Tuesday, April 30, 2013

And The Tony Nominees Are...

For the weeks leading up to the Tony nominations, it's all us theater fans can talk about it, and now it's finally here. For the next month, we'll be talking about who will win. Then we will discuss who should have won until it's time to start all over with the new season. There are a lot of politics involved in award shows and it's also very subjective, so why do we care so much? I can only speak for myself, but when I love a show, I want it to do well and to be recognized. And this year, there were very few shows on Broadway that I truly loved (Pippin, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, Golden Boy). The rest were off-Broadway (The Whale, The Flick, Bad Jews). Here is the complete list of nominees followed by my thoughts about what the nominators got right, who was snubbed, and early predictions in each category.

Best Play
The Assembled Parties
Author:  Richard Greenberg
Producers:  Manhattan Theatre Club, Lynne Meadow, Barry Grove
Lucky Guy
Author:  Nora Ephron
Producers:  Colin Callender, Roy Furman, Arielle Tepper Madover, Roger & William Berlind, Stacey Mindich, Robert Cole & Frederick Zollo, David Mirvish, Daryl Roth, James D. Stern/Douglas L. Meyer, Scott & Brian Zeilinger, Sonia Friedman Productions, The Shubert Organization
The Testament of Mary
Author:  Colm Toíbín
Producers:  Scott Rudin, Stuart Thompson, Jon B. Platt, Roger Berlind, Broadway Across America, Scott M. Delman, Jean Doumanian, Roy Furman, Stephanie P. McClelland, Sonia Friedman Productions/Tulchin Bartner Productions, The Araca Group, Heni Koenigsberg, Daryl Roth, Eli Bush
Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
Author:  Christopher Durang
Producers:  Joey Parnes, Larry Hirschhorn, Joan Raffe & Jhett Tolentino, Martin Platt & David Elliott, Pat Flicker Addiss, Catherine Adler, John O’Boyle, Joshua Goodman, Jamie deRoy/Richard Winkler, Cricket Hooper Jiranek/Michael Palitz, Mark S. Golub & David S. Golub, Radio Mouse Entertainment, ShadowCatcher Entertainment, Mary Cossette/Barbara Manocherian, Megan Savage/Meredith Lynsey Schade, Hugh Hysell/Richard Jordan, Cheryl Wiesenfeld/Ron Simons, S.D. Wagner, John Johnson, MacCarter Theatre Center, Lincoln Center Theater

This was a very weak year for new plays. I guess after the past few years, we were due for one. The only new play on Broadway that I think is really deserving this year is Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike. What I love about it is that it's so high brow and low brow at the same time, kind of like my taste in everything. The writing is clever, but not so much that you don't care about the characters (at least for me, I know not everyone agrees). The Assembled Parties was very good and quite moving in parts, but I thought it needed a rewrite or two. It did get a lot of love from the critics more recently than VSMS, so it might be a dark horse, but I still expect VSMS to win, not just because of the quality, but because of the regional life potential, which Tony voters like. I'm ok with Lucky Guy being nominated as a tribute to Nora Ephron, as long as it doesn't win because it's just not a very good play. Surprised to see The Testament of Mary here because I heard the play itself was not good, just Fiona Shaw's performance, but I haven't seen it myself yet so I can't comment on whether or not it deserves to be on this list. Really surprised that Douglas Carter Beane's The Nance did not take the fourth slot. 

Best Musical
Bring It On: The Musical
Producers:  Universal Pictures Stage Productions/Glenn Ross, Beacon Communications/Armyan Bernstein & Charlie Lyons, Kristin Caskey & Mike Isaacson
 A Christmas Story, The Musical
Producers:  Gerald Goehring, Roy Miller, Michael F. Mitri, Pat Flicker Addiss, Peter Billingsley, Timothy Laczynski, Mariano Tolentino, Jr., Louise H. Beard, Michael Filerman, Scott Hart, Alison Eckert, Bob Bartner, Michael Jenkins, Angela Milonas, Bradford W. Smith
 Kinky Boots
Producers:  Daryl Roth, Hal Luftig, James L. Nederlander, Terry Allen Kramer, Independent Presenters Network, CJ E&M, Jayne Baron Sherman, Just for Laughs Theatricals/Judith Ann Abrams, Yasuhiro Kawana, Jane Bergère, Allan S. Gordon & Adam S. Gordon, Ken Davenport, Hunter Arnold, Lucy & Phil Suarez, Bryan Bantry, Ron Fierstein & Dorsey Regal, Jim Kierstead/Gregory Rae, BB Group/Christina Papagjika, Michael DeSantis/Patrick Baugh, Brian Smith/Tom & Connie Walsh, Warren Trepp, Jujamcyn Theaters
 Matilda The Musical
Producers:  The Royal Shakespeare Company and The Dodgers

