Thursday, May 3, 2012

2012 Tony Nominations React

Emmy-winning Broadway veterans Jim Parsons and Kristin Chenoweth announce the 2012 Tony Award nominations.

The Tony Award nominations came out yesterday, making it the second most important day of the entire Broadway season (the first being the day the awards are actually handed out).  In case you somehow missed them, I’ve listed the nominees in the Big 12 categories below, with the starred names indicating the nominees I correctly predicted.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play
*Christian Borle, Peter and the Starcatcher
Michael Cumpsty, End of the Rainbow
Tom Edden, One Man, Two Guvnors
*Andrew Garfield, Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman
*Jeremy Shamos, Clybourne Park

Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play
*Linda Emond, Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman
Spencer Kayden, Don’t Dress for Dinner
*Celia Keenan-Bolger, Peter and the Starcatcher
*Judith Light, Other Desert Cities
*Condola Rashad, Stick Fly

Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical
*Phillip Boykin, The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess
*Michael Cerveris, Evita
*David Alan Grier, The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess
Michael McGrath, Nice Work If You Can Get It
*Josh Young, Jesus Christ Superstar

Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical
Elizabeth A. Davis, Once
Jayne Houdyshell, Follies
*Judy Kaye, Nice Work If You Can Get It
*Jessie Mueller, On A Clear Day You Can See Forever
*Da’Vine Joy Randolph, Ghost the Musical

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play
*James Corden, One Man, Two Guvnors
*Philip Seymour Hoffman, Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman
*James Earl Jones, Gore Vidal’s The Best Man
Frank Langella, Man and Boy
John Lithgow, The Columnist

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play
*Nina Arianda, Venus in Fur
*Tracie Bennett, End of the Rainbow
*Stockard Channing, Other Desert Cities
*Linda Lavin, The Lyons
*Cynthia Nixon, Wit

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical
*Danny Burstein, Follies
*Jeremy Jordan, Newsies
*Steve Kazee, Once
*Norm Lewis, The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess
*Ron Raines, Follies

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical
*Jan Maxwell, Follies
*Audra McDonald, The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess
*Cristin Milioti, Once
*Kelli O’Hara, Nice Work If You Can Get It
Laura Osnes, Bonnie & Clyde

Best Revival of a Play
*Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman
*Gore Vidal’s The Best Man
*Master Class

Best Revival of a Musical
*The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess
*Jesus Christ Superstar
Best Play
*Clybourne Park
*Other Desert Cities
*Peter and the Starcatcher
*Venus in Fur

Best Musical

Leap of Faith
*Nice Work If You Can Get It

I have to say, I’m pretty pleased with myself.  I correctly guessed 46 of 56 nominees, or an 82% average for those of you keeping score at home.  And when it comes to the four production categories (Best Play, Musical, Play Revival, and Musical Revival), I did even better, predicting 11 out of 12 eventual nominees.  Or 10.5 out of 12 if you want to get picky, since I had listed Master Class as my runner-up for Best Play Revival.  Apparently Tony voters don’t appreciate stunt casting in their Tennessee Williams plays.
We’ll dissect who has the best chances of winning at a later date, but for now here are my gut reactions to this year’s nominations:
- I am saddened to see play scores taking up two of the four Best Score nominations, mostly because I think it’s a sad comment on the writing being done for the musical theatre these days.  Too many new musicals rely on preexisting scores that are ineligible for the Tony (that would be you, Once), and the ones that do have new scores aren’t all that memorable.  I don’t think we lack the talent to write great scores; rather, I think these composers are being overlooked in favor of less talented people who can churn out a serviceable movie adaptation rather than a more innovative and therefore challenging theatrical score.
- I am thrilled to see Norm Lewis land his first Tony nomination.  Long recognized as an incredibly gifted vocalist, Lewis’ talents as an actor have been often overlooked, and it’s great to see him receive this kind of acknowledgement.
- On a similar note, good for Laura Osnes scoring a Best Actress nomination in a very competitive category.  At this point, I think we can officially forgive her for using that awful Grease: You’re the One That I Want reality show as a starting point for her Broadway career.  She has definitely proven that she has the talent to back up that lucky break.
- Although it did well in other categories, I’m really glad to see One Man, Two Guvnors excluded from the Best Play category.  It is about time the Tony voters began encouraging homegrown American playwrights after years of giving the Best Play trophy to slickly produced British imports of questionable artistic merit (*cough*War Horse*cough*).
- I’m shocked the critically reviled Leap of Faith managed to land one of the four Best Musical nominations.  It just goes to show you how weak the competition in that category was this year.  The fact that it can land such a high honor as its only nomination nominations proves that most of the exciting work being done this year was in revivals and straight plays.
- I’m not at all surprised but still very happy to see such a strong showing from last fall’s Follies.  While I haven’t seen all of this spring’s musicals (including the much ballyhooed Once), that Stephen Sondheim-James Goldman masterpiece is easily the best musical I’ve seen this season, revival or otherwise.

That’s all for now.  Get ready for a month of wild speculation and heated debate, as I’ve got plenty to say about all of the nominees and cannot wait to share it all with you!  And for a taste of what’s to come, here are my reviews of the Tony nominated productions I have personally seen.
Jesus Christ Superstar
Lysistrata Jones (only listed here because of its completely undeserved Best Book nomination)
Porgy and Bess
Venus in Fur

*I saw Follies (three times, in fact) before I started this blog, hence it’s exclusion.  In place of a review, just imagine me gushing praise for every conceivably aspect of the show for 1000 words*

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