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Tony Award Noms 2014: Much Movie-to-Stage Madness

The Tony Award Nominations are upon us. 8:30 AM is, I think, officially my favorite time each day. It's always when award nominations for anything are announced. Plus I've already had a cup of coffee, am wide awake and have usually already written something. The curse of the Early Riser. The 2013/2014 Broadway season  -- at least for the musicals -- was completely dominated by movie-to-stage transfers or classics that have become movies and are back on the stage again but most of the transfers didn't fare as well as you might have expected.

Ever adorable Jonathan Groff and Lucy Liu announced the nominees this morning with A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder leading the tally and Hedwig and the Angry Inch close behind. A complete list with commentary follows

For the first time in the complete history of my NYC life I have seen literally NOT ONE nominee. The only nominated show I attended was The Velocity of Autumn but since I got Estelle Parson's understudy that night, and she was the show's only nominee I have seen zilch. It's strange how that goes. Some year's I've seen the vast majority of nominees (at least in the musical categories) but this year zippo. 

Best Play


  • Act One Author:  James Lapine 
  • All The Way Author:  Robert Schenkkan 
  • Casa Valentina Author:  Harvey Fierstein
  • Mothers and Sons Author:  Terrence McNally
  • Outside Mullingar Author:  John Patrick Shanley


Lots of familiar names competing for this prize. Harvey Fierstein is of course a major legend in showbiz and one of my friends thought Casa Valentina set in the 1960s and about straight cross-dressers and a drag resort in the Catskills was fascinating. I'm eager to see it.

John Patrick Shanley is already an Oscar winning screenwriter (Moonstruck) and Terrence McNally is a multiple Tony winner of Love! Valour! Compassion! and Master Class fame. Supposedly Faye Dunaway is making a movie of Master Class for 2015 but I'll believe that when I see it. 

Best Musical

  • After Midnight
  • Aladdin
  • Beautiful - The Carole King Musical
  • A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder 

If they hadn't opted for Aladdin here none of the major movie-to-musical adaptations would have had this marquee category to brag about. It's basically your "Best Picture" equivalent because winning it means more than winning any other Tony in terms of marketing pull. They went with jukebox (Beautiful) and musical revues (After Midnight) instead of things like Rocky, Bullets Over Broadway or Bridges of Madison County...  

But there is no way anything is losing to A Gentleman's Guide which is the nomination leader by a significant margin.

Best Revival of a Play

  • The Cripple of Inishmaan
  • The Glass Menagerie
  • A Raisin in the Sun
  • Twelfth Night 

Cherry Jones, Brian J Smith, and Zachary Quinto in The Glass Menagerie

Based solely on the amount of people I heard raving about it all over town, I'd imagine that The Glass Menagerie is the one to beat. I can't figure why I didn't see it since Tennessee Williams is my favorite playwright of all time (though it's never been my favorite of his works) but again... I was theatrically slacking this year.

Also can we please stop reviving A Raisin in the Sun every other year?

Best Revival of a Musical

  • Hedwig and the Angry Inch
  • Les Misérables
  • Violet

Since the original Hedwig never made it to the main stage they theoretically could have ruled to put this in the Best Musical category but it's the right call. When an Off Broadway musical is that much of a sensation in its original run (it was easily one of my top three theatergoing experiences of my entire NYC life) you shouldn't pretend it's "new". Hedwig is sold out for its entire limited run so I probably won't be able to see it but since I saw the original twice, I can't complain too much. I will, however, obviously see Violet soon because Sutton Foster! 

Also can we please stop reviving Les Miz every other year?

Best Book of a Musical

  • Aladdin Chad Beguelin
  • Beautiful - The Carole King Musical Douglas McGrath
  • Bullets Over Broadway Woody Allen
  • A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder Robert L. Freedman

Interesting to see both Douglas McGrath AND Woody Allen nominated for different shows in the same category since they co-wrote the classic film comedy Bullets Over Broadway (1994) together and shared an Oscar nomination. (One of Woody's rare shared writing credits).

Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics) Written for the Theatre

  • Aladdin Music: Alan Menken  Lyrics: Howard Ashman, Tim Rice and Chad Beguelin
  • The Bridges of Madison County Music & Lyrics: Jason Robert Brown
  • A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder Music: Steven Lutvak  Lyrics: Robert L. Freedman & Steven Lutvak
  • If/Then Music: Tom Kitt  Lyrics: Brian Yorkey

If Gentlemen's Guide didn't look like such a steamroller this would be an exciting category because I can't imagine them giving Aladdin's score the Tony. How many songs did they add to make it "original" enough to qualify to be here or is the Tony committee just lazily deferring to Disney's influence?

