman Priscilla Queen of the Desert
Kathleen Marshall Anything Goes
Casey Nicholaw The Book of Mormon

(Play or Musical)

Desmond Heeley The Importance of Being Earnest
Derek McLane Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo
Neil Murray Brief Encounter
Todd Rosenthal The Motherf**ker With the Hat

(Play or Musical)

Lez Brotherston Sister Act
Tim Chappel & Lizzie Gardiner Priscilla Queen of the Desert
Desmond Heeley The Importance of Being Earnest
Lizz Wolf Baby It's You!

(Play or Musical)

Paule Constable War Horse
Natasha Katz Sister Act
David Lander Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo
Malcolm Rippeth Brief Encounter

Reed Birney The Dream of the Burning Boy

Bobby Cannavale The Motherf**ker With the Hat
Joe Mantello&#01
60;The Normal Heart

Al Pacino The Merchant of Venice
Mark Rylance Jerusalem

Nina Arianda Born Yesterday

Edie Falco The House of Blue Leaves
Judith Light Lombardi
Frances McDormand Good People
Laurie Metcalf The Other Place

Norbert Leo Butz Catch Me If You Can

Josh Gad The Book of Mormon
Daniel Radcliffe How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying
Tony Sheldon Priscilla Queen of the Desert
Aaron Tveit Catch Me If You Can

Victoria Clark Sister Act

Sutton Foster Anything Goes
Beth Leavel Baby It's You!
Patina Miller Sister Act
Donna Murphy The People in the Picture

Brian Bedford The Importance of Being Earnest

Evan Jonigkeit High
Stacy Keach Other Desert Cities
Seth Numrich War Horse
Yul Vázquez The Motherf**ker With the Hat

Renée Elise Goldsberry Good People

Linda Lavin Other Desert Cities
Estelle Parsons Good People
Alison Pill The House of Blue Leaves
Elizabeth Rodriguez The Motherf**ker With the Hat

Colin Donnell Anything Goes

Adam Godley Anything Goes
Chester Gregory Sister Act
John Larroquette How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying
John McMartin Anything Goes

Laura Benanti Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown

Nikki M. James The Book of Mormon
Patti LuPone Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown
Marla Mindelle Sister Act
Laura Osnes Anything Goes

Daniel Beaty Through the Night

Mike Birbiglia My Girlfriend's Boyfriend
John Leguizamo Ghetto Klown
Michael Shannon Mistakes Were Made

(Presented for an American play, preferably by a new playwright)

Amy Herzog After the Revolution
Matthew Lopez The Whipping Man
David West Read The Dream of the Burning Boy
Kim Rosenstock Tigers Be Still

Ellen Barkin for her Outstanding Broadway Debut in The Normal Heart

Adrian Kohler with Basil Jones for Handspring Puppet Company Puppet Design, Fabrication and Direction for War Horse

This year’s Tony Award nominees for Best Musical and Best Play are . . .

Break out the thermometer and the Tylenol because I’ve got Tony Fever!

In just one week, all Hellzapoppin will break loose when the 2012 Tony Award nominees are announced live on NY1.

The prognosticators and theatrical handicappers have already started laying odds and placing bets on who is going home with Tony gold on June 12th.  But in order to be up for the trophy, you’ve got to get nominated.  And what many people forget is that a nomination (or lack thereof) can seal the fate for many a show that is holding onto their grosses, in hopes for the national exposure that a telecast Tony Award mention (or performance) will get them.

So who will be nominated?

I’m not going to even try to guess who the nominees will be in all the categories. It’d be too much like pin the tail on the Tony.  Instead, I’m going to focus on two of the three awards that actually have an effect on the bottom line, Best Musical and Best Play (the other gross-affecting award is Best Revival of a Musical).

Here are my predictions . . . and remember, this is not who I think should be nominated, but who I think will be nominated:

Best Play

– Jersualeum
– Good People
– War Horse 

And . . .

The fourth spot is always the tough one. I’d bet a pretty penny that the above three are locks. But what about the fourth spot?  Possible contenders in my opinion are Motherf**ker with the HatPitmen Painters and maybe even Brief Encounter.  But when it comes down to it, the Nominators will forget those fall shows and nominate . . .

 – Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo.

Best Musical

– Book of Mormon
– The Scottsboro Boys

Those are the two locks in the musical category, and then the field is wiiiiide open. You’ve got Catch Me If You Can, Priscilla, Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, Baby It’s You, Sister Act, Wonderland, People In The Picture, Elf, Women on the Verge . . . who said the new musical is dead?

But there are only two spots left!  Who will be “Legally Blonded” this year? (Explanation:  The Nominators tend to slap one commercial enterprise every year by snubbing them for the big award . . . Legally Blonde, Addams Family, Aida.  I was shocked at the Blonde snub, so I turned it into a verb.)

And the third spot goes to . . . .

– Catch Me If You Can.

A classic, old-fasioned musical with a creative team like Catch Me’s will not be overlooked.

 The final and fourth slot?

– Bloody, Bloody, Andrew Jackson

Unfortunately, I think Priscilla, which is next in line for a nod, may be the Blonde of the year.

Now, I may be wrong about a bunch of these predictions.

But one thing I know for certain . . . if Spider-Man HAD opened this year, there is no way it would be have been nominated amongst this field.

Hmmmm . . . wait a minute . . . could that have been the reason for the final delay?  Did the Producers of Spider-Man push it to next season in the hope that a bounty of new musicals this season could mean a lack in the next?  Are they hoping that they could actually compete?  Could be, could be . . .

