The 2010-2011 awards season is beginning to take shape with the announcement of the Outer Critics Circle Award nominations today. On the musical side, the biggest news is the field-best tally of nine nominations for Sister Act (beating out the six nominations for perceived steamroller The Book of Mormon), as well as a surprisingly strong showing for the much maligned Women on the Verge of Nervous Breakdown (Laura Benanti’s performance was a true wonder so I’m glad she’s still in the mix.) On the play side, the best actor category is a blockbuster with four performances, Al Pacino (The Merchant of Venice), Mark Rylance (Jerusalem), Joe Mantello (The Normal Heart) and Bobby Cannavale (The Mother… With the Hat), that would all seem to be clear winners in other years. On the other end of the spectrum, the acclaimed revival of Arcadia was completely snubbed, receiving no nominations.
One note: The Outer Critics mix Broadway and Off-Broadway so the list can be a bit skewed. Shows like Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson weren’t eligible here because of prior Off-Broadway runs, but they will be eligible for Tonys. However, one can’t help but notice that this season is stuffed with quality shows in categories that are often sparse; this could be an unusually exciting race.