Wednesday, May 02, 2018

Annual Tony Nomination Post - 2018 Version



Oops. Looks like I haven't posted in this blog since the last Tony nominations. It's been difficult keeping this up since I write for other places, but I'm a sucker for tradition, so I'm going to keep writing this annual blog post even if only two people still read it. This year was a pretty disappointing Broadway season overall, even though I also had some unforgettable theater experiences. I'm grateful as a Drama Desk nominator that we are not limited to Broadway (though with 280 eligible shows and 5 slots in each category, we almost have too much choice). At least the Tony Awards will be hosted by Sara Bareilles and Josh Groban (on June 10), so it should make for an entertaining telecast. You can read the list of Drama Desk nominees here. And I'd love to hear your opinions on those. But for now, here is the complete list of nominees followed by opinions and predictions.

Best Book of a Musical
The Band's Visit
Itamar Moses
Frozen
Jennifer Lee
Mean Girls
Tina Fey
SpongeBob SquarePants: The Musical
Kyle Jarrow
I don't know if there's a rule that the Tony nominating committee has to fill the categories, but in weak years, they should be able to nominate less than four (the musical revival category has three nominees because there were only three musical revivals this season). I don't think Frozen belongs here. It was an overstuffed and far less enjoyable version of the movie. Tina Fey, on the other hand, kept her book true to the movie but different enough so it wasn't a rehash (and I actually thought the new lines were funnier since the iconic lines will never live up to the original deliveries). The Band's Visit should win, though.

Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics) Written for the Theatre
Angels in America
Music: Adrian Sutton
The Band's Visit
Music & Lyrics: David Yazbek
Frozen
Music & Lyrics: Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez
Mean Girls
Music: Jeff Richmond
Lyrics: Nell Benjamin
SpongeBob SquarePants: The Musical
Music & Lyrics: Yolanda Adams, Steven Tyler & Joe Perry of Aerosmith, Sara Bareilles, Jonathan Coulton, Alex Ebert of Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros, The Flaming Lips, Lady Antebellum, Cyndi Lauper & Rob Hyman, John Legend, Panic! at the Disco, Plain White T's, They Might Be Giants, T.I., Domani & Lil'C
Most people seem to agree that the music of Mean Girls was the weakest part, but I guess they had to fill the category. And the new songs from Frozen were not as strong as the ones from the movie (which I still love). This award belongs to David Yazbek and it's long overdue. He has never written a bad score for the theater. SpongeBob is the only other musical from this Broadway season that is in my regular listening rotation. As I said on Twitter, I wouldn't be opposed to a tie. I mostly want to see all these songwriters on the stage accepting the award together.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play
Andrew Garfield, Angels in America
Tom Hollander, Travesties
Jamie Parker, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Parts One and Two
Mark Rylance, Farinelli and The King
Denzel Washington, Eugene O'Neill's The Iceman Cometh

I'm so happy that Jamie Parker was recognized. He is an even better Harry Potter than Daniel Radcliffe. The whole cast really elevated the material. But I am rooting for Andrew Garfield and I think he will probably win.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play
Glenda Jackson, Edward Albee's Three Tall Women
Condola Rashad, Saint Joan
Lauren Ridloff, Children of a Lesser God
Amy Schumer, Meteor Shower

I am a big fan of Condola Rashad, but I think she was miscast in Saint Joan. We don't need to nominate good actors every time they step on a stage. And Amy Schumer was the weakest link in Meteor Shower. If anyone was going to be nominated, it should have been Laura Benanti, though she was probably considered featured, which was a much more crowded category. I'm happy to see Lauren Ridloff here, the best thing to come out of that misguided revival of Children of a Lesser God. But I think people will want to give Glenda Jackson an award just for appearing on that stage. And she totally kills it, so I'll be happy to see her win.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical
Harry Hadden-Paton, My Fair Lady
Joshua Henry, Rodgers & Hammerstein's Carousel
Tony Shalhoub, The Band's Visit
Ethan Slater, SpongeBob SquarePants: The Musical

I really want to Ethan Slater to win this for one of the most delightful Broadway debuts of the season. I think it might go to Joshua Henry, which I wouldn't be mad about. Some people seem annoyed that Shalhoub was nominated for a musical since he doesn't sing in it, but I don't think that needs to be a prerequisite. 

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical
Lauren Ambrose, My Fair Lady
Hailey Kilgore, Once On This Island
LaChanze, Summer: The Donna Summer Musical
Katrina Lenk, The Band's Visit
Taylor Louderman, Mean Girls
Jessie Mueller, Rodgers & Hammerstein's Carousel

KATRINA LENK! I have to say, I was not a fan of Taylor Louderman before Mean Girls and I was disappointed about the casting, but she won me over. And bless LaChanze for being in that show. But KATRINA LENK!

Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play
Anthony Boyle, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Parts One and Two
Michael Cera, Lobby Hero
Brian Tyree Henry, Lobby Hero
Nathan Lane, Angels in America
David Morse, Eugene O'Neill's The Iceman Cometh

I think Michael Cera should be considered lead and I would have nominated Chris Evans over him. I am also surprised that James McArdle from Angels in America isn't here. I think Anthony Boyle won the Tony of everyone's heart this season, but I think Nathan Lane will win. This is the best performance I've ever seen from him.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play
Susan Brown, Angels in America
Noma Dumezweni, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Parts One and Two
Deborah Findlay, The Children
Denise Gough, Angels in America
Laurie Metcalf, Edward Albee's Three Tall Women

This is such a good category. I don't even know who to root for, but I am especially happy to see Noma Dumezweni here. Again, the cast of Harry Potter was perfect all around and made me forget what a bad script it is.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical
Norbert Leo Butz, My Fair Lady
Alexander Gemignani, Rodgers & Hammerstein's Carousel
Grey Henson, Mean Girls
Gavin Lee, SpongeBob SquarePants: The Musical
Ari'el Stachel, The Band's Visit

This is a good list. I'd be fine with a five-way tie. Or maybe Norbert Leo Butz, Grey Henson, and Gavin Lee could have a dance off for it as they all have scene-stealing dance numbers in their show. 

Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical
Ariana DeBose, Summer: The Donna Summer Musical
Renée Fleming, Rodgers & Hammerstein's Carousel
Lindsay Mendez, Rodgers & Hammerstein's Carousel
Ashley Park, Mean Girls
Diana Rigg, My Fair Lady

I would have given Renée Fleming's spot to Kate Rockwell. She and Ashley Park were the VIPs of Mean Girls. Hell, I would have even given it to Kerry Butler from Mean Girls over Fleming. It's thrilling to see the always wonderful Lindsay Mendez here. But I really want Park to win all the awards.

Best Scenic Design of a Play
Miriam Buether, Edward Albee's Three Tall Women
Jonathan Fensom, Farinelli and The King
Christine Jones, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Parts One and Two
Santo Loquasto, Eugene O'Neill's The Iceman Cometh
Ian MacNeil and Edward Pierce, Angels in America

I didn't like the set for Eugene O'Neill's The Iceman Cometh. I am torn here between Miriam Buether and Christine Jones. I really love the simplicity of the Harry Potter and the Cursed Child set, but man that Three Tall Women set was really effective.

Best Scenic Design of a Musical
Dane Laffrey, Once On This Island
Scott Pask, The Band's Visit
Scott Pask, Finn Ross & Adam Young, Mean Girls
Michael Yeargan, My Fair Lady
David Zinn, SpongeBob SquarePants: The Musical

I hope SpongeBob cleans up in the design categories. This set was so inventive and fun. Also, I know the My Fair Lady set was divisive, but I would give it an award just for the way the set turned as Eliza walked through it during "Just You Wait."

Best Costume Design of a Play
Jonathan Fensom, Farinelli and The King
Nicky Gillibrand, Angels in America
Katrina Lindsay, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Parts One and Two
Ann Roth, Edward Albee's Three Tall Women
Ann Roth, Eugene O'Neill's The Iceman Cometh

Karina Lindsay needs to win for those cloaks in Harry Potter that I want to buy.

Best Costume Design of a Musical
Gregg Barnes, Mean Girls
Clint Ramos, Once On This Island
Ann Roth, Rodgers & Hammerstein's Carousel
David Zinn, SpongeBob SquarePants: The Musical
Catherine Zuber, My Fair Lady

Zinn should win for making costumes that so readily call to mind the characters without making them look like a theme park. I interviewed him about this earlier in the season and you can read it here

Best Lighting Design of a Play
Neil Austin, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Parts One and Two
Paule Constable, Angels in America
Jules Fisher + Peggy Eisenhauer, Eugene O'Neill's The Iceman Cometh
Paul Russell, Farinelli and The King
Ben Stanton, Junk

Neil Austin. How could anyone else win in this category?

Best Lighting Design of a Musical
Kevin Adams, SpongeBob SquarePants: The Musical
Jules Fisher + Peggy Eisenhauer, Once On This Island
Donald Holder, My Fair Lady
Brian MacDevitt, Rodgers & Hammerstein's Carousel
Tyler Micoleau, The Band's Visit

I don't know if there is a clear frontrunner here.

Best Sound Design of a Play
Adam Cork, Travesties
Ian Dickinson for Autograph, Angels in America
Gareth Fry, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Parts One and Two
Tom Gibbons, 1984
Dan Moses Schreier, Eugene O'Neill's The Iceman Cometh

How did Eugene O'Neill's The Iceman Cometh got so many design nominations? Harry Potter will probably deservedly win all the design categories.

Best Sound Design of a Musical
Kai Harada, The Band's Visit
Peter Hylenski, Once On This Island
Scott Lehrer, Rodgers & Hammerstein's Carousel
Brian Ronan, Mean Girls
Walter Trarbach and Mike Dobson, SpongeBob SquarePants: The Musical

SpongeBob had a live foley artist on stage, so that gives it the edge for me.

Best Direction of a Play
Marianne Elliott, Angels in America
Joe Mantello, Edward Albee's Three Tall Women
Patrick Marber, Travesties
John Tiffany, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Parts One and Two
George C. Wolfe, Eugene O'Neill's The Iceman Cometh

I would have nominated Trip Cullman for Lobby Hero over George C. Wolfe. As much as I love Joe Mantello, I think this has to go to John Tiffany. That show is actually magical.

