Critical Confabulations

a theatre, film & pop culture review

2013 Tony Awards Predictions: Best Costume Design of a Play

Note: My personal rankings are listed in order from best to worst, with #1 being my favorite, while predictions for the actual winners will be in orange.

BEST COSTUME DESIGN OF A PLAY

The Nance Lyceum Theatre

1. THE NANCE
Ann Roth

2. THE HEIRESS
Albert Wolsky

GOLDEN BOY
Catherine Zuber

CYRANO DE BERGERAC
Soutra Gilmour

Should be here: Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Colleen Atwood

For once the shows I didn’t see aren’t the top contenders. This category marks Cyrano de Bergerac‘s sole nomination, as well as designer Soutra Gilmour’s first nomination and first Broadway design (she most recently costumed Off-Broadway’s whip-smart Bull). One could wonder how Cyrano made a showing here — its 17th century French dress of  capes, feathered hats and ruffled collars are rather uninspired — but then again, Tony adores a good period piece, and the older the better (the committee sure as hell wasn’t nominating Breakfast at Tiffany’s for anything even if Colleen Atwood’s costumes were gorgeous).

Golden Boy‘s 1930s ensembles consist of expertly tailored suits and vibrantly hued, beautifully structured hats, heels and dresses. This is Catherine Zuber’s eleventh nomination, and with five wins (most recently in 2010 for The Royal Family), she doesn’t exactly need another award at the moment — especially when the other two nominees are so deserving.

The Heiress is a costume drama and Albert Wolsky’s designs absolutely live up to that designation. Judith Ivey dons a pitch-black number detailed with lace and with so many ruffled layers that its constant rustling calls to mind Mammy’s red petticoats in Gone with the Wind (or maybe that’s just me). The men’s suits are striking with long, tailored jackets and perfectly paired vests and bow ties. The luscious and intricate costumes could certainly, and justifiably, earn Wolsky his first Tony.

But then there’s The Nance. Whether its the authentically tailored ’30s suits or the burlesque costumes of baby-doll nighties boasting hand-printed chests paired with gartered, seamed stockings and cowboy chaps created of cow-printed shag carpeting, Ann Roth’s dozens of costumes are all smartly period and hilariously tacky, over-the-top vaudevillian. The Heiress‘s costumes may be glorious recreations of period wear, but The Nance‘s are ingeniously original. This is the sixth nomination (including one producing nom) for Roth, who also costumed two of this season’s solo shows (I’ll Eat You Last and The Testament of Mary), and it will likely be her first win.

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