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Tuesday, April 11, 2006

 

Stage Addiction: Best Actors and Actresses

In a previous edition of Stage Addiction, we handicapped the major categories for the Tony Awards. With just a month until nominations, not much has changed in those categories, so we're leaving them alone for now. Instead, we've taken this week to project the leading actor/actress races. There's still a lot of shows to open, but the races are tightening up. To wit:

BEST ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL
The Leaders: LaChanze, The Color Purple; Patti LuPone, Sweeney Todd; Chita Rivera, Chita Rivera: The Dancer's Life
Dark Horses: Sutton Foster, The Drowsy Chaperone; Kelli O'Hara, The Pajama Game
Long Shots: Carolee Carmello, Lestat; Jenn Gambatese, Tarzan; Judy Kuhn, Souvenir; Cyndi Lauper, The Threepenny Opera
No Chance: Laura Benanti, The Wedding Singer; Maria Friedman, The Woman in White

Two legends -- LuPone and Rivera -- are turning this race into a race between grande dames. Both have won before, but it's been a while...Evita in 1980, Kiss of the Spider Woman in 1993. The money's on LuPone, but there are two other lesser dames who've never won and are overdue: LaChanze and Carmello. If Tony voters want to give Oprah a vote of confidence on Broadway, the way to do it is through LaChanze.

BEST ACTRESS IN A PLAY
The Leaders: Cherry Jones, Faith Healer; Lisa Kron, Well; Cynthia Nixon, Rabbit Hole
Dark Horses: Sarah Jones, Bridge and Tunnel; Alison Pill, The Lieutenant of Inishmore; Julia Roberts, Three Days of Rain; Francis Sternhagen, Edward Albee's Seascape
Long Shots: Lauren Ambrose, Awake and Sing!, Kate Burton, The Constant Wife; Jill Clayburgh, A Naked Girl on the Appian Way; Juliana Margulies, Festen; Martha Plimpton, Shining City
No Chance: Amanda Peet, Barefoot in the Park

With the good reviews for Well (and the bad reviews for Festen), ModFab feels relatively safe adding Lisa Kron to the list of near-locks. If one subscribes to the theory that Oscar winner Julia Roberts will soon join that list after Three Days opens, it leaves a single slot open. We're thinking the momentum will be with Pill and Inishmore.

BEST ACTOR IN A MUSICAL:
The Leaders: Michael Cerveris, Sweeney Todd; Harry Connick, Jr., The Pajama Game; Alan Cumming, The Threepenny Opera; John Lloyd Young, Jersey Boys
Dark Horses: Danny Burstein, The Drowsy Chaperone; Steven Lynch, The Wedding Singer
Long Shots: Hugh Panaro, Lestat; Josh Strickland, Tarzan
No Chance: Michael Ball, The Woman in White; Jarrod Emick, Ring of Fire

The most settled of the lead categories, there's a foursome so locked you might as well throw away the key. Who'll be the also-ran? If Tarzan is good, it'll be Strickland...but word is it's merely okay. We're thinking that uber-producer Margo Lion will get a nomination for her wedding singer, Steven Lynch, despite its lukewarm reception.

BEST ACTOR IN A PLAY:
The Leaders: Ralph Fiennes, Faith Healer, Richard Griffiths, The History Boys
Dark Horses: Larry Bryggman, Festen; Brian F. O'Byrne, Shining City; Gabriel Byrne, A Touch of the Poet; Oliver Platt, Shining City; Mark Ruffalo, Awake and Sing!; John Slattery, Rabbit Hole; David Wilmot, The Lieutenant of Inishmore
Long Shots: George Grizzard, Edward Albee's Seascape; Nathan Lane, The Odd Couple; David Schwimmer, The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial; Patrick Wilson, Barefoot in the Park
No Chance: Matthew Broderick, The Odd Couple; Richard Thomas, A Naked Girl on the Appian Way

This is certainly the most unsettled of the four categories, with no less than a dozen actors still in contention. We're relatively sure of Fiennes and Griffiths, who got stunning reviews in Dublin and London, respectively. But as to the other three? We'd only be guessing. So our guesses are Tony winners O'Byrne and Bryggman, and a wild card...John Slattery, anyone?
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