It is posts like these that earn this little bloggitty-blog the name Me2ism. But here's what I thought of this years Tony Awards.
(a Hirschfeld drawing for a Angie-hosted ceremony in '96)
A friend of mine referred to the day of the Tony Awards as "Holy Day", and more than ever I found this to be true. Though Michael Reidel will no doubt spend the rest of his days at the Post bemoaning the awards' lack of integrity, for me the awards are best at presenting an opportunity for the theater community--and let's be real here, the musical theater community--to geek out. The spend hours repeating each other as we talk about the nominees, who could win, who should have been nominated, what they will perform, what they should have performed, ways in which CBS kills theater by not allowing design and writing awards on the telecast, etc. etc. etc. The awards give a sense of structure to the season, an opportunity to reflect and to pass some sort of judgement.
The telecast itself makes a much more effective yearbook than it does a barometer of what was truly excellent or fine art--which is fine. Before I moved to NYC, the Tony Awards (and perhaps a few appearances on Rosie) were my primary source of information about what the hell happened on Broadway that season--and I was the type of nerd who read every article on theatermania.com, etc. And regardless of what I think about who won what, I feel like someone watching this year would ultimately walk away with a fairly accurate sense of how things went down this season. FELA! was artsy and not really for everyone. MEMPHIS was vapid but full of energy and toothy-grinned dance steps, and features a catchy--if derivative--tune. And even though trying to present the nominated plays is always tricky, I felt like, over the course of the evening, I had a vague sense of what was going on with each of those as well (though I think a 60-90sec "trailer" for each play would be marvelously effective, if a logistical problem for nominated shows that have already closed).
And how hot was Matthew Morrison singing "All I Need Now is the Girl", which is, in my mind, the sexiest (male) song in the theater cannon?
I spent the following Monday exactly as I would like to spend every post-Tony Monday--hungover, satisfied (with a hint of cynical despair), and relieved to have the head-space back to think about the projects on my plate, instead of this ridiculous notion of the "road block".
I was never a Patti person. I never hated her, but I never worshiped her. And her obnoxious behavior during GYPSY--the way she acted so victimized that she only won 1 Tony or something--weakened my feeling about her. But after winning a copy of the recording of "Patti LuPone at Les Mouches"--thanks to Adam Rothenberg at Adaumbelle's Quest--my thoughts are changing. Obviously, I always loved her Evita and, even more, The Baker's Wife. And I would give my left nut to go back in time to see her as Rosamund in The Robber Bridegroom (opposite then boyfriend Kevin Kline). But her Les Mouches act--an act she did on 11th Ave on Saturday evenings, after finishing Evita for the week--is astounding. She is, clearly, in good voice, and at that critical level of musical excellence and borderline indulgence, without crossing hte line, as I feel she has a tendency to do nowadays. I may not be a full, card carrying, member of the Church of Patti, but I wish the Gideons would leave a copy of this CD room in hotel room nightstands. Somehow there exists some video footage of the act on youtube--filmed. Please watch, and/or KeepVid, while you can. Embedding seems to be disabled, but click on the song titles for wonderful renditions of "Meadowlark", "Rainbow High", "Don't Cry for Me Argentina"--renditions good enough to merit hearing these songs again, even if you think you can't--followed by "Look to the Rainbow" leading into "Superman"
i don't really want to change my initial, post-nomination hunches, and in the past have not even done a follow up post like this. But this year has been so interesting with so many white middle aged men being absolutely, without a doubt, positive that their conflicting choices in any given category will win. Of course, even though the night promises surprises, come Monday morning we'll probably be talking about how boring and mundane they were.
BEST PLAY On 4-May I said "It’s between Red and Next Fall. Next Fall is a “New American Play” and that alone could get it the win, as could the orgasmic reviews it got. However, people I know who saw it HATED it, and Red is probably the better work." And Now... Well, I wrote that before seeing either Red or Next Fall. And, to be honest, I had issues with both. As I posted earlier, I thought Next Fall had a lot going for it, but had a major dogmatic crater at what should have been the center of the play. Red was exquisitely executed, and I suppose makes people feel smart, but I thought it was tedious and centered on philosophy just as sophomoric as Next Fall's. But British plays (even though Red was written by an American) have a clear advantage in this category, so Red will take it.
