Sunday, May 26, 2019

OUTER CRITICS CIRCLE 2019 Awards Event at Sardis

I had a blast at the 69th annual Outer Critics Circle Awards Dinner at Sardi's this week. This gathering of theater critics, actors, directors, writers, designers, and producers is so much fun because the winners are announced ahead of time. (For the complete list of winners, link HERE). This does away with the stress of competition and turns it into a truly festive occasion. 

We sat at round tables of 10 and enjoyed a meal together, so there was plenty of opportunity for relaxed conversation during the three-hour event.  

Benjamin Walker
Photo by Howard Miller
Seated to my right was Benjamin Walker, who won the Best Featured Actor Award for his outstanding performance in the brilliant revival of Arthur Miller's All My Sons. Previously, he starred in two cheeky musicals on Broadway -- Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson and American Psycho -- both of which had him playing outsized, outlandish characters. I was happy to tell him how wonderful it was to see him doing such stellar work as a complex realistic character and for getting deservedly recognized during this awards season. I'm betting there's a Tony lying in wait for him as well.

Warren Carlyle
Photo by Howard Miller

I also had a nice chat with a another guest at my table, choreographer and OCC Award winner Warren Carlyle, about the fantastic work he has done with the wow of a revival of Kiss Me, Kate! He is someone else I predict will win a Tony on June 9. 


* * * * * * * * * * *

Taking home a slew of OCC awards was the Broadway musical Hadestown, the grand and glorious retelling of the myth of Orpheus and Euridice. Among those on hand were its creator Anaïs Mitchell, its director Rachel Chavkin, and two of its winning performers, Amber Gray (Persephone) and André De Shields (Hermes).

Anaïs Mitchell
Photo by Howard Miller

Rachel Chavkin
Photo by Howard Miller

Amber Gray
Photo by Howard Miller
André De Shields
Photo by Howard Miller

* * * * * * * * * * * *

And here are some of the other notable guests:

Joel Grey
Photo by Howard Miller
Joel Grey in Cabaret

Joel Grey has been performing and directing since the 1940s.  He is perhaps best known for his portrayal of the Master of Ceremonies in Cabaret. But he is still going strong as director of the highly acclaimed Yiddish language production of Fiddler on the Roof, which won the OCC award for Best Musical Revival, against the likes of Kiss Me, Kate! and Oklahoma!

Bob Mackie
Photo by Howard Miller

Bob Mackiethe OCC-winning costume designer for Broadway's The Cher Show, is another iconic figure, perhaps best known for the consistently inventive work he did for Carol Burnett's television variety show. Remember the dress she wore for the spoof of Gone With The Wind, the one with the curtain rod stuck in the material? That was Mackie's.  

Stephanie J. Block
Photo by Howard Miller

And speaking of 
The Cher Show, accepting her OCC Award for Best Actress in a Musical was Stephanie J. Block, who absolutely owns the stage as "Star" Cher.   

John Cullum
Photo by Howard Miller

Also in attendance was another  terrific actor with a long and illustrious career on Broadway, John Cullum, whose resumé includes Shenandoah, On the Twentieth Century, On A Clear Day You Can See Forever, The Scottsboro Boys, and my favorite, Urinetown.  

And more!

Celia Kennan-Bolger
Best Supporting Actress,
To Kill A Mockingbird
Photo by Howard Miller
Santino Fontana
Best Actor in a Musical
Photo by Howard Miller

Bryan Cranston, Best Actor in a Play
Photo by Howard Miller
Mike Birbiglia,
Best Solo Performance
The New One
Photo by Howard Miller

Sydney Beers,
Roundabout Theater Company's
General Manager.
One of my vivacious table guests
shown here with the table's
centerpiece King Kong doll
(Clearly love at first sight!)
Photo by Howard Miller
Avenue Q's 'Lucy the Slut'
One of the event's guest presenters
Photo by Howard Miller

Kudos to all of the winners, special guests, and to the hard working OCC leadership team for this truly memorable and thoroughly fun event.  May the new theater season be as rewarding!


Feel free to share this blog with your friends, and to offer up your own theater stories by posting a comment. I also invite you to check out the website Show-Score.Com, where you will find capsule reviews of current Broadway and Off Broadway plays from Yours Truly and many other New York critics. 

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