Motown, which I haven't seen and can't comment on, was snubbed in favor of two closed shows. I loved A Christmas Story and am happy to see it on this list. Bring It On was a lot of fun, so I'm not mad that it snuck in there. The Tonys do seem to have a lot of love for Kinky Boots, but I still don't think it's possible for Matilda to lose. I saw Matilda in London last year and thought it was overrated, but it was hyped up so much that it couldn't possibly live up to that. But it is a very good musical and there is a lot I love about it, so I do think it deserves to win this year. Kinky Boots won me over by the end, but again, it's not really a great musical. I'm just a sucker for the be yourself message.

Best Revival of a Play
Golden Boy
Producers:  Lincoln Center Theater, André Bishop, Bernard Gersten
Producers:  Frederick Zollo, Robert Cole, The Shubert Organization, Orin Wolf, Lucky VIII, Scott M. Delman, James P. MacGilvray, StylesFour Productions
The Trip to Bountiful
Producers:  Nelle Nugent, Kevin Liles, Paula Marie Black, David R. Weinreb, Stephen C. Byrd, Alia M. Jones, Kenneth Teaton, Carole L. Haber/Philip Geier, Wendy Federman/Carl Moellenberg/Ricardo Hornos, Fifty Church Street Productions/Hallie Foote/Tyson and Kimberly Chandler, Joseph Sirola, Howard and Janet Kagan/Charles Salameno, Sharon A. Carr/Patricia R. Klausner, Raymond Gaspard/Andréa M. Price, Willette Murphy Klausner/Reginald M. Browne
Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Producers:  Jeffrey Richards, Jerry Frankel, Susan Quint Gallin, Mary Lu Roffe, Kit Seidel, Amy Danis & Mark Johannes, Patty Baker, Mark S. Golub & David S. Golub, Richard Gross, Jam Theatricals, Cheryl Lachowicz, Michael Palitz, Dramatic Forces/Angelina Fiordellisi, Luigi & Rose Caiola, Ken Greiner, Kathleen K. Johnson, Kirmser Ponturo Fund, Will Trice, GFour Productions, Steppenwolf Theatre Company

Again, there weren't a lot of shows this year I really loved, but Golden Boy was one of them. A gorgeous production. I hope it wins, but it's been closed for a long time. The only show on this list I haven't seen yet is The Trip to Bountiful, but it got good reviews recently and I feel like Tony voters have short memories. I didn't love Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf as much as everyone else. I did like Orphans more than I thought I would, but still don't think it's strong enough to deserve to win.

Best Revival of a Musical
Producers:  Arielle Tepper Madover, Roger Horchow, Sally Horchow, Roger Berlind, Roy Furman, Debbie Bisno, Stacey Mindich, James M. Nederlander, Jane Bergère/Daryl Roth, Eva Price/Christina Papagjika
 The Mystery of Edwin Drood
Producers:  Roundabout Theatre Company, Todd Haimes, Harold Wolpert, Julia C. Levy
Producers:  Barry and Fran Weissler, Howard and Janet Kagan, Lisa Matlin, Kyodo Tokyo, A&A Gordon/Brunish Trinchero, Tom Smedes/Peter Stern, Broadway Across America, Independent Presenters Network, Norton Herrick, Allen Spivak, Rebecca Gold, Joshua Goodman, Stephen E. McManus, David Robbins/Bryan S. Weingarten, Philip Hagemann/Murray Rosenthal, Jim Kierstead/Carlos Arana/Myla Lerner, Hugh Hayes/Jamie Cesa/Jonathan Reinis, Sharon A. Carr/Patricia R. Klausner, Ben Feldman, Square 1 Theatrics, Wendy Federman/Carl Moellenberg, Bruce Robert Harris/Jack W. Batman, Infinity Theatre Company/Michael Rubenstein, Michael A. Alden/Dale Badway/Ken Mahoney, American Repertory Theater
 Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella
Producers:  Robyn Goodman, Jill Furman, Stephen Kocis, Edward Walson, Venetian Glass Productions, The Araca Group, Luigi Caiola & Rose Caiola, Roy Furman, Walt Grossman, Peter May/Sanford Robertson, Glass Slipper Productions LLC/Eric Schmidt, Ted Liebowitz/James Spry, Blanket Fort Productions, Center Theatre Group