BEST MUSICAL On 4-May I said "I’m pretty sure it’s going to be American Idiot, even if no one is really all that excited about it... Fela! has it’s supporters, but most people thought it was--though stunning--confusing, long, and ultimately boring...Million Dollar Quartet is a crowd pleaser, but not a serious contender. Memphis could actually take home top honors, simply by virtue of its pure intentions..." And Now... Though just yesterday I listened to a podcast where many of the panelists insisted Idiot is going to win, I just don't see that as an option. It's playing to half full houses and the only people who like it are stodgy, snooty, middle-aged white men who think Green Day remained relevant even after Gloria Reuben sang "I Hope You Have the Time of Your Life" on ER. (They did not.) It's between Fela! and Memphis, and I'm going to put my money on Fela!, because I HAVE to believe, as long as I can, that the theater community has at least the semblance of taste. BEST BOOK OF A MUSICAL On 4-May I said " It kinda has to be Memphis, doesn’t it. Though a win for Everyday Rapture is not out of the question, because everyone loves Sherie."
And Now... I'm going to call it for Everyday Rapture. And not just because everyone loves Sherie (and because she won't win Best Actress), but because, upon seeing it again, I realized it actually has the best writing. Novel conceit I know.
BEST SCORE On 4-May I said "Memphis [will win] for showing up."
And Now... Sigh, we have to give it to 'em.
BEST REVIVAL OF A PLAY On 4-May I said "A View from the Bridge or Fences"
And Now... At the time of the nominations, Bridge had recently ended its acclaimed run, and felt like more of a contender. Now, everything's coming up Fences.
BEST REVIVAL OF A MUSICAL On 4-May I said "La Cage. It was fresh, felt contemporary, and elevated the source material. It is what a revival should be."
And Now... What can I say? When I'm right, I'm right.
BEST PERFORMANCE BY A LEADING ACTOR IN A PLAY On 4-May I said "It’s probably between Liev and Denzel. Alfred Molina will win."
And Now... In the month that's passed, Denzel has emerged as a definitive leader in the category, even if Molina has an attache case of lesser awards.
BEST PERFORMANCE BY A LEADING ACTRESS IN A PLAY On 4-May I said "Jan Maxwell. At least, she should. Otherwise, she’ll keep getting nominated for everything she’s in until she does. It’s called the Susan Sarandon factor. Remember when she was nominated for The Client? But Maxwell could win in featured, in which case, Lavin will win."
And Now... Okay, I was wrong. It will be Viola Davis.
BEST PERFORMANCE BY A LEADING ACTOR IN A MUSICALOn 4-May I said "It’s between Hodge—who was fantastic in La Cage—and Ngaujah. If I had a vote, I would go with Hodge, but I think Ngaujah could walk away with it."
And Now... If the tide is really going to turn Fela!'s way--as I believe it must--then Ngaujah has to win. On the other hand, Hodge's performance is WHY La Cage will win best revival--for the first time, Zaza is a credible drag performer around whom an entire night club could exist. I'm going to give it to Hodge.
BEST PERFORMANCE BY A LEADING ACTRESS IN A MUSICALOn 4-May I said "Sherie. Not only is she wonderful and he show poignant and honest, but she basically threw it on Broadway in 2 weeks after Megan Mullaly pulled out of Lips Together, Teeth Apart. Kate Baldwin was the darling of the fall, and might win if Tony voters want to reward her for, you know, acting, which Sherie doesn’t exactly do, as she is playing herself."
And Now... Again, I was wrong, and it seems to be a toss up between Montego and CZJ. I'll give it to Montego who has a "local girl made good" vibe going for her, took fewer vacations in a show that has run longer, and isn't leaving the show a week after the ceremony. Besides, people are already more excited about Bernadette stepping in than they ever were about CZJ, who over sang "Send in the Clowns", even though it was specifically written to make that more or less impossible.
