Today was the day that Broadway’s supposed best was bestowed with Tony nominations, making this the most important morning of the year for everyone, everywhere. Who made out like a bandit? Who flopped bigger than Carrie, The Musical?
Let’s take a look……
No real surprises here. Well-reviewed new Green Day jukebox musical American Idiot got a nomination and will likely win, unless Tony voters decide to prove their multiculturalism by going with the sleeper hit Fela! For our money Idiot sounded and looked great but most of the themes felt like dated relics of the blessedly dead Dubya era. We haven’t seen the three other shows, so who knows! As far as revivals go, financial failure Finian’s Rainbow might be the one to beat, though the accolades for the just-opened British La Cages revival might cut it off at the feet. A Little Night Music will not win, we know that much.
In the new play category, this is probably a race between the august Brit production of Red, a Donmar Warehouse joint about the painter Mark Rothko featuring one of those towering Alfred Molina performances, and beloved Off-Broadway import Next Fall, a throwbacky New York play about New York gays. Fall might prove too small and retro to beat Red’s fartsy pedigree. The revivals category is also a two horse race, between Denzel’s Fences and Liev & Scarlett’s A View from the Bridge. Both were (or are, in Fences’ case) critical and box office successes, and both feature movie stars, whom Broadway loves to reward in the hopes that they’ll stay and do more plays and keep drumming up sales. Our money’s on Bridge, which had slightly more positive reviews
Denzel vs. Alfred! Liev Schreiber and Jude Law are probably just respect nods in the play category, just as Kelsey Grammer and Sean Hayes are in the musical. Douglas Hodge will almost assuredly win leading musical man, raved and bestowed with an Olivier as he was in London. But who knows! There was that wacky year when David Hyde Pierce won for the dreadful Curtains. We predict Alfred Molina taking it for the plays. As for the featured guys, it’s nice to see young fellow Bobby Steggert get a nod for his solid work in Ragtime (also probably given to him as an appreciation for the off-Broadway tuner Yank!, which looks to be getting a Broadway run next season — gay soldiers, singing!!), but he’s likely to get overshadowed by Finian’s Christopher Fitzgerald or Robin De Jesus from Cages. And we bet little English whippet Eddie Redmayne will win in the play category for his lauded work in Red.
Scarlett Johansson is a Tony nominee. If she had been nominated for her decent work in Bridge without being joined by her far superior costar Jessica Hecht, that would be an outrage. But they’re both up there in the featured category, so fine. Again with the “hey celebrities, look how much we love you!” kind of nomination there. We actually think Hecht might win that category. For leads in a play it’s probably between Laura Linney for Time Stands Still — she could be the representative win for the whole show — and Viola Davis for Fences. Davis has a Tony (for another August Wilson play no less) and Linney doesn’t. That could make the difference. As for the singing/dancing ladies, it’s great to see the modest, unshowy work Christiane Noll did in Ragtime get a nod, though she’s overshadowed by Catherine Zeta-Jones’ scratch-singing in Night Music and Sherie Renee Scott’s almost-one-woman Everyday Rapture biographing. That award is Scott’s to lose. Featured wise, it’d be fun to see Come Fly Away’s limbs-akimbo Karine Plantadit dance away with the prize, but she might be overlooked in favor of two grand dames, Barbara Cook (Sondheim on Sondheim) and Angela Lansbury (terrific in Night Music). Lansbury pretty much always wins this thing when she’s nominated, so anyone else could have an uphill climb. Maybe she and Cook will split the old people vote and Plantadit will get to give some sort of wonderfully wacky acceptance speech. A boy (or girl) can dream.
Obviously people over at The Addams Family are probably a little disappointed, if not surprised. Their abysmally reviewed show picked up a couple nominations here and there (including one for Andrew Lippa’s score), but neither Nathan Lane nor Bebe Neuwirth got a pat on the back for having to deal with the dreadful material for like another six months. It’s gonna be a long, cold summer.