The OCC Awards
The Outer Critics Circle is the official organization of writers covering New York theater for out-of-town newspapers, national publications, and other media beyond Broadway. Each year, the Outer Critics Circle Awards recognize outstanding achievement for both Broadway and Off-Broadway productions.
Usually, the results of the Outer Critics Circle Awards are considered a pretty good indicator of the outcome of the Tony Awards, held about two weeks later. But this year, many of the shows expected do very well at the Tonys aren’t eligible for the OCCs.
The Outer Critics Circle Awards have a different nomination season and different eligibility rules from the more widely known Tony Awards, so nominations will be inherently different. For example, the current Broadway productions of Hamilton, Disaster!, and Blackbird were considered during their previous Off-Broadway runs (before transferring), and therefore were not reconsidered this season (but performances by new cast members were considered). Additionally, due to the nomination deadline, the Broadway production of Shuffle Along will be considered for next year’s awards.
So, who are the top contenders?
Here’s a look at some of the shows with the most nominations.
8 Nominations: Outstanding New Broadway Musical, Outstanding New Score, Outstanding Director of a Musical (Rupert Goold), Outstanding Costume Design (Katrina Lindsay), Outstanding Lighting Design (Justin Townsend), Outstanding Projection Design (Finn Ross), Outstanding Actor in a Musical (Benjamin Walker), Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical (Heléne Yorke)
From the producers: Set in the excess of 1980s Manhattan, “American Psycho” tells the story of Patrick Bateman, a young and handsome Wall Street banker who pursues his darkest American dreams. Patrick and his elite group of friends spend their days in exclusive restaurants, hot clubs and luxury labels. But at night, Patrick takes part in a more sinful indulgence, and his mask of sanity is starting to slip…
The dark pop musical has a book by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa (“Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark,” “Good Boys and True,” TV’s “Glee” and “Looking,”), with music and lyrics by Grammy and Tony winner Duncan Sheik (“Spring Awakening”). Bret Easton Ellis’ 1991 novel was previously adapted for the screen in 2000, starring Christian Bale.
8 Nominations: Outstanding Revival of a Musical, Outstanding Director of a Musical (Scott Ellis), Outstanding Set Design (David Rockwell), Outstanding Costume Design (Jeff Mahshie), Outstanding Lighting Design (Donald Holder), Outstanding Actress in a Musical (Laura Benanti), Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical (Nicholas Barasch), Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical (Jane Krakowski)
From the producers: “She Loves Me” follows Amalia and Georg, two parfumerie clerks who aren’t quite the best of friends. Constantly bumping heads while on the job, the sparring coworkers can’t seem to find common ground. But little do they know the anonymous pen pals they have both been falling for happen to be each other! Will love continue to blossom once their identities are finally revealed?
The musical is based on a play by Miklos Laszlo, whose well-known romantic story, “Parfumerie,” was the basis for the 1949 James Stewart film “The Shop Around the Corner” and the 1998 Tom Hanks & Meg Ryan film “You’ve Got Mail.”
7 Nominations: Outstanding New Broadway Musical, Outstanding Book of a Musical, Outstanding New Score, Outstanding Director of a Musical (Walter Bobbie), Outstanding Choreographer (Josh Rhodes), Outstanding Costume Design (Jane Greenwood), Outstanding Actress in a Musical (Carmen Cusack)
From the producers: Inspired by an astonishing true event, the wholly original new musical “Bright Star” tells a sweeping tale of love and redemption set against the rich backdrop of the American South in the 1920s and 40s. When successful literary editor Alice Murphy meets an ambitious young soldier just home from World War II, their connection inspires Alice to confront a shocking incident from her past. Together they discover a long-buried secret with the power to transform their lives.
“Bright Star” arrives on Broadway following an engagement at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. The musical had its world premiere at San Diego’s Old Globe in 2014.
7 Nominations: Outstanding New Broadway Musical, Outstanding Book of a Musical, Outstanding Choreographer (Sergio Trujillo), Outstanding Costume Design (ESosa), Outstanding Lighting Design (Kenneth Posner), Outstanding Actress in a Musical (Ana Villafañe), Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical (Andrea Burns)
From the producers: Gloria Estefan has sold over 100 million records and sold out stadiums around the world. Emilio and Gloria Estefan together have won 26 Grammy Awards, but their music is only half the story. “On Your Feet!” is the new Broadway musical about two people who believed in their talent, their music and each other and became an international sensation.