BEST PERFORMANCE BY A FEATURED ACTOR IN A PLAY On 4-May I said "The guy from Red won shit in London, but doesn’t this award always have to go to someone in a revival of an August Wilson play?"
And Now... Redmayne is a cutie-patoodie, but, seriously, you can't beat someone in an August Wilson play in this category. British Plays win top honors, August Wilson gets featured awards, Matthew Murray hates everything. These are constants. Stephen McKinley Henderson, FTW.
BEST PERFORMANCE BY A FEATURED ACTRESS IN A PLAYOn 4-May I said "Jessica Hecht. Unless Jan Maxwell wins this instead of Leading Actress. Really, she should win both."
And Now... This is tough. It's rare for an actor to be nominated twice in an evening and go home empty handed, but to give Maxwell a Tony for her hilarious but brief performance in a silly production doesn't seem to do justice to one of our greatest living actors. I've also been hearing a lot of hubub about Scar Jo. And, though Fences has taken the away most of its thunder, people do think fondly of the Bridge revival, and this may be the chance to recognize it. But I'm actually going to call it for Hecht.
BEST PERFORMANCE BY A FEATURED ACTOR IN A MUSICALOn 4-May I said " I personally think it should be Christopher Fitzgerald, but I actually think it will be Bobby Steggert."
And Now... I have a feeling this will be the chance to throw a bone to MDQ and honor their best impersonator actor, Levi Kreis. Fitzgerald and Steggert are both dark horses though--Fitzgerald had a role that wins awards (and was fantastic), Steggert has been working non-stop since Ragtime closed, keeping him (if not his performance) fresh in everyone's mind. But he'll lose to Kreis.
BEST PERFORMANCE BY A FEATURED ACTRESS IN A MUSICALOn 4-May I said "Angela should have the edge, because she is acting and Babs is just singing songs we’ve heard her sing before. But Angie won last year, and Babs hasn’t been up for nomination since She Loves Me or something. But Katie Finneran could walk away with the award, like the originator of her role, for providing some merciful humor in Promises, Promises."
And Now... Katie Finneran seems unstoppable.
BEST DIRECTION OF A PLAY On 4-May I said It looks like I forgot to say anything....oooops.
And Now... I'm going with Kenny Leon on this. He's done a number of artistically and fiscally successful productions in recent years, seemingly selflessly. This is the year for him to put away the bridesmaid's dress and walk down the aisle in Vera Wang.
BEST DIRECTION OF A MUSICAL On 4-May I said "Terry Johnson."
And Now... Bill T. Jones has the edge for creating the entire Fela! experience. Maybe the producers will let Terry keep La Cage's "Best Revival" Tony at his house.
BEST CHOREOGRAPHY On 4-May I said "Bill T Jones. I mean, he has to."
And Now... Some people are saying Twyla will win. She won't. No one likes her show, a lot of which is lifted verbatim from a Sinatra Suite she did years before. Bill T.
My FLORA kick continues, and since its too hot to move (even though I NEED to go to Trader Joe's STAT), I have found a bunch of other people singing "Sing Happy" (though I still prefer Ms. Bilkenstaff's, especially when she goes up on "give me a hallelujah and get up and shout"--side note, I would LOVE to see her do NEXT TO NORMAL).
Amy Wolk--she's quite engaging, and doesn't indulge at the top, which I appreciate.
A nice "Manhattan Transfer-esque" (I'm sure these groups HATE being compared to Manhattan Transfer, just as puppeteers hate being compared to Julie Taymor) ensemble at Signature in VA.
Here's a tween known only as Maggie. You know, because of all that heartache and stuff. Her voice cracks around 2m40s. It's endearing.
Kiara Sasso, from a Rio de Janeiro production of "The World Goes 'Round", in what I presume to be Portugese
A boy! With a great name (Sterns Matthews). I love the tone of his voice, and he goes up on "give me a hallelujah and get up and shout"!!!
