‘Sister Act,’ ‘Motherf***er With a Hat’ lead Outer Critics Circle nominations

One week before the nominations for the Tony Awards are announced, the Outer Critics Circle have weighed in with the contenders for their kudos. Members of the group covering the Gotham theater scene for more than 90 newspapers, magazines, radio and television stations, and theatre publications around the country and abroad.

“Sister Act” leads with nine nods, including Best Broadway Musical, Best Musical Actress (Patina Miller, Victoria Clark), Best Supporting Musical Actor (Chester Gregory) and Best Supporting Musical Actress (Marla Mindelle). Among plays, “The Motherf***er With the Hat” earned six bids, including Best Broadway Play, Best Play Actor (Bobby Canevale), Best Featured Play Actor (Yul Vázquez) and Best Featured Play Actress (Elizabeth Rodriguez).

The other Best Broadway Musical nominees are “The Book of Mormon,” which earned six nominations in all, and “Priscilla Queen of the Desert” and “Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown,” which both have four bids. While “Catch Me If You Can” was snubbed in the top race, it did earn bids for leading men Norbert Leo Butz and Aaron Tveit as well as its score. “The People in the Picture” was overlooked save for a Best Musical Actress bid by two-time Tony champ Donna Murphy (“Passion,” “The King & I”).

The other Best Broadway Play contenders are “Good People” (five nominations), “War Horse” (four) and “Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo” (three). While Oscar champs Frances McDormand (“Fargo) and Estelle Parsons (“Bonnie & Clyde”) are nominated for their performances in “Good People,” Robin Williams, who just needs a Tony to complete the EGOT, was snubbed for his work as the titular “Bengal Tiger.”

Among the four Best Musical Revival nominees, “Anything Goes” leads with seven other bids including Best Musical Actress (Sutton Foster), Best Featured Musical Actor (Colin Donnell, Adam Godley) and Best Featured Musical Actress (Laura Osnes). “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying” picked up four other nods — Best Musical Actor (Daniel Radcliffe) Best Featured Musical Actor (John Laroquette) and two for director/choreographer Rob Ashford.

Of the Best Play Revival nominees, “The Importance of Being Earnest” reaped three other bids, while “Born Yesterday,” “The Merchant of Venice” and “The Normal Heart” all have just one other nomination.

While the OCC considers new Broadway and off-Broadway plays and musicals separately, all other categories, such as acting and directing, combine the two. As such, there is not always room for all of the eventual Tony nominees. However, the Outer Critics Circle Awards often provide hints of the popularity of potential Tony winners. Last year, they lined up for the four productions awards — “Red” (Best Play), “Memphis (“Best Musical”), “Fences (Best Play Revival) and “La Cage aux Folles” (Best Muscial Revival) — and the four main acting prizes as well — “Fences” stars Denzel Washington and Viola Davis, “La Cage” leading man Douglas Hodges and “A Little Night Music” songbird Catherine Zeta-Jones (who tied at the OCC with Montego Glover from “Memphis”).

Two years ago, they agreed on “God of Carnage” (Best Play), “Billy Elliot” (Best Musical) and both leading play performers — Geoffrey Rush in “Exit the King”and Marcia Gay Harden in “God of Carnage.”

Three years ago, they concurred on “August: Osage County” (Best Play) and its leading lady Deanna Dunagan as well as the top musical performers — Paulo Szot in “South Pacific” and Patti LuPone in “Gypsy.” With eventual Tony champ “In the Heights” ineligigle due to an earlier off-Broadway run, the OCC had Tony-snubbed “Young Frankenstein” in a tie with “Xanadu” for Best Musical.

For the full list of nominees, visit the Outer Critics Circle website.

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