Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Tony Nominations: Hrumph

Tony nominations came out this morning.  I am never happy with award shows.  I am a funny little bird with my misfit toy opinions and so it is rare for my hopes and dreams to align with the rest of humanity...so...take my happiness and sadness below with a grain of disgruntled salt.

Also, I am not a completist.  I refuse to see Nice Work if You Can Get it and I skipped a bunch of shows I was uninterested in (that now are nominees or were totally shut-out) or that did not discount (Evita).  Such is the contrarian's life...

Let us wander into my psyche to see how the big ticket nominations fared in my head...put on your hard helmet, it might be a bumpy ride.

Best Play:
Clybourne Park
Other Desert Cities
Peter and the Starcatcher
Venus in Fur 

I knew I would not be happy about this category this year but I really hoped One Man Two Guvnors would slip in. The fact that Penis in Fur was nominated however really burns me up. I would have been happier with almost any other play taking its slot.  And maybe it's the comedy thing or just some anti-Brit sentiment left over from last year's War Horse juggernaut but it's hard to make good comedy work and I wish the show was recognized in this category.  It was not a stellar year for me and plays.  I was not enamored of most of the choices on Broadway.  But the two new plays I liked, One Man and The Columnist didn't make the cut.  I am, not wholly unexpectedly, cranky about this category.

Best Musical
Leap of Faith
Nice Work If You Can Get It
Producers: Barbara Broccoli, John N. Hart, Jr., Patrick Milling Smith, Frederick Zollo, Brian Carmody, Michael G. Wilson, Orin Wolf, The Shubert Organization, Robert Cole, New York Theatre Workshop

I left in the producers for Once because Barbara Broccoli is a producer! I love her.  That is all.  Seriously I do love her.  I was not expecting Bonnie & Clyde to make this list but if Leap of Faith is here well then Bonnie & Clyde should be.  Bonnie & Clyde was the lesser of those two evils.  Yup I said it.  And I would have liked to have seen Jeremy Jordan sing from Bonnie & Clyde at The Tonys.  Now we'll have to watch a terrible gospel number from Leap and Matthew Broderick attempt to sing and dance in Nice Work.  The only saving grace will be the Newsies number because the Once number will make you want to kill yourself (this from the girl who likes dark material).

Best Revival of a Play

Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman
Gore Vidal’s The Best Man
Master Class
I had so little interest in Master Class or Wit so I only saw the first two on this list.  And Death of a Salesman will take it so it really doesn't matter what the other filler here is.   Yup I called those shows "filler."  I'm living on the edge.

Best Revival of a Musical

The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess
Jesus Christ Superstar

I am fine with these choices.  I want Follies to win.  It's got a good chance. P&B put me to sleep.  JCS is delicious and over the top but I think Follies has got to get recognized here.  I'm clearly never gonna get a ticket to Evita so at least this way I can see a bit of it on The Tonys.  Also, I look forward to whatever codpieces and spandex make it on the Tony stage in the performance from JCS. 

Best Book of a Musical
Lysistrata Jones
Nice Work If You Can Get It

Well at least Leap of Faith didn't get a nomination here.

Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics) Written for the Theatre
Bonnie & Clyde
One Man, Two Guvnors
Peter and the Starcatcher

I know it is a strange category because some of the "new musicals" found their scores ineligible because they were not new enough.  But it pleases me to no end to see Grant Olding get recognized here with the One Man, Two Guvnors score.  Will The Craze get to perform at the Tonys!?  I hope so.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play
James Corden, One Man, Two Guvnors
Philip Seymour Hoffman, Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman
James Earl Jones, Gore Vidal’s The Best Man
Frank Langella, Man and Boy
John Lithgow, The Columnist

I should just take this category home and make love to it.  Yay James Corden! Yay John Lithgow! And the expected nomination for Philip Seymour Hoffman.  I would have liked to have seen Alan Rickman for Seminar (Didn't like the play at all but he was great in it) over JEJ but I can live with the selections.  Stacy Keach was also very deserving and more so than JEJ.  But I'll take "my" very small victory with this one category.

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

Nina Arianda, Venus in Fur
Tracie Bennett, End of the Rainbow
Stockard Channing, Other Desert Cities
Linda Lavin, The Lyons
Cynthia Nixon, Wit

I really want Linda Lavin to steal the Tony out of Nina Arianda's hands and do a jig when she does.  Also, an evil cackle would be nice. 

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

Danny Burstein, Follies
Jeremy Jordan, Newsies
Steve Kazee, Once
Norm Lewis, The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess
Ron Raines, Follies

Holy Ron Raines batman!  What happened here?  It's like Mr. Tyler Martins was on the nominating committee or something.  Now I happened to like Ron Raines but I know I am in the minority (I thought it was a minority of one person (me) but I guess there are others who nominated him) so when someone I like shows up you have to wonder.  Poor Raúl Esparza was left out in the cold.  But Leap of Faith was not the best show, and not his best performance in this show.  I really want him to get a Tony but give him a good role to win for.  Also Jeremy Jordan should have been nominated for Bonnie & Clyde where his acting was electric.  He's fine in Newsies but it's a much less challenging acting role.  But congrats to Jeremy no matter what.  You're a star and you've got the nomination to prove it.

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

Jan Maxwell, Follies
Audra McDonald, The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess
Cristin Milioti, Once
Kelli O’Hara, Nice Work If You Can Get It
Laura Osnes, Bonnie & Clyde

Yes Bernadette Peters is not on the list.  Laura Osnes is.  Fangirls heads exploded all over the twitter.  I think it is a toss up between who "stole" it from La Bernadette but I'd prefer to blame Cristin Milioti over Laura Osnes (who I have come to really like in the last year).  But let's hope Jan Maxwell wins.  She got hit by a car for God's sake and she just kept going.  Trouper.  

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

Christian Borle, Peter and the Starcatcher
Michael Cumpsty, End of the Rainbow
Tom Edden, One Man, Two Guvnors
Andrew Garfield, Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman
Jeremy Shamos, Clybourne Park

I should be happy here.  But I am not.  Story of my life.  This was definitely the moment this morning I swore at my television.  Thrilled for Andrew Garfield who is deserving of this nomination and should win it.  Tickled pink for Tom Edden who I was glad to see transferred with the show from London.  But really Michael Cumpsty and Jeremy Shamos?  Really?  Pretty much the entire featured cast of Death of a Salesman should be here over those guys.  Finn Fucking Wittrock people!  Bill Camp even.  I would have also accepted Boyd Gaines from The Columnist.  Oliver Chris from One Man, Two Guvnors.  I'm sorry Cumpsty was fine but not award-worthy.  And Shamos was irritatingly one-note for both roles he played.  I know people love him but I was not a fan especially in that show.  I know I am all alone in feeling this.  But I feel it. 

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

Linda Emond, Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman
Spencer Kayden, Don’t Dress for Dinner
Celia Keenan-Bolger, Peter and the Starcatcher
Judith Light, Other Desert Cities
Condola Rashad, Stick Fly

Yeah. Linda Emond all the way and then some.  I will kill however if anyone takes this from her.  Kill I tell you.  But where is Angela Lansbury?  I mean she's Angela Lansbury.  Don't they just reserve a spot for her when she shows up?  I have not seen Don't Dress for Dinner yet and I skipped Stick Fly but can someone tell me if they were really better than Angela Lansbury?  I would have liked Molly Price to also get recognition for her work in Death of a Salesman but probably best there is no one else there to take votes away from Linda.

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

Phillip Boykin, The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess
Michael Cerveris, Evita
David Alan Grier, The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess
Michael McGrath, Nice Work If You Can Get It
Josh Young, Jesus Christ Superstar

Well I know a couple of people who are ready to take to the streets to march on this Josh Young nomination.  As you may be aware, he has struggled with laryngitis for the Broadway run of JCS.  So his understudy Jeremy Kushnier has gone on for Young A LOT.  Kushnier, in fact, covered the role during many press previews.  Young was back for opening night and then was out again for what seemed like a couple of weeks.  Young is back in now.  In any event, it posed a weird question for a nomination because Young has not been consistently performing the role so how could he be nominated--and they cannot nominate an understudy right?  I guess we got our answer today--they nominated Young.  But as far as I'm concerned Jeremy Kushnier deserves at least half this nomination.  Thrilled to see Phillip Boykin and David Alan Grier up here.  I did not love P&B but they were both terrific in it. 

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

Elizabeth A. Davis, Once
Jayne Houdyshell, Follies
Judy Kaye, Nice Work If You Can Get It
Jessie Mueller, On A Clear Day You Can See Forever
Da’Vine Joy Randolph, Ghost the Musical

I'm pretty angry about this category.  Melissa van der Schyff from Bonnie & Clyde absolutely deserved a nomination here.  No offense to Elizabeth A. Davis or Da'vine Joy Randolph but Melissa gave an award worthy performance that stayed with me long after Bonnie & Clyde closed.  She deserved recognition for that.  And producers please find something else for her to be in.  It's nice to see Jayne Houdyshell here though I know others thought Elaine Paige deserved it for Follies.

Best Choreography

Rob Ashford, Evita
Christopher Gattelli, Newsies
Steven Hoggett, Once
Kathleen Marshall, Nice Work If You Can Get It

I will take Steven Hoggett in this category every year.  He makes me almost understand dance. And you have no idea how hard that is.  I love the language of the movement he uses in all the shows he's worked on.  I like how it serves the narratives individually and still feels fresh and new.  I am pleased he has been recognized.  And nice to see Newsies Christopher Gattelli here as well who will probably walk away with the prize. 

Best Direction of a Play

Nicholas Hytner, One Man, Two Guvnors
Pam MacKinnon, Clybourne Park
Mike Nichols, Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman
Roger Rees and Alex Timbers, Peter and the Starcatcher

If One Man, Two Guvnors got shut out of the Best Play race at least it got a Best Direction nomination.   But if there is any justice in the world (and I'm not saying there is), Mike Nichols should walk away with this award.

Best Direction of a Musical

Jeff Calhoun, Newsies
Kathleen Marshall, Nice Work If You Can Get It
Diane Paulus, The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess
John Tiffany, Once

I wish I liked Once more but considering the alternatives I will accept this and just move on.  Plus I like all of John Tiffany's other work.  Diane Paulus also staged P&B beautifully.  Too bad it was so boring.   I happened to like the bold, craptacularity of Jesus Christ Superstar and it would have been nice to see Des McAnuff here.  I thought the Newsies direction was a bit of a hyperactive mess...but apparently others disagree.

All in all, I'll tune in on June 10th no matter what.  There are many talented people nominated who are deserving and many talented people working today who have not gotten such recognition yet.   But there is hope for the future.  I mean, I don't have that hope but other people do.
Break legs nominees!

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