And a bootleg recording from a very, how shall i put this, enthusiastic and ardent fan on Eden Espinosa, from when Eden did it at reprise. I guess she started the whole, going up on "give me a hallelujah and get up and shout" thing. She also added some questionable-for-the-periord-but-it-doesn't-matter-because-it's-a-concert-and-we-all-know-theater-in-LA-is-fake-anyway riffing. The video itself--which is a still of the fan and Eden plus some commentary--is amazing in its own right. Warning, the sound quality is not that great.
If you've watched all of these, I'm most impressed. I really thought I'd only have 3 or maaaaaybe 4. And there are actually videos I watched and didn't post.
Here is a clip from a 1997 Kander/Ebb documentary about the creation of FLORA. It is most notable for featuring clips of Liza singing "All I Need is One Big Break" and "Sing Happy" via the Ed Sullivan Show. (These clips used to be online via bluegobo.com, but some damned lawyer got his undies in a twist and had all Ed Sullivan clips taken down. I would understand if these clips were available for purchase, and would gladly pay to see them, but they're not so now, basically, no one can see them. Ass hole.) They recount what could be an interesting anecdote about working with Mr. Abbott, but, unfortunately, I can't understand the key phrase of the anecdote. It sounds something like "We were out of town [yada yada] and Fred had this idea the none of it cottonted(?!?!), and he believed in it." Whatever that means. Anyway, watch for the clips of young Liza. She's 19.
Although I've known about FLORA THE RED MENACE for sometime, until yesterday the only song I really know was the (pretty annoying) "Knock Knock", because it was featured on a Broadway compilation cassette(!) with a Kids! theme which we listened to on car trips for awhile. (Other songs I recall being on the cassette include "Waiting for Life to Begin", a Daisy Egan rendition of "Broadway Baby", and a track from the Constance Towers KING AND I.) Well, yesterday, I listened to the OCR for the first time. The show is mostly known for being Kander and Ebb's first Broadway show, and the show that made Liza Minelli a star (and a Tony winner). I'm actually--and blasphemously--not a huge Kander/Ebb fan. Everything sounds the same to me (vamps and kick lines), and I find their strongest work stems from them writing the same type of small-c cabaret styled songs that get meaning added to them via juxtaposition in concept musicals. But I'm not here to belittle Kander and Ebb's deserved and sizable place in music theater history. I'm really just here to show some FLORA related YouTube clips. And say that FLORA, for the most part, actually sounds different than CABARET or CHICAGO. Here's Liza singing one of her many wonderful numbers in a drastically different context...on THE MUPPET SHOW.
And here is Heidi Bilkenstaff singing "Sing Happy". Lovely.
And here is Eden Espinoza singing a song that was added for that revisal in the 90s. For some reason they put this in the place of the awesome "All I Need (Is One Good Break)", presumably moving the superior "Break" to another point in the show? This song keeps the intro from "Break" and replaces it with something that sounds like every other Kander/Ebb song, which FLORA otherwise does a good job of not doing. Sigh. I will say, I find Eden to be quite charming here and wish there were videos of her singing material from this show that I like.
Earlier this year I caught the Emmy Award Winning special RAZZLE DAZZLE, THE SPECIAL YEARS, a sweet little documentary that is more or less a guided tour through Ms. Gaynor's gaudy and fabulous televisions specials of the 60s and 70s. If you've been following, you may remember that I went on a variety-show kick over the summer (because what else is there to do when you're in Poughkeepsie with a mere 5 hours of rehearsal to ASM a day), so, naturally, the special was of particular interest. Mitzi's specials were like uber-variety shows, featuring boatloads of the gayest dancing boys in Hollywood, reams of taffeta and crinoline and sequined anything, and Ms. Gaynor's fabulous legs. I was delighted to become acquainted with this singing dancing Barbie-doll-for-gays (it's hard to believe there was any other audience for that type of entertainment), who is otherwise mostly known for playing Nellie Forbush in the unwatchable movie version of SOUTH PACIFIC.