Best Direction of a Musical
Michael Arden, Once On This Island
David Cromer, The Band's Visit
Tina Landau, SpongeBob SquarePants: The Musical
Casey Nicholaw, Mean Girls
Bartlett Sher, My Fair Lady

I am so torn between David Cromer and Tina Landau here. I think I want Landau to win for director and The Band's Visit to win for musical. Or they can just tie.

Best Choreography
Christopher Gattelli, My Fair Lady
Christopher Gattelli, SpongeBob SquarePants: The Musical
Steven Hoggett, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Parts One and Two
Casey Nicholaw, Mean Girls
Justin Peck, Rodgers & Hammerstein's Carousel

I kind of want Steven Hoggett to win even though Harry Potter isn't a musical because those dance sequences added a lot to the show. But it should probably be Justin Peck because come on, the dancing in Rodgers & Hammerstein's Carousel was gorgeous.

Best Orchestrations
John Clancy, Mean Girls
Tom Kitt, SpongeBob SquarePants: The Musical
Annmarie Milazzo & Michael Starobin, Once On This Island
Jamshied Sharifi, The Band's Visit
Jonathan Tunick, Rodgers & Hammerstein's Carousel

I'm rooting for The Band's Visit

Best Play
The Children
Author: Lucy Kirkwood
Producers: Manhattan Theatre Club, Lynne Meadow, Barry Grove, The Royal Court Theatre, Vicky Featherstone, Lucy Davies
Farinelli and The King
Author: Claire van Kampen
Producers: Sonia Friedman Productions, Shakespeare's Globe, Paula Marie Black, Tom Smedes, Peter Stern, Jane Bergère, Jane Dubin/Rachel Weinstein, 1001 Nights Productions, Elizabeth Cuthrell & Steven Tuttleman, Rupert Gavin, Robyn L. Paley, SGC USA, Tulchin Bartner Productions, Cindy & Jay Gutterman/Marc David Levine, Marguerite Hoffman/Van Kaplan, Shakespeare Road
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Parts One and Two
Author: Jack Thorne
Producers: Sonia Friedman Productions, Colin Callender, Harry Potter Theatrical Productions
Junk
Author: Ayad Akhtar
Producers: Lincoln Center Theater, André Bishop, Adam Siegel, Hattie K. Jutagir, The Araca Group
Latin History for Morons
Author: John Leguizamo
Producers: Nelle Nugent, Kenneth Teaton, Denoff Salmira Amigos - Jeremy Handelman/Ben DeJesus, Audible, Peter Fine, Jon B. Platt, Jamie deRoy, Melissa and Dan Berger, Stefany Bergson, Willette M. Klausner, Jose Mendez/Katie Graziano, Morwin Schmookler, Avex International Inc., Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Tony Taccone, Michael Leibert, Susan Medak, The Public Theater, Oskar Eustis, Patrick Willingham, Mandy Hackett
Harry Potter will definitely win. It should probably be The Children, though this was a weak year for new plays on Broadway. The script for Harry Potter isn't very good. I've said this before and I'll say it again, it reads like fan fiction. But seeing it live was another experience altogether. That's why there should be a best play and best production of a play category.

Best Musical
The Band's Visit
Producers: Orin Wolf, StylesFour Productions, Evamere Entertainment, Atlantic Theater Company, David F. Schwartz, Barbara Broccoli, Frederick Zollo, Grove∙REG, Lassen Blume Baldwin, Thomas Steven Perakos, Marc Platt, The Shubert Organization, The Baruch/Routh/Frankel/Viertel Group, Robert Cole, deRoy-Carr-Klausner, Federman-Moellenberg, FilmNation Entertainment, Roy Furman, FVSL Theatricals, Hendel-Karmazin, HoriPro Inc., IPN, Jam Theatricals, The John Gore Organization, Koenigsberg-Krauss, David Mirvish, James L. Nederlander, Al Nocciolino, Once Upon a Time Productions, Susan Rose, Paul Shiverick, Allan Williams
Frozen
Producers: Disney Theatrical Productions, Thomas Schumacher
Mean Girls
Producers: Lorne Michaels, Stuart Thompson, Sonia Friedman, Paramount Pictures, Marisa Sechrest, Ars Nova Entertainment, Berlind Productions, Steve Burke, Scott M. Delman, Roy Furman, Robert Greenblatt, Ruth Hendel, Jam Theatricals, The John Gore Organization, The Lowy Salpeter Company, James L. Nederlander, Christine Schwarzman, Universal Theatrical Group, David Turner
SpongeBob SquarePants: The Musical
Producers: Nickelodeon, The Araca Group, Sony Music Masterworks, Kelp on the Road
The Band's Visit. The Band's Visit. The Band's Visit. I love you, The Band's Visit. (I love you too, SpongeBob, but The Band's Visit has my heart forever.)

