Ok, now this I don't understand. The Outer Critics Circle, which recognizes Broadway and off-Broadway shows, released its award nominees this morning and Young Frankenstein leads the pack. It earned 10 nominations - 10 - the most of any show this season. Young Frankenstein? What were they thinking?
The other musicals that got nods were Cry-Baby, A Catered Affair and Xanadu. I'm assuming In the Heights wasn't eligible because it won last year's award for outstanding off-Broadway musical. Of the other three, I've only seen Cry-Baby, and like Young Frankenstein, I was underwhelmed.
Sure, there were some things I liked about Young Frankenstein. I loved Christopher Fitzgerald as Igor, and I'm glad he snagged a nomination. And Andrea Martin was great as Frau Blucher. (Neigh!) And there were a couple of good numbers, including "Roll in the Hay." It was fun to see "Puttin on the Ritz." But overall, Roger Bart was a disappointment in the title role, and I didn't think it was very funny or imaginative. It just struck me as a tired retelling of the movie and not nearly as good.
If you want to see a really inspired and hilarious translation of a movie into theatre, try The 39 Steps. I'm glad that at least it snagged a nomination for best new play, although of course it doesn't have a chance against August: Osage County. The other nominees for best new play are The Seafarer and Rock 'n' Roll. I didn't see The Seafarer, but Rock 'n' Roll was mostly a big disappointing, disjointed bore.
Like all awards, the nominations are a mixed bag for me - some hits and some misses.
I'm glad that two of my favorite shows, South Pacific and Gypsy, received numerous nominations. I just wish the critics had shown more love for Passing Strange, which seems to have been nominated only for best score. I can't believe they bypassed Daniel Breaker's amazing, incredibly appealing performance and Kevin Adams' lighting design that really illuminates the musical's two very different acts. And while I'm happy for Deanna Dunagan's nod, I think Amy Morton and Rondi Reed deserved nominations for their work in August: Osage County, as did Todd Rosenthal for his awesome three-story set. I also liked Tom Pye's scenic design - featuring an immense brick wall - and Gregory Gale's costumes for Cyrano, and I wish they'd received nominations.
I don't know much about the Outer Critics Circle, but according to Playbill, they're a group of writers "covering New York theatre for out-of town newspapers, national publications and other media beyond Broadway." And they've got a pair of pretty scary looking comedy and tragedy masks on their Web site. The winners of the Outer Critics Circle awards will be announced May 12.