"A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder" led the pack of 2013-14 nominations from the Outer Critics Circle Awards, nabbing 11 nods and placing it ahead of a list of competitors that includes Disney Theatrical Prods.' "Aladdin" (eight noms), Off Broadway's "Fun Home" (seven) and Rialto contender "Rocky" (six).
As the Broadway season has developed, "Gentleman's Guide" -- a comic tuner about a murder spree that opened in the fall -- has become increasingly likely to take one of the hotly contested nominations slots at the Tony Awards. The show earned some of the strongest reviews of the season, although it has struggled to build significant box office momentum.
In the new Broadway tuner category, "Gentleman's Guide" competes with "After Midnight," "Aladdin," "Beautiful" and "Rocky." The Rialto competish for new plays includes "Act One," Bryan Cranston starrer "All the Way," "Casa Valentina," Debra Messing outing "Outside Mullingar" and Michael C. Hall-Toni Collette starrer "The Realistic Joneses."
Given the unusually large crowd of stars who landed on Broadway this season, it's no surprise that acting nominations are peppered with famous names, including Cranston, Neil Patrick Harris ("Hedwig and the Angry Inch"), Ian McKellen ("No Man's Land") and Michelle Williams ("Cabaret").
The musical actress category, in which Williams competes, turned out to be the diva smackdown many expect to be repeated for the Tonys, with Sutton Foster ("Violet"), Audra McDonald ("Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill"), Jessie Mueller ("Beautiful") and Kelli O'Hara ("The Bridges of Madison County") also vying for the award. Notably absent from the list is Idina Menzel, the much-praised lead of "If/Then."
The Outer Critics nominations list, voted on by theater journos for media outlets based outside New York, can sometimes prove something of a left-field list when held up against the roster of shows that go on to score Tony love. Like all pre-Tonys kudos, it serves as an unreliable bellwether for clues to the upcoming Tony race.
The Outer Critics Awards ceremony is set for May 22 at Sardi's.
And the nominees are:
OUTSTANDING NEW BROADWAY PLAY
All the Way
The Realistic Joneses
OUTSTANDING NEW BROADWAY MUSICAL