What do you think of my predictions?  Agree?  Disagree?  Who do you think will be nominated in this year’s Tony Awards?


(Got a comment?  I love ’em, so comment below!  Email subscribers, click here, then scroll down, to say what’s on your mind!)

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Will there ever be another Dark period on Broadway?

The last time Broadway had a number of dark theaters was in the 70s and early 80s. (That period is one of the reasons Broadway lost the Mark Hellinger Theatre to the Times Square Church.)

A lot of people whisper that a bunch of empty theaters is exactly what we all need to get our costs back in line. The theory being that some dark houses might put the power back in the hands of the Producers, since we’re the ones who fill them.  Unions, Theatre Owners and Vendors might need us more than we need them.

Makes sense, right?

But will it ever happen?  Will there ever be another Dark Ages?

I’m thinking . . . No.

How come?

Something else happened in the late 70s and 80s that forever changed the theatrical real estate landscape.

The super duper long running musical was born.

When Oklahoma! first opened it ran for a magnificent five years.

When West Side Story first opened it ran for two.

My Fair Lady?  That one got six!

A show running for a decade . . . or more . . . was unheard of.  And then A Chorus Line happened.  And the British Invasion happened.  And then the 90s brought us the Disney shows and Rent and so many more that made the run of Oklahoma! look like a limited run revival starring Isaac from The Love Boat.

What the uber-long runners have done is taken a bunch of theaters off the table. They are simply not-in-play for Producers.

See, there are about 40 Broadway houses.  Take out the non-profits and that number drops to 35. I count eight shows that ain’t going anywhere any year soon, which drops the availability by 23%!  And that’s not even counting any of the shows that just opened as potential long runners (and I think we’ve got a couple that could go the distance).

That means only 28 theaters are in play.  Take the play houses out, and the musicals are left with just a handful.

As long as the 5+ year shows are more the norm, theater availability will be forever decreased, and a dark period becomes a thing of the past . . . which leaves the power with the Unions, Theater Owners, Vendors, etc.

Unless, of course, you’re the Producer of one of those megahits.

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Should all Pulitzer Prize winners be produced on Broadway?

The 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Drama was awarded this past Monday to Bruce Norris for his play, Clybourne Park.

Clybourne had its New York debut over a year ago Off-Broadway at the non-profit stalwart, Playwrights Horizons.  It received across the board raves, but didn’t make the move to a commercial run.

So now what?

Should it be resurrected now that it has the Pulitzer seal?  Do we “owe” it to Clybourne?  Do we owe it Mr. Norris? Do we have a responsibility to the public to expose them to what has been deemed the great work of the year?

Since 1990, six Pulitzer Prize winning plays (30% of the 20 winners) have not been performed on Broadway.  They were:

  • Three Tall Women by Edward Albee
  • How I Learned to Drive by Paula Vogel
  • Wit by Margaret Edson
  • Dinner with Friends by Donald Margulies
  • Ruined by Lynn Nottage
  • Clybourne Park by Bruce Norris

I know a lot of people still wonder why Ruined didn’t make the move.  Are people wondering that this week about Clybourne?

Would you move it?

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Why I want the press to shut up about Spider-Man.

There’s an article in today’s Wall Street Journal in which I, and several more of my Broadway Producer peers are quoted about the attention that Spider-Man is getting.

The crux of the complaints are focused on the fact that since everyone in the press corps (and the public) seems to have been infected with Spideritis, no other shows are getting any ink.

But that’s not why I’m sick of it.

Yes, I am getting a bit bored by article after article about the injuries, and who is really in charge, and what the cast had for breakfast the day they found out Julie Taymor was out.

But the real reason I’m over it is that many members of the press (not all, mind you) and the public are constantly calling for Producers to risk more on Broadway . . . to push the boundaries of what Broadway is about . . . to stop thinking about budgets and pursue excellence, instead of just excellent economics.

Has anyone actually realized what just went down on 42nd St?

The Producers of a $70+ million dollar musical that has been plagued with issues since its inception, but has been grossing 1 million plus per week just said, “We’re shutting the show down, because we think we can make it better.”

Yes, that’s right, they are grossing 1.X a week already . . . maybe not making money every week, but certainly breaking even . . . and that’s not enough.  Many Producers would have thrown in the towel by now . . . twice.  But no, these guys fire the most important person on the team and put more chips on the table to see if they shape this sucker up.  I mean that takes a giant set of these.

Oh, and by the way, the critics have already written their reviews, so it’s not like they are trying to pretty their girl up before the big ball. They’ve had their opening, whether they like it or not, and they’re still assuming great expense to try and make a better experience for their audience.

Yes, they are obviously trying to improve the show in order to protect their mammoth investment, and yes, they’ve made mistakes that got them to this point that maybe you wouldn’t have made.

But I ask you, as well as the press, and everyone else out there . . . what would you have done if you found yourself where they were one week ago?  And don’t cheap out and say you never would have gotten in the same place as they did.  Just pretend you did.  Now what would you do?

Whether you like the show or not, and whether you agree with all the decisions they’ve made or not, you have to at least admire the Producers for not jumping ship, and continuing to try and better their show for the sake of their investors, and more importantly for the audience.

That’s a risk that I don’t think many people would take.

And in an industry that is getting more and more risk averse thanks to the escalating economic challenges, you gotta give ’em a little props, don’t you . . . even if what they’re doing makes your head spin like this.


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