Drama League nominates 8 new plays, 9 new musicals … and 50 performers

Like the Outer Critics Circle, the Drama League does not distinguish between Broadway and off-Broadway when doling out honors.

However, with so many shows and performers included in Wednesday’s nominations, chances are they cover most of the contenders for the upcoming Tony Awards.

Indeed, four of the League’s eight new play nominees — “All the Way,” “Casa Valentina,” “Mothers and Sons” and “The Realistic Joneses”  — are frontrunners at the Tony Awards. (Predict the Best Play race at the Tonys at the bottom of this post using our easy drag-and-drop menu.)

Last year, “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike” won her before prevailing at the Tonys. In 2012, “Other Desert Cities” triumphed here but was bested by “Clybourne Park” at the Tonys. And in 2011, “War Horse” took both prizes. 

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Broadway fare that played earlier failed to make the cut with the League nominating committee, which is comprised of both theater professionals and the public. Instead, four off-Broadway productions — “All That Fall,” “Domesticated,” “Mr Burns” and “The Open House” — fill out the ballot, with the winner to be announced during the League luncheon on May 16.

On the new musical side, almost all of the potential Tony nominees are in the running with a record seven Broadway tuners in contention. “After Midnight,” “Aladdin,” “Beautiful,” “Bridges of Madison County,” “Bullets Over Broadway,” “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder” and “Rocky” all reaped bids. The slate is filled out with two off-Broadway hits: “Fun Home” and “Murder for Two.” 

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Last year, “Kinky Boots” took this award before claiming the Tony. In 2012, “Once” won here before pulling off an upset at the Tonys. And in 2011, “The Book of Mormon” recieved this honor before sweeping the Tonys. 

While the League gives prizes for best play and musical as well as revivals of each genre, it is unique among the theater kudos in that it hands out only one award for distinguished performance. And once won, the performer cannot contend again.

Outer Critic Circle nominations:
‘Gentleman’s Guide’ gets 11, ‘
Aladdin’ lands 8

This year, 50 actors are competing for the honor first given to Katharine Cornell in 1935. They range from B (Reed Birney, “Casa Valentina”) to W (Michelle Williams, “Cabaret”). 

Last year, Nathan Lane won for his work in “The Nance.” In 2012, Audra McDonald won for her performance in the revial of “Porgy and Bess” before claiming her record-tying fifth Tony. In 2011, Mark Rylance picked up this prize for his performances in “La Bete” and “Jerusalem” before winning the Best Actor Tony for the latter. In 2010, Alfred Molina won over the League with his work in “Red” but went on to lose the Best Actor Tony to Denzel Washington (“Fences”). And in 2009, Geoffrey Rush took home this award several weeks before prevailing at the Tonys for his performance in “Exit the King.”

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