The Column


Ladies and gents, 

The theatrical awards season continues with luncheon after luncheon, ceremony after ceremony, cocktail party after cocktail party. After a while it all starts to blur. But at the height of the madness, when social calendars are packed tighter than a dance belt on Milton Berle, the Outer Critics Circle Awards stand out like a gin blossomed nose. It may not be the most extravagant or glamorous affair of the year, with its humble 3:30 p.m. start time, its demure floral arrangements, and its cash bar. But what it lacks in creature comforts and style, it more than makes up for in community spirit. And what's more important: open bar or community spirit? (Don't answer that.)

In lieu of a step-and-repeat, a phalanx of photographers was stationed directly outside the elevator bank on the fourth floor of Sardi's, so that arriving talent could be captured before even having to step off the lift and enter the fray. Winners (there are no nominees at the event, only pre-announced winners) were scattered around the room at tables, so they get to have genuine face time with members of the Outer Critics Circle and each other. Food is served throughout, which could either be considered a very late lunch or very early dinner. (Linner? Dunch?) Accepting his award for Outstanding New Score alongside Bright Star collaborator Edie Brickell, Steve Martin teased, “I've been coming to this restaurant for thirty-five years, and no portrait!” Later in the ceremony, back up to the podium, alongside both Brickell and Bright Star
producer Joey Parnes, to accept for Outstanding New Broadway Musical, he joked, “I just want to say, it's been forty minutes and still no portrait.”

Stephen Karam, who took home the award for Outstanding New Broadway Play, brought along The Humans cast member Sarah Steele as his date. Steele did an on-camera interview with longtime OCC and Drama Desk member Eva Heinemann for “Hi Drama,” while Karam mingled with A View from the Bridge's Michael Zegen, on hand to accept Ivo van Hove's award for direction.

Accepting the Outstanding Off Broadway Musical Award for Dear Evan Hansen, lyricist Benj Pasek revealed he made out with fellow OCC honoree Michael Arden back in 2007. To quote a Pasek lyric, sounds like “some kinda time!” (Both Pasek and Paul gave serious credit from the podium to producer Stacey Mindich, who has been nurturing the project for years and is taking it to Broadway next season). In a rare tie Pascale Armand, from Eclipsed, and Judith Light, for her role in Thérèse Raquin, were honored together for Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play. Light said being honored alongside Armand made it an even greater honor than if she had won the thing solo. Scott Rudin, who seems to have produced everything except for the awards ceremonies themselves, tied with She Loves Me scenic designer David Rockwell on number of mentions in other people's acceptance speeches. In his own acceptance speech, for Outstanding Scenic Design of a Musical, Rockwell referred to the set as a character in the show. It seems that everyone else involved with the show heartily agrees!

Tidbits from around town…

Overheard Lea DeLaria telling American Theatre Wing President Heather Hitchens that she will continue hosting the Obie Awards for as long as they will have her.

Spotted George C. Wolfe and Lorne Michaels cracking each other up in the hallways of 30 Rock.

Saw Ed Harris leading the standing ovation at The Humans.

As always, a toast of something sparkling to you and yours!