Previewing prod'ns such as 'Assassins,' 'Caroline' also nab nods

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Outer Critics Circle is best known for being first.

The last show of the Broadway season, “Prymate,” doesn’t open until May 5, but that doesn’t stop OCC. These critics release their nominations for the best in legit well ahead of the other scribe orgs. OCC even makes a tradition of giving nods to shows still in previews.

Several in that not-yet-open category did quite well this year. Although “Wicked” and “Fiddler on the Roof” got the most mentions, with a respective 10 and six noms, the previewing “Assassins,” “Bombay Dreams,” “Caroline, or Change,” “Jumpers” and “A Raisin in the Sun” each got three or four nominations.

Intriguingly, one of last season’s most lauded shows, “Long Day’s Journey Into Night,” appears to have fallen into a black hole of critical judgment. OCC released its noms so early last April that its executive committee had not yet seen “Journey,” the last show of the 2002-03 season. The Eugene O’Neill classic went on to win several Tony Awards, including play revival, actress (Vanessa Redgrave) and actor (Brian Dennehy). According to the OCC nominating record, “Journey” either wasn’t very good or it never happened.

This season, the Broadway production of “Avenue Q” gets a special award for ensemble performance and puppet artistry, but no noms. It qualified last year as an Off Broadway entry, having opened at the Vineyard Theater.

Otherwise, there are few headscratchers on the OCC list. Most notable is the shutout of Lincoln Center Theater’s production of “King Lear.” OCC failed even to nominate Christopher Plummer, an actor whom many consider likely to win a Tony Award in June.

Several other high-profile thesps were snubbed by OCC: The short list includes Alec Baldwin and Anne Heche (“Twentieth Century”), Richard Dreyfuss and Eric Stoltz (“Sly Fox”), Sean Combs (“A Raisin in the Sun”), Ashley Judd and Jason Patric (“Cat on a Hot Tin Roof”) and Judd Hirsch (“Sixteen Wounded”).

Joe Mantello will not be competing against himself this year. In the musical category, he was nommed by OCC for his work as director on “Wicked” but not “Assassins.”

The winners of the OCC awards will be announced at Sardi’s restaurant May 3, two days before the 2003-04 Broadway season officially ends.

And the nominees are…

BROADWAY PLAY

“Anna in the Tropics”
“I Am My Own Wife”
“Match”
“Sixteen Wounded”

BROADWAY MUSICAL

“Bombay Dreams”
“The Boy From Oz”
“Caroline, or Change”
“Wicked”

OFF-BROADWAY PLAY

“The Beard of Avon”
“Bug”
“Frozen”
“Intimate Apparel”
“Well”

OFF-BROADWAY MUSICAL

“Fame on 42nd Street”
“Johnny Guitar”
“The Thing About Men”

REVIVAL OF A PLAY

“The Caretaker”
“Henry IV”
“Jumpers”
“A Raisin in the Sun”
“Sly Fox”

REVIVAL OF A MUSICAL

“Assassins”
“Fiddler on the Roof”
“Little Shop of Horrors”
“Wonderful Town”

DIRECTION OF A PLAY

Doug Hughes, “Frozen”
Moisés Kaufman, “I Am My Own Wife”
Jack O’Brien, “Henry IV”
Daniel Sullivan, “Intimate Apparel”

DIRECTION OF A MUSICAL

David Leveaux, “Fiddler on the Roof”
Joe Mantello, “Wicked”
Kathleen Marshall, “Wonderful Town”
George C. Wolfe, “Caroline, or Change”

CHOREOGRAPHY

Wayne Cilento, “Wicked”
Kathleen Marshall, “Wonderful Town”
Joey McKneely, “The Boy From Oz”
Jerry Mitchell, “Never Gonna Dance”
Anthony Van Laast & Farah Kahn, “Bombay Dreams”

SET DESIGN

John Lee Beatty, “Twentieth Century”
Ralph Funicello, “Henry IV”
Eugene Lee, “Wicked”
Vicki Mortimer, “Jumpers”

COSTUME DESIGN

Jess Goldstein, “Henry IV”
Susan Hilferty, “Wicked”
Mike Nicholls & Bobby Pearce, “Taboo”
Catherine Zuber, “Intimate Apparel”

LIGHTING DESIGN

Jules Fisher & Peggy Eisenhauer, “Assassins”
David Lander, “I Am My Own Wife”
Brian MacDevitt, “Fiddler on the Roof”
Kenneth Posner, “Wicked”

ACTOR IN A PLAY

Simon Russell Beale, “Jumpers”
Kevin Kline, “Henry IV”
Frank Langella, “Match”
Brían F. O’Byrne, “Frozen”
Richard Thomas, “The Stendhal Syndrome”

ACTRESS IN A PLAY

Eileen Atkins, “The Retreat From Moscow”
Liza Colon-Zayas, “Living Out”
Viola Davis, “Intimate Apparel”
Swoosie Kurtz, “Frozen”
Phylicia Rashad, “A Raisin in the Sun”

ACTOR IN A MUSICAL

Gregg Edelman, “Wonderful Town”
Hunter Foster, “Little Shop of Horrors”
Hugh Jackman, “The Boy From Oz”
Alfred Molina, “Fiddler on the Roof”
Euan Morton, “Taboo”

ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL

Kerry Butler, “Little Shop of Horrors”
Kristin Chenoweth, “Wicked”
Idina Menzel, “Wicked”
Donna Murphy, “Wonderful Town”
Tonya Pinkins, “Caroline, or Change”

FEATURED ACTOR IN A PLAY

René Auberjonois, “Sly Fox”
Ned Beatty, “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof”
Teagle F. Bougere, “A Raisin in the Sun”
Aiden Gillen, “The Caretaker”
Omar Metwally, “Sixteen Wounded”

FEATURED ACTRESS IN A PLAY

Julie Halston, “Twentieth Century”
Jayne Houdyshell, “Well”
Margo Martindale, “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof”
Jan Maxwell, “Sixteen Wounded”
Audra McDonald, “A Raisin in the Sun”

FEATURED ACTOR IN A MUSICAL

John Cariani, “Fiddler on the Roof”
Michael Cerveris, “Assassins”
Mitchell David Federan, “The Boy From Oz”
Sriram Ganesan, “Bombay Dreams”
Joel Grey, “Wicked”

FEATURED ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL

Ayesha Dharker, “Bombay Dreams”
Randy Graff, “Fiddler on the Roof”
Isabel Keating, “The Boy From Oz”
Carole Shelley, “Wicked”
Karen Ziemba, “Never Gonna Dance”

SOLO PERFORMANCE

Sarah Jones, “Bridge & Tunnel”
Jefferson Mays, “I Am My Own Wife”
Martin Moran, “The Tricky Part”
Angelica Torn, “Edge”

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

Nilo Cruz, “Anna in the Tropics”
Tracy Letts, “Bug”
Lynn Nottage, “Intimate Apparel”
Tristine Skyler, “The Moonlight Room”

SPECIAL ACHIEVEMENT AWARD

Outstanding Ensemble Performance and Puppet Artistry
“Avenue Q”

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