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The 2015 Outer Critics Circle Award Winners Revealed

Broadway Black

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Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time scored big. The 2015 Outer Critics Circle Award winners have been announced and the acclaimed new play by Simon Stephens was recognized in the categories of Best New Broadway Play, Best Actor (Play), Best Director (Play), Best Lighting (Play), and Best Set Design (Play). The Outer Critics Circle is comprised of those writers and other media who write for the New York theatre scene outside of New York.

The actual awarouterccds gala will be held at 4 p.m. on May 21st at Sardi’s Restaurant in New York. Presenters include Raúl Esparza, Katie Finneran, Montego Glover, Nick Cordero, William Ivey Long, and Jefferson Mays. Below are the list of nominees, with the winners notated in bold lettering. The 2014-15 Outer Critics Circle Executive/Nominating Committee included Simon Saltzman (President), Mario Fratti (Vice-President), Patrick Hoffman (Corresponding Secretary), Stanley L. Cohen (Treasurer), Glenn Loney (Historian & Member-at-Large) and Aubrey Reuben and Harry Haun (Members-at-Large).

 

OUTSTANDING NEW BROADWAY PLAY

The Audience

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

Wolf Hall

OUTSTANDING NEW BROADWAY MUSICAL

 An American in Paris

It Shoulda Been You

The Last Ship

Something Rotten!

The Visit

OUTSTANDING NEW OFF-BROADWAY PLAY

 Between Riverside and Crazy

The City of Conversation

The Nether

Rasheeda Speaking

The Village Bike

OUTSTANDING NEW OFF-BROADWAY MUSICAL

A Christmas Memory

Disenchanted

The Fortress of Solitude

 Hamilton

Lonesome Traveler

OUTSTANDING BOOK OF A MUSICAL

(Broadway or Off-Broadway)

Hamilton

It Shoulda Been You

The Last Ship

Something Rotten!

The Visit

OUTSTANDING NEW SCORE

(Broadway or Off-Broadway)

 Hamilton

It Shoulda Been You

The Last Ship

Something Rotten!

The Visit

 

OUTSTANDING REVIVAL OF A PLAY

(Broadway or Off-Broadway)

The Elephant Man

Fashions for Men

The Heidi Chronicles

Skylight

You Can’t Take It With You

OUTSTANDING REVIVAL OF A MUSICAL

(Broadway or Off-Broadway)

Into the Woods

 The King and I

On the Town

On the Twentieth Century

Side Show

OUTSTANDING DIRECTOR OF A PLAY

Stephen Daldry    The Audience

 Marianne Elliott    The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

Scott Ellis   The Elephant Man

Scott Ellis    You Can’t Take It With You

Jeremy Herrin    Wolf Hall

OUTSTANDING DIRECTOR OF A MUSICAL

Scott Ellis    On the Twentieth Century

Thomas Kail    Hamilton

Casey Nicholaw    Something Rotten!

David Hyde Pierce    It Shoulda Been You

Christopher Wheeldon    An American in Paris

OUTSTANDING CHOREOGRAPHER

Joshua Bergasse   On the Town

Andy Blankenbuehler    Hamilton

Warren Carlyle    On the Twentieth Century

Casey Nicholaw    Something Rotten!

 Christopher Wheeldon    An American in Paris

OUTSTANDING SET DESIGN

(Play or Musical)

 Bunny Christie    The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

Bob Crowley    An American in Paris

Scott Pask    Something Rotten!

David Rockwell    On the Twentieth Century

Michael Yeargan    The King and I

OUTSTANDING COSTUME DESIGN

(Play or Musical)

Gregg Barnes    Something Rotten!

Bob Crowley    The Audience

William Ivey Long    On the Twentieth Century

Christopher Oram    Wolf Hall

 Catherine Zuber    The King and I

 

OUTSTANDING LIGHTING DESIGN

(Play or Musical)
 Paule Constable    The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

Jeff Croiter     Something Rotten!

Rick Fisher     The Audience

Natasha Katz     An American in Paris

Japhy Weideman    The Visit

OUTSTANDING ACTOR IN A PLAY

Reed Birney    I’m Gonna Pray For You So Hard

Bradley Cooper    The Elephant Man

Stephen McKinley Henderson    Between Riverside and Crazy

Ben Miles    Wolf Hall

 Alex Sharp    The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

OUTSTANDING ACTRESS IN A PLAY

Greta Gerwig     The Village Bike

Jan Maxwell    The City of Conversation

 Helen Mirren    The Audience

Elisabeth Moss    The Heidi Chronicles

Tonya Pinkins    Rasheeda Speaking

OUTSTANDING ACTOR IN A MUSICAL

Christian Borle    Something Rotten!

