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Friday, April 30, 2010

 

Stage Addiction: UPDATE, 2010 Tony Predix, Part IV (Musicals)

UPDATED TO INCLUDE THE APRIL 30 TONY ADMINISTRATION COMMITTEE ELIGIBILITY CHANGES:

The final installment in our prognostications for the 2010 Tony Award nominations next week:

BEST REVIVAL OF A MUSICAL
La Cage Aux Folles
A Little Night Music
Promises, Promises
Ragtime

Dark Horse: Finian's Rainbow
Also-Rans: Irving Berlin's White Christmas, Bye Bye Birdie

Since the bad buzz started to spread on Promises, Promises early last week, the producers have mobilized significant forces to keep the show's Tony hopes alive. With its only serious competition coming from a sweetly-archaic, long-closed retread from the fall (Finian's Rainbow), it looks to me as if they'll make it to the nomination. As far as the eventual win goes, however, they are hopelessly out of their league...it'll be a showdown between glitz (La Cage) versus glam (Night Music) on Tony night.

BEST MUSICAL
American Idiot
Fela!
Million Dollar Quartet
Sondheim on Sondheim

Dark Horse: Come Fly Away, Memphis
Long Shot: The Addams Family, Everyday Rapture
Also-Rans: All About Me, Burn The Floor

Sure, Come Fly Away and Memphis are imperfect works of art. But don't count them out just yet. They've got seductive subjects (Sinatra and the birth of R&B) and starry creative teams (Twyla Tharp for the former, Bon Jovi's keyboardist for the latter). Not to mention eager, hungry producers willing to play to Tony game to the hilt. So although I think the rock of Quartet, the punk of Idiot, and the afrobeat of Fela will nose the others at the finish line, in truth, there's only one thing I'm sure of in this category: Stephen Sondheim.

BEST DIRECTOR OF A MUSICAL
Michael Mayer, American Idiot
Trevor Nunn, A Little Night Music
Bill T. Jones, Fela!
James Lapine, Sondheim on Sondheim

Possible Spoiler: Terry Johnson, La Cage Aux Folles
Dark Horse: Christopher Ashley, Memphis; Twyla Tharp, Come Fly Away
Long Shot: Rob Ashford, Promises, Promises; Marcia Milgrom Dodge, Ragtime; Michael Mayer, Everyday Rapture
Also Rans: Walter Bobbie, Irving Berlin's White Christmas; Warren Carlyle, Finian's Rainbow; Jason Gilkison, Burn The Floor; Richard Longbottom, Bye Bye Birdie; Phelim McDermott and Julian Crouch, The Addams Family; Casey Nicholaw, All About Me; Eric Schaeffer, Million Dollar Quartet

Although there were many noteworthy efforts this season -- the epic whimsy of Ashford, the epic sludge of Dodge, the Rat Pack-ery of Tharp -- I can't believe anyone disputes the genre-redefining work of Mayer, Jones and Lapine, who turned their own personal secret weapons -- youthful alienation, visionary dance, and dramatic context, respectively --into staggering directorial achievements. (That leaves the two imports from London's Menier Chocolate Factory, Night Music and La Cage, to duke it out for the last slot. And in that regard, the only bona fide legend on the list is Nunn. Case closed.)
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