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play

  • Samuel Barnett, Twelfth Night
  • Bryan Cranston, All The Way
  • Chris O'Dowd, Of Mice and Men
  • Mark Rylance, Richard III
  • Tony Shalhoub, Act One

 The great Mark Rylance again. He's always nominated. But since the entire world loves Bryan Cranston and Tony Shalhoub tends to be an awards magnet, who knows...

NOTABLE OMISSIONS: Patrick Stewart and Sir Ian McKellen in Waiting For Godot

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play

  • Tyne Daly, Mothers and Sons
  • LaTanya Richardson Jackson, A Raisin in the Sun
  • Cherry Jones, The Glass Menagerie
  • Audra McDonald, Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill
  • Estelle Parsons, The Velocity of Autumn

Yes, I'm desperate to see all of these. Since Velocity only got this one nod I can't imagine it won't post a closing notice now. (This week is a nightmare of "closing notices" each year in the wake of Tony dreams turning to nightmares). Audra McDonald already has five Tonys but she's supposedly beyond brilliant as Billie Holliday in Lady Day. That's easy to believe if you've ever seen her performance so can we please get her a plum movie musical role? How about just transferring this. (Oscar loves a bio=). But Daly is an awards magnet, Cherry Jones is a legend and I'm sure Parsons would like a Tony to go with her Oscar. Plus, each of the thousands of A Raisin in the Sun revivals win something so this is a potentially very exciting category.

NOTABLE OMISSIONS: Rebecca Hall in Machinal

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical

  • Neil Patrick Harris, Hedwig and the Angry Inch
  • Ramin Karimloo, Les Misérables
  • Andy Karl, Rocky
  • Jefferson Mays, A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder
  • Bryce Pinkham, A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder

I don't know who to believe about Rocky. I hear both so good and ugh comments. FWIW Karimloo is playing Jean Valjean because Les Miz didn't have enough awards play already all over the place since the 80s. Obviously NPH is the one to beat and probably wants a Tony to go with his Emmy. 

NOTABLE OMISSIONS: Steven Pasquale (Bridges of Madison County), Norbert Leo Butz (Big Fish)

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical

  • Mary Bridget Davies, A Night with Janis Joplin
  • Sutton Foster, Violet
  • Idina Menzel, If/Then
  • Jessie Mueller, Beautiful - The Carole King Musical
  • Kelli O'Hara, The Bridges of Madison County

 Interesting that two of the nominees are starring in jukebox musicals as famous singers. Interesting or boring considering that there's a third over in Actress in a Play with Audra McDonald. But this category is quite glamorous considering the Foster / O'Hara / Menzel triple play.

NOTABLE OMISSIONS: Marin Mazzie in Bullets and Michelle Williams in Cabaret, both playing roles that won Oscars on film

Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play

  • Reed Birney, Casa Valentina
  • Paul Chahidi, Twelfth Night
  • Stephen Fry, Twelfth Night
  • Mark Rylance, Twelfth Night
  • Brian J. Smith, The Glass Menagerie

Twelfth Night pulled a Godfather here and totally hogged Supporting Actor.  

Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play

Sophie Okonedo, Denzel Washington and Anika Noni Rose in "A Raisin in the Sun"

  • Sarah Greene, The Cripple of Inishmaan
  • Celia Keenan-Bolger, The Glass Menagerie
  • Sophie Okonedo, A Raisin in the Sun
  • Anika Noni Rose, A Raisin in the Sun
  • Mare Winningham, Casa Valentina

Shout out to Sophie from the podcast gang here at TFE. But I am a nut for Anika Noni Rose and Mare Winningham (on stage or screen) so I have to root for them since I have seen none of the performances.  

NOTABLE OMISSION: Andrea Martin in Act One

Jarrod in "Beautiful"Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical

  • Danny Burstein, Cabaret
  • Nick Cordero, Bullets Over Broadway
  • Joshua Henry, Violet
  • James Monroe Iglehart, Aladdin
  • Jarrod Spector, Beautiful - The Carole King Musical

Burstein is a pretty great performer (he was amazing in Follies recently) and he's playing Herr Schultz but the Tony nominating committee didn't seem all that excited about this revival of Cabaret (too soon? though that never stops them with Les Miz or Raisin in the Sun).

