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Monday, May 12, 2008


Stage Addiction: Tony Nomination Predix

No other theatre blogs seem to be predicting the Tony nominations for tomorrow...probably because of a fear of guessing and then being proven wrong. But I have no fear of being wrong. In fact, I relish being wrong! So here goes. My only caveats are that I purposefully haven't looked at the chat room gossip before picking these, because I wanted to stay pure. And I still haven't seen Little Mermaid, 39 Steps or Boeing-Boeing yet. (Boeing and Steps are on the agenda for next week.)

ModFab Predictions for the 2008 Tony Award Nominations

August: Osage County
Rock 'N' Roll
The Seafarer
The 39 Steps
Possible Spoilers: Mauritius; Thurgood
Long Shots:
November; The Farnsworth Invention

With the probable winner already well-established, it falls to the also rans to compete against the August juggernaut. I think it's relatively safe to assume that Tony magnet Tom Stoppard will pick up a nod for Rock 'N' Roll; the popular and critical success of 39 Steps makes it a strong candidate as well. The last slot will be a toss-up: the closed but well-regarded (Seafarer, Mauritius), and the open but flawed (Thurgood, November). If anyone can take it from Seafarer, I'm guessing it'll be Mauritius.

A Catered Affair
In The Heights
Passing Strange
Possible Spoiler: Young Frankenstein
Long Shots: Cry-Baby; The Little Mermaid

Strange and Heights have been the upstart toasts of the season, and despite a few withering reviews, A Catered Affair rebounded at the Drama League and Drama Desk Awards (and seems to be finding its audience). The fourth slot is a toss-up between imperfect vehicles, but I'm guessing (hoping?) that the energetic bliss and surprisingly healthy run of Xanadu will allow it to slay the behemoths of Mel Brooks and, to a lesser extent, John Waters.

Les Liaisons Dangereuses
Top Girls
Possible Spoilers: The Homecoming; Come Back, Little Sheba
Long Shots: The Country Girl; Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
The battle here is to see if the producers of The Homecoming can make a legitimate case for a nomination; the show closed a wee bit earlier than planned, but received good notices. Despite their campaigning, voters should see value in nominating productions that are still open...which means that Liaisons and Top Girls will triumph over Pinter, in my estimation.

South Pacific
Sunday in the Park with George

There are only four, and there are usually four nominees. What are ya gonna do, leave out Grease and cut it to three? (Well, maybe.) With this category, the interesting thing isn't the nominations...it's who will come out on top. If you're looking for a heavyweight title fight, you couldn't do any better than Gypsy vs. South Pacific.

Laurence Fishburne, Thurgood
Ben Daniels, Les Liaisons Dangereuses
Nathan Lane, November
Mark Rylance, Boeing-Boeing
Patrick Stewart, Macbeth
Possible Spoilers: Hank Azaria, The Farnsworth Invention; Ian McShane, The Homecoming; David Morse, The Seafarer; Jimmi Simpson, The Farnsworth Invention
Long Shots: Norbert Leo Butz, Is He Dead?; Rufus Sewell, Rock 'N' Roll

Daniels, Rylance and Stewart are receiving raves for their performances; Lane is widely credited for saving what is otherwise a mediocre comic effort by David Mamet. Fishburne, who has surprised the industry with the populist strength of his solo performance about Thurgood Marshall, gets the fifth slot from me by a nose, over the rock-solid work by McShane...as well as the twin titans of Farnsworth and the understated, underrated work by Morse.

Deanna Dunagan, August: Osage County
Laura Linney, Les Liaisons Dangereuses
S. Epatha Merkerson, Come Back, Little Sheba
Amy Morton, August: Osage County
Anika Noni Rose, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
Possible Spoilers: Eve Best, The Homecoming
Long Shots: Kate Fleetwood, Macbeth; Frances McDormand, The Country Girl

Can McDormand (in an uneven production) find a way to use her star power to muscle their way onto the nominees' list? I'm thinking she can't...but if she can, it will probably be at the expense of Merkerson or Rose.

Cheyenne Jackson, Xanadu
Lin-Manuel Miranda, In The Heights
Stew, Passing Strange
Paulo Szot, South Pacific
Tom Wopat, A Catered Affair
Possible Spoiler: Charles Edwards, The 39 Steps; Daniel Evans, Sunday in the Park with George
Long Shot: Roger Bart, Young Frankenstein

As much as I love it, Sunday in the Park with George hasn't caught on with audiences the way I (and the critics) expected it to. But don't count Daniel Evans out entirely...Jackson and Wopat are especially vulnerable here.

Kerry Butler, Xanadu
Patti LuPone, Gypsy
Kelli O'Hara, South Pacific
Faith Prince, A Catered Affair
Jenna Russell, Sunday in the Park with George
Possible Spoiler: Mandy Gonzalez, In The Heights
Long Shot: Sierra Boggess, The Little Mermaid

A pretty solid category, I think...the top five are all great, and four of them have their musicals built around their star turns. As good as Gonzalez and Boggess may be, they are both relative newcomers to the Broadway community...and with room for only one newcomer this year, it's hard to ignore Russell, who does the heavy lifting in Sunday.

Dylan Baker, November
Brian Cox, Rock 'N' Roll
James Earl Jones, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
Jim Norton, The Seafarer
Bradley Whitford, Boeing-Boeing
Possible Spoilers: Bobby Cannavale, Mauritius; Raul Esparza, The Homecoming; Peter Gallagher, The Country Girl; Ciaran Hinds, The Seafarer
Long Shots: F. Murray Abraham, Mauritius; ; Conleith Hill, The Seafarer; Brian Kerwin, August: Osage County; Dennis Letts, August: Osage County; ; Jeff Perry, August: Osage County

A nearly wide-open category, the nominating committee could go a number of ways: with veterans (Jones, Norton, Abraham, etc.), with Broadway vets (Baker, Gallagher), with TV stars (Cannavale, Whitford)...or with an August sweep. Of all my picks, these are the ones I feel the most unsure about.

Daniel Breaker, Passing Strange
Danny Burstein, South Pacific
Harvey Fierstein, A Catered Affair
Christopher Fitzgerald, Young Frankenstein
Boyd Gaines, Gypsy
Possible Spoilers: Robin de Jesus, In The Heights; Norm Lewis, The Little Mermaid; Tony Roberts, Xanadu
Long Shot: Matt Cavenaugh, A Catered Affair; Christopher J. Hanke, Cry-Baby

It's probably a mistake to put Breaker in over veteran Roberts (who is extremely well-liked in the community), but whatever...Breaker was brilliant.

Christine Baranski, Boeing-Boeing
Sinead Cusack, Rock 'N' Roll
Elizabeth Marvel, Top Girls
Laurie Metcalf, November
Martha Plimpton, Top Girls
Possible Spoiler: Alison Pill, Mauritius; Marisa Tomei, Top Girls
Long Shot: Mary McCormack,

I'm banking on the sophistication of the nominators here, in guessing for Top Girls support. If I'm wrong, it'll be due to the surging popularity of Alison Pill in industry circles.

Laura Benanti, Gypsy
Sutton Foster, Young Frankenstein
Priscilla Lopez, In The Heights
Sherie Rene Scott, The Little Mermaid
Mary Testa, Xanadu
Possible Spoiler: Harriet Harris, Cry-Baby; Leslie Kritzer, A Catered Affair; Olga Merediz, In The Heights; Megan Mullally, Young Frankenstein; Loretta Ables Sayre, South Pacific
Long Shot: De'Adre Aziza, Passing Strange; Jackie Hoffman, Xanadu; ; Karen Olivo, In The Heights; Mary Beth Peil, Sunday in the Park with George

In a category with only one for-certain lock (Benanti), I've decided to go with Broadway vets to round out the other four slots. My only problem? There are more vets to go round than I've got slots for. Oy vey...

Daniel Sullivan, The Homecoming
Rupert Goold, Macbeth
Trevor Nunn, Rock 'N' Roll
Anna D. Shapiro, August: Osage County
Matthew Warchus, Boeing-Boeing
Possible Spoilers: Maria Aitken, The 39 Steps; Michael Blakemore, Is He Dead?; James McDonald, Top Girls; Mike Nichols, The Country Girl
Long Shots: Des McAnuff, The Farnsworth Invention; Conor McPherson, The Seafarer

Two slots for the showiest directing (Goold and Warchus), two for the least (Sullivan and Nunn), and one for August because, hey, it's August. If the voters are feeling clever, they might grab Aitken; if they decide to worship gods of the trade (despite uneven efforts), it'll be Blakemore and Nichols.

Sam Buntrock, Sunday in the Park with George
John Doyle, A Catered Affair
Bartlett Sher, South Pacific
Arthur Laurents, Gypsy
Susan Stroman, Young Frankenstein
Possible Spoilers: Christopher Ashley, Xanadu; Annie Dorsen, Passing Strange
Long Shot: Thomas Kail, In The Heights

Yeah, Buntrock. I don't care what the messageboards say. Although I think it's probably Bart's year, Buntrock was the achievement of the year for me...for the first time, I felt technology was seamlessly integrated into a theatrical experience.

