Another year, another set of Tony nominations. I was surprised to note how many theatrical experiences we covered this year here at The Film Experience. As a proudly NYC based site, we have to get our theater on even if the focus is the movies. But hey, a little television and theater coverage mixed in with a whole lot of movies and Oscar gives us a fuller more rounded persona as a blog, don’t you think? I wasn’t able to watch the actual announcement this morning but my darling Sutton Foster – who is between seasons (hopefully) of the ever-more interesting Bunheads on ABC Family – announced them despite a couple of seasons off the boards now. You know I highly recommend a TV show when I’m okay with it usurping all of a beloved stage star’s time.
In some ways the Tonys are more equivalent to the Golden Globes than the Oscar in that they divvy things up between Plays and Musicals. That doesn’t quite equate to the Globes Drama vs Musical since the theatrical community often respects and embraces comedy in a way that the movie community won’t, but it’s close. So the marquee contests are BEST PLAY and BEST MUSICAL. And these are your nominees…
- The Assembled Parties (Richard Greenberg)
- Lucky Guy (Nora Ephron)
- The Testament of Mary (Colm Tóibín)
- Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike (Christopher Durang)
- Bring It On: The Musical
- A Christmas Story, The Musical
- Kinky Boots
- Matilda The Musical
But before we list all of the nominees I want to demonstrate visually, after the jump, why I find the Tony nominating system so problematic in comparison to the other awards shows.
You’ll note that there are 4 nominations in the Best Picture equivalent Tony categories rather than Oscars once-traditional 5. But the Tony system doesn’t account for how healthy any particular season is for these categories so if there are only 4 musicals produced, bingo, you’re a nominee! So look at the disparity here in this visual of what happened with the other two marquee categories BEST REVIVAL OF A PLAY and BEST REVIVAL OF A MUSICAL.
What you see in the visuals is every eligible production for each category with the non-nominees crudely crossed out. It was certainly no shame to be left out of the “Revival of a Play” category this year because your chances weren’t so great to begin with. Healthy competitors have been opening since the season began. Over in the parallel musical category, however, if you are the sole snubbee Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde wouldn’t you be a little embarrassed this morning? Shouldn’t the number of nominees adjust to the size of the competitive slate the way the Best Animated Oscar does? Fewer than the full set if it’s a sparse year?
Best Revival of a Play
- Golden Boy
- The Trip to Bountiful
- Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Best Revival of a Musical
- The Mystery of Edwin Drood
- Rodgers + Hammerstein's Cinderella
Pippin will prove impossible to beat in the Revival Musical category but I'm less sure of which Play Revival has the heat. Woolf won great reviews but it's revived often. Will it be Trip to Bountiful?
MORE NOMINATIONS IN “PLAY”
Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play
- Tom Hanks Lucky Guy
- Nathan Lane The Nance
- Tracy Letts Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
- David Hyde Pierce Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
- Tom Sturridge Orphans
One of these things is not like the other! Tom Sturridge is giving an awards-grabby performance in Orphans and the film did well at the Tony Awards despite its troubled history but it's still something of a shock to see such a young actor bump out such a Tony regular like Alan Cumming who returned to the boards with a one man Macbeth.
Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play
- Laurie Metcalf The Other Place
- Amy Morton Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
- Kristine Nielsen Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
- Holland Taylor Ann
- Cicely Tyson The Trip to Bountiful
Dancin Dan just reviewed The Trip to Bountiful for us and was mightily moved by Cicely Tyson's work. I haven't seen that one yet but I reviewed both Vanya and The Other Place and Tyson has some fierce competition in this category.
Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play
- Danny Burstein -Golden Boy
- Richard Kind -The Big Knife
- Billy Magnussen -Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
- Tony Shalhoub -Golden Boy
- Courtney B. Vance -Lucky Guy
I don't imagine he has a prayer in hell against stage vets like Burstein or an awards magnet like Shalhoub but I completely loved Billy Magnussen in Vanya and Sonia... he plays Spike, an excessively dumb exhibitionist actor. Really funny performance and works well off all the other far more cerebral characters. Review here.
Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play
- Carrie Coon -Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
- Shalita Grant -Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
- Judith Ivey -The Heiress
- Judith Light -The Assembled Parties
- Condola Rashad -The Trip to Bountiful
Best Direction of a Play
- Pam MacKinnon -Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
- Nicholas Martin -Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
- Bartlett Sher -Golden Boy
- George C. Wolfe -Lucky Guy
Best Scenic Design of a Play
- John Lee Beatty -The Nance
- Santo Loquasto -The Assembled Parties
- David Rockwell -Lucky Guy
- Michael Yeargan -Golden Boy
Best Costume Design of a Play
- Soutra Gilmour -Cyrano de Bergerac
- Ann Roth -The Nance
- Albert Wolsky The Heiress
- Catherine Zuber -Golden Boy
Best Lighting Design of a Play
- Jules Fisher & Peggy Eisenhauer -Lucky Guy
- Donald Holder -Golden Boy
- Jennifer Tipton -The Testament of Mary
- Japhy Weideman -The Nance
Best Sound Design of a Play
- John Gromada -The Trip to Bountiful
- Mel Mercier -The Testament of Mary
- Leon Rothenberg -The Nance
- Peter John Still and Marc Salzberg -Golden Boy
MORE NOMINATIONS IN "MUSICAL"
Best Book of a Musical
- A Christmas Story, The Musical (Joseph Robinette)
- Kinky Boots (Harvey Fierstein)
- Matilda The Musical (Dennis Kelly)
- Rodgers + Hammerstein's Cinderella (Douglas Carter Beane)
Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics) Written for the Theatre
- A Christmas Story, The Musical (Music and Lyrics: Benj Pasek and Justin Paul)
- Hands on a Hardbody (Music:Trey Anastasio and Amanda Green; Lyrics: Amanda Green)
- Kinky Boots (Music & Lyrics: Cyndi Lauper)
- Matilda The Musical (Music & Lyrics: Tim Minchin)
Hands on a Hardbody was a critical hit and did well in nominations but they unceremoniously dumped it for Bring It On in the big category. Wonder why?
Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical
- Bertie Carvel -Matilda The Musical
- Santino Fontana -Rodgers + Hammerstein's Cinderella
- Rob McClure -Chaplin
- Billy Porter -Kinky Boots
- Stark Sands -Kinky Boots
You may recall that Michael wrote about Chaplin here some time ago and also had high praise for Rob McClure in the title role.
Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical
- Stephanie J. Block -The Mystery of Edwin Drood
- Carolee Carmello -Scandalous
- Valisia LeKae -Motown The Musical
- Patina Miller -Pippin
- Laura Osnes -Rodgers + Hammerstein's Cinderella
Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical
- Charl Brown -Motown The Musical
- Keith Carradine -Hands on a Hardbody
- Will Chase -The Mystery of Edwin Drood
- Gabriel Ebert -Matilda The Musical
- Terrence Mann- Pippin
Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical
- Annaleigh Ashford Kinky Boots
- Victoria Clark Rodgers + Hammerstein's Cinderella
- Andrea Martin Pippin
- Keala Settle Hands on a Hardbody
- Lauren Ward Matilda The Musical
Though I felt like I'd seen a lot this year, I've only seen one of these performances. Annaleigh Ashford was just hilarious in Kinky Boots in a role that I don't even remember from the film (though I'm sure it was there) and who completely sells her big comic-lovestruck number in the first act.
Best Direction of a Musical
- Scott Ellis The Mystery of Edwin Drood
- Jerry Mitchell Kinky Boots
- Diane Paulus Pippin
- Matthew Warchus Matilda The Musical
- Andy Blankenbuehler Bring It On: The Musical
- Peter Darling Matilda The Musical
- Jerry Mitchell Kinky Boots
- Chet Walker Pippin
- Chris Nightingale Matilda The Musical
- Stephen Oremus Kinky Boots
- Ethan Popp & Bryan Crook Motown The Musical
- Danny Troob Rodgers + Hammerstein's Cinderella
Best Scenic Design of a Musical
- Rob Howell Matilda The Musical
- Anna Louizos The Mystery of Edwin Drood
- Scott Pask Pippin
- David Rockwell Kinky Boots
Best Costume Design of a Musical
- Gregg Barnes Kinky Boots
- Rob Howell Matilda The Musical
- Dominique Lemieux Pippin
- William Ivey Long Rodgers + Hammerstein's Cinderella
Best Lighting Design of a Musical
- Kenneth Posner Kinky Boots
- Kenneth Posner Pippin
- Kenneth Posner Rodgers + Hammerstein's Cinderella
- Hugh Vanstone Matilda The Musical
Someone has basically cornered this market on Broadway, eh?
Best Sound Design of a Musical
- Jonathan Deans & Garth Helm Pippin
- Peter Hylenski Motown The Musical
- John Shivers Kinky Boots
- Nevin Steinberg Rodgers + Hammerstein's Cinderella
Special Tony Award® for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre
Bernard Gersten Paul Libin Ming Cho Lee
Regional Theatre Award
Huntington Theatre Company
Isabelle Stevenson Award
Tony Honors for Excellence in the Theatre
- Career Transition For Dancers
- William Craver Peter Lawrence The Lost Colony
- The four actresses who created the title role of Matilda The Musical
I'm unclear as to why the four actresses who played Matilda weren't eligible but the Billy Elliott boys were. Hmmmm.
THOUGHTS ON THE NOMINATIONS, THEATER BUFFS?