Perhaps because of the success of this documentary, Ms. Gaynor has been touring the country (including a stop of dear ol' Muncie, IN, which was the brunt of more than a few jokes last night) with a one-woman career retrospective, "RAZZLE DAZZLE, MY LIFE BEHIND THE SEQUINS", which opened last night at Feinstein's at the Regency.
Normally a cushy venue with a paradoxical blend of luxurious space for the audience and unparalled intimacy with the performer, the folks at Feisntein's decided to put Mitzi in a converted ballroom, as opposed to their traditional cabaret venue, to all more space for her to "move", change costumes (glamorous, sparkly, Bob Mackie costumes), and show video clips (to cover the costume changes). The room was cramped, the stage and lighting rather hastily installed. But from her first entrance, in "Honey Bun" sailor drag, Ms. Gaynor was luminous, gracious, bawdy, and an overall delight. Though she did a fair amount of singing (especially for a 78 year old who isn't Barbara Cook), she spent just as much time regaling us with stories from her charmed career. Despite the fact that her life has been seemingly devoid of any conflict or despair (the worst thing that happened to her was having a contract terminated), she made a compelling and hilarious evening from anecdotes about her famous friends--Howard Hughes, Ethel Merman--and subjects as potentially mundane as "getting dressed to go to the Duke of Windsor's birthday party". So charming was Ms. Gaynor that her weak singing was not only forgivable, but endearing. (I am not so forgiving about the horribly cheap synthesizer--had I access to it from my seat I would have unplugged it before he could finish the opening number).
I had heard mixed things about NEXT FALL. Brantley, who seems awfully arbitrary in his taste this year, acted like he had seen the best American play since DEATH OF A SALESMAN. Friends responses ranged from "it's hysterical" to the more ambivalent "I liked it" to the vitriolic "I was offended".
Just from reading the press materials, I admit I was not particularly intrigued, and probably would not have gone out of my way to see it if I had to pay full price, or even more than $30. The central question "Can a devout Christian and an Atheist get along [if they're gay and dating and stuff, oh, and one's 15 years older than the other one]?" didn't interest me all that much. "Yes", would be my answer. End of play. This is 2010, and unless someone is a crazy, Westboro Baptist style, fundamentalist, most people of faith learn how to live lives of faith in manner harmonious with a mostly secular society.
And Luke, the central character of NEXT FALL, seems to fall in the more reasonable, latter, category. So his atheist boyfriend's 4 year long inability to understand his boyfriend's faith never seemed convincing to me. Most of the theology of the first act consisted of Adam being unable to comprehend the Christian idea that accepting Jesus into your heart, and not good deeds, is the secret of getting into Heaven--that Matthew Shepard would go to hell (if he did not have Jesus in his heart), but his killers could repent and go to heaven. I agree, that is some major bullshit--if you believe in the Christian notion of a heaven and hell in the first place. If Luke's thoughts about the afterlife affected his behavior towards those outside of his faith, I would buy that as an issue. But it doesn't. Luke, in fact, never brings it up unless goaded by Adam, whose arguments are awfully sophomoric for the educated 40+ year old writer/teacher we're supposed to believe he is.
In the second act this "conflict" begins to show some signs of relevance as issues such as Luke's inner conflict with being gay and Christian, or Luke's inability of offer any solace in a time of loss that is not tinged in his faith are put on the table. These issues affect behavior and are thus at least dramatically credible, but only lightly touched upon.
What made these dogmatic issues most frustrating to me was the fact that I think NEXT FALL is an otherwise excellent play--well paced, funny, and surprising with characters I genuinely cared for. The execution was also top drawer--well directed, well designed, slick and professional and engaging throughout. As long as the characters were talking about something else--ANYTHING else, candles even--other than the heart of the play. I would, in fact, recommend you see it before it's inevitable closing. Even the annoying Jesus-talk scenes flow by rather painlessly, and if you aren't prone to talking or thinking about theater after seeing it, you might not even be annoyed by them.
