Saturday, June 8, 2013

2013 Tony Predictions: Best Revival

All of Broadway is brimming with anticipation for the big Tony Award ceremony on Sunday, and here at Broadway, Etc. there are only four more races to predict.  The production awards are perhaps the most prestigious of them all, as they acknowledge the work of everyone involved rather than particular individuals, indicating that the entire work is of the highest artistic merit.  These are the awards that are also most likely to affect a show’s bottom line, with a Best Musical win in particular proven to majorly increase a show’s box office.  Today we’ll be looking at this season’s nominated revivals and predicting which shows will walk away the big winners.

Best Revival of a Play

Tracy Letts and Amy Morton in the acclaimed 50th anniversary production of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Nominees:  Golden Boy, Orphans, The Trip to Bountiful, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

To me, the most deserving production in this category is obvious.  The latest Broadway mounting of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? was not just this season’s best play revival, but the season’s best theatre period.  Under director Pam MacKinnon, the four person cast found an enormous amount of humor and emotional depth in the oft-produced American classic, making it feel as relevant and timely today as it did when it premiered fifty years ago.  Every aspect of the production was of the utmost quality, and despite all of the shows that have opened since it remains one of the most vivid and affecting nights I’ve had on Broadway all year.  Any other show winning would feel like blasphemy.

That said, I felt similarly about last season’s revival of Follies, and it was beaten by the upstart Porgy and Bess (which was admittedly very well-done).  I could envision a similar coup happening with Roundabout’s The Trip to Bountiful, as that well-liked show is the only one of the four nominees still running, and Cicely Tyson’s performance in particular is one of the most buzzed about of the season.  And last fall’s revival of Golden Boy received ecstatic reviews, with nary an unkind word spoken about it during or since.  In fact, the only show I have difficultly making a compelling case for is Orphans, which couldn’t manage to finish out its limited run despite edging out several other high-profile contenders for its slot among this year’s nominees.  But this is one category where I honestly don’t see anyone but the most deserving candidate winning, and so I have to give my vote to Virginia Woolf.

Will & Should Win:  Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

Best Revival of a Musical

Chances are they've already engraved the Best Revival of a Musical trophy with Pippin's name, as the show is a shoo-in for the win.

Perhaps the surest bet of the night, this category is clearly Pippin’s to lose, and I honestly can’t see any of the other nominated shows upstaging the circus-themed revival.  For whatever reason, the Tony voters clearly have little love for the James Lapine-helmed Annie, as this category marks the production’s sole nomination.  Its inclusion probably has as much to do with excluding the only other eligible show, the much-maligned Jekyll & Hyde, as it did with honoring the child-friendly revival.  And though delightfully entertaining while it was running, Roundabout’s The Mystery of Edwin Drood has practically faded from memory since it closed in early March.

The only potential fly in the ointment is the revised Cinderella, which despite a myriad of problems managed to secure nine Tony nominations.  How this complete butchering of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s telemovie managed to so greatly impress the nominating committee is beyond me, but I think it has enough detractors to keep it from being a serious threat.  There is also a contingent of voters who rightly question whether the show is a revival at all, as Cinderella has never before played Broadway and the current incarnation is so heavily rewritten that it bears shockingly little resemblance to the show most voters are familiar with.  Barring a major upset, Diane Paulus’ high-flying, spectacle-fueled Pippin will easily and deservedly dance away with this award, as the truly magical night at the theatre is a celebration of all that makes Broadway grand.

Will & Should Win:  Pippin

All that’s left to predict are the two biggest Tony races, Best Play and Best Musical.  Check back soon for that post, and tune in Sunday evening to see how well I did when the Tony Awards air live on CBS.  Until then, feel free to click the links below to the rest of my Tony coverage:

Best Actress
Best Featured Actor
Best Featured Actress
Best Book and Score
Best Direction and Choreography
Tony Nomination React
2013 Tony Roundtable Podcast

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