Tuesday, April 29, 2014

2014 Tony Nominations React

Previous Tony-nominee Jonathan Groff and tenuously-connected-to-Broadway Lucy Liu announce the 2014 Tony Award nominations.

They're here!  The 2014 Tony Award nominees were announced bright and early this morning, and there is plenty to discuss (some of it surprising, some of it less so).  But before we go any further, here are the complete list of nominees in the Big 12 categories.  The asterisks indicate nominees that I correctly predicted, and the asterisks in parentheses indicate Wildcard picks that succeeded in making the cut.

Best Play
Act One
*All The Way 
*Casa Valentina 
*Mothers and Sons
*Outside Mullingar

Best Musical
*After Midnight
*Beautiful: The Carole King Musical
*A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder

Best Revival of a Play
*The Cripple of Inishmaan
*The Glass Menagerie

(*)A Raisin in the Sun
*Twelfth Night

Best Revival of a Musical
*Hedwig and the Angry Inch
*Les Misérables

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play
Samuel Barnett, Twelfth Night
*Bryan Cranston, All The Way
*Chris O'Dowd, Of Mice and Men
Mark Rylance, Richard III
*Tony Shalhoub, Act One

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play
*Tyne Daly, Mothers and Sons
(*)LaTanya Richardson Jackson, A Raisin in the Sun
*Cherry Jones, The Glass Menagerie
*Audra McDonald, Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill
*Estelle Parsons, The Velocity of Autumn

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical
*Neil Patrick Harris, Hedwig and the Angry Inch
(*)Ramin Karimloo, Les Misérables
*Andy Karl, Rocky
*Jefferson Mays, A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder
*Bryce Pinkham, A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical
(*)Mary Bridget Davies, A Night with Janis Joplin
*Sutton Foster, Violet
*Idina Menzel, If/Then
*Jessie Mueller, Beautiful: The Carole King Musical
*Kelli O'Hara, The Bridges of Madison County

Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play
*Reed Birney, Casa Valentina
*Paul Chahidi, Twelfth Night
(*)Stephen Fry, Twelfth Night
*Mark Rylance, Twelfth Night
*Brian J. Smith, The Glass Menagerie

Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play
Sarah Greene, The Cripple of Inishmaan
*Celia Keenan-Bolger, The Glass Menagerie
*Sophie Okonedo, A Raisin in the Sun
*Anika Noni Rose, A Raisin in the Sun
*Mare Winningham, Casa Valentina

Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical
*Danny Burstein, Cabaret
*Nick Cordero, Bullets Over Broadway
*Joshua Henry, Violet
*James Monroe Iglehart, Aladdin
*Jarrod Spector, Beautiful: The Carole King Musical

Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical
*Linda Emond, Cabaret
Lena Hall, Hedwig and the Angry Inch
*Anika Larsen, Beautiful: The Carole King Musical
*Adriane Lenox, After Midnight
(*)Lauren Worsham, A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder

First of all, I'm pretty damn pleased with the accuracy of my guesses.  If you only look at my official predictions, I have an 80% accuracy rate, which jumps to 91% if you include Wildcard predictions as correct guesses.  Now here are some more thoughts on the nominees:

-Considering that most critics felt this was a weak season for new plays on Broadway, I'm surprised to see five nominees in that category while the Best Musical race remains unexpectedly limited to four contenders.  And I'm especially surprised that The Realistic Joneses didn't make the cut even with an expanded field; I guess the nominations committee found the play more off-putting than the press (which was still sharply divided).

-Speaking of Best Musical, I personally am bummed they didn't see fit to nominate The Bridges of Madison County for the top prize.  The show is by no means perfect, but it has an artistic ambition rarely seen on Broadway these days, and I wish that had been acknowledged with a nomination (ditto for If/Then, although having not yet seen that show I don't have as strong an opinion about it's exclusion).

-I try not to actively root against shows, but I feel validated by the relative scarcity of nominations for Rocky.  Apparently the Tony committee was as nonplussed about that misfire as I was.  Note:  While it is not a category I predicted, Alex Timbers' exclusion from the Best Director race is one of the major surprises of the day.

-Why would the Tony committee go through the trouble of deeming Cabaret eligible for Best Revival (when according to the rules it really shouldn't be) only to not nominate it?  That seems unnecessarily cruel and a bit of a slap in the face to Roundabout.  Note:  The exclusion of Cabaret from the category was my Wildcard prediction for that race.  Just sayin'.

-Twelfth Night was undeniably amazing (and easily the best production of that play I've ever seen), but I am gobsmacked by just how well the show did in the acting nominations.  There are five total nods shared among its ensemble, including a surprising but well deserved nod for Samuel Bartlett's Viola.  Sidenote:  In my midseason predictions, I mentioned Bartlett as a dark horse contender, but by the time I made my official predictions I thought some of the heat for this production had died down.  Clearly I was wrong.

-I never considered her a serious contender to win, but I am still shocked by Marin Mazzie's exclusion from the Best Featured Actress in a Musical race.  That role was highly sought after and she beat out some of the industry's biggest name to secure it.  Considering Mazzie has been rather forthcoming with her desire for a Tony Award (despite 3 career nominations she's never won), this can't be what she wanted or expected to happen.

-Congratulations to Mary Bridget Davis for breaking into the extremely competitive Best Actress in a Musical Race.  While I personally skipped A Night with Janis Joplin because that music doesn't appeal to me, I heard nothing but complimentary things about her and she should be proud that she made enough of an impression to get nominated despite her show being long closed.

-I really really REALLY wish the committee had nominated Lisa O'Hare's acidic Sibella Hallward along with Lauren Worsham's equally deserving Phoebe D'Ysquith.  A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder has one of the most talented quartet of leads of any Broadway show right now, and it would have been wonderful to see all four of them recognized with nominations.

I will of course have lots more Tony coverage in the coming weeks (including some reviews for more Tony nominated shows), but before I go I want to leave you with one final thought.  Every year there is a lot of talk about who gets "snubbed" by the Tonys, and this year there seems to be even more chatter than normal.  But let's not allow the grousing and griping to take away from the achievement of the people who did get nominated; it is quite an achievement, and they deserve to be celebrated.

Check back all month for more Tony coverage!  And for a more in-depth look at my nominee predictions, look here:
Best Actor
Best Actress
Best Featured Actor/Actress

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