Also, am I the only one who remembers The Torkelsons? Because the mom on that, Connie May, is fabulous as Luke's mom.
Okay Kids, here we go. This was a weird year for Broadway. WEIRD. Let's look at how everything is going down. As is "tradition" I will list the nominees, describe the "tizzy" (i.e. what the queens on ALL THAT CHAT are furious about), and make some preliminary guesses as to who will win.
In the Next Room or the Vibrator Play Author: Sarah Ruhl
Next Fall Author: Geoffrey Nauffts
Red Author: John Logan
Time Stands Still Author: Donald Margulies
THE TIZZY:Superior Donuts, Race, and Enron were all shut out. The first was well received, but shuttered quickly, the 2nd was not well received, but has done solid business and is still running, the 3rd is reviled by many for its perceived anti-Americanism. I’m somewhat surprised to see Time Stands Still on the list, mostly because I forgot it happened, and sort of thought it was a revival even though it clearly wasn’t. Oh, and Martin McDonough’s first direct-to-Broadway play, A Behanding in Spokane, was snubbed.
WHO WILL WIN: It’s between Red and Next Fall. Next Fall is a “New American Play” and that alone could get it the win, as could the orgasmic reviews it got. However, people I know who saw it HATED it, and Red is probably the better work. And, as Reasons to be Pretty can attest, Tony voters never actually vote American because everyone assumes only British people can make plays. Unless it’s Enron.
Million Dollar Quartet
THE TIZZY:Come Fly Away is not on the list, Million Dollar Quartet is. Some probably thought Everyday Rapture would make it on the list, but I was dubious. In general, Off-Broadway was the place for musical theater this year, and this is a sad lot of nominees with Memphis, which I simply did not enjoy, being the only musical in which a couple of writers sat down, created characters and a story, and then wrote songs for them to sing.
WHO WILL WIN:I’m pretty sure it’s going to be American Idiot, even if no one is really all that excited about it, and Mayer was snubbed in the director category. Fela! has it’s supporters, but most people thought it was--though stunning--confusing, long, and ultimately boring. But what it has going for it—amazing choreography and a unique “experience”—could be enough in this dud of a season. Million Dollar Quartet is a crowd pleaser, but not a serious contender. Memphis could actually take home top honors, simply by virtue of its pure intentions, and because it’s been running since the fall and building some kind of an audience for itself.
Best Book of a Musical
Everyday Rapture Dick Scanlan and Sherie Rene Scott
Fela! Jim Lewis & Bill T. Jones
Memphis Joe DiPietro
Million Dollar Quartet Colin Escott and Floyd Mutrux
THE TIZZY:Adams Family, the only new book musical of the season was not nominated. Probably because of that “everyone hates it” thing. But you’d be hard pressed to show me what kind of book Fela! has. Basically, there’s Memphis and filler. And, as I said before, I didn’t like Memphis.
WHO WILL WIN: It kinda has to be Memphis, doesn’t it. Though a win for Everyday Rapture is not out of the question, because everyone loves Sherie.
Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics) Written for the Theatre
The Addams Family Music & Lyrics: Andrew Lippa
Enron Music: Adam Cork, Lyrics: Lucy Prebble
Fences Music: Branford Marsalis
Memphis Music: David Bryan, Lyrics: Joe DiPietro, David Bryan
THE TIZZY: 2 plays are nominated in this category, because Broadway musicals sucked so hard this season.
WHO WILL WIN:Memphis, again, for showing up.
Best Revival of a Play
Lend Me a Tenor
The Royal Family
A View from the Bridge
THE TIZZY: That Jude Law Hamlet was overlooked, but, for the most part, these are the revivals people were talking about. Well, these and Brighton Beach Memoirs, which was ineligible because of its short run, but deserved to win.
WHO WILL WIN:A View from the Bridge or Fences.
Best Revival of a Musical
La Cage aux Folles
A Little Night Music
THE TIZZY:Promises, Promises was snubbed in favor of the Ragtime revival (which I loved, but many thought was a week regional production).
