What every good little homo waits for with an excitement usually reserved for Christmas, or a shirtless shot of Henry from Ugly Betty...The Tony Awards Nominations! Why are they so exciting‽ Because, the minute they are released, we are entitled, by birth right, to get into a fabulously dramatic tizzy of angst and anger, culminating in the assertion that (1) The Tony Awards are crap (2) Theater is going to hellinahandbasket (3) Perhaps we should try a "Younger Than Springtime" theme for this year's Tony party....
So, here are the nominees for the fun categories, plus what the "tizzy" will be, and the likely winner.
August: Osage County
Rock 'n' Roll
The 39 Steps
The Tizzy: No real argument, though the 4 people who saw Is He Dead? and liked it might have some choice words.
The Winner: If you don't know then you should stop reading now. You are simply hopelessly out of the loop. But I'll give you a hint. The one with the colon will win everything.
In the Heights
The Tizzy: Cry-Baby? No one likes it. No one has seen it. There was talk that they might even close up shop during previews. And it beats out a show by Harvey Firestein directed by John Doyle (A Catered Affair)? The Tony Awards are crap, theater is going to hellinahandbasket
The Winner: In The Heights and Passing Strange both got love letters from the press. Heights seemed to be in the lead for awhile, but they must've blown their marketing budget or something because I haven't heard anything about it for awhile. These two shows are going to war.
Best Book of a Musical
Cry-Baby, Mark O'Donnell and Thomas Meehan
In the Heights, Quiara Alegria Hudes
Passing Strange, Stew
Xanadu, Douglas Carter Beane
The Tizzy: No real argument, lines up with the Best Musical Nominees. (Though Fierstein's snub is doubly felt here)
The Winner: Passing Strange. Even though it's book is not entirely traditional, Heights's maudlin book has been it's chief criticism.
Best Original Score
Cry-Baby, Music & Lyrics: David Javerbaum & Adam Schlesinger
In The Heights, Music & Lyrics: Lin-Manuel Miranda
The Little Mermaid, Music: Alan Menken and Lyrics: Howard Ashman and Glenn Slater
Passing Strange, Music: Stew and Heidi Rodewald Lyrics: Stew
The Tizzy: I'll give you a hint. It has fins. This is seriously a direct snub of both A Catered Affair, which doesn't deserve it, and Young Frankenstein which does. (Did you even notice it was missing from the previous nominations?)
The Winner: Toss up between Heights and Passing.
Best Revival of a Play
Les Liaisons Dangereueses
The Tizzy: Most people consider Top Girls, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, and Come Back Little Sheba better than Liaisons.
The Winner: McB
Best Revival of a Musical
Sunday in the Park With George
The Tizzy: That, even though there are four slots and only four eligible revivals, Grease wasn't shut out.
The Winner: Will it be the oft revived, and almost foolproof, Gypsy, or the tricky Pacific, which, on Broadway for the first time in 50 years, is the hottest ticket in town? It will get ugly, but I'm going to go ahead and pick the one with shirtless sailors.
Best Performance By a Leading Actor in a Play
Ben Daniels, Les Liaisons Dangereuses
Laurence Fishburne, Thurgood
Mark Rylance, Boeing-Boeing
Rufus Sewell, Rock 'n' Roll
Patrick Stewart, Macbeth
The Tizzy It was a loaded catergory with potential nominees. Morgan Freeman's absence is notable (as it the lack of attention for The Country Girl anywhere else on this list), same for Kevin Kline (and his Cyrano), and those 4 people who saw Is He Dead Yet? might get uppity again, but this list is pretty fair.
The Winner: Patrick Stewart
Best Performance By a Leading Actress in a Play
Eve Best, The Homecoming
Deanna Dunagan, August: Osage County
Kate Fleetwood, Macbeth
S. Epatha Merkerson, Come Back, Little Sheba
Amy Morton, August: Osage County
The Tizzy: No tizzy. They got this one right.
The Winner Toss up between the August ladies. Dunagan has the showy part, but Amy has the bigger arc and carries a 4-hour evening. My vote would go to Morton, but I don't have a vote, so, who knows?
