Below are some of the speeches from the winners of the 72nd Outer Critics Circle Awards. held Thursday afternoon at the New York Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center. (Don’t know what the Outer Critics Circle is? Check out my New York Theater Awards 2023 Guide and Calendar)
Let’s start with the five winners of Outer Critic Circle Awards in acting categories who have also been nominated for Tony Awards, offering a possible preview of some of the televised speeches on June 11th:
Sean Hayes, Outstanding Lead Performer in a Broadway Play, Good Night Oscar
(Tony nominated for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play)
In a joke-filled four-minute acceptance speech, Hayes recounts how he has always been in the outer circle.
Jodie Comer, Outstanding Solo Performance, for Prima Facie
(Tony nominated for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play)
J. Harrison Ghee, Outstanding Lead Performer in a Broadway Musical for “Some Like It Hot”
(Tony nominated for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical)
Outstanding Featured Performer in a Broadway Play, for Leopoldstadt
(Tony nominated for Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play)
“This is the first award I’ve ever won in my life,” he says in the speech. The operative word there is “won.” Over the past eight years, he’s been nominated for four Tony awards.
Outstanding Featured Performer in a Broadway Musical, for Shucked
(Tony nominated for Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical)
Alex Newell too said this was their first award (then added “for acting.”)
Robert Horn, who accepted the award for Outstanding Book of a Musical for “Shucked” (and has been Tony nominated for Best Book of a Musical) gave something close to a stand-up routine — which, if you’ve seen “Shucked,” wouldn’t surprise you.
Lindsay Mendez read a letter of gratitude from Jonathan Groff, winner of the Outer Critics Circles Award for Outstanding Lead Performer in an Off-Broadway Musical for his role in “Merrily We Roll Along,” before expressing her own thanks to winning the Outstanding Featured Performer in an Off-Broadway Musical for her role in the same musical.
James Ijames, playwright of “Fat Ham,” accepts the Outer Critics Circle John Gassner Award for New American Play. “Plays are a gesture towards creating community around an idea…”
In his acceptance speech, Bill Irwin talked about adjusting to being an “elderly” actor, but how this is a very exciting time to work in theater.