FWIW Iglehart plays the Genie in Aladdin and Cordero plays the Chazz Palminterri (Oscar nominated) role in Bullets Over Broadway. I don't know much about any of these actors though.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical

  • Linda Emond, Cabaret
  • Lena Hall, Hedwig and the Angry Inch
  • Anika Larsen, Beautiful - The Carole King Musical
  • Adriane Lenox, After Midnight
  • Lauren Worsham, A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder

Bullets Over Broadway's reviews are mixed which could account for now showing here. But that's got to smart a little since the film version managed two supporting actress nominations. For those who haven't seen Cabaret on stage there are several noticeable differences: One, Sally Bowles is a bit less of a leading lady -- it's more of an ensemble piece and the landlady, played by Emond, who have very little to do in the movie has a more substantial role on stage.

Trivia: Adriane Lenox played the Viola Davis part in the original stage version of Doubt and was a-maz-ing.

Best Scenic Design of a Play

  • Beowulf Boritt, Act One
  • Bob Crowley, The Glass Menagerie
  • Es Devlin, Machinal
  • Christopher Oram, The Cripple of Inishmaan

Best Scenic Design of a Musical

  • Christopher Barreca, Rocky
  • Julian Crouch, Hedwig and the Angry Inch
  • Alexander Dodge, A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder
  • Santo Loquasto, Bullets Over Broadway

 You may recall that Santo Loquasto was Oscar nominated for his art direction of the film version of Bullets so here's another.

Best Costume Design of a Play

  • Jane Greenwood, Act One
  • Michael Krass, Machinal
  • Rita Ryack, Casa Valentina
  • Jenny Tiramani, Twelfth Night

Drag plays and musicals always have easy hooks to praise in Costume Design. Rita Ryack was once Oscar nominated for costumes (How the Grinch Stole Christmas) but she hasn't been doing much film work this past decade.  

Best Costume Design of a Musical

  • Linda Cho, A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder
  • William Ivey Long, Bullets Over Broadway
  • Arianne Phillips, Hedwig and the Angry Inch
  • Isabel Toledo, After Midnight

Arianne Phillips -- you know I am a super fan!  

Best Lighting Design of a Play

  • Paule Constable, The Cripple of Inishmaan
  • Jane Cox, Machinal
  • Natasha Katz, The Glass Menagerie
  • Japhy Weideman, Of Mice and Men

Best Lighting Design of a Musical

  • Kevin Adams, Hedwig and the Angry Inch
  • Christopher Akerlind, Rocky
  • Howell Binkley, After Midnight
  • Donald Holder, The Bridges of Madison County

Best Sound Design of a Play

  • Alex Baranowski, The Cripple of Inishmaan
  • Steve Canyon Kennedy, Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill
  • Dan Moses Schreier, Act One
  • Matt Tierney, Machinal

Best Sound Design of a Musical

  • Peter Hylenski, After Midnight
  • Tim O'Heir, Hedwig and the Angry Inch
  • Mick Potter, Les Misérables
  • Brian Ronan, Beautiful - The Carole King Musical

Best Direction of a Play

  • Tim Carroll, Twelfth Night
  • Michael Grandage, The Cripple of Inishmaan
  • Kenny Leon, A Raisin in the Sun
  • John Tiffany, The Glass Menagerie

Best Direction of a Musical 

  • Warren Carlyle, After Midnight
  • Michael Mayer, Hedwig and the Angry Inch
  • Leigh Silverman, Violet
  • Darko Tresnjak, A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder

Best Choreography

  • Warren Carlyle, After Midnight
  • Steven Hoggett & Kelly Devine, Rocky
  • Casey Nicholaw, Aladdin
  • Susan Stroman, Bullets Over Broadway

Best Orchestrations 

  • Doug Besterman, Bullets Over Broadway
  • Jason Robert Brown, The Bridges of Madison County
  • Steve Sidwell, Beautiful - The Carole King Musical
  • Jonathan Tunick, A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder

Recipients of Awards and Honors in Non-competitive Categories

Lifetime Achievement Jane Greenwood
Regional Theatre Award Signature Theatre, New York, N.Y.
Isabelle Stevenson Award Rosie O’Donnell
Tony Honors for Excellence in the Theatre Joseph P. Benincasa, Joan Marcus Charlotte Wilcox


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Reader Comments (32)

If Sophie Okonedo gets nominated, please get Nick's reaction!