The nominations in this category were a no brainer. The only other eligible show was Jekyll & Hyde. I still haven't seen Cinderella (ridiculous, I know), but I'm planning to change that this week. I really liked all three of the others, and as much as I have a place in my heart for Edwin Drood, I loved Pippin the most and I expect it to win.

Best Book of a Musical
 A Christmas Story, The Musical
Joseph Robinette
 Kinky Boots
Harvey Fierstein
 Matilda The Musical
Dennis Kelly
 Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella
Douglas Carter Beane

Many people say Matilda has a weak score, but I think its biggest problem is the book, which had an odd focus (why not focus on her powers?), but I am guessing it will sweep most of the creative awards. Again, haven't seen Cinderella yet, but very curious about Beane's modern take. Wasn't a huge fan of the book for Kinky Boots, but I seem to recall liking the one for A Christmas Story, but again, it's mostly the music that I remember.

Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics) Written for the Theatre
A Christmas Story, The Musical
Music and Lyrics: Benj Pasek and Justin Paul
Hands on a Hardbody
Music: Trey Anastasio and Amanda Green
Lyrics: Amanda Green
Kinky Boots
Music & Lyrics: Cyndi Lauper
Matilda The Musical
Music & Lyrics: Tim Minchin

Yeah Pasek and Paul! Loved their score for A Christmas Story and this is a good a time as any to plug my interview with them about it for TDF Stages. I didn't love the score for Hands on Hardbody and the lyrics were terrible. I would have rather the show was nominated than the score. I know I said I was disappointed when I saw Matilda, but I do love a lot of the score (especially "When I Grow Up") and listen to it all the time, so this is the category I really want it to win. I saw Kinky Boots on Friday and don't remember any of the songs except for one, but maybe it's also the type of score that needs to grow on you.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play
Tom Hanks, Lucky Guy
Nathan Lane, The Nance
Tracy Letts, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
David Hyde Pierce, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
Tom Sturridge, Orphans

Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? was Letts's show and I'm happy to see the nominators remembered him. I'm really happy with this list, except I wouldn't have nominated Tom Hanks. I would have probably nominated Michael Shannon, who was really good in Grace (along with everyone else in the cast) even though the show was meh. I haven't seen Macbeth yet, but I was expecting Alan Cumming to be nominated. I mean, he plays every part. I would probably give David Hyde Pierce the award, but I would by happy with any of these guys except Hanks (not that he was bad, but not award worthy). Nathan Lane was the best I've ever seen him in The Nance so I won't be mad if he wins.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play
Laurie Metcalf, The Other Place
Amy Morton, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Kristine Nielsen, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
Holland Taylor, Ann
Cicely Tyson, The Trip to Bountiful

KRISTINE NIELSEN!!!!!!!!!!!! I was so worried when they bumped her up to leading role (even though she does have the biggest female part in the show) that Bette Midler (who I adore) or someone would take her spot. She gave one of my favorite performances on Broadway this year and the best on-the-phone acting I've ever seen in a play. I haven't seen Holland Taylor or Cicely Tyson yet. Didn't love Morton (as I said, it was all about Letts for me). Laurie Metcalf was incredible in The Other Place, but I really want Nielsen to win. I have to say, I feel really bad for Sigourney Weaver. I thought she was really good in VSMS and it must be hard to watch four of your co-stars get nominated, but I hope she's happy for them. If wonder if Nielsen was kept as featured, if Weaver would have been nominated. This was probably the most competitive category this year and Bette Midler and Fiona Shaw are the most surprising omissions.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical
Bertie Carvel, Matilda The Musical
Santino Fontana, Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella
Rob McClure, Chaplin
Billy Porter, Kinky Boots
Stark Sands, Kinky Boots

