Tuesday, April 28, 2015

2015 Tony Nominee React

Bruce Willis (who will make his Broadway debut in the fall) and Mary-Louise Parker (a past Tony-winner for her work in Proof) announce the 2015 Tony Award nominees. 

They're here! After weeks of speculation, we finally know which productions and performers will be competing for the 2015 Tony Awards. You can view a full list of the nominees here, but to check out how I did with my predictions see the list below. Asterisks indicate correction predictions, and asterisks in parentheses indicate a wildcard pick that made the final cut.

Best Play

*The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
*Hand to God
*Wolf Hall Parts One & Two

Best Musical

*An American in Paris
*Fun Home
*Something Rotten!
*The Visit

Best Revival of a Play

*The Elephant Man
This Is Our Youth
*You Can’t Take It with You

Best Revival of a Musical

*The King and I
*On the Town
*On the Twentieth Century

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play

*Steven Boyer, Hand to God
*Bradley Cooper, The Elephant Man
*Ben Miles, Wolf Hall Parts One & Two
*Bill Nighy, Skylight
*Alex Sharp, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play

*Geneva Carr, Hand to God
*Helen Mirren, The Audience
*Elisabeth Moss, The Heidi Chronicles
*Carey Mulligan, Skylight
*Ruth Wilson, Constellations

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical

*Michael Cerveris, Fun Home
*Robert Fairchild, An American in Paris
*Brian d’Arcy James, Something Rotten!
*Ken Watanabe, The King and I
*Tony Yazbeck, On the Town

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical

*Kristin Chenoweth, On the Twentieth Century
*Leanne Cope, An American in Paris
*Beth Malone, Fun Home
*Kelli O’Hara, The King and I
*Chita Rivera, The Visit

Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play

Matthew Beard, Skylight
K. Todd Freeman, Airline Highway
Richard McCabe, The Audience
Alessandro Nivola, The Elephant Man
*Nathaniel Parker, Wolf Hall Parts One & Two
Micah Stock, It’s Only a Play

Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play

*Annaleigh Ashford, You Can’t Take It with You
Patricia Clarkson, The Elephant Man
*Lydia Leonard, Wolf Hall Parts One & Two
Sarah Stiles, Hand to God
Julie White, Airline Highway

Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical

*Christian Borle, Something Rotten!
*Andy Karl, On the Twentieth Century
*Brad Oscar, Something Rotten!
Brandon Uranowitz, An American in Paris
*Max von Essen, An American in Paris

Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical

Victoria Clark, Gigi
*Judy Kuhn, Fun Home
Sydney Lucas, Fun Home
*Ruthie Ann Miles, The King and I
Emily Skeggs, Fun Home

I may rethink my decision to attempt predicting the Featured Actor/Actress nominees next year, because they really dragged down my accuracy rating. Overall, I correctly predicted 75% of the nominees (77% if you count my wildcard pick of Disgraced for Best Play as correct). Had I stopped at the production and the lead actor races, I would have had a 97% success rate, with the only thing preventing a perfect score being the surprise inclusion of This Is Out Youth in the Best Play Revival category.

Of course, all of this comes with the caveat that in almost every case the Tony committee nominated less people than I was expecting, which is probably the most surprising thing about this year's nominations. It definitively proves that the committee has no desire to honor the maximum number of nominees just because they can, and that last year's narrower than expected Best Musical race was no fluke. On the one hand, I like that this philosphy retains the prestige of an actual nomination - they automatically mean more if less people get them - but on the other hand it leaves a lot of deserving people out in the cold. In general, I have to say I don't mind the committee's selectiveness, as there aren't any overlooked productions or performances I feel strongly about...

...except in the Featured categories, in which the nominations generally came from out of left field and included a whole host of people that weren't on anyone's radar. In retrospect, I should have foreseen the critical adulation of The Elephant Man placing Patricia Clarkson and Alessandro Nivola into contention (how "Jim Parsons-lite" Micah Stock managed to sneak in there remains a mystery). But in general, I feel the cast of On the Town got snubbed, both the men and the women. That revival is packed from top to bottom with fantastic performances, and the fact that only Tony Yazbeck (who is beyond deserving) got nominated is suspicious to me.

I have always maintained that for an actor to be snubbed, there needs to be at least one nominee you would be willing to bump to make room for your preferred performer. I'm going to be somewhat controversial here and nominate Victoria Clark as that person, as I would have much preferred my beloved Alysha Umphress or her costar Elizabeth Stanley in that slot. While I have not seen Gigi, I did see Clark's last two Tony-nominated performances in Sister Act and Cinderella, and in both shows she gave perfectly lovely performances that in no way matched the tone or spirit of the piece she was in. Given what I've read about Gigi, I suspect the same thing has happened again, and while there is something to be said about ensuring your performance is good regardless of the production quality, there is more to be said for being a team player. Both Umphress and Stanley (and their male counterparts, Jay Armstrong Johnson and Clyde Alves) are consummate team players, and it's a shame none of them were rewarded for their efforts.

Other thoughts:

-Something Rotten! better watch out, as its presumptive Best Musical win is now seriously in jeopardy. Both Fun Home and American in Paris scored more nominations, which means that Ben Brantley might not be the only guy in town who was underwhelmed by the showbiz satire.

-This year's tightest race remains Best Actress in a Musical, with Kristin Chenoweth and Kelli O'Hara giving sensational performances in two very different shows. I lean towards O'Hara because in addition to being perfection, she should really just have a Tony already, but I have to admit that if I were a Tony voter I might have to give it to Chenoweth for a flashier performance that exceeded all expectations. (I still love you, Kelli!)

-I'm absolutely thrilled for Brad Oscar, who I thought was joke for joke the funniest cast member of Something Rotten! I'm glad to see he wasn't completely overshadowed by his flashier costar Christian Borle, who like the aforementioned Victoria Clark has a tendency to have an acting style that doesn't really relate to his costars.

-There was a time a few months ago when several people were predicting that Finding Neverland and Doctor Zhivago would be the shows to beat this spring (for the record, I was *not* one of those people). Neither show received a single nomination.

-I am saddened but not surprised to see Honeymoon in Vegas completely excluded from the nominations. I highly enjoyed that production, and I hope that someday soon Jason Robert Brown achieves the elusive critical and commercial hit his talent deserves.

And those are my gut reactions to this year's Tony nominations. Throughout the next six weeks you can expect this blog to feature lots of speculation, predictions, and even another review or two. In meantime, you can take a look at my coverage of the 2015 Tonys so far (and read just how misguided my Featured Actor and Actress predictions were) below:

Tony Rule Change
2015 Tony Nominee Predictions: Production
2015 Tony Nominee Predictions: Actor
2015 Tony Nominee Predictions: Actress
2015 Tony Nominee Predictions: Featured Actor/Actress

1 comment:

  1. I was so excited to wake up to these this morning. I can't wait to continue following your coverage over the next few weeks.

    Budget permitting, I'll be coming to New York in July to see some of these shows. At the top of my must-see list are 'Fun Home', 'On the Town' (which had better not close before then), and 'Hamilton'. I haven't seen a Broadway show since 2008, so I'm getting really antsy to visit.

    -Nicolas Mancuso