Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Tony! Tony! Tony!

By now, I'm sure you've all seen the Tony nominations that were announced this morning by Emmy award winners (and stage vets!) Jim Parsons (see he him in Roundabout's production of Harvey this summer!) and Tony award winner Kristen Chenoweth (Kristen, honey, leave GCB and come back to Broadway!). You know, if you're into that sort of thing. And just be reassured by returning host Neil Patrick Harris, the Tonys aren't just for gays anymore! And if you're not into it...how did you get to this site? Anyway, on to the nominees and my thoughtful insights because I live in New York! I see Theatre! And I love awards...

For the longest time, when I saw the production stills I thought they had light sabers. They don't. But they would have fit in just fine with the production...
Best Play
Clybourne Park
Other Desert Cities
Peter and the Starcatcher
Venus in Fur
The only one of these four that I haven't seen is Claybourne Park (which won the Pulitzer Prize last year!). It's probably gonna win, so I should probably get on that. Of the three I've seen, Peter and the Starcatcher was my favorite. It's just a great example of why we go to Theatre. It's the kind of magic that can only happen on a stage. Your imagination is just free to roam when you see the creativity they are achieving onstage. And I kept getting choked up at certain points. I really enjoyed Other Desert Cities as well, but there are some plot points that are a little questionable. And I didn't really care for Venus in Fur all that much. It got really repetitive, there's only so much you can do with just two people on the stage the whole time. 
Best Musical
Leap of Faith
Nice Work If You Can Get It
Three musicals based on movies and a musical written around the songs of Gershwin–yep, all really original. I haven't seen any of these yet (I'm more of a play kinda guy), but I really want to see Once and Newsies. I really love the movie Once and have seen Swell Season (Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova from the film) a couple of times in concert. And people keep telling me they didn't like the movie (including the person I saw it in the theatre with when it came out. You liked it then!), but that this musical is ah-MAZ-ing (it also has the most nominations this year with 11)! I didn't see the movie version of Newsies until I was in my late 20s and let's just say it's one of those movies you would have had to see as a child to enjoy. But, I've only heard good things about the musical. You could not pay me to see Leap of Faith or Nice Work. Seriously. No Spiderman. Is anyone really surprised by that? 
Best Revival of a Play
Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman
Gore Vidal's The Best Man
Master Class

Do Death of a Salesman and The Best Man officially have to have the author's name attached to them from now on? I didn't know there were other productions with the same name? But can't get them confused with Neil Simon's Death of a Salesman or Shakespeare's The Best Man. Also, those are the two shows I haven't seen yet. I'm dying to see Death (oh, I just realized what I did there...) and it's probably gonna win. I'm surprised Master Class made it on here as it was the first show to open the 2011-2012 season way back in August. Faye Dunaway must be happy people remember it. I didn't love this production of Wit mainly because I think Cynthia Nixon had to work too hard to make us believe her in the role. She just doesn't have that innate academia intelligence naturally about her the way Emma Thompson did in the HBO version.

Best Revival of a Musical
The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess
Jesus Christ Supersta

The only one of these that I saw was Follies and it's most likely gonna win, so good thing I did. I enjoyed it a lot. Many people consider tis one of the greatest musicals ever written. I wouldn't go that far...I really want to see Evita. I love the music and it's the first revival since the original production made Patti LuPone a star. But, everyone keeps saying Elena Roger is screaming her way through the performances. Maybe that's why she didn't get nominated...I heard people are surprised Godspell wasn't nominated, but that production was awful. I left at intermission. I was also really drunk, which may have contributed to my strong dislike. But I couldn't sit through that twee Christian propaganda. 
Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play
James Corden, One Man, Two Guvnors
Philip Seymour Hoffman, Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman
James Earl Jones, Gore Vidal's The Best Man
Frank Langella, Man and Boy
John Lithgow, The Columnist

