Post-Oscars, Irish talent turn their eyes to Broadway

Bishop Brennan gets a pat on the back, rather than a kick up the arse, from theater critics

gabriel byrne, saoirse ronan, jim norton, father ted, tony awards, oscar awards, long days journey into night, the crucible Lazarus,

Irish up for top awards on Broadway

The Irish may have twinkled in Tinseltown earlier this year, with a slew of nods for the film industry's most prized honour, the Oscar. But there is every chance that our national eyes will be smiling again this June as the race for the Tony Awards kicks off.

Actors Gabriel Byrne and Jim Norton have both picked up nominations for the 2016 Outer Critics Circle Award for their performances in Long Day's Journey into Night and The Crucible. 

Both are star studded and much-hyped shows that also star Jessica Lange and Ben Whishaw- who are nominated respectively for their leading turns in the Eugene O Neil and Arthur Miller classics.

Thankfully, the men won't be competing against one another, as Byrne is up for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Play, while Norton is up for Featured Actor (theatre's version of Best Supporting Actor).

This is not the first nod for Norton, who's best known for getting kicked up the arse as Bishop Len Brennan in Father Ted. He previously won the Featured Actor category at the 2008 Tonys, for Conor McPherson's The Seafarer.

Enda Walsh has secured a nod for his book for the musical Lazarus, the show David Bowie debuted off-Broadway only weeks before his death (directed by Ivo van Hove, who also directed Norton in The Crucible). But it is unlikely to transfer on time to qualify for this seasons Tonys, as there aren't any venues left for it to open on the Great White Way.

However, this leaves it clear to rise again next year, when the unstoppable Hamilton isn't walking away with everything. 

Finally Saoirse Ronan, overlooked on this occasion for her performance in The Crucible, is like a naked flame to award show moths. With buzz still emitting from her Academy Award nominated turn in Brooklyn, and rave reviews for her performance here as a scorned woman during the Salem Witch Trials, expect to hear Tropical Popical getting some more shout-outs from the city that never sleeps

Listen to Byrne's recent chat with Philip Molloy on last weeks The Picture Show