The Outer Critics Circle announced nominations in 21 categories for awards honoring Broadway and Off-Broadway on April 21. Steel Pier led the field with nine nominations, Alfred Uhry's The Last Night Of Ballyhoo had the strongest showing among plays, with six nominations.
Changes made in this year's categories include the addition of featured actor and actress in both plays and musicals, set/costumes/lighting have been broken into three categories rather than an overall "Design" mention, and outstanding Debut actor/actress has been eliminated.
Omissions were more surprising than inclusions in this year's list. Neither David Hare's Skylight nor the musicals Dream and Play On!, nor the revivals of Annie and Once Upon A Mattress received a single nomination.
The Outer Critics Circle, in its 47th year, comprises writers about New York theatre who publish in out-of-town newspapers, magazines and media. Winners of the OCC Awards will be announced May 5, and, as ever, Sardi's will be the venue for the May 23 award ceremony.
Spokesperson Jim Baldassare told Playbill On-Line the only Broadway show not under consideration this season that will fall into consideration for this year's Tonys is London Assurance. This is an improvement over previous seasons, where the Outer Critics Circle cut-off date for nominations was a full week before the end of the Broadway season, thus lopping off a handful of shows and pushing them into the following year's schedule. Here are the 1996-97 Outer Critics Circle Award Nominees:
JOHN GASSNER PLAYWRITING AWARD: Leslie Ayvazian, Nine Armenians.
BROADWAY MUSICAL: Jekyll & Hyde, Steel Pier, The Life, Titanic.
OFF-BROADWAY MUSICAL: Howard Crabtree's When Pigs Fly, I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change, The Green Heart, Violet.
MUSICAL REVIVAL: Candide, Chicago, Juan Darien, No Way To Treat A Lady.
BROADWAY PLAY: An American Daughter, Stanley, Taking Sides, The Last Night Of Ballyhoo.
OFF-BROADWAY PLAY: A Question Of Mercy, Bunny Bunny, How I Learned To Drive, Stonewall Jackson's House
PLAY REVIVAL: A Doll's House, Present Laughter, The Gin Game, The Little Foxes
ACTOR IN A PLAY: Frank Langella (Present Laughter), David Morse (How I Learned To Drive), Christopher Plummer Barrymore), Antony Sher (Stanley).
ACTRESS IN PLAY: Dana Ivey (The Last Night Of Ballyhoo), Janet McTeer (A Doll's House), Kate Nelligan (An American Daughter), Mary-Louise Parker (How I Learned To Drive).
FEATURED ACTOR IN A PLAY: Terry Beaver (The Last Night Of Ballyhoo), Edward Herrmann (Psychopathia Sexualis), Brian Kerwin (The Little Foxes), Brian Murray (The Little Foxes).
FEATURED ACTRESS IN PLAY: Deborah Findlay (Stanley), Allison Janney (Present Laughter), Jan Maxwell (A Doll's House), Celia Weston (The Last Night Of Ballyhoo).
DIRECTOR OF A PLAY: John Caird (Stanley), Ron Lagomarsino The Last Night Of Ballyhoo), Anthony Page (A Doll's House), Dan Sullivan (An American Daughter).
DIRECTOR OF A MUSICAL: Walter Bobbie (Chicago), Michael Blakemore (The Life), Scott Ellis (Steel Pier), Richard Jones (Titanic), Robin Phillips (Jekyll & Hyde).
ACTOR IN A MUSICAL: Robert Cuccioli (Jekyll & Hyde), Sam Harris (The Life), Gregory Harrison (Steel Pier), James Naughton (Chicago).
ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL: Linda Eder (Jekyll & Hyde), Pamela Isaacs (The Life), Bebe Newirth (Chicago), Karen Ziemba (Steel Pier).
FEATURED ACTOR IN A MUSICAL: Chuck Cooper (The Life), Stanley Bojarski (When Pigs Fly), Joel Grey (Chicago), Kevin Ramsey (The Life).
FEATURED ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL: Alix Korey (No Way To Treat A Lady), Marcia Lewis (Chicago), Debra Monk (Steel Pier), Lillias White (The Life).
CHOREOGRAPHY: Joey McKneely (The Life), Joey Pizzi (Jekyll & Hyde), Ann Reinking (Chicago), Susan Stroman (Steel Pier).
SCENIC DESIGN: John Lee Beatty (The Little Foxes), David Gallo (Bunny Bunny), Stewart Laing (Titanic), Tony Walton (Steel Pier).
COSTUME DESIGN: Howard Crabtree (When Pigs Fly), Jane Greenwood (The Last Night Of Ballyhoo), Stewart Laing (Titanic), Peter Kaczorowski (Steel Pier).
LIGHTING DESIGN: Ken Billington (Chicago), Beverly Emmons (Jekyll & Hyde), Paul Gallo (Titanic), Peter Kaczorowski (Steel Pier).
SOLO PERFORMANCE: Maripat Donovan (Late Nite Catechism), Felix A. Pire (Men On The Verge Of A His-Panic Breakdown), Julia Sweeney (God Said `Ha!'), Charlayne Woodard (Neat).
Marjorie Gunner is president of the Outer Critics Circle; playwright/critic Mario Fratti serves as Vice-President.