Santino Fontana gave my favorite performance of last season in Sons of the Prophet. I can't wait to see him in Cinderella. I saw Carvel in London and he was good, but for me, the standout was Josie Walker as Mrs. Wormwood (she didn't transfer). Carvel should not be considered a lead since his role is so small, but he's going to win. I'm glad Rob McClure was remembered. I'm also really happy to see Stark Sands on this list. Billy Porter was fun to watch, but I didn't feel emotionally connected to his character. I was sitting in the front row, so I could see every tear in Sands's eyes (the boy can tear up at the drop of a hat), so for me, his performance was more memorable. It's a shame that Anthony Warlow wasn't nominated. Best Daddy Warbucks ever.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical
Stephanie J. Block, The Mystery of Edwin Drood
Carolee Carmello, Scandalous
Valisia LeKae, Motown The Musical
Patina Miller, Pippin
Laura Osnes, Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella

Patina Miller will and should win. Surprised to see Carolee Carmello on this list. Love her, but Scandalous didn't do anyone any favors. I loved all the performances in The Mystery of Edwin Drood and there should be an ensemble acting category for situations like this so they could have all been recognized, but at least a few of them were. Haven't seen the other two yet. 

Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play
Danny Burstein, Golden Boy
Richard Kind, The Big Knife
Billy Magnussen, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
Tony Shalhoub, Golden Boy
Courtney B. Vance, Lucky Guy

Can we talk about Billy Magnussen for a second? When I interview people, I tend to appreciate their work even more, and when I spoke to him about creating Spike, he told me that he was given a lot of freedom and talked about how meticulous he was with his choices. And all those choices were perfect for the character and hilarious. I think when comedy is done well it looks easy and people forget how hard it is to make people laugh. I was worried when he hadn't been getting nominations for some of the other awards that people remember him as the hot guy who takes off his clothes a lot and don't realize what a great comedic performance he's giving. So all that is to say, I hope he wins. But I'm torn because one of my other favorite performances of the season was Tony Shalhoub in Golden Boy. I think I tweeted right after seeing the show that he better be remembered come Tony nominations. Burstein is great in everything. I don't get all the love for Richard Kind in The Big Knife. I usually like him as an actor, but nobody in that show seemed to be on the same page. Courtney B. Vance was the best part of Lucky Guy.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play
Carrie Coon, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Shalita Grant, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
Judith Ivey, The Heiress
Judith Light, The Assembled Parties
Condola Rashad, The Trip to Bountiful

Shalita Grant! Again, I think Kristine Nielsen being bumped up made this possible, but she was great, as was everyone in the cast. Again, where's the ensemble Tony category? Carrie Coon was the second best part of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?. I wouldn't be surprised if Judith Light wins for the second year in a row. I was hoping Yvonne Strahovski would get nominated for Golden Boy, but maybe she'll come back to Broadway and get a nomination next time. I also loved Mare Winningham in Picnic.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical
Charl Brown, Motown The Musical
Keith Carradine, Hands on a Hardbody
Will Chase, The Mystery of Edwin Drood
Gabriel Ebert, Matilda The Musical
Terrence Mann, Pippin

I love me some Terrence Mann. I'm also happy that Will Chase was remembered, because he was a perfect villain in The Mystery of Edwin Drood and it was the best I've ever seen him. It's nice to see Keith Carradine get a nomination. Gabriel Ebert is the main reason I want to see Matilda in New York.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical
Annaleigh Ashford, Kinky Boots
Victoria Clark, Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella
Andrea Martin, Pippin
Keala Settle, Hands on a Hardbody
Lauren Ward, Matilda The Musical

I've never understood the appeal of Annaleigh Ashford. She always does the same over-the-top schtick and I don't find it funny. It's just a matter of personal taste. I would have nominated Rachel Bay Jones from Pippin in her place. She was the heart of that show. But Andrea Martin was also a highlight and she will definitely win and deservedly so. Keala Settle gave a memorable breakthrough performance in Hands on a Hardbody and I hope to see more from her. I saw Lauren Ward in London and I liked her a lot.