April 29, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterCarmen Sandiego

Carmen -- SHE WAS!

April 29, 2014 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Michelle *cries*

April 29, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJohn

Yes, I echo Carmen-I need Nick's thoughts on Sophie making it.

Random thoughts from this list...

-Between Kelli O'Hara, Estelle Parsons, Linda Emond, and Celia Keenan-Bolger, is this the "you're overdue" Tony Awards?
-I'm stunned both McKellen AND Stewart missed
-Mark Rylance is the Daniel Day-Lewis of Broadway
-Brian J. Smith is so pretty
-Chris O'Dowd is the Tom Sturridge of 2014
-It wouldn't be the Tony Awards without Scott Rudin or Susan Stroman

April 29, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJohn T

YES! #teamokonedo

This is amazing, you guys! It's the Okonedo comeback! Now she's only an EGOT away from having an EGOT!

April 29, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterCarmen Sandiego

Jane Greenwood totally deserves her Lifetime Achievement Award.

The repetition of the same names year after year is quite discouraging. The lack of young new playwrights is something we must worry about. Where are they? Working at HBO?

April 29, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

It's not even a matter of Violet and Hedwig never playing Broadway before. They were HUGE musicals in the 90s in the off-Broadway scene and both took home a ton of awards in the off-Broadway and Broadway/off-Broadway ceremonies. They performed all over the country (Hedwig, all over the world) and are known commodities. They were never even going to submit for Musical rather than Revival because they're so well-known.

I'm very happy that Rylance got in for Richard III, which is something I've said since I saw him in that role. Everyone was like, "Twelfth Night only" and I kept thinking that was insane. You don't give a performance that powerful as a Shakespeare king and not get the nomination.

And congrats to Mary Bridget Davies for being nominated for A Night with Janis Joplin. That has to be some consolation for the colossal cock up of a Broadway to off-Broadway transfer spearheaded by one of the producers of Spider-Man and two people who never produced live theater before. There's an amazing piece in the New York Times on how the transfer was shut down three days before it opened and what it actually meant to the actors and theater professionals who were lied to about the guarantee of the transfer.

April 29, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRobert G

I didn't see any of the nominees. Not one! But I did see Waiting for Godot and I'm really surprised it didn't get ANYTHING. McKellan and Stewart were both great, as was the production overall. Guess I need to see some of the other nominees so I can see what I've been missing.

April 29, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRoark

Carmen's comment for the win. #OkonedoMadness

April 29, 2014 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

What us the reference to Michelle *cries* ?

April 29, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMe

A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder is fucking delightful. Go see it people!

April 29, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDominique

What world is this that I have seen more nominees than Nathaniel? I AM SO CONFUSED, SOMEBODY HOLD ME. ;)

All I've seen are Hedwig and Richard III, but I walked out of both screaming TONY.

April 29, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJA

Jason -- it's a very sad world in which i never have any money and my friend who often drags me to shows if he can find discounts only really loves off broadway stuff

April 29, 2014 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

what's with zachary quinto being the sole member of MENAGERIE not nominated?! he was just as great as the rest of the cast!

although it wasn't a great day for name stars getting nominations. just a sample of non-nominees: ian mckellen, patrick stewart, daniel radcliffe, michelle williams, toni collette, marisa tomei, denzel washington, debra messing...

April 29, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterabstew

This Glass Menagrie production was amazing. The best scene was "the gentleman caller" and Keenan-Bolger and Smith were so great in it. I thought that this particular production was Tom's story so I'm surprised that Quinto missed out.

I know Cherrie Jones is revered but this was the weakest link. The accent and enunciation was too affected, and she gestured way too much ... hands flailing all around like she was directing traffic. Haven't seen her competition but that perf is not best by any means.

April 29, 2014 | Unregistered Commentermurtada

Robert G. -- I was recently in a production of "Violet" at the Ford's Theatre in D.C. and had that same debate with one of my fellow actors regarding whether or not it should be considered new or a revival. For the record, my position was the same as yours. Any show which has had that much of a life, irrespective of whether or not it's ever been on Broadway before, should not be viewed as anything new.

This is the second consecutive year that I haven't seen a single production nominated (sigh), but I am happy for quite a few of the nominees because I've loved them in other things (Okenedo, Rose, Joshua Henry, James Monroe Iglehart). I've heard very few positive things about "If/Then" even when it ran here at the Kennedy Center, yet Idina is having a big Hollywood crossover moment, so those nods were to be expected.