Best Performance By a Leading Actor in a Musical
Daniel Evans, Sunday in the Park With George
Lin-Manuel Miranda, In the Heights
Stew, Passing Strange
Paulo Szot, South Pacific
Tom Wopat, A Catered Affair
The Tizzy: I'm sure Roger Bart's mother must be upset, but this is a pretty fair list. I wouldn't mind seeing Cheyenne Jackson naked...I mean, nominated, but, um....moving on
The Winner: Lin-Manuel Miranda. But if Heights ends up sweeping, Stew could take home an award so Passing doesn't have to go home empty handed. Think David Hyde Pierce in Curtains.
Best Performance By a Leading Actress in a Musical
Kerry Butler, Xanadu
Patti LuPone, Gypsy
Kelli O'Hara, South Pacific
Faith Prince, A Catered Affair
Jenna Russell, Sunday in the Park With George
The Tizzy: I love seeing Kerry Butler on this list. Others might not. But really, who else would it be?
The Winner: Catfight! Should it be newly crowned Broadway Star O'Hara, or the LegerdaryPattiLuPone? Maybe some people might take umbrage to the fact that LuPone's name is bigger than the title on the Gypsy poster. Maybe some people think Kelli O'Hara is overrated and bland. Maybe a tie?
Best Performance By a Featured Actor in a Play
Bobby Cannavale, Mauritius
Raúl Esparza, The Homecoming
Conleth Hill, The Seafarer
Jim Norton, The Seafarer
David Pittu, Is He Dead?
The Tizzy: The only thing I can think of is those 4 people who saw Is He Dead?
The Winner: No clue. Maybe Raúl will get this as a consolation prize for losing to Niles Crane last year.
Best Performance By a Featured Actress in a Play
Sinead Cusack, Rock 'n' Roll
Mary McCormack, Boeing-Boeing
Laurie Metcalf, November
Martha Plimpton, Top Girls
Rondi Reed, August: Osage County
The Tizzy: Well, you can't nominate the entire cast of Top Girls, so this is the best ya can do.
The Winner: Martha Plimpton. New York loves her.
Best Performance By a Featured Actor in a Musical
Daniel Breaker, Passing Strange
Danny Burstein, Rodgers & Hammerstein's South Pacific
Robin De Jesús, In The Heights
Christopher Fitzgerald, The New Mel Brooks Musical Young Frankenstein
Boyd Gaines, Gypsy
The Tizzy: No complaints.
The Winner: It probably should be Boyd Gaines, but he already has 3, so people might give it to Fitzgerald for being the only entertaining thing in that Mel Brooks show he was in.
Best Performance By a Featured Actress in a Musical
de'Adre Aziza, Passing Strange
Laura Benanti, Gypsy
Andrea Martin, The New Mel Brooks Musical Young Frankenstein
Olga Merediz, In The Heights
Loretta Ables Sayre, Rodgers & Hammerstein's South Pacific
The Tizzy: Where's Leslie Kritzer (A Catered Affair)? Not that it matters because...
The Winner:...Benanti has it in the bag, and deserves it. Bitch was fierce.
Best Direction of a Play
Maria Aitken, The 39 Steps
Conor McPherson, The Seafarer
Anna D. Shapiro, August: Osage County
Matthew Warchus, Boeing-Boeing
The Tizzy: I'm assuming those 4 people who saw Is He Dead? have tuned out by now.
The Winner: Dollars to donuts it's Anna D
Best Direction of a Musical
Sam Buntrock, Sunday in the Park with George
Thomas Kail, In The Heights
Arthur Laurents, Gypsy
Bartlett Sher, Rodgers & Hammerstein's South Pacific
The Tizzy: This is a weird list. 3 out of 4 nominees are for revivals, rather dismissing the director's role in shaping new work. Annie Dorsen, Passing Strange's helmer, is missing, which seems a bad omen for their chances of winning The Big One. Instead we get Arthur Laurents, who's directed his show (which he also wrote, albeit brilliantly) twice.
The Winner: Thomas Kail might win, just for working with new material, but I have a feeling they'll give it to Bartlet Sher.