Brian d’Arcy James    Something Rotten!

 Robert Fairchild    An American in Paris

Peter Gallagher    On the Twentieth Century

Tony Yazbeck    On the Town

OUTSTANDING ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL

 Kristin Chenoweth    On the Twentieth Century

Leanne Cope    An American in Paris

Tyne Daly    It Shoulda Been You

Kelli O’Hara    The King and I

Chita Rivera    The Visit

OUTSTANDING FEATURED ACTOR IN A PLAY

Paul Jesson     Wolf Hall

 Richard McCabe   The Audience

Alessandro Nivola   The Elephant Man

Nathaniel Parker    Wolf Hall

Bryce Pinkham     The Heidi Chronicles

OUTSTANDING FEATURED ACTRESS IN A PLAY

 Annaleigh Ashford   You Can’t Take It With You

Patricia Clarkson   The Elephant Man

Francesca Faridany   The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

Julie Halston   You Can’t Take It With You

Lydia Leonard   Wolf Hall

OUTSTANDING FEATURED ACTOR IN A MUSICAL

John Cariani   Something Rotten!

Josh Grisetti   It Shoulda Been You

 Andy Karl   On the Twentieth Century

Paul Alexander Nolan   Doctor Zhivago

Max von Essen   An American in Paris

OUTSTANDING FEATURED ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL

Heidi Blickenstaff   Something Rotten!

Victoria Clark   Gigi

Megan Fairchild   On the Town

 Ruthie Ann Miles    The King and I  

Mary Louise Wilson   On the Twentieth Century

OUTSTANDING SOLO PERFORMANCE

Joe Assadourian     The Bullpen

 Jim Dale    Just Jim Dale

Tom Dugan    Wiesenthal

Cush Jumbo    Josephine and I

Benjamin Scheuer    The Lion

JOHN GASSNER AWARD

(Presented for an American play, preferably by a new playwright)

Ayad Akhtar     The Invisible Hand

Halley Feiffer     I’m Gonna Pray For You So Hard

Elizabeth Irwin     My Mañana Comes

Markus Potter     Stalking the Bogeyman

Benjamin Scheuer     The Lion

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A Must See

We Were There: Sojourners & Her Portmanteau

Jerrica White

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[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Playwright, educator, opera singer, and Queen, Mfoniso Udofia has two plays running at New York Theatre Workshop. *pause* TWO PLAYS. In the SAME season!?!? *ends congratulatory gasp* Sojourners and Her Portmanteau are performed in repertory, as two chapters of Udofia’s sweeping, nine-part saga, The Ufot Cycle.  Admittedly, before researching each show, I didn’t know the definition of either word; and in the spirit of keeping it consistent with the honesty, I didn’t like either play. I loved them.

Sojourners

Minimalism seems to be the name of the game these days.  I sat down to a completely black stage, sans a multimedia display lodged on the ceiling at a 45-degree angle.  Clutching my all white program and bobbing my head to the ‘70s pop rock pre-show music, I prepared my heart for the story of Sojourners, well at least that was the plan.  The stage begins to rotate and we meet Abasiama (Chinasa Ogbuagu) and Ukpong (Hubert Point-Du Jour), Nigerian expatriates sojourning in Houston, Texas with the plan to start a family, earn their degrees, and go back to Nigeria until life happens.

Charming and handsome, Ukpong becomes defined by his leather jacket, shoulder work and shimmy which match the fascination and yearning for freedom that illuminates his eyes every time he talks of peace, protest, and Prince–all shaping his view of 1970s America, and consequently, the American Dream.  But does leather compensate for grit? Is a movement or vibe really a panacea for disappointment, aimlessness, and a need to find yourself?  Abasiama enters the play pregnant, purposed, and outfitted in pieces of Nigerian garb, grounded in duty showing a stark contrast to Ukpong who floats in desire.  What’s lost in your household is found elsewhere, and this is when we start to see, and root for, Abasiama’s transformation from timid to tenacious.