It's really between Corden and Hoffman in what are so completely different performances, how can you choose who's "best"? I mean, I haven't seen either, yet (oh, god. The only one I've seen is Frank Langella. Yikes.), Corden is doing slapstick comedy and Hoffman is doing one of the most iconic characters in dramatic history. Tough call. Jones, Langella, and Lithgow seem to be here on name recognition as none have really been praised all that much. Too bad Alan Rickman's name is further down alphabetically...
Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play
Nina Arianda, Venus in Fur
Tracie Bennett, End of the Rainbow
Stockard Channing, Other Desert Cities
Linda Lavin, The Lyons
Cynthia Nixon, Wit
Like last year, this category looks to be pretty competitive. Nina gets her second Tony nom in a row in this category (She was in my group for final semester of school. She's since worked with Woody Allen and has two Tony noms and I'm typing away at this blog, Yeah...). Stockard was wonderful in Other Desert Cities. Sat in the front row, so I was close for all the action (also close to see Judith Light's bunions). I still have to see Bennett playing Judy Garland and Linda Lavin (who didn't take her Follies role to Broadway so she could be the lead in this. I bet she's happy with her choice), but I plan on before Tony night. Surprised that they remembered Master Class for Revival but not Tyne Daly here. She kinda is the play. Don't know who she would replace though. Maybe Cynthia Nixon.
Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical
Danny Burstein, Follies
Jeremy Jordan, Newsies
Steve Kazee, Once
Norm Lewis, The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess
Ron Raines, Follies
Another close race. I don't think it'll be either of the Follies guys (that show is really about the gals anyway). A couple of new stars and a veteran. If someone twisted my arm until I made a pick, I guess I'd go with Kazee.
Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical
Jan Maxwell, Follies
Audra McDonald, The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess
Cristin Milioti, Once
Kelli O'Hara, Nice Work If You Can Get It
Laura Osnes, Bonnie & Clyde
I think a lot of people were shocked that Bernadette Peters didn't make the cut in this category while Osnes in the long-closed Bonnie & Clyde did. I can't vouch for Osnes because I didn't see her show. I was busy that week. But she really seems like she's being groomed to be Broadway's next leading lady (like a Kelli O'Hara type). She just played Maria in an anniversary concert of Sound of Music at Carnegie Hall and it was announced that she's gonna be Cinderella in a Broadway revival of the Rogers and Hammerstein version. So, obviously things are going good for her. Bernie, whom I love, was no at her best in Follies. The night I saw her she could barely get through her songs. I'm all for emotion in the song, but you do actually have to be able to sing it as well. I think it's down to Maxwell and McDonald and I'm leanin' towards Jan because she's never won and she was snubbed twice in 2010 when she was a double nominee . 
Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play
Christian Borle, Peter and the Starcatcher
Michael Cumpsty, End of the Rainbow
Tom Edden, One Man, Two Guvnors
Andrew Garfield, Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman
Jeremy Shamos, Clybourne Park
After seeing Peter, my friend wondered if Christian Borle was gay. I didn't think there was any question about it after seeing him in Angels in America onstage, his role in Smash, and his hilariously flamboyant performance in this. But, then my friend said he used to be married. To a woman. And not just any woman–Sutton Foster. Which really doesn't help his case because what guy man wouldn't marry two-time Tony award winner Sutton? Oh, and he's winning this Tony. Sorry, Andrew Garfield. You can go cry on the pile of money your unnecessary Spiderman movie will make. 
Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play
Linda Emond, Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman
Spencer Kayden, Don't Dress for Dinner
Celia Keenan-Bolger, Peter and the Starcatcher
Judith Light, Other Desert Cities
Condola Rashad, Stick Fly
The biggest surprise here is that Angela Landsbury isn't nominated for The Best Man, excuse me–Gore Vidal's The Best Man (don't want to get you confused). Every time she's in a new production I rush to se her in it as who knows how long she'll be able to do 8 live shows a week? The woman is 86! But, as soon as I see her in something, it's announced she's on to another Broadway show. I can't keep up with her! She needs her own Kardashian like reality show...And she needs to take Spencer Kayden's place. Who was the best part of a really flat, unfunny show. Which isn't good in a comedic farce, y'all. Celia is more of a lead in Peter. Which means it's between Emond and Judith Light. I'm hoping for TV's Angela Bower only to see if she thanks Tony Danza in her acceptance speech.
Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical
Phillip Boykin, The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess
Michael Cerveris, Evita
David Alan Grier, The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess
Michael McGrath, Nice Work If You Can Get It
Josh Young, Jesus Christ Superstar
People are shocked that Ricky Martin didn't get nominated? Really? They do know he was just cast to sell tickets (like Uma Thurman's Rebecca Duvall on Smash!), right? Did anyone really think he would be nominated? I only know who Michael Cerveris and David Alan Grier are in this category. And Michael has already won before and the part of Peron isn't really that good. So, I'm gonna go with DAG for the win. 
Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical
Elizabeth A. Davis, Once
Jayne Houdyshell, Follies
Judy Kaye, Nice Work If You Can Get It
Jessie Mueller, On A Clear Day You Can See Forever
Da'Vine Joy Randolph, Ghost the Musical
I really need to see Once cause who the hell is the other female character? I don't recall any other females other than the lead in the film. Not even like a woman in the background that puts some money in Glen Hansard's guitar case. People really love this musical. I don't even remember Jayne Houdyshell in Follies. It'll be nice for Jessie Mueller to add "Tony Award Nominee" when she plays Cinderella in the park with Amy Adams. And the role of Oda Mae won Whoopi an Oscar, but from what I hear, Da'Vine ain't no Whoopi. Sooooo...random girl from Once! Your show has the most nominations and you deserve it!
The Tech nominees after the jump. They aren't even good enough for the actual ceremony on Broadcast TV, so why start acting like I care now...
The Tonys air LIVE on June 10th at 8:00PM EST on CBS

