a theatre, film & pop culture review
The Tony Award nominations will be announced Tuesday, April 29 at 8:30 AM ET by Jonathan Groff and Lucy Liu at the Paramount Hotel’s newly renovated Diamond Horseshoe. The announcement will air live on CBS This Morning, and will also be live streamed on TonyAwards.com. The awards ceremony itself will be held June 8, which is super-easy to remember because it’s my birthday.
So basically, it’s high time I offer my predictions of how it’s all going to go down.
We only have 12 eligible shows in this category, but still: There’s actually some decent competition here with no clear frontrunner, so there may be a surprise or two. After Midnight seems the only sure thing, which is ludicrous to me, but this nomination process is never really logical. Gent’s Guide is also pretty much a shoo-in. Throwing in Aladdin, because you know, Disney, and Bridges because I can’t live in a world where a JRB show isn’t nominated. But Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, Bullets Over Broadway or If/Then could sneak in as a spoiler.
And rule change alert: As of this year, if there are more than nine eligible nominees in any category, up to five nominees can be selected, so one of those three could just be a plain ol’ nominee without spoiling a thing.
This category isn’t as strong, which in a way makes it tougher. All the Way is a lock and Harvey Fierstein (Casa Valentina) is always a safe bet. The other two slots could be filled with the new Terrence McNally (Mothers and Sons) or the John Patrick Shanley (Outside Mullingar), but I’m going to bet that theatre/Moss Hart sentimentalists go for James Lapine’s Act One, and that the quirky underdog, Will Eno’s The Realistic Joneses, will be thrown in for good measure.
Of course, with ten eligible shows, there could be a fifth spot, and honestly, either the McNally or Shanley could get it, or even The Velocity of Autumn. It’s too close to call.
What you won’t be seeing here: A Time to Kill, Bronx Bombers or Snow Geese.
This category is all kinds of interesting, because folks were really gunning for Hedwig and Violet to be considered new musicals and thus eligible for the Best Musical category. But just because they’ve never been on Broadway doesn’t make them “new,” y’all (check your dictionary), so here they rightly are. What isn’t so just is Cabaret‘s eligibility. The production is an exact replica of the 1998 revival: same direction, choreography and design elements. How in the hell is it allowed to win this award twice?! (Don’t worry, it won’t.) Even more absurd: Why is the production eligible if the other non-acting elements are not?
Sorry, Les Misérables. The only other eligible show — that actually features original direction/design! even if it’s not good — will not make the cut.
Possible spoiler: Of Mice and Men.
Yep, if any category expands to five, it’ll be this one, and these are actually all* good productions! Seriously good! However, if the committee stubbornly sticks to four, the expressionistic, excellent and long-closed Machinal will very sadly get the boot. Cross your fingers that doesn’t happen.
And yes, Cripple has been righty determined a revival though it’s never been on Broadway and though its producers pushed for it to be considered for Best Play (where it would, undoubtedly, have won considering the general lack of competition).
What you won’t see here: Betrayal (Sorry, Mike Nichols), Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill (a “play with music”), Macbeth (the critically assailed Ethan Hawke production), No Man’s Land, Waiting for Godot, Richard III, Romeo and Juliet or The Winslow Boy.
*I haven’t seen A Raisin in the Sun, but still: I hear things.
Thankfully, the committee ruled Alan Cumming’s reprise performance in Cabaret ineligible this time around (he was not only nominated, but won for this role back in 1998), or this category would be even more difficult to predict. Even so: Andy Karl, NPH and Steven Pasquale are pretty-damn-sure things, and it’s hard to believe that the only consistently raved-about performance in Les Misérables would go unnoticed here — though Will Swenson’s Javert is also deemed lead material, which could make it a tighter squeeze for Karimloo. And though Rocky‘s had a rough time of it, most are very fond of Karl’s performance.
So my fifth prediction here is actually a vote for the underdog. Norbert the underdog? Crazy, but true. His performance in Big Fish was exceedingly-well reviewed as always, but the otherwise not-great show closed a while back, and competition is fierce. More likely choices (though my heart doesn’t want to admit it) are either one of the blokes in Gentleman’s Guide, and while I’d personally prefer Bryce Pinkham, it’ll probably go to Jefferson Mays.
Long Shots: Zachary Levi (First Date), Zach Braff (Bullets Over Broadway), Adam Jacobs (Aladdin) and — the longest of the long — Eric Anderson (Soul Doctor).