With seven Grammy Awards and over 100 million albums sold worldwide, Gloria Estefan is known as the “Queen of Latin Pop.” Her chart-topping hit songs include “Conga,” “The Rhythm is Going To Get You” and “1, 2, 3,” among others. She was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame and has received multiple Billboard Awards for her many chart-topping hits.
6 Nominations: Outstanding New Off-Broadway Musical, Outstanding Book of a Musical, Outstanding New Score, Outstanding Director of a Musical (Michael Greif), Outstanding Projection Design (Peter Nigrini), Outstanding Actor in a Musical (Ben Platt)
From the producers: All his life Evan Hansen has felt invisible. To his peers, to the girl he loves, sometimes even to his own mother. But that was before he wrote the letter – that led to the incident – that started the lie – that ignited a movement – that inspired a community – and changed Evan’s status from the ultimate outsider into the somebody everyone wants to know. But how long can Evan keep his secret? And at what price?
Sparked by a real-life death at co-author Benj Pasek’s high school more than a decade ago, “Dear Evan Hansen” follows one student’s struggle for identity amidst the ensuing chaos. The musical makes its New York premiere following a sold-out run at Arena Stage in Washington, D.C., where The Washington Post hailed it as “entertainingly smart and radiating charm, wit and humor.”
5 Nominations: Outstanding New Broadway Play, Outstanding Actress in a Play (Lupita Nyong’o), Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play (Pascale Armand, Zainab Jah, Saycon Sengbloh)
From the producers: “Eclipsed” is the story of five extraordinary women brought together by upheaval in their homeland of Liberia. They forge a close-knit community…one that inspires them to feats of increasingly greater strength. “Eclipsed” is a stirring tale of hope, humor and resilience – and the only new play by a woman on Broadway this season.
“Eclipsed” transfers to Broadway on the heels of a critically acclaimed. sold-out run at Off Broadway’s Public Theater. This production will mark the third high-profile transfer from the Public Theater in the last year, along with Tony-winning musical “Fun Home” and the musical phenomenon “Hamilton.”
5 Nominations: Outstanding Revival of a Play, Outstanding Lighting Design (Natasha Katz), Outstanding Actor in a Play (Gabriel Byrne), Outstanding Actress in a Play (Jessica Lange), Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play (Michael Shannon)
From the producers: Elegant in its simplicity yet limitless in its scope, “Long Day’s Journey into Night” is the tale of an ordinary summer’s day with extraordinary consequences. Drawing so heavily from the author’s personal history that it could only be produced posthumously, the story of the Tyrone family and their battle to unearth – and conceal – a lifetime of secrets continues to reveal itself to audiences as one of the most profound and powerful plays ever brought to the stage.
Two-time Academy Award winner and three-time Emmy Award winner Jessica Lange will play Mary Tyrone, following her Olivier Award-nominated performance in the role on the West End in 2000. Two-time Golden Globe winner and Tony Award nominee Gabriel Byrne (“A Touch of the Poet,” “The Usual Suspects”) will play James Tyrone, Tony Award winner John Gallagher Jr. (“American Idiot,” TV’s “The Newsroom”) will play Edmund Tyrone, and Oscar nominee Michael Shannon (“Grace,” TV’s “Boardwalk Empire”) will play James Tyrone Jr.
4 Nominations: Outstanding New Broadway Play, Outstanding Director of a Play (Joe Mantello), Outstanding Actor in a Play (Reed Birney), Outstanding Actress in a Play (Jayne Houdyshell)
From the producers: The angst, anguish and amity of the American middle class are first coaxed – then shoved – into the light in this uproarious, hopeful, and heart-breaking play that takes place over the course of a family dinner on Thanksgiving. Breaking with tradition, Erik Blake has brought his Pennsylvania family to celebrate and give thanks at his daughter’s apartment in lower Manhattan. As darkness falls outside the ramshackle pre-war duplex, and eerie things start to go bump in the night, the Blake clan’s deepest fears and greatest follies are laid bare.
“The Humans” transfers to Broadway following a critically-lauded off-Broadway run at Roundabout Theatre Company.