‘Nice Work If You Can Get It’ leads with nine Outer Critics Circle nominations

Eight day before the nominations for the Tony Awards are announced, the Outer Critics Circle have weighed in with contenders for their kudos. (Full list of nominations here.)

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.

The Gershwin trunk tuner “Nice Work If You Can Get It” leads with nine nods but was snubbed for Best Musical as was leading man Matthew Broderick. Contending for the top prize are “Newsies” and “Once” as well as the critically maligned “Spiderman Turn Off the Dark” and “Bonnie and Clyde.” 

Best Play nominees are “The Lyons,” “One Man Two Guvnors,” “Seminar” and “Stick Fly.” Three of the hottest Tony contenders — “Clybourne Park,” “Other Desert Cities” and “Peter and the Starcatcher” — were ineligible as their off-Broadway incarnations contended here last year. 

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 — “War Horse” (Best Play), “The Book of Mormon” (Best Musical), “The Normal Heart” (Best Play Revival) and “Anything Goes” (Best Musical Revial. And three of the four winners of the OCC lead acting races went on to claim Tonys —  play performers Mark Rylance (“Jerusalem”) and Frances McDormand (“Good People) as well as song-and-dance star Sutton Foster (“Anything Goes”). 

Two years ago, the OCC Awards presaged 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”).

Three 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.”

And four 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.

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