The first of the precursor prizes for the Tonys, the Outer Critics Circle Awards, revealed their winners on Monday. Both of our Tony frontrunners for new productions — the tuner “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder” and the play “All the Way” — won their respective races with the OCC. So did our leading contenders to win the revival awards at the Tonys — the play “The Glass Menagerie” and the musical “Hedwig and the Angry Inch.” (See complete list of winners here.)
The saucy “Gentleman’s Guide” claimed four of its leading 11 bids, including Best Broadway Musical and Best Actor (Jefferson Mays) as well as for its book and direction. Predict the Best Musical race at the Tonys at the bottom of this post using our easy drag-and-drop menu.
Besides the play prize, “All the Way” also won for its star, four-time Emmy champ Bryan Cranston (“Breaking Bad”) who made his Broadway debut in this political drama from Pulitzer Prize winner Robert Schenkkan (“The Kentucky Cycle”).
Audra McDonald was named Best Actress (Musical) for her bravura turn as Billie Holliday in “Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill.” Though she took the musical award with the OCC, she contends on the play side at the Tonys where she is pitted against Jones.
These kudos, now in their 64th year, are bestowed by members of the press covering the Gotham theater scene for more than 90 newspapers, magazines, radio and television stations, and theatre publications around the country and abroad. Winners will be feted at Sardi’s on May 22.
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 tipped the four Tony production prize champs — “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike” (Best Play), “Kinky Boots” (Best Musical), “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf” (Best Play Revival) and “Pippin” (Best Musical Revival).
And three of the four winners of the OCC lead acting races went on to claim Tonys: play performer Cicely Tyson (“The Trip to Bountiful”) and song-and-dance stars Billy Porter (“Kinky Boots”) and Patina Miller (“Pippin”).