WHO WILL WIN: La Cage. It was fresh, felt contemporary, and elevated the source material. It is what a revival should be.
Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Play
Jude Law Hamlet
Alfred Molina Red
Liev Schreiber A View from the Bridge
Christopher Walken A Behanding in Spokane
Denzel Washington Fences
THE TIZZY: All of these nominees are already-famous movie stars. And I’m sure they all deserve their nominations, but it’s not really celebrating and honoring the theater community—I expect this same bunch to be in competition for an Oscar somewhere down the line.
WHO WILL WIN: It’s probably between Liev and Denzel. Alfred Molina will win.
Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play
Viola Davis Fences
Valerie Harper Looped
Linda Lavin Collected Stories
Laura Linney Time Stands Still
Jan Maxwell The Royal Family
THE TIZZY: So…there are apparently no roles for women this year, with Linney getting nominated more or less by default (and for being famous). At first I thought Tovah Feldshuh was snubbed, then I realized she wasn’t in anything this season.
WHO WILL WIN: Jan Maxwell. At least, she should. Otherwise, she’ll keep getting nominated for everything she’s in until she does. It’s called the Susan Sarandon factor. Remember when she was nominated for The Client? But Maxwell could win in featured, in which case, Lavin will win.
Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical
Kelsey Grammer La Cage aux Folles
Sean Hayes Promises, Promises
Douglas Hodge La Cage aux Folles
Chad Kimball Memphis
Sahr Ngaujah Fela!
THE TIZZY: Kelsey Grammer couldn’t really sing the role when I saw it (though I imagine anyone would sound flat singing “Look Over There”). John Gallagher Jr. was snubbed. As was the guy in A Little Night Music.
WHO WILL WIN: It’s between Hodge—who was fantastic in La Cage—and Ngaujah. If I had a vote, I would go with Hodge, but I think Ngaujah could walk away with it. Only catch—he only does about half the shows a week. Many Tony voters probably saw the understudy and doubtfully want to sit through the show again.
Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical
Kate Baldwin Finian's Rainbow
Sherie Rene Scott Everyday Rapture
Montego Glover Memphis
Christiane Noll Ragtime
Catherine Zeta-Jones A Little Night Music
THE TIZZY: Christiane Noll was nominted. Kristen Chenoweth was not.
WHO WILL WIN: Sherie. Not only is she wonderful and he show poignant and honest, but she basically threw it on Broadway in 2 weeks after Megan Mullaly pulled out of Lips Together, Teeth Apart. Kate Baldwin was the darling of the fall, and might win if Tony voters want to reward her for, you know, acting, which Sherie doesn’t exactly do, as she is playing herself.
Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Play
David Alan Grier Race
Stephen McKinley Henderson Fences
Jon Michael Hill Superior Donuts
Stephen Kunken Enron
Eddie Redmayne Red
THE TIZZY: Maybe someone expected Tony Shaloub to get a nomination for Lend Me a Tenor? And no one from Next Fall was nominated. Otherwise, this category looks like a dumping ground for token nominations for otherwise overlooked plays.
WHO WILL WIN: The guy from Red won shit in London, but doesn’t this award always have to go to someone in a revival of an August Wilson play?
Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Play
Maria Dizzia In the Next Room or the Vibrator Play
Rosemary Harris The Royal Family
Jessica Hecht A View from the Bridge
Scarlett Johansson A View from the Bridge
Jan Maxwell Lend Me a Tenor
THE TIZZY: Um, Maria Dizzia? She was good, don’t get me wrong, but to be the only recognized performance from that show…that seems odd. Also, this is randomly the most fiercely competitive category of the season.
WHO WILL WIN: Jessica Hecht. Unless Jan Maxwell wins this instead of Leading Actress. Really, she should win both.
Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical
Kevin Chamberlin The Addams Family
Robin De Jesús La Cage aux Folles
Christopher Fitzgerald Finian's Rainbow
Levi Kreis Million Dollar Quartet
Bobby Steggert Ragtime
THE TIZZY: Actually, this seems about right. Maybe someone expected Euan Morton to get nominated, but I did not.
