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Clarissa Marzán

The 61st Outer Critics Circle Awards

"Anything Goes" and "The Book of Mormon" received the most accolades from the Outer Critics Circle Awards when the results were released on Monday May 16, preceding the celebratory awards dinner to be held on May 26 at Sardi's Restaurant in Midtown Manhattan. With both productions winning four awards apiece, "Anything Goes" won Outstanding Revival of a Musical and "The Book of Mormon" received Outstanding New Broadway Musical. The Outstanding New Broadway Play award went to "War Horse," which also won two other awards. The prize for Outstanding New Off-Broadway Play was conferred to "Other Desert Cities," while "The Kid" received the Outstanding New Off-Broadway Musical award. The new movie-to-musical "Sister Act" appeared set to receive much praise, having led the competition with nine nominations, yet failed to receive any honors.

The Outer Critics Circle, created in 1949, serves as an outlet for out-of-town theater to recognize New York plays, with writers ranging local to national publications in print and online. The awards seek to honor both Broadway and Off-Broadway productions, not only for Best Play, but also for notable theater production and creative elements. Shortly after releasing their list of nominees on April 26, however, the Outer Critics Circle came under fire in the New York Times's ArtsBeat blog and its commentators for having ignored critically and commercially well-received productions, such as "Driving Miss Daisy" with acclaimed actors Vanessa Redgrave and James Earl Jones.

Sutton Foster of "Anything Goes" this year received her third award for Outstanding Actress in a Musical, having won in 2009 and 2002 for "Shrek: The Musical" and "Thoroughly Modern Millie," respectively. Mutiple Olivier-award nominee Adam Godley was awarded Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical for "Anything Goes." The prize for Outstanding Choreographer was presented to the musical's director and choreographer Kathleen Marshall, who has also been praised in other awards for her choreography in "The Pajama Game" and "Wonderful Town."

Casey Nicholaw and Trey Parker won Outstanding Director of a Musical for "The Book of Mormon," a new musical by Parker and Matt Stone, the creators of the "South Park" TV show. Parker, Stone, and "Avenue Q" composer Robert Lopez were recognized for Outstanding New Score. The production's lead actor Josh Gad picked up the award for Outstanding Actor in a Musical.

Larry Kramer's "The Normal Heart" was awarded Outstanding Revival of a Play, having moved from Off-Broadway to Broadway in 2011. The show features Ellen Barkin, who was awarded Outstanding Broadway Debut. "War Horse" directors Marianne Elliott and Tom Morris received the Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Director of a Play. Mark Rylance won Outstanding Actor in a Play for his work in "Jerusalem" and both Frances McDormand and Nina Arianda received Outstanding Actress in a Play for their respective performances in "Good People" and "Born Yesterday."

The award for Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play was given to Brian Bedford for "The Importance of Being Earnest" and Outstanding Featured Actress to Elizabeth Rodriguez for "The Motherf**ker with the Hat." Laura Benanti received the Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical award for "Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown."

John Leguizamo won the Outstanding Solo Performance award for "Ghetto Klown;" he had previously won an Outer Critics award for his performance in the Off-Broadway production "Mambo Mouth." For his New York debut of "The Whipping Man," Matthew Lopez was awarded the John Gassner Playwrighting Award. The Special Achievement Award was presented to Adrian Kohler with Basil Jones of Handspring Puppet Company for puppet design, fabrication and direction of "War Horse."

Neil Murray's work in "Brief Encounter" was recognized for Outstanding Set Design. The award for Outstanding Costume Design went to Tim Chappel and Lizzy Gardiner for their work in "Priscilla Queen of the Desert the Musical." Paule Constable won Outstanding Lighting Design for "War Horse."

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