Tony Awards Nomination Analysis – What Choices Were Made on Behalf of Broadway?

08869_show_landscape_large_02The Tony Awards nominations were announced yesterday and there was much to talk about and discuss. Sam and Terence took a gander at the nominees and offered their take on the slate.

Sam’s Reactions

Enthusiasm to Revivals
Despite the fact the nominating committee deigned to nominate FIVE new plays for Best Play, that seems to be the only category in which they liked new plays. Revivals rounded out all 4 of the Best Director of a Play nominations. Indeed, of the 20 acting slots for play performers, a staggering 13 were from Revivals including three Featured Actors nominated for their work in the all-male production of Twelfth Night.

Can Kelli O’Hara and Danny Burstein Finally Win?
Unfortunately, I couldn’t add Marin Mazzie to this list, because she was snubbed for her work in Bullets Over Broadway. Alas, what are we to do with the Tonyless O’Hara and Burstein? O’Hara has been nominated for her last 5 Broadway productions! With four Leading and one Featured nomination, could playing the lead in Jason Robert Brown’s The Bridges of Madison County be the trick? A week ago, I would have said yes. But her show vastly underperformed and her Nice Work If You Can Get It replacement, Jessie Mueller, is the only nominee in that category from a Best Musical. As for Burstein, who is working on his third Tony nomination in as many years, is also on his fifth nomination for his work in Cabaret. It would be nice to see both the stalwart theatre vets finally pick up a trophy. Can it happen? Unfortunately, both actors are limping in as one of the few nominations for their productions. We’ll have to wait and see.

Death of a Trend?
It’s no secret that the Broadway trend of late has been adapted movies into musicals. Heck, the last two Best Musicals were from such a mold. However, in a season where musicals were adapted from films like Big Fish, The Bridges of Madison County, Bullets Over Broadway, and Rocky, the only one to crack the Best Musical lineup was Disney’s Aladdin. Instead, the Tonys chose to go with a staunchly original show (A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder), a revue (After Midnight) and a jutebox musical (Beautiful).

Broadway Disses Stars—Again….Kinda
A few seasons ago, Denzel Washington, Scarlett Johansson, and Catherine Zeta-Jones won Tonys for their critically raved, and much respect work. Yet, there was nevertheless an outrage. Since then, you can actually track the frequency with which “celebrities” get “snubbed” at the Tonys and how, when they are nominated, they lose (Tom Hanks). This year, though we have Neil Patrick Harris, Bryan Cranston, and Tony Shalhoub. In those instances, though, only Cranston has yet to pay his rialto debts but is nevertheless one of the most respected working actors today. Snubbed (and by that, I mean “not nominated” not “should have been nominated and weren’t”) celebrities include Denzel Washington, James Franco, Daniel Craig, Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, Daniel Radcliffe, Rachel Weisz, Marisa Tomei, Zach Braff, and Michelle Williams. In many cases, however, these stars were not even favored for a nomination, so to what extent is this really an issue?

Never Doubt Mark Rylance
Mark Ryalance has been called the greatest actor of his generation. From a Shakespearian context, that might be an accurate statement (seriously, YouTube some of his work…it’s insane). Rylance was nominated for his leading and titular role in Richard III and his featured, gender-bending turn as Olivia in Twelfth Night. Of the now 5 performers to be nominated for two acting Tonys in the same year, Rylance is not only the only man to do it, but he is the only actor to do so for productions performance in repertory. This makes Rylance’s third and fourth nomination in just a span of a few years. Impressive. I’d expect him to add Tony #3 to the mantel for of his two nominations.

Tonys Hate Waiting for Godot
Despite Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart’s social media campaign, the Tonys declined not only to nominate either actor for their work as Estragon or Vladimir, but they ignored the production all together. When will Samuel Becket’s masterpiece get the Tony love it deserves??