April 29, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterTroy H.

You wrote 'Patrick Stewart and Sir Ian McKellen'. But Patrick Stewart is a 'Sir', too! He feels left out!

April 29, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterBenji

Wouldn't those unexpected acting nods make "Twelfth Night" the revival frontrunner? "GM" missed out on Zachary Quinto (shameful).

Don't forget that John Patrick Shanley is also a Tony winner for "Doubt." I really think he could EGOT at some point in his career. He's a writer who's won the hard ones. Adapt practically anything to television and involve himself in some theatre or spoken word recording, and presto, EGOT winner!

All of those huge acting snubs! Radcliffe, Mazzie, DENZEL, Quinto, Collette, Williams, McKellen, Stewart, Weisz, Tomei, etc. Oh well, better luck next time, guys!

So they'll nominate Mark Rylance for practically anything now, right? Will Queen Audra make history with a record sixth Tony win?

April 29, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterNelson

Stunned that Zachary Quinto missed, even after the NYT Times called him the best Tom of all time. Ugh. At least they didn't nominated Denzel.

April 29, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJordan

Never seen a Tony nominee ever, so this year is the same old news! That's what you get for living in northern Canada I guess. Rooting for, judging by YouTube videos, the ridiculously talented and overdue Kelli O'Hara though.

April 29, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJoe

Shakespeare (and Mark Rylance in it) FTW!

Honestly, though, I'm most excited for the nominations for Machinal's design team. That production was problematic, but all the design elements were ON POINT.

I'm seeing Gentleman's Guide soon (friend of a friend did the music and I know the director from my old job), and I fully expect Jefferson Mays to be a top contender for Leading Actor in a Musical. He plays EIGHT PARTS, PEOPLE. Although, to be fair, he also played multiple roles in his Tony-winning performance in I Am My Own Wife, so this is his shtick now, I guess. From what I've been hearing, I'm surprised Bridges of Madison County didn't get more noms - at first I was very much against it, but then everyone I know who saw it raved about it.

Do NOT believe the good comments about Rocky. The only people I know who liked it are people who are... shall we say... easily impressed.

April 29, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterdenny

Yea, I'm kind over Raisin in the Sun too. The Tony Awards show is my favorite awards spectacular so I'll be tuning in no matter who got nominated! But I never understand the categories. Direction, acting, and technical awards pit revivals against new stuff, but then revivals and new plays have their own categories for overall Best?

April 29, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPam

I'm still digesting this avalanche of information, but my two first impressions are joy over Sutton Foster's nomination. She is a true Broadway star in the traditional sense and talented beyond all human expectations. I'm also sad for Adam Jacobs for being snubbed. Major crush on this dude!

April 29, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterbrookesboy

Nelson -- yeah. but Mark Rylance is a god, so it's okay.

Pam -- actually that division makes sense to me because the technical prizes are for a particular production (this seasons) whereas the original categories (play and musical) are like the templates for all future productions.

April 29, 2014 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Yeah, I wouldn''t know of Mark Rylance's work in general, but double Tony nods are rare, and I wondered if there was some name-checking going on or not. No shade though. I'm just going by the numbers and snubs. I know I'm not looking forward to another one of his tedious, nonsensical acceptance speches again.

April 29, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterNelson

Add my voice to the chorus shocked by Zachary Quinto not getting nominated. The entire cast, including and especially him, were amazing.

April 29, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSan FranCinema

Mark Rylance in Jerusalem changed the way I view acting. Easily the best thing I ever saw on Broadway-he is a titan of the theater.

April 29, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJohn T

Random thought- if Jonathan Tunick wins for Best Orchestrations, he'll ruin his title as the only EGOT-winner who only has one of each award.

April 29, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJohn T

Patrick Stewart is a "Sir" too now.

April 29, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSean C.

I bow down before Mark Rylance and Audra McDonald.

April 29, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPaul Outlaw

Zachary Quinto AND Sir Ian McKellan both snubbed = robbery.

April 29, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPatryk

Could Rylance possibly win both? He was insanely good in R3 and TN. The guy can't seem to miss on stage. Vive la Parsons! I didn't love Velocity (didn't hate it either), but she's best in show in Rachel, Rachel. And for that alone she deserves ... a Tony.

April 30, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterCharlieG

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