Yes, my inclusion of Michael C. Hall is crazy-town — it’ll probably go to Ian McKellen for Waiting for Godot — but you know what? He’s really great, and I think his performance is stronger than co-star Tracy Letts who is also eligible here.
Then there’s D-Rad who received a Drama Desk nom for The Cripple of Inishmaan, but I just can’t see a Tony nom here (he should’ve gotten one for H2$) — though it’s certainly a strong possibility.
Long shots: Santino Fontana (Act One), Brían F. O’Byrne (Outside Mullingar), Tony Shalhoub (Act One), Patrick Stewart (Waiting for Godot), James Franco (Of Mice and Men) and Zachary Quinto (The Glass Menagerie).
Yep, Audra could very well receive her sixth Tony for her performance as Billie Holiday, but it would be her first as the Lead Actress in a Play. Though she sings many of Holiday’s famous songs in Lady Day, the committee has deemed the show a “play with music,” thus actually upping her chances of winning (this being a weaker category than the corresponding musical category).
That being the case, four of the five nominees seem pretty sure, but the fifth is tricky: Estelle Parsons has been nominated four times, but has never won, and she’s received pretty great reviews in The Velocity of Autumn. But the play itself received mixed, and this spot could just as easily be taken by LaTanya Richardson Jackson (A Raisin in the Sun) or even Toni Collette (The Realistic Joneses).
Long shots: Marisa Tomei (The Realistic Joneses) and Debra Messing (Outside Mullingar).
This category is pretty cut and dry — and these ladies have Audra’s departure into the Play category and Marin Mazzie’s “featured” performance to thank for that.
Long shots: Kate Baldwin (Big Fish), Margo Seibert (Rocky), Krysta Rodriguez (First Date) and Mary Bridget Davies (A Night with Janis Joplin).
The featured categories are always a crapshoot. Birney, Smith and Chahidi seem like pretty good bets, but Peter Maloney (Outside Mullingar), Jim Norton (Of Mice and Men) and really any of the supporting actors in The Cripple of Inishmaan or Casa Valentina could show up here.
Honestly, beyond Iglehart, Burstein and Cordero, I’ve no idea. We could also see Anthony Rapp (If/Then), Brooks Ashmanskas (Bullets Over Broadway) or Bobby Steggert, who received a Drama Desk nom for his work in Big Fish. Even longer shots are Bill Heck in Cabaret (he’s pretty, but doesn’t sing much), Danny Mastrogiorgio in Rocky (why, I don’t know), Hunter Foster in The Bridges of Madison County (please, no) or Terence Archie as Rocky’s Apollo Creed.
Why no one is talking about these ladies in Cripple as possibilities here is beyond me, but they are brilliant. Sarah Greene, who is less effective but has the showier role, may edge them out, though.
Anika Noni Rose could easily grab the A Raisin in the Sun spot from Okonedo, and Andrea Martin (Act One) should never be discounted.
The fact that I can’t pick between the three lovely ladies in Gentleman’s Guide makes me believe that the committee will have a difficult time deciding between them as well, so Jane Carr or Lisa O’Hare could just as easily be nominated as, or instead of, Worsham. Beyond that, Gayle Rankin’s got a good shot for Cabaret, and one shouldn’t discount LaChanze (If/Then).
There are also a number of choices like Cass Morgan (The Bridges of Madison County) that could be plucked from relative obscurity within their respective ensembles. Basically, anything goes in this category.
Potential spoilers: Bill Rauch (All the Way), Kenny Leon (A Raisin in the Sun), Lyndsey Turner (Machinal), Sam Gold (The Realistic Joneses) and Anna D. Shapiro (Of Mice and Men).
Potential spoilers: Casey Nicholaw (Aladdin), Bartlett Sher (The Bridges of Madison County) and Darko Tresnjak (A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder).
I’ve no idea why Beautiful is here, as there is zero conflict in that book, but there you have it.
Potential spoiler: Brian Yorkey (If/Then).
Who you won’t see here: Alan Zachary & Michael Weiner (First Date), Andrew Lippa (Big Fish), Stephen Flaherty & Lynn Ahrens (Rocky). Ouch.
Honestly, there are no other options. If/Then‘s choreography is pretty terrible, and the committee is not going to nominate Soul Doctor for anything.
I’m too tired to think about the design categories. Readers, I’ve failed you. I apologize.
Happy Nominations Day!