Critical Confabulations

a theatre, film & pop culture review

2014 Tony Awards Predictions: Best Play Revival

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 REVIVAL OF A PLAY

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1. THE GLASS MENAGERIE

2. THE CRIPPLE OF INISHMAAN

TWELFTH NIGHT

A RAISIN IN THE SUN

Should’ve been here: Machinal

While the nominating committee could’ve stretched the nominees to five in a new rule established this year, they didn’t, presumably because no other production was close to receiving the same number of votes as the show with the fourth highest total. But that’s crazy talk: Who didn’t think Machinal was good enough to be nominated?! It might be time to reconsider our nominators.

Most intriguing here is that these are the same nominees as Best Direction of a Play meaning that none of the Best (New) Play nominees were directed by a nominated director. From which we can infer that none of those plays are great (true) and that the most interesting/best-produced plays on Broadway these days are revivals (mostly true).

That being said, there isn’t much to say here that hasn’t already been noted in my Best Direction post. I didn’t see A Raisin in the Sun, and though it received nice reviews, there isn’t any awards buzz surrounding that production. Martin McDonagh’s The Cripple of Inishmaan is also beloved by critics and audiences alike, but again, it’s just not buzzing.

Interestingly, while most pundits are predicting Tim Carroll to win Best Direction for Twelfth Night, it seems that, here, a slight edge is going to The Glass Menagerie. Yes, everyone went completely gaga for John Tiffany’s stylized concept ,and the three of the four performances are nominated — but it’s more than that. This Tennessee Williams classic not only hasn’t ever won a Tony, but it’s never been nominated for one until now, despite receiving six previous Broadway productions.

To be fair, when The Glass Menagerie premiered on Broadway in 1945, the Best Play category didn’t exist. (In 1948 the first award in that category went to Mister Roberts — clearly a memorable play — but the first Tonys ceremony was in 1947.) And the Best Play Revival category wasn’t established until 1994, which means that it’s actually only been eligible for two other productions (1995, starring Julie Harris; and 2005 starring Jessica Lange and — here’s the kicker — Christian Slater). This is all to say that it’s a big deal that it’s nominated — and it’ll be an even bigger deal when it wins. The idea of finally rewarding one of the “Great American Plays” will be too much for Tony voters to pass up, especially when it’s finally received a more than decent production.

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