Best Scenic Design of a Play
John Lee Beatty, The Nance
Santo Loquasto, The Assembled Parties
David Rockwell, Lucky Guy
Michael Yeargan, Golden Boy

For me, it's between the rotating sets of The Nance or The Assembled Parties.

Best Scenic Design of a Musical
Rob Howell, Matilda The Musical
Anna Louizos, The Mystery of Edwin Drood
Scott Pask, Pippin
David Rockwell, Kinky Boots

This should and will go to Matilda. The set is awesome.

Best Costume Design of a Play
Soutra Gilmour, Cyrano de Bergerac
Ann Roth, The Nance
Albert Wolsky, The Heiress
Catherine Zuber, Golden Boy

I see all the period pieces are unsurprisingly in the costume category. I'd give it to Golden Boy.

Best Costume Design of a Musical
Gregg Barnes, Kinky Boots
Rob Howell, Matilda The Musical
Dominique Lemieux, Pippin
William Ivey Long, Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella

I've heard great things about the Cinderella costumes, but Kinky Boots should get it just for the boots. Or Pippin because those costumes make everyone in the cast look sexy.

Best Lighting Design of a Play
Jules Fisher & Peggy Eisenhauer, Lucky Guy
Donald Holder, Golden Boy
Jennifer Tipton, The Testament of Mary
Japhy Weideman, The Nance

I don't know much about lighting, but the lighting in Golden Boy was beautiful.

Best Lighting Design of a Musical
Kenneth Posner, Kinky Boots
Kenneth Posner, Pippin
Kenneth Posner, Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella
Hugh Vanstone, Matilda The Musical

I would go out on a limb here and say Kenneth Posner will win, but he's up against Matilda, so...

Best Sound Design of a Play
John Gromada, The Trip to Bountiful
Mel Mercier, The Testament of Mary
Leon Rothenberg, The Nance
Peter John Still and Marc Salzberg, Golden Boy

This is the part where I'm trying to speed this up because I have to go back to work and what do I know about sound design?

Best Sound Design of a Musical
Jonathan Deans & Garth Helm, Pippin
Peter Hylenski, Motown The Musical
John Shivers, Kinky Boots
Nevin Steinberg, Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella

See above.

Best Direction of a Play
Pam MacKinnon, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Nicholas Martin, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
Bartlett Sher, Golden Boy
George C. Wolfe, Lucky Guy

Torn between Bartlett Sher and Nicholas Martin, but I'd have to give it to Martin for directing the controlled chaos of VSMS

Best Direction of a Musical
Scott Ellis, The Mystery of Edwin Drood
Jerry Mitchell, Kinky Boots
Diane Paulus, Pippin
Matthew Warchus, Matilda The Musical

It's between Matthew Warchus and Diane Paulus and I think Paulus might actually win, but everyone loves Warchus (including me), so I don't know. I'd give it to Paulus.

Best Choreography
Andy Blankenbuehler, Bring It On: The Musical
Peter Darling, Matilda The Musical
Jerry Mitchell, Kinky Boots
Chet Walker, Pippin

The cheerleading routines were so fun to watch in Bring It On and were the show's strength. I really enjoyed Peter Darling's choreography. And Chet Walker's. Are the acrobatic tricks considered part of the Pippin's choreography?

Best Orchestrations
Chris Nightingale, Matilda The Musical
Stephen Oremus, Kinky Boots
Ethan Popp & Bryan Crook, Motown The Musical
Danny Troob, Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella

I've only seen two of these, but yeah Stephen Oremus!

Anyway, what did you all think of the nominations? Who did you think was snubbed? Let me know in the comments.

No comments: