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Tuesday, May 15, 2007

 

ModFab on the Tony Award Nominations

Here they are: a great day for Curtains and Journey's End, and not so great for Kevin Spacey, Michael Sheen, or The Pirate Queen. My knee-jerk thoughts below!

BEST PLAY
The Coast of Utopia
Frost/Nixon
The Little Dog Laughed
Radio Golf
ModFab Predix: 3/4
While my heart is broken that Coram Boy, the most ambitious play on Broadway this season, has fallen victim to the whims of the Tony nominators, I can't be completely sad. It was replaced in the category by Little Dog Laughed, which was one of my favorite plays of 2006.

BEST MUSICAL
Curtains
Grey Gardens
Mary Poppins
Spring Awakening
ModFab Predix: 3/4
No qualms with the nominators here...they chose old-school charm over razzle dazzle, sneaking Curtains onto the list instead of Legally Blonde (which got multiple nods elsewhere) and LoveMusik (which didn't do too well...good call).

BEST BOOK OF A MUSICAL
Heather Hach, Legally Blonde
Rupert Holmes and Peter Stone, Curtains
Steven Sater, Spring Awakening
Doug Wright, Grey Gardens
ModFab Predix: 3/4
I'm sensing a trend here; again old-school sentimentality (this time for the late Peter Stone) ends up in a surprise nod. Or maybe I just underestimated the strength of Curtains, and overestimated the power of Disney to propel Mary Poppins forward.

BEST SCORE OF A MUSICAL
Scott Frankel and Michael Korie, Grey Gardens
John Kander and Fred Ebb, Curtains
Nell Benjamin and Laurence O'Keefe, Legally Blonde
Duncan Sheik, Spring Awakening
ModFab Predix: 3/4
The first truly egregious choice of the day, with the tuneless, idiotic score of Legally Blonde somehow taking the place that should have gone to Marc Shaiman for Fame Becomes Me. Heck, even the Pirate Queen had better songs, and that's saying something. (Speaking of...poor, poor Pirate Queen. A complete shutout.)

BEST REVIVAL OF A PLAY
Inherit The Wind
Journey's End
Talk Radio
Translations
ModFab Predix: 3/4
I missed the eligibility of Talk Radio (having never been on Broadway before, I assumed it would be in the New Play category...I was apparently misinformed). But even so...wow. People really hate Kevin Spacey's Moon for the Misbegotten, don't they?

BEST REVIVAL OF A MUSICAL
The Apple Tree
110 in the Shade
A Chorus Line
Company
ModFab Predix: 3/4
I'm a little surprised that Les Miz, which has turned into a surprisingly potent re-tread, was skipped. But considering that it's more of a re-do than a revival, perhaps nominators felt like it shouldn't really qualify.

BEST ACTOR IN A PLAY
Boyd Gaines, Journey's End
Frank Langella, Frost/Nixon
Brian F. O'Byrne, The Coast of Utopia
Christopher Plummer, Inherit The Wind
Liev Schreiber, Talk Radio
ModFab Predix: 4.5/5
Ooooh, I was so close! I went with Hugh Dancy instead of Boyd Gaines for Journey's End, but it was a tossup guess on my part. Industry buzz is that Langella is going to be a landslide winner for this category. I think it's tighter than most imagine. (And again...sorry 'bout ya luck, Kevin Spacey.)

BEST ACTRESS IN A PLAY
Eve Best, A Moon for the Misbegotten
Swoosie Kurtz, Heartbreak House
Angela Lansbury, Deuce
Vanessa Redgrave, The Year of Magical Thinking
Julie White, The Little Dog Laughed
ModFab Predix: 3/5
By far, this is the most interesting category of the day. You've got two grande dames of the theatre (Lansbury and Redgrave), both of whom are considered to being working in sub-par projects. There's a Tony favorite (Kurtz), whose show happened almost a year ago. Then there are two heralded newcomers: Best, who is the only thing worth watching, apparently, in Misbegotten, and White, who gave the performance of the year IMHO but couldn't keep her show open. What a fascinating contest this will be!

BEST ACTOR IN A MUSICAL
Michael Cerveris, LoveMusik
Raul Esparza, Company
Jonathan Groff, Spring Awakening
Gavin Lee, Mary Poppins
David Hyde Pierce, Curtains
ModFab Predix: 5/5
Finally, I got one completely right! Against flawed competition, I think Esparza takes this in a walk. But watch out for Pierce, who seems to have carried his show to a better-than-expected showing today.

BEST ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL
Laura Bell Bundy, Legally Blonde
Christine Ebersole, Grey Gardens
Audra McDonald, 110 in the Shade
Debra Monk, Curtains
Donna Murphy, LoveMusik
ModFab Predix: 3/5
Ugh. I can't believe the manic Laura Bell Bundy triumphed over the relatively understated Ashley Brown of Mary Poppins. And I'm shocked that Tony voters skipped Kristin Chenoweth's praised turn in The Apple Tree to throw Debra Monk a bone instead. But them's the breaks, right? In the end, it doesn't matter...Ebersole already had the award engraved last fall.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A PLAY
Anthony Chisholm, Radio Golf
Billy Crudup, The Coast of Utopia
Ethan Hawke, The Coast of Utopia
John Earl Jelks, Radio Golf
Stark Sands, Journey's End
ModFab Predix: 1/5
I really missed the boat here, but I couldn't be happier that the two men of Radio Golf made the cut. As for the others...ehhh. Whatever.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A PLAY
Jennifer Ehle, The Coast of Utopia
Xanthe Elbrick, Coram Boy
Dana Ivey, Butley
Jan Maxwell, Coram Boy
Martha Plimpton, The Coast of Utopia
ModFab Predix: 4.5/5
I barely missed the many women of Coast of Utopia; thinking that Ehle would be placed as a Lead instead of Supporting performance, I put her in the wrong category. I'm thrilled that the two best performances of Coram Boy were nominated...and looking at the category, I think they may have a shot.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A MUSICAL
Brooks Ashmankas, Martin Short: Fame Becomes Me
Christian Borle, Legally Blonde
John Cullum, 110 in the Shade
John Gallagher, Jr., Spring Awakening
David Pittu, LoveMusik
ModFab Predix: 3/5
On what planet is Christian Borle's performance a supporting one? Fer chrissakes, he gets the girl at the end! That idiocy aside, it's a pretty good lineup...happy to see Ashmankas get noticed.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL
Charlotte D'Amboise, A Chorus Line
Rebecca Luker, Mary Poppins
Orfeh, Legally Blonde
Mary Louise Wilson, Grey Gardens
Karen Ziemba, Curtains
ModFax Predix: 3/5
It's all about who you know in show business, isn't it? How else can you explain the so-so work of the previously-nominated Luker and Ziemba being picked over the magnificent (but not nearly as well-connected) women of Company? There's not one newcomer in this bunch; even Orfeh's been around a decade. A sad case of people picking their friends over talent.

BEST DIRECTOR OF A PLAY
Michael Grandage, Frost/Nixon
David Grindley, Journey's End
Jack O'Brien, The Coast of Utopia
Melly Still, Coram Boy
ModFab Predix: 3/4
A bad error on my part, putting the sublime work of Doug Hughes on Inherit The Wind ahead of the galvanizing effort of Grindley. What's truly amazing about this category is that all four nominees are exceptional; the directing quality this year was the season's saving grace. (O'Brien will take it, mark my words.)

BEST DIRECTOR OF A MUSICAL
John Doyle, Company
Scott Ellis, Curtains
Michael Greif, Grey Gardens
Michael Mayer, Spring Awakening
ModFab Predix: 3/4
Curtains again takes a slot that I didn't believe they had a shot for. Excellent work, press agents of Curtains! Still, there's nothing in this category that even came close to Michael Mayer's work on Spring Awakening, and he's overdue for a Tony.

