a theatre, film & pop culture review
Note: My personal rankings are listed in order from best to worst, with #1 being my favorite, while predictions for the actual winner will be in orange.
I almost refused to include Catch Me If You Can in the ranking. With only three other nominations — orchestrations, actor, sound design — it has zero business being included here, especially considering it booted out the super-fun, super- sassy smarty-pants Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson. One of the most dreadful musicals I’ve experienced in a long, long time, there is a reason Catch Me was not recognized for its book (Terrence McNally’s cheesy ’60s variety show framing device fails all around) or score (big, brassy, and uneven), and Jack O’Brien’s production did little to improve upon the source material. In fact, the cheesy (do we see a pattern here?) production values made it all just that much more painful to watch, with its Pepto-Bismol pallette of pastels, plastic-y costumes, loud-louder-loudest sound design and showgirl choreography (Jerry Mitchell, this is not Vegas, and you are not choreographing another Peep Show). Catch Me is as shallow and soulless as they come, and the only person involved who emerges with full dignity intact is the always stellar Norbert Leo Butz.
In The Scottsboro Boys, the beloved musical duo of Kander and Ebb doesn’t fail to provide their signature eye-poppin’ musical sequences cleverly peppered with social commentary and imaginatively staged by director-choreographer Susan Stroman. But the erratically structured and toned musical misses many cues thanks to bookwriter David Thompson, and so even with a its super-healthy 12 nominations it has no shot against the mega-Mormon musical…
With a staggering 14 nominations, most of which are sure to be winners, The Book of Mormon will take home this award. This irreverent work may not attempt to reinvent or subvert the musical wheel, nor is it South Park on hilarity-inducing crack. But Trey Parker, Robert Lopez and Matt Stone offer a well-made, very funny, minimally offensive, brilliantly performed, completely original Broadway musical. Already declared “God’s favorite musical,” it’s sure to be Tony’s too.