Outer Critics list inspired by films

'Billy Elliot,' 'Shrek' nominated for 10 each

Two musicals based on popular movies, "Billy Elliot" and "Shrek," topped the list of nominations for the 59th Outer Critics Circle Awards, with 10 each. The announcement was made by husband-and-wife Broadway performers Rebecca Luker ("Mary Poppins") and Danny Burstein ("South Pacific") during a news conference Monday morning at the Algonquin Hotel in Manhattan.

The Outer Critics Circle is an association of theater critics who write for national and out-of-town publications and other media.

Both "Billy Elliot" and "Shrek" are nominated for outstanding Broadway musical, along with "Rock of Ages" and the now-closed "A Tale of Two Cities." The OCC has a separate category for outstanding off-Broadway musical and also splits its best play recognition between Broadway and off-Broadway. In all other categories, Broadway and off-Broadway productions are nominated together. In previous years, nominees have been limited to four but, as OCC president Simon Saltzman explained, this was expanded to five because there were so many worthy candidates this season.

Despite the extra nomination slots, there were still overlooked notable performances, including Jane Fonda in "33 Variations" and Tovah Feldshuh in "Irena's Vow."

In addition to its 10 nominations, "Billy Elliot" garnered a special citation. David Alvarez, Trent Kowalik, and Kiril Kulish, the three young boys who alternate in the title role, will receive a special achievement award. The cast of "The Norman Conquests" was named outstanding ensemble.

The Broadway productions of "Dividing the Estate" and "Next to Normal" were deemed ineligible since they were presented off-Broadway last season and received several nominations then.

The winners will be announced May 11, and the awards will be presented on May 21 at a ceremony held at Sardi's Restaurant.

A complete list of nominees follows:

OUTSTANDING NEW BROADWAY PLAY
God of Carnage
Irena's Vow
Reasons to Be Pretty
33 Variations

OUTSTANDING NEW BROADWAY MUSICAL
Billy Elliot the Musical
Rock of Ages
Shrek the Musical
A Tale of Two Cities

OUTSTANDING NEW OFF-BROADWAY PLAY
Becky Shaw
Farragut North
Ruined
Shipwrecked! The Amazing Adventures of Louis de Rougemont (As Told By Himself)
Why Torture is Wrong, and the People Who Love Them

OUTSTANDING NEW OFF-BROADWAY MUSICAL
Happiness
Rooms -- A Rock Romance
The Toxic Avenger
What's That Smell? The Music of Jacob Sterling

OUTSTANDING NEW SCORE
(Broadway or off-Broadway)
Billy Elliot
Happiness
Rooms -- A Rock Romance
Shrek

OUTSTANDING REVIVAL OF A PLAY
(Broadway or off-Broadway)
Blithe Spirit
The Cripple of Inishmaan
Joe Turner's Come and Gone
The Norman Conquests
Waiting for Godot

OUTSTANDING REVIVAL OF A MUSICAL
(Broadway or off-Broadway)
Enter Laughing
Hair
Pal Joey
West Side Story

OUTSTANDING DIRECTOR OF A PLAY
Garry Hynes, The Cripple of Inishmaan
Anthony Page, Waiting for Godot
Bartlett Sher, Joe Turner's Come and Gone
Matthew Warchus, The Norman Conquests
Moises Kaufman, 33 Variations

OUTSTANDING DIRECTOR OF A MUSICAL
Stephen Daldry, Billy Elliot
Arthur Laurents, West Side Story
Jason Moore, Shrek
Diane Paulus, Hair
Susan Stroman, Happiness

OUTSTANDING CHOREOGRAPHER
Karole Armitage, Hair
Andy Blankenbuehler, 9 to 5
Peter Darling, Billy Elliot
Josh Prince, Shrek
Susan Stroman, Happiness

OUTSTANDING SET DESIGN
(Play or Musical)
Tim Hatley, Shrek
Santo Loquasto, Waiting for Godot
Derek McLane, 33 Variations
Ian MacNeil, Billy Elliot
Walt Spangler, Desire Under the Elms

OUTSTANDING COSTUME DESIGN
(Play or Musical)
Nicky Gillibrand, Billy Elliot
Tim Hatley, Shrek
John Napier, Equus
Martin Pakledinaz, Blithe Spirit
Catherine Zuber, Joe Turner's Come and Gone

OUTSTANDING LIGHTING DESIGN
(Play or Musical)
Kevin Adams, Hair
Rick Fisher, Billy Elliot
David Hersey, Equus
Peter Kaczorowski, Ruined
David Lander, 33 Variations

OUTSTANDING ACTOR IN A PLAY
Raul Esparza, Speed-the-Plow
Bill Irwin, Waiting for Godot
Nathan Lane, Waiting for Godot
Geoffrey Rush, Exit the King
Thomas Sadoski, Reasons to Be Pretty

OUTSTANDING ACTRESS IN A PLAY
Saidah Arrika Ekulona, Ruined
Carla Gugino, Desire Under the Elms
Marcia Gay Harden, God of Carnage
Janet McTeer, Mary Stuart
Harriet Walter, Mary Stuart

OUTSTANDING ACTOR IN A MUSICAL
James Barbour, A Tale of Two Cities
Matt Cavenaugh, West Side Story
Brian d'Arcy James, Shrek
Josh Grisetti, Enter Laughing
David Pittu, What's That Smell? The Music of Jacob Sterling

OUTSTANDING ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL
Sutton Foster, Shrek
Megan Hilty, 9 to 5
Leslie Kritzer, Rooms -- A Rock Romance
Nancy Opel, The Toxic Avenger
Josefina Scaglione, West Side Story

OUTSTANDING FEATURED ACTOR IN A PLAY
Zach Grenier, 33 Variations
John Benjamin Hickey, Mary Stuart
Russell G. Jones, Ruined
Patrick Page, A Man for All Seasons
David Pearse, The Cripple of Inishmaan

OUTSTANDING FEATURED ACTRESS IN A PLAY
Angela Lansbury, Blithe Spirit
Andrea Martin, Exit the King
Kristine Nielsen, Why Torture Is Wrong, and the People Who Love Them
Susan Louise O'Connor, Blithe Spirit
Condola Rashad, Ruined

OUTSTANDING FEATURED ACTOR IN A MUSICAL
Daniel Breake,r Shrek
Aaron Simon, Gross 13
Gregory Jbara, Billy Elliot
Christopher Sieber, Shrek
Wesley Taylor, Rock of Ages

OUTSTANDING FEATURED ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL
Kathy Fitzgerald, 9 to 5
Haydn Gwynne, Billy Elliot
Karen Olivo, West Side Story
Martha Plimpton, Pal Joey
Carole Shelley, Billy Elliot

OUTSTANDING SOLO PERFORMANCE
Mike Birbiglia, Sleepwalk With Me
Mike Burstyn, Lansky
Mike Daisey, If You See Something, Say Something
Lorenzo Pisoni, Humor Abuse
Matt Sax, Clay

OUTSTANDING ENSEMBLE PERFORMANCE
Amelia Bullmore, Jessica Hynes, Stephen Mangan, Ben Miles, Paul Ritter, Amanda Root
(Cast of The Norman Conquests)

JOHN GASSNER AWARD
(Presented for an American play, preferably by a new playwright)
Annie Baker, Body Awareness
Gina Gionfriddo, Becky Shaw
Beau Willimon, Farragut North

SPECIAL ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
David Alvarez, Trent Kowalik, Kiril Kulish
(for performances in Billy Elliot)
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