Best Book of a Musical
Lysistrata Jones
Nice Work If You Can Get It
Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics) Written for the Theatre
Bonnie & Clyde
One Man, Two Guvnors
Peter and the Starcatcher
Best Scenic Design of a Play
John Lee Beatty, Other Desert Cities
Daniel Ostling, Clybourne Park
Mark Thompson, One Man, Two Guvnors
Donyale Werle, Peter and the Starcatcher
Best Scenic Design of a Musical
Bob Crowley, Once
Rob Howell and Jon Driscoll, Ghost the Musical
Tobin Ost and Sven Ortel, Newsies
George Tsypin, Spider-Man Turn Off The Dark
Best Costume Design of a Play
William Ivey Long, Don't Dress for Dinner
Paul Tazewell, A Streetcar Named Desire
Mark Thompson, One Man, Two Guvnors
Paloma Young, Peter and the Starcatcher
Best Costume Design of a Musical
Gregg Barnes, Follies
ESosa, The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess
Eiko Ishioka, Spider-Man Turn Off The Dark
Martin Pakledinaz, Nice Work If You Can Get It
Best Lighting Design of a Play
Jeff Croiter, Peter and the Starcatcher
Peter Kaczorowski, The Road to Mecca
Brian MacDevitt, Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman
Kenneth Posner, Other Desert Cities
Best Lighting Design of a Musical
Christopher Akerlind, The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess
Natasha Katz, Follies
Natasha Katz, Once
Hugh Vanstone, Ghost the Musical
Best Sound Design of a Play
Paul Arditti, One Man, Two Guvnors
Scott Lehrer, Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman
Gareth Owen, End of the Rainbow
Darron L. West, Peter and the Starcatcher
Best Sound Design of a Musical
Acme Sound Partners, The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess
Clive Goodwin, Once
Kai Harada, Follies
Brian Ronan, Nice Work If You Can Get It
Best Choreography
Rob Ashford, Evita
Christopher Gattelli, Newsies
Steven Hoggett, Once
Kathleen Marshall, Nice Work If You Can Get It
Best Direction of a Play
Nicholas Hytner, One Man, Two Guvnors
Pam MacKinnon, Clybourne Park
Mike Nichols, Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman
Roger Rees and Alex Timbers, Peter and the Starcatcher
Best Direction of a Musical
Jeff Calhoun, Newsies
Kathleen Marshall, Nice Work If You Can Get It
Diane Paulus, The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess
John Tiffany, Once
Best Orchestrations
William David Brohn and Christopher Jahnke, The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess
Bill Elliott, Nice Work If You Can Get It
Martin Lowe, Once
Danny Troob, Newsies

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