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 winners will be in orange.
A year sans contributions from Rob Ashford and Peter Darling is always a sad year in my book, but I’ll try to muster through. Casey Nicholaw‘s work in Aladdin* seems to be a fan favorite and the critics were admiring as well. Director-choreographer Susan Stroman, on the other hand, offers what seems to be a rehash of earlier work and even some ribbing from Guys and Dolls (tap dancing gangsters, anyone?) in Bullets Over Broadway. The highlight is the naughty “The Hot Dog Song,” which incorporates all the inappropriate imagery you can imagine, to very humorous effect. Beyond that, song after song calls for a seemingly constant rotation of high-kicking, bedazzled chorines — it all gets a bit tiresome after the fourth or fifth number despite the flashy energy. This is her tenth choreography nomination and would be her fifth win — but that’s unlikely to happen.
This is Kelly Devine‘s first nomination and Steven Hoggett’s second (though he should’ve been nominated for American Idiot), and his signature muscular, economical movement is seen throughout Rocky, but particularly shines during the final fantastic bout as Rocky and Apollo Creed weave and duck each other’s blows, alternating in slow-mo punches and spurts of intense pummeling, while scantily-clad ring girls strut around in stilettos holding up numbers to mark the passing of each round. Devine and Hoggett’s less-dancy (a terrible phrase, but it gets the point across) movement is striking enough for a nomination, but will unlikely yield a win.
After Midnight is essentially a song and dance revue, so if the choreography wasn’t top-notch, it’d be a waste of space on Broadway. Luckily, director-choreographer Warren Carlyle‘s spirited mix of movement is rather remarkable: There’s the dancing duel between a ostensibly double-jointed performer and his acrobatic counterpart, a strikingly elegant rendition of “I’ve Got the World on a String” that showcases red balloons with white strings to enchanting results, more than a few tap-tastic numbers, and a smattering of contemporary styles like breakdancing and hip-hop to keep the choreo fresh and relevant, even as talented ensemble croons the jazz standards. With such a focus on dancing, it’s hard to believe that any other show could win. This is Carlyle’s first nomination.