Enter Moxie (Lakisha May), a colorful prostitute turned protector and friend.  There is a mutual respect despite great differences between her and Abasiama, with their love for one another creating moments that make you believe in the beauty of humanity.  Enter Disciple (Chinaza Uche), another warm and determined hearted immigrant who has come to the United States to study, rounding out the timely additions of love, support, and security when Abasiama needed them the most.

Through and through this is Abasiama’s story and she glows.  Her kindness, her sisterhood, her strength, her worthiness, and the realization of her American Dream, guide her decisions—which is the catalyst behind the entire Ufot Cycle.

Her Portmanteau

Her “portmanteau”, or red suitcase, makes a return as 30 years have passed.  Abasiama now has two daughters, one raised in America and the other who has come from Nigeria to reconnect with her family.

This is a good moment to mention that each story is informed by the other, but can certainly stand alone on substance, content, and the amazing direction of Ed Sylvanus Iskandar.  The staging is exciting and deliberate, while minimal, putting the full focus on the tension and growth to be expected of a family reunited after a substantial amount of time and distance.

Chinasa Ogbuagu returns to the stage, this time as the American-born daughter, Adiagha Ufot, Adepero Oduye as Iniabasi Ekpeyoung (Ukpong and Abasiama’s daughter), and Jenny Jules as the mother, Abasiama Ufot.

Seated on a couch in Adiagha’s small New York Apartment, no amount of preparation readies your mind and spirit to form the words to make up for 30 years of life, connection, and memories missed.  We’re taken on a ride of resentment, hurt, love, and forgiveness, as the portmanteau is literally unpacked.  We watch the teeter-tottering between offense and defense as one sister tries to assimilate into American culture, and the other attempts, albeit stubbornly, to fall in formation in honoring a family she shares blood with, but little time or tangible history.

It’s powerful to see a story of history and continuing a legacy despite lost time, faulty promises, and difficult choices explored with an all-woman cast as far too often the idea of legacy is framed in patriarchy.  Jules admirably takes Abasiama through the fire to heal, to feel, and to fix her family.  The narrative allows us to empathize and understand the struggle that comes with upholding family values versus cultivating a space to achieve personal dreams and happiness.

Her Portmanteau (and Sojourners) is written in a way that finds your soul, gently massaging it with humor, while leaving it with very real questions.  I’ve never felt a greater need to binge read nine stories and simultaneously study the story of my own family tree. I left changed. I left wrapped in the strength of my mom and my mom’s- mom’s sacrifice.  I left pensive and with seeds of future forgiveness planted.  I left changed.

For capturing our hearts with wit and with truth.  For putting Black women at the center of a poignant narrative.  For unapologetically telling a story you haven’t seen told and telling it in the way you want it to be told.

We thank you Mfoniso.  We thank you.

Have you seen the #duetplays? Sound off in the comments below![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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A Must See

Our Story in 2 Plays for 1 Price: Mfoniso Udofia’s Sojourners & Her Portmanteau

Jerrica White

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Last winter, we reported on Sojourners by playwright Mfoniso Udofia, a new play about a Nigerian family who has come to America with the goal of earning a college education, starting a family, and returning to Nigeria. But not without the twists and turns that come along with every plan that seems straightforward.

Image result for Sojourners and Her Portmanteau

Thanks to New York Theatre Workshop, we get to relive this moment and continue the dialogue, decades later, with Her Portmanteau. Performed in repertory, these two chapters of Udofia’s sweeping, nine-part saga, The Ufot Cycle, chronicle the triumphs and losses of the tenacious matriarch of a Nigerian family.

Ed Sylvanus Iskandar directs the two-part story in association with The Playwrights Realm, who premiered Sojourners last winter in a limited engagement world premiere production. Her Portmanteau also received the 2016 Edgerton Foundation New Play Award grant.

The cast includes Jenny JulesLakisha Michelle MayAdepero OduyeChinasa OgbuaguHubert Point-Du Jour, and Chinaza Uche.

As if that wasn’t enough to get excited about, we have an exclusive deal for our Broadway Black readers!

Our Story in 2 Plays for 1 Price!

Yes. That’s two shows for one price! The discount code BWYBLACK will take 50% off tickets to ANY performance(s) if purchased by May 15th! 

Go ahead and grab your tickets. We have ours!

Sojourners and Her Portmanteau plays at NYTW until June 4th.

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Twitter: @BroadwayBlack

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