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.

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