Best Revival of a Play
Angels in America
Producers: Tim Levy for NT America, Jordan Roth, Rufus Norris & Lisa Burger for the National Theatre, Elliott & Harper Productions, Kash Bennett for NT Productions, Aged in Wood, The Baruch-Viertel-Routh-Frankel Group, Jane Bergère, Adam Blanshay Productions, Catwenjam Productions, Jean Doumanian, Gilad-Rogowsky, Gold-Ross Productions, The John Gore Organization, Grove Entertainment, Harris Rubin Productions, Hornos-Moellenberg, Brian & Dayna Lee, Benjamin Lowy, Stephanie P. McClelland, David Mirvish, Mark Pigott, Jon B. Platt, E. Price-LD Ent., Daryl Roth, Catherine Schreiber, Barbara Whitman, Jujamcyn Theaters, The Nederlander Organization, The Shubert Organization
Edward Albee's Three Tall Women
Producers: Scott Rudin, Barry Diller, Eli Bush, The John Gore Organization, James L. Nederlander, Candy Spelling, Len Blavatnik, Universal Theatrical Group, Rosalind Productions, Inc., Eric Falkenstein, Peter May, Jay Alix & Una Jackman, Patty Baker, Diana DiMenna, David Mirvish, Wendy Federman & Heni Koenigsberg, Benjamin Lowy & Adrian Salpeter, Jason Blum, Jamie DeRoy, Gabriel Palitz, Ted Snowden, Richard Winkler, Joey Parnes, Sue Wagner, John Johnson
Eugene O'Neill's The Iceman Cometh
Producers: Scott Rudin, Barry Diller, Eli Bush, Universal Theatrical Group, Eric Falkenstein, Dan Frishwasser, John Gore Organization, James L. Nederlander, Peter May, Stephanie P. McClelland, Candy Spelling, Stephen C. Byrd & Alia Jones-Harvey, Gavin Kalin Productions, Patty Baker, Caiola Productions, Diana DiMenna, David Mirvish, Wendy Federman & Heni Koenigsberg, Benjamin Lowy & Adrian Salpeter, Jason Blum, Joey Parnes, Sue Wagner, John Johnson
Lobby Hero
Producers: 2ndStage, Carole Rothman, Casey Reitz, Christopher Burney
Travesties
Producers: Roundabout Theatre Company, Todd Haimes, Julia C. Levy, Sydney Beers, Steve Dow, Chocolate Factory Productions, Sonia Friedman Productions, David Babani
This was a great year for play revivals. Can we only have either good revivals or good new plays in a on Broadway in a season? Is that how it works? I think it's between Angels in America and Three Tall Women, but in my heart of hearts, I want Angels to win.

Best Revival of a Musical
My Fair Lady
Producers: Lincoln Center Theater, André Bishop, Adam Siegel, Hattie K. Jutagir, Nederlander Presentations, Inc.
Once On This Island
Producers: Ken Davenport, Hunter Arnold, Carl Daikeler, Roy Putrino, Broadway Strategic Return Fund, Sandi Moran, Caiola Productions, H. Richard Hopper, Diego Kolankowsky, Brian Cromwell Smith, Ron Kastner, Rob Kolson, Judith Manocherian/Kevin Lyle, Jay Alix/Una Jackman/Jeff Wise, Witzend Productions/Jeff Grove/Wishnie-Strasberg, Mark Ferris/Michelle Riley/Marie Stevenson, Silva Theatrical Group/Jesse McKendry/Dr. Mojgan Fajiram, Conor Bagley/Brendan C. Tetro/Invisible Wall Productions, Silverwalport Productions/Tyler Mount/Ushkowitzlatimer Productions, The Harbert Family/Reilly Hickey, Keith Cromwell/Red Mountain Theatre Company, 42nd.Club/The Yonnone Family/Island Productions
Rodgers & Hammerstein's Carousel
Producers: Roy Furman, Scott Rudin, Barry Diller, Edward Walson, Universal Theatrical Group, Benjamin Lowy, Eli Bush, James L. Nederlander, Candy Spelling, John Gore Organization, Peter May, Ronnie Lee, Sid & Ruth Lapidus, Stephanie P. McClelland, Sandy Robertson, Caiola Productions, Len Blavatnik, Dominion Ventures, SHN Theatres, The Araca Group, Patty Baker, Al Nocciolino, Darlene Marcos Shiley, Julie Boardman & Marc David Levine, Jennifer Fischer & Olympus Theatricals, Candia Fisher & Allen L. Stevens, Jon Jashni & Matthew Baer, Thomas S. Perakos & Jim Fantaci, Wendy Federman & Heni Koenigsberg, Bruce Robert Harris & Jack W. Batman, John Thomas, Joey Parnes, Sue Wagner, John Johnson
I don't think I loved any of these as much as everyone else did, but I loved parts of all of them. Once On This Island was a very good production of a show I don't like. The other two were lovely productions, but I didn't feel very emotionally connected to either. I think My Fair Lady will probably win.

Tuesday, May 02, 2017

Annual Tony Nomination Post - Angry Edition

Every year I look forward to the Tony nomination announcements and writing this blog post. It got off to a rough start this morning when the live stream didn't work on any of the websites I tried and I had to read the nominations come in on Twitter rather than hear them myself. Then a lot of people/shows I was rooting for didn't get nominated. This season was my first as a Drama Desk nominator. I got to see how close the races can get and how tough the decisions are when you have to narrow down categories. I thought that would make more more sensitive to Tony "snubs," since often just because someone wasn't nominated doesn't mean they weren't seriously considered. But, it still makes me sad when artists don't get the recognition I think they deserve. Plus, the Tonys have way less eligible shows than the Drama Desks. You can read the list of Drama Desk nominees here. It's a list I'm proud of, especially the special awards. But today is about the Tony nominations. So here is the complete list of nominees followed by opinions (they're not all angry!) and predictions.

Best Play
A Doll's House, Part 2
Author: Lucas Hnath
Producers: Scott Rudin, Eli Bush, Barry Diller, Universal Stage Productions, The John Gore Organization, James L. Nederlander, Ambassador Theatre Group, Peter May, Seth A. Goldstein, Heni Koenigsberg, Stephanie P. McClelland, Jay Alix & Una Jackman, Al Nocciolino, True Love Productions, Diana DiMenna, Meredith Lynsey Schade, Barbara Freitag & Patty Baker, Benjamin Lowy & Adrian Salpeter, John Mara, Jr. & Benjamin Simpson, Joey Parnes, Sue Wagner, John Johnson
Indecent
Author: Paula Vogel
Producers: Daryl Roth, Elizabeth I. McCann, Cody Lassen, Jerry Meyer, Jay Alix & Una Jackman, Elizabeth Armstrong, Julie Boardman, CoGo Partners, Nicole Eisenberg, Four Star Productions, GLS Productions, The John Gore Organization, Kathleen K. Johnson, Dana M. Lerner, Jenn Maley, Mano-Horn Productions, Marc Platt, Storyboard Entertainment, Yale Repertory Theatre, La Jolla Playhouse, Vineyard Theatre
Oslo
Author: J.T. Rogers
Producers: Lincoln Center Theater, André Bishop, Adam Siegel, Hattie K. Jutagir
Sweat
Author: Lynn Nottage
Producers: Stuart Thompson, Louise L. Gund, Tulchin Bartner Productions, Jon B. Platt, Roy Furman, Len Blavatnik, Shelly Mitchell, Scott Rudin, Ted Snowdon, Kevin Emrick, True Love Productions, John Gore, Deborah Taylor/Richard Winkler, The Public Theater, Oskar Eustis, Patrick Willingham
So happy for Indecent, a story about the power of art that we all need right now, and Oslo, which made a situation in which we all knew the outcome riveting. I think Sweat is overrated, but I'm not mad about its nomination. Since it won the Pulitzer, it has the best shot at winning, though I'd personally give it to Indecent. Significant Other by Joshua Harmon deserves to be on this list in place of Ibsen fan fiction. 

Best Musical
Come From Away
Producers: Junkyard Dog Productions, Jerry Frankel, Latitude Link, Smith & Brant Theatricals, Steve & Paula Reynolds, David Mirvish, Michael Rubinoff, Alhadeff Productions, Michael Alden & Nancy Nagel Gibbs, Sam Levy, Rodney Rigby, Spencer Ross, Richard Winkler, Yonge Street Theatricals, Sheridan College, Michael & Ellise Coit, Ronald Frankel, Sheri & Les Biller, Richard & Sherry Belkin, Gary & Marlene Cohen, Allan Detsky & Rena Mendelson, Lauren Doll, Barbara H. Freitag, Wendy Gillespie, Laura Little Theatricals, Carl & Jennifer Pasbjerg, Radio Mouse Entertainment, The Shubert Organization, Cynthia Stroum, Tulchin Bartner Productions, Gwen Arment/Molly Morris & Terry McNicholas, Maureen & Joel Benoliel/Marjorie & Ron Danz, Pamela Cooper/Corey Brunish, Demos Bizar/Square 1 Theatrics, Joshua Goodman/Lauren Stevens, Just for Laughs Theatricals/Judith Ann Abrams Productions, Bill & Linda Potter/Rosemary & Kenneth Willman, La Jolla Playhouse, Seattle Repertory Theatre
Dear Evan Hansen
Producers: Stacey Mindich, Mickey Liddell, Hunter Arnold, Caiola Productions, Double Gemini Productions, Fakston Productions, Roy Furman, Harris Karma Productions, On Your Marks Group, Darren Bagert, Roger & William Berlind, Bob Boyett, Colin Callender, Caitlin Clements, Freddy DeMann, Dante Di Loreto, Bonnie & Kenneth Feld, FickStern Productions, Eric & Marsi Gardiner, Robert Greenblatt, Jere Harris and Darren DeVerna, The John Gore Organization, Mike Kriak, Arielle Tepper Madover, David Mirvish, Eva Price, Zeilinger Productions, Adam Zotovich, Ambassador Theatre Group, Independent Presenters Network, The Shubert Organization, Wendy Orshan, Jeffrey M. Wilson, Arena Stage, Molly Smith, Edgar Dobie, Second Stage Theatre, Carole Rothman, Casey Reitz
Groundhog Day The Musical
Producers: Whistle Pig, Columbia Live Stage, The Dodgers, Michael Watt, The Araca Group, Len Blavatnik, Burnt Umber Productions, Michael Coppel, Ken Davenport, Stephen Found, Greenleaf Productions, David Harris, Independent Presenters Network, The John Gore Organization, Stephanie P. McClelland, Just for Laughs Theatricals/Glass Half Full Productions, Marion Alden Badway, Marriner Group, Tommy Mottola, Nederlander Presentations Inc, Daryl Roth, Sonia Friedman Productions, Theater Mogul, Tulbart, David Walsh, Tony & Maureen Wheeler, Jujamcyn Theaters
Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812
Producers: Howard and Janet Kagan, Paula Marie Black, Carole Shorenstein Hays, Jenny Steingart and Jason Eagan, Mary Lu Roffe and Susan Gallin, Diana DiMenna, Mary Maggio/Sharon Azrieli/Robin Gorman, Darren Sussman/Roman Gambourg/Lev Gelfer, Tom Smedes, John Logan, Lisa Matlin, Margie and Bryan Weingarten, Daveed Frazier, Argyle Productions/Jim Kierstead, In Fine Company/Hipzee, Gutterman & Caiola/Backdrop Partners, Siderow Kirchman Productions/SunnySpot Productions, Gordon/Meli Theatricals, Rodger Hess/Larry Toppall, Daniel Rakowski/Matt Ross/Ben Feldman, Mike Karns, The American Repertory Theater, Ars Nova
In a season with so many new musicals, the Tonys seem to be sending a message by only nominating four. I don't disagree that most of the other musicals that opened this season were weak, but I would have loved to see Anastasia on this list. I don't think it's getting the recognition it deserves because it's dismissed as being for tween girls (don't get me started on the condescending, sexist tone of many of the reviews). I really hope Come From Away wins, but Dear Evan Hansen seems like a good bet, and The Great Comet got the most nominations with 12, so there is definitely a lot of love for it. Groundhog Day, thanks for playing.

Best Book of a Musical
Come From Away
Irene Sankoff and David Hein
Dear Evan Hansen
Steven Levenson
Groundhog Day The Musical
Danny Rubin
Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812
Dave Malloy
Interesting that it's the same four musicals in the musical, book, and score categories. That doesn't always happen. Terrence McNally's book for Anastasia took the animated movie and made it much more adult and historically accurate. Yeah, not completely historically accurate, but it's still a fantasy. I also think Roger Taylor and Richard Oberacker's book for Bandstand is deserving. I went in expecting a fluffy musical and was pleasantly surprised with a dark look at PTSD. I wanted it to go a lot farther than it did, but I appreciated that it didn't play it safe.
Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics) Written for the Theatre
Come From Away
Music & Lyrics: Irene Sankoff and David Hein
Dear Evan Hansen
Music & Lyrics: Benj Pasek & Justin Paul
Groundhog Day The Musical
Music & Lyrics: Tim Minchin
Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812
Music & Lyrics: Dave Malloy
How can anyone not love Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty's score for Anastasia? Groundhog Day has one of my favorite musical numbers of the season (spoiler alert: the one with all Phil's unsuccessful suicide attempts), but the rest of the score wasn't at that level. Rooting for Come From Away here, but I think Dear Evan Hansen might take it. It is deserving, but Pasek and Paul's score for Dogfight is even better.

Best Revival of a Play
August Wilson's Jitney
Producers: Manhattan Theatre Club, Lynne Meadow, Barry Grove, Eric Falkenstein, Ron Simons, John Legend/Mike Jackson, Ken Wirth
Lillian Hellman's The Little Foxes
Producers: Manhattan Theatre Club, Lynne Meadow, Barry Grove
Present Laughter
Producers: Jordan Roth, Jujamcyn Theaters, Spencer Ross, Bruce Robert Harris and Jack W. Batman, AC Orange Entertainment Ltd., Grove Entertainment, Stephanie P. McClelland, Eric Falkenstein, Harbor Entertainment, Joe Everett Michaels/Robert F. Ryan, Daryl Roth
Six Degrees of Separation
Producers: Stuart Thompson, Louise L. Gund, Tim Levy, John Breglio, Scott M. Delman, Tulchin Bartner Productions, Frank De La Vega, Jane Bergère, John Gore, Gregory Holt, The Lowy Salpeter Company, Laruffa Hysell Group
If Jitney doesn't win, the Tonys are pointless. How did that mediocre Six Degrees of Separation revival get on this list? I wasn't crazy about Present Laughter either, though I think I'm in the minority. 

Best Revival of a Musical
Falsettos
Producers: Lincoln Center Theater, André Bishop, Adam Siegel, Hattie K. Jutagir, Jujamcyn Theaters
Hello, Dolly!
Producers: Scott Rudin, Roy Furman, James L. Nederlander, Eli Bush, Universal Stage Productions, Roger Berlind, William Berlind, Heni Koenigsberg, Terry Allen Kramer, Seth A. Goldstein, The John Gore Organization, Daryl Roth, The Araca Group, Len Blavatnik, Eric Falkenstein, Ruth Hendel, Independent Presenters Network, Peter May, Jay Alix & Una Jackman, Jane Bergère, Scott M. Delman, Wendy Federman, Stephanie P. McClelland, Anita Waxman, Al Nocciolino, Spring Sirkin, Barbara Freitag, John Mara, Jr. & Benjamin Simpson, Joey Parnes, Sue Wagner, John Johnson
Miss Saigon
Producers: Cameron Mackintosh
I assume the delightful Hello, Dolly! revival will win, but I'm glad that Falsettos was still remembered in multiple categories. Miss Saigon was the first musical I ever saw, so seeing the revival meant a lot to me, but it's not a competitor. 
Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play
Denis Arndt, Heisenberg
Chris Cooper, A Doll's House, Part 2
Corey Hawkins, Six Degrees of Separation
Kevin Kline, Present Laughter
Jefferson Mays, Oslo

This is the category that gets most of my anger. First, let's get the positive out of the way. I'm so glad that Denis Arndt was remembered for his moving performance in Heisenberg (his Broadway debut at 77!). But the fact that Gideon Glick wasn't nominated for Significant Other is ridiculous. If you read this, you'll see I have a lot of feelings about his performance. But I think it is objectively deserving of all the awards. His face in the last scene of the show conveyed so much sadness and hope at the same time that it alone is worthy of a nomination. What makes this even more upsetting is that this isn't a strong category. Chris Cooper didn't have much to do in A Doll's House Part 2 and was the only actor in that cast that didn't leave an impression. Corey Hawkins was fine. Jefferson Mays was wonderful as always, but it feels more like a featured performance since Oslo is such an ensemble show.
Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play
Cate Blanchett, The Present
Jennifer Ehle, Oslo
Sally Field, The Glass Menagerie
Laura Linney, Lillian Hellman's The Little Foxes
Laurie Metcalf, A Doll's House, Part 2

I guess if you're famous, you get nominated for a Tony. Unless your name is Daniel Radcliffe. I think Laurie Metcalf deserves to win and I didn't even like that play.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical
Christian Borle, Falsettos
Josh Groban, Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812
Andy Karl, Groundhog Day The Musical
David Hyde Pierce, Hello, Dolly!
Ben Platt, Dear Evan Hansen

Ben Platt will deservedly win. I don't think the musical would work as well without him since the lead character's actions are so questionable, but you still care about him as portrayed by Platt. Christian Borle getting nominated for Falsettos is kind of a slap in the face to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, isn't it? But he basically deserves a nomination every time he steps on a stage. Where is Jon Jon Briones from Miss Saigon? My Tony campaign for him was a failure. I would have given David Hyde Pierce's slot to him (I say with love because his work was so good in A Life that I've finally forgiven him for 2007). It would have been nice to see Corey Cott from Bandstand here too. It's too bad this is Platt's year because otherwise I think Andy Karl could finally win a Tony. One day. One day.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical
Denée Benton, Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812
Christine Ebersole, War Paint
Patti LuPone, War Paint
Bette Midler, Hello, Dolly!
Eva Noblezada, Miss Saigon

I think this diva battle will go to Bette Midler and I'll be happy about it. It's nice to see Eva Noblezada recognized even if Jon Jon Briones wasn't. 

Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play
Michael Aronov, Oslo
Danny DeVito, Arthur Miller's The Price
Nathan Lane, The Front Page
Richard Thomas, Lillian Hellman's The Little Foxes
John Douglas Thompson, August Wilson's Jitney

This is a good category, but Jefferson Mays was the best thing about The Front Page, not Nathan Lane. Sorry everybody who thinks otherwise. I'm rooting for Michael Aronov. I'm glad so many actors from Oslo were recognized, but it would have also been nice to see Anthony Azizi here. Also, I knew it was a long shot, but Indecent's Richard Topol left a strong impression on me. That's such an ensemble show, though, so I guess here is where I make my annual plea for an ensemble category.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play
Johanna Day, Sweat
Jayne Houdyshell, A Doll's House, Part 2
Cynthia Nixon, Lillian Hellman's The Little Foxes
Condola Rashad, A Doll's House, Part 2
Michelle Wilson, Sweat

Another strong category. I'm probably rooting for Cynthia Nixon because her Birdie was the highlight of both versions of The Little Foxes. But Condola Rashad and Jayne Houdyshell brought so much to that play I don't like.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical
Gavin Creel, Hello, Dolly!
Mike Faist, Dear Evan Hansen
Andrew Rannells, Falsettos
Lucas Steele, Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812
Brandon Uranowitz, Falsettos

Mike Faist's nomination is probably the biggest surprise of all. I am always team Gavin Creel, but I'm also team Brandon Uranowitz, although all these guys are great. This is also the most attractive category.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical
Kate Baldwin, Hello, Dolly!
Stephanie J. Block, Falsettos
Jenn Colella, Come From Away
Rachel Bay Jones, Dear Evan Hansen
Mary Beth Peil, Anastasia

Oh, so the Tony nominators did see Anastasia. I think it's fair to say that this is the strongest category. I would be happy with any of them winning or a five-way tie, but if I had to pick one, I'd probably go with Stephanie J. Block.

Best Scenic Design of a Play
David Gallo, August Wilson's Jitney
Nigel Hook, The Play That Goes Wrong
Douglas W. Schmidt, The Front Page
Michael Yeargan, Oslo

The set for The Play That Goes Wrong is the most clever aspect of the show, but I hope this goes to Jitney.

Best Scenic Design of a Musical
Rob Howell, Groundhog Day The Musical
David Korins, War Paint
Mimi Lien, Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812
Santo Loquasto, Hello, Dolly!

I think Groundhog Day should lose points for how often the set broke down. Actually, the set for War Paint broke the night I saw it as well. Anyway, The Great Comet should win. Mimi Lien totally transformed the Imperial Theatre.

Best Costume Design of a Play
Jane Greenwood, Lillian Hellman's The Little Foxes
Susan Hilferty, Present Laughter
Toni-Leslie James, August Wilson's Jitney
David Zinn, A Doll's House, Part 2

As I said, I wasn't crazy about the Present Laughter revival, but Cobie Smulders's dress was exquisite. Still, I'm all about Jitney.

Best Costume Design of a Musical
Linda Cho, Anastasia
Santo Loquasto, Hello, Dolly!
Paloma Young, Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812
Catherine Zuber, War Paint

So many beautiful dresses on Broadway this year. I'd give it to Anastasia.

Best Lighting Design of a Play
Christopher Akerlind, Indecent
Jane Cox, August Wilson's Jitney
Donald Holder, Oslo
Jennifer Tipton, A Doll's House, Part 2

Indecent. Indecent. Indecent. That's all I have to say about that.

Best Lighting Design of a Musical
Howell Binkley, Come From Away
Natasha Katz, Hello, Dolly!
Bradley King, Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812
Japhy Weideman, Dear Evan Hansen

How did Bandstand not get nominated here? The nominators really hated it, I guess. I'd give it to The Great Comet.
Best Direction of a Play
Sam Gold, A Doll's House, Part 2
Ruben Santiago-Hudson, August Wilson's Jitney
Bartlett Sher, Oslo
Daniel Sullivan, Lillian Hellman's The Little Foxes
Rebecca Taichman, Indecent

Rebecca Taichman was so involved in the creation of Indecent that it should really go to her. I'd accept Ruben Santiago-Hudson, but I really want this to go to Taichman.

Best Direction of a Musical
Christopher Ashley, Come From Away
Rachel Chavkin, Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812
Michael Greif, Dear Evan Hansen
Matthew Warchus, Groundhog Day The Musical
Jerry Zaks, Hello, Dolly!

As much as I love Come From Away, I think best musical and best direction should go to different shows. Direction should go to Rachel Chavkin. The Great Comet is all about the experience she created and I don't think it would be as strong a musical without her contributions.

Best Choreography
Andy Blankenbuehler, Bandstand
Peter Darling and Ellen Kane, Groundhog Day The Musical
Kelly Devine, Come From Away
Denis Jones, Holiday Inn, The New Irving Berlin Musical
Sam Pinkleton, Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812

I hope it goes to Bandstand.

Best Orchestrations

Bill Elliott and Greg Anthony Rassen, Bandstand
Larry Hochman, Hello, Dolly!
Alex Lacamoire, Dear Evan Hansen
Dave Malloy, Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812

The last time I'll say that Anastasia was robbed, but I don't have complaints about any of these nominees.

Anyway, congrats to all the nominees! I do think most of you are deserving and none of you are reading this. I'm still very much looking forward to watching the Tonys.

Monday, March 20, 2017

8 Television Shows That Should Have Musical Episodes


Tonight and tomorrow, March 20 and 21, Supergirl and The Flash will air a two-part musical crossover. With Jeremy Jordan, Melissa Benoist, Grant Gustin, and Jesse L. Martin in the casts, this was a no brainer. It's a good time for musicals on television. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, which has musical numbers in each episode, recently finished its second season and will be coming back for a third. But there are so many musical theater actors on TV that there are way more shows just crying out for a musical episode. 

Younger
Sutton Foster is obviously a triple threat. And I'd love to see her duet with Hilary Duff. Miriam Shor would obviously get a number too. It's filmed in New York, so there are always musical theater actors as guests.

Arrow
Stephen Amell has said that he doesn't want to do a musical episode, but he's obsessed with Hamilton (see video) and look how much this cast loves to sing. Plus, Josh Segarra is on the show now and there are theories about Colin Donnell coming back this season.

Legends of Tomorrow
Another CW superhero show with lots of musical talent. They should have just done a four-show musical crossover. Victor Garber sang "Edelweiss" in one episode and, for some reason, "The Banana Boat Song" in another. Clearly, the writers want him to sing as often as possible. (He's a guest star on the Supergirl/Flash crossover.) Arthur Darvill can sing too. Maybe Ciara Renée can come back for one episode.

Jane the Virgin
This show has also done musical numbers in the past, but after seeing Jamie Camil in Chicago this summer, I am more convinced than ever that there should be an entire musical episode built around Rogelio.

New Girl
Obviously, Jess (Zooey Deschanel) is a fan of breaking out into song, and we've already established that Winston (Lamorne Morris) is a Wicked fan.

BoJack Horseman
I'd love to see what this extremely dark comedy could do with the form and it's already about an actor, so it would be easy to come up with an organic way to include a musical into the storyline.

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
There have been many memorable musical numbers on Kimmy Schmidt, but between Titus Burgess, Jane Krakowski, Carol Kane, and Kimmy's optimistic attitude, it's just begging for an entire musical episode.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine
How can they not take advantage of Gina's (Chelsea Peretti) dance talent? Andy Samberg could recruit his Lonely Island friends to help write it.

What shows would you add to this list?