Douglas Carter Beane, Xanadu
Harvey Fierstein, A Catered Affair
Quiara Alegria Hudes, In The Heights
Stew and Heidi Rodewald, Passing Strange
Possible Spoiler: Doug Wright, The Little Mermaid; Thomas Meehan and Mel Brooks, Young Frankenstein
Long Shot: Mark O'Donnell and Thomas Meehan, Cry-Baby

Haven't seen Little Mermaid...but the book can't be any worse than Frankenstein, can it? Okay, well, maybe it can be. But neither has much of a chance this year, when new forms and new styles dominated the season. And just like Meryl Streep at the Oscars, there is a golden rule: don't bet against Harvey.

John Bucchino, A Catered Affair
Lin-Manuel Miranda, In The Heights
Alan Schlesinger and David Javerbaum, Cry-Baby
Stew and Heidi Rodewald, Passing Strange
Possible Spoiler: Alan Menken, Howard Ashman and Glenn Slater, The Little Mermaid; Mel Brooks, Young Frankenstein
Long Shot: Jeff Lynne and John Farrar, Xanadu (Marquis)

In my mind, this is Stew's to lose. But don't count Miranda and Bucchino out entirely...nor should anyone totally discount Mel Brooks, despite my prediction of a heavy comeuppance.

Rob Ashford, Cry-Baby
Andy Blankenbuehler, In The Heights
Dan Knechtges, Xanadu
Kathleen Marshall, Grease
Susan Stroman, Young Frankenstein
Possible Spoilers: Christopher Gatelli, South Pacific; Steven Mear, The Little Mermaid; Jerome Robbins, Gypsy
Long Shot: Karole Armitage, Passing Strange

Cry-Baby's best shot at a Tony...and Grease's only shot, in my opinion. I was underwhelmed by South Pacific's choreography, but I still feel odd betting against it. (If the award were for MOST Choreography, it would be in hands down over Xanadu.) And then there's the wild card of Robbins' Gypsy numbers...I don't know the Tony rules, but can he be nominated again, or not?

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Blogger par3182 said...

i'd say "not" to jerome robbins, otherwise he'd win every time 'gypsy' got revived

sutton foster over andrea martin?

5/12/08, 2:25 AM  
Blogger Ludlow Lad said...

I believe that all of the performers in Top Girls will be considered in the Featured Actress in a Play category according to the Tony Nominating Committee...that will change your predictions in Lead Actress and perhaps Featured.

5/12/08, 8:18 AM  
Blogger ModFab said...

Good call, Ludlow...although it's insane to think of Marvel as anything but a lead, you're correct that the Tony Eligibility committee did not bump her up to lead. Adjustments to Lead and Supporting Actress categories have been made accordingly.

5/12/08, 9:32 AM  
Blogger ModFab said...

To PAR: Yes, Sutton Foster over Andrea Martin. Martin does a lot of mugging shtick, which I'm hoping the nominators have the sense to see for what it is. Foster does almost all of the water-carrying in the musical; if it succeeds, it do so because of her.

5/12/08, 9:34 AM  
Blogger will g said...

Just one question: Why do you say it's Breaker over Roberts? Doesn't that imply that Breaker is the iffiest in your predictions? I keep hearing from everyone how he's the standout in Passing Strange, and the season.

5/12/08, 10:03 AM  
Blogger ModFab said...

Breaker is the iffiest, in my opinion. I loved him, which is why I put him in the category...and I'm hoping others loved him, too. But Roberts is an old veteran, well-liked among the voters and in the industry. It's probably one of his last shots at a nomination. And XANADU was fun. So I think it's a battle between them.

5/12/08, 10:34 AM  
Blogger Steve On Broadway (SOB) said...

ModFab, Congrats on such a comprehensive list.

My only real quibble would be on the longshot possibility of Jeff Lynne and John Farrar for Xanadu. Sure there was lots of material from them that had never been in the movie, but it was not written specifically for the theatre - they served as hits for ELO and Olivia.

OK, I'd also bet money on The Homecoming as a lock on a Best Revival of a Play Tony nod. But that's it!


5/12/08, 3:39 PM  
Blogger ModFab said...

Steve, great points on XANADU. Do you know if the score's even eligible? I don't.

With THE HOMECOMING, I think you may be right...as I said, it's whether the producers can make a cogent argument for nominating a closed show over an open one. The show was better reviewed than many of the current crop...but will nominators remember it so?

5/12/08, 3:47 PM  
Blogger will g said...

Oh God, I hesitate to ask this, but just for edification before tomorrow: What ARE the rules for scores, specifically those that are originally from movies? From your inclusion of Little Mermaid, I take it that's for the portion written for the show. So what is the bottom line for Xanadu, none of which was written for the show? The portion not in the movie is eligible? AARGGH.

5/12/08, 7:14 PM  

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