Terence’s Reactions

Hedwig and the Angry Inch is the Revival to Beat
With a surprisingly strong showing, Hedwig is all but assured some Tony love. It’s one of the season’s bigger hits and has a star and former Tony host (Neil Patrick Harris) at the front. Interesting piece of trivia: Hedwig and Violet are both up for the revival Tony despite being on Broadway for the first time.

Audra McDonald is Set to Make History
The 5-time Tony winner is one win away from breaking the record for most Tonys by a stage performer and is certainly one of the front runners to take the Leading Actress in a Play. Should she win, she will have won in every category an actress can win in.

Bigger Isn’t Always Better
Though we see it time and time again, this year the Tonys proved that just because something is based off previous material or seems to big to ignore, that they can in fact look past the glitz. Shows with big draws such as Rocky, Bullets Over Broadway and Waiting for Godot found themselves on the outside looking in. Same with big stars like Marin Mazzie, Denzel Washington and Ian McKellen.

The Tony Committee Spread the Wealth
Even with the theater awards season behemoth of A Gentlemans Guide to Love and Murder in the running, there wasn’t a show or shows that dominated, as might have happened in years past. This is why you see shows like If/Then pop up in Score and Lead Actress in a Musical or Chris O’Dowd nab a nomination for his work in Of Mice and Men.

Full List of Nominees
Best Play
“Act One”
“All the Way”
“Casa Valentina”
“Mothers and Sons”
“Outside Mullingar”

Best Musical
“After Midnight”
“Aladdin”
“Beautiful – The Carole King Musical”
“A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder”

Best Revival of a Play
“The Cripple of Inishmaan”
“The Glass Menagerie”
“A Raisin in the Sun”
“Twelfth Night”

Best Revival of a Musical
“Hedwig and the Angry Inch”
“Les Miserables”
“Violet”

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”

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”

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical
Neil Patrick Harris, “Hedwig and the Angry Inch”
Ramin Karimloo, “Les Miserables”
Andy Karl, “Rocky”
Jefferson Mays, “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder”
Bryce Pinkham, “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder”

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”

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”

Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play
Sarah Green, “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”

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, “Bullets Over Broadway”

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 and Murder”

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 and Murder”

Best Book of a Musical
Chad Beguelin, “Aladdin”
Douglas McGrath, “Beautiful – The Carole King Musical”
Woody Allen, “Bullets Over Broadway”
Robert L. Freedman, “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder”

Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics) Written for the Theater
“Aladdin” (Music: Alan Menkin; Lyrics: Howard Ashman, Tim Rice and Chad Begeulin)
“The Bridges of Madison County” (Music & Lyrics: Jason Robert Brown)
“A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder” (Music: Steven Lutvak; Lyrics: Robert L. Freedman and Steven Lutvak)
“If/Then” (Music: Tom Kitt; Lyrics: Brian Yorkey)

Best Choreography
Warren Carlyle, “After Midnight”
Steven Hoggett and 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 and Murder”

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 and Murder”
Santo Loquasto, “Bullets Over Broadway”

Best Costume Design of a Play
Jane Greenwood, “Act One”
Michael Krass, “Machinal”
Rita Ryack, “Casa Valentina”
Jenny Tiramani, “Twelfth Night”

Best Costume Design of a Musical
Linda Cho, “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder”
William Ivey Long, “Bullets Over Broadway”
Arianne Phillips, “Hedwig and the Angry Inch”
Isabel Toledo, “After Midnight”

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 Miserables”
Brian Ronan, “Beautiful – The Carole King Musical”

Best Lighting Design of a Play
Paule Constable, “The Cripple of Inishmaan”
Jane Cox, “Machinal”
Natasha Katz, “The Glass Menagerie”
Japhy Wideman, “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”

Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre
Jane Greenwood

Regional Theatre Award
Signature Theatre

Isabelle Stevenson Award
Rosie O’Donnell

Tony Honors for Excellence in the Theatre
Joseph P. Benincasa
Joan Marcus
Charlotte Wilcox