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