Wednesday, June 3, 2015

2015 Tony Predictions: Best Revival

The Tony Awards take place this Sunday, and about the only talk you'll hear on the Great White Way is speculation on who will win the coveted spinning medallions. I've already explored the writers, directors, and actors I suspect will win Broadway's highest honor, so now it's finally time to tackle the production awards. Whereas the other Tony categories honor individual excellence, the four production awards recognize the collective efforts of the many artists responsible for producing any piece of theatre. These awards are also the most likely to affect a show's box office fortunes, which make them the most desired honors in the entire theatrical community.

As always, I will be predicting who will win, which does not necessarily align with who I would like to win. Should there be a major discrepancy, I will be certain to point it out in my analysis. At the same time, it bears repeating that all of the shows nominated in these categories have plenty of artistic merit, so even if I personally think a different show should win it doesn't mean the likely winner is undeserving. Now read on to find out which of this season's revivals are most likely to strike Tony gold.

Warning: Occasional snark and plenty of speculation to follow.

Best Revival of a Play

The Tony nominated cast of The Elephant Man.
Nominees: The Elephant Man; Skylight; This is Our Youth; You Can't Take It With You

This is the unusual category where the majority of nominees are long closed, giving the sole currently running production (West End import Skylight) a tangible advantage over its competitors. In fact, each production's likelihood of winning seems to correlate with how much time has passed since its closing date. The fact that This Is Our Youth was nominated at all remains one of the bigger surprises of this Tony season, as the production struggled at the box office throughout its limited run and closed back in early January. I would be shocked should it actually win, just as I would be similarly surprised to see the well-liked You Can't Take It With You triumph over the weightier dramas in this category (Tony voters tend to be biased against comedies, even ones that have won the Pulitzer Prize).

Although Skylight scored very strong notices, I actually think the Bradley Cooper led Elephant Man will be triumphant this year. That starry revival exceeded all expectations both artistically and at the box office; it was the talk of the town during its limited engagement, and the fact all three principal actors are nominated for Tony Awards shows what a strong impression they and the production made. The feeling towards Skylight seems respectful rather than passionate, which I think will ultimately be the British import's downfall. Then again, absolutely no one expected A Raisin in the Sun to triumph in this category last year, which makes me wary of another surprise this year. I am still officially predicting The Elephant Man, but it only has a slight advantage against its currently running competitor.

Will & Should Win: The Elephant Man

Best Revival of a Musical
I know I don't predict technical awards on this blog, but The King and I is totally winning Best Costumes. Look at that DRESS!

This category is the most cut and dry of the production categories. Arguments can be made for the exuberant On the Town and better than expected On the Twentieth Century, but neither production can compete with the unadulterated brilliance of Lincoln Center's The King and I. Bartlett Sher's masterful revival of the oft-produced Rodgers and Hammerstein classic has been deemed a definitive production by many in the industry, and is my personal favorite production of this Broadway season (new, revival, musical, or otherwise). Expertly acted, superbly sung, and visually stunning, it calls to mind everything wonderful about the traditional Broadway musical without ever feeling dated or tired.

Should The King and I fail to win this category I would strongly disagree, but could at least accept a victory for the incredibly entertaining On the Town. That production does everything a revival should; it takes a long forgotten show and makes the piece feel exciting, relevant, and fresh again, resulting in one of the most unceasingly entertaining productions of the season. On the Twentieth Century would be a harder choice to defend, as despite a top notch cast the script is starting to show its age. In fact, without leading lady Kristin Chenoweth and the oafish Andy Karl I think the show would be forgotten almost the moment it ends. But these are all a moot points, as Lincoln Center has been the front runner for this award since The King and I was even rumored. The fact the resulting production meets and in my opinion surpasses their much beloved South Pacific from several seasons back just seals the deal.

Will & Should Win: The King and I

Check back this Friday for my take on the two most important races of the season, Best Play and Best Musical. In the meantime, feel free to catch up on