WHO WILL WIN: I personally think it should be Christopher Fitzgerald, but I actually think it will be Bobby Steggert.
Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical
Barbara Cook Sondheim on Sondheim
Katie Finneran Promises, Promises
Angela Lansbury A Little Night Music
Karine Plantadit Come Fly Away
Lillias White Fela!
THE TIZZY: Old lady catfight!
WHO WILL WIN: Angela should have the edge, because she is acting and Babs is just singing songs we’ve heard her sing before. But Angie won last year, and Babs hasn’t been up for nomination since She Loves Me or something. But Katie Finneran could walk away with the award, like the originator of her role, for providing some merciful humor in Promises, Promises.
Best Direction of a Play
Michael Grandage Red
Sheryl Kaller Next Fall
Kenny Leon Fences
Gregory Mosher A View from the Bridge
THE TIZZY: I actually don’t think there are any major upsets here. Well, perhaps people thought Rupert Good would get a nom for Enron.
Best Direction of a Musical
Christopher Ashley Memphis
Marcia Milgrom Dodge Ragtime
Terry Johnson La Cage aux Folles
Bill T. Jones Fela!
THE TIZZY: Marcia Milgrom Dodge’s nomination is probably getting a lot of WTFs. Also, Michael Mayer—who is, ostensibly the only reason American Idiot is a show in the first place—was overlooked, which actually does not bode well for its chances of winning.
WHO WILL WIN: Terry Johnson.
Rob Ashford Promises, Promises
Bill T. Jones Fela!
Lynne Page La Cage aux Folles
Twyla Tharp Come Fly Away
THE TIZZY: Oh, that’s where Promises, Promises and Come Fly Away has been hiding.
WHO WILL WIN: Bill T Jones. I mean, he has to.
Jason Carr La Cage aux Folles
Aaron Johnson Fela!
Jonathan Tunick Promises, Promises
Daryl Waters & David Bryan Memphis
Below are the rest of the nominations, which I will not comment on. I will say that I am so excited for The Eugene O’Neill Theater Center, where I had the pleasure of working the past 2 summers, and its well deserved Tony Award for Best Regional Theater.
Best Scenic Design of a Play
John Lee Beatty The Royal Family
Alexander Dodge Present Laughter
Santo Loquasto Fences
Christopher Oram Red
Best Scenic Design of a Musical
Marina Draghici Fela!
Christine Jones American Idiot
Derek McLane Ragtime
Tim Shortall La Cage aux Folles
Best Costume Design of a Play
Martin Pakledinaz Lend Me a Tenor
Constanza Romero Fences
David Zinn In the Next Room or the Vibrator Play
Catherine Zuber The Royal Family
Best Costume Design of a Musical
Marina Draghici Fela!
Santo Loquasto Ragtime
Paul Tazewell Memphis
Matthew Wright La Cage aux Folles
Best Lighting Design of a Play
Neil Austin Hamlet
Neil Austin Red
Mark Henderson Enron
Brian MacDevitt Fences
Best Lighting Design of a Musical
Kevin Adams American Idiot
Donald Holder Ragtime
Nick Richings La Cage aux Folles
Robert Wierzel Fela!
Best Sound Design of a Play
Acme Sound Partners Fences
Adam Cork Enron
Adam Cork Red
Scott Lehrer A View from the Bridge
Best Sound Design of a Musical
Jonathan Deans La Cage aux Folles
Robert Kaplowitz Fela!
Dan Moses Schreier and Gareth Owen A Little Night Music
Dan Moses Schreier Sondheim on Sondheim
Special Tony Award® for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre
Regional Theatre Tony Award®
The Eugene O'Neill Theater Center, Waterford, Connecticut
...you know you aren't going back to sleep--what if you sleep THROUGH the Tony Nominations? So you turn to Facebook, and see that your friend posted a video from a concert she sang in, and you obsess and share it with your "readership".