BEST CHOREOGRAPHY
Rob Ashford, Curtains
Matthew Bourne and Stephen Mear, Mary Poppins
Bill T. Jones, Spring Awakening
Jerry Mitchell, Legally Blonde
They might give this award to Jerry Mitchell as a consolation prize for not receiving a director nomination...but I don't think so. The choreography of Jones and Bourne might be too challenging for conservative Tony voters. So interestingly enough, I think Ashford is the (weak) frontrunner.

BEST ORCHESTRATIONS
Bruce Coughlin, Grey Gardens
Duncan Sheik, Spring Awakening
Jonathan Tunick, LoveMusik
Jonathan Tunick, 110 in the Shade
Honey, please. The entire Broadway community is creaming their pants over Duncan Sheik. this award is definitely his, and he probably already knows it. Heck, he's probably already writing the acceptance speech.

BEST SCENIC DESIGN OF A PLAY
Bob Crowley & Scott Pask, The Coast of Utopia
Jonathan Fensom, Journey's End
David Gallo, Radio Golf
Ti Green and Melly Still, Coram Boy
I'm appalled that Santo Loquasto's beautiful set for Inherit The Wind didn't make the list, but it's offset by my joy at Radio Golf's deceptively intricate work being honored. Still, nothing will beat Utopia, which had an austere grandeur unlike anything I've ever seen.

BEST SCENIC DESIGN OF A MUSICAL
Bob Crowley, Mary Poppins
Christine Jones, Spring Awakening
Anna Louizos, High Fidelity
Allen Moyer, Grey Gardens
Since I didn't see Poppins or Fidelity, and I wasn't especially blow away by the other two, I'll call this a toss-up. Isn't that cheeky of me? Oh fine, I'll guess if you insist...I hear the sets of Mary Poppins are both enormous and tacky, which is usually an awards magnet on Broadway.

BEST COSTUME DESIGN OF A PLAY
Ti Green and Melly Still, Coram Boy
Jane Greenwood, Heartbreak House
Santo Loquasto, Inherit The Wind
Catherine Zuber, The Coast of Utopia
The newcomers (Green and Still) take on the titans of the industry. Even though Zuber has won Tonys for the last two years (for Light in the Piazza and Awake and Sing), I think she'll pick up another this year, a triple crown.

BEST COSTUME DESIGN OF A MUSICAL
Gregg Barnes, Legally Blonde
Bob Crowley, Mary Poppins
Susan Hilferty, Spring Awakening
William Ivey Long, Grey Gardens
It's got to be a nod for the Beales, right? William Ivey Long impeccably recreated Edie's iconoclastic looks, and it was like ghosts coming back to life. I don't think the other three nominees can compare to that achievement.

BEST LIGHTING DESIGN OF A PLAY
Paule Constable, Coram Boy
Brian MacDevitt, Inherit The Wind
Brian MacDevitt, Kenneth Posner, and Natasha Katz, The Coast of Utopia
Jason Taylor, Journey's End
I didn't see a better lighting design all year than in the magical images of Coram Boy, but Constable is a not well-known in New York industry circles. Which leads me to believe that the NYC trifecta of MacDevitt, Posner and Katz will take the day.

BEST LIGHTING DESIGN OF A MUSICAL
Kevin Adams, Spring Awakening
Christopher Akerlind, 110 in the Shade
Howard Harrison, Mary Poppins
Peter Kaczorowski, Grey Gardens
The best light show of the year was also the best rock show...Spring Awakening embraced theatrical magic and pop pyrotechnics to create a dazzling display. Never underestimate the power of neon and colored light bulbs. Hot!

SPECIAL THEATRICAL EVENT
Jay Johnson: The Two and Only
Kiki and Herb: Alive on Broadway
ModFab Predix: 2/2
It's easy to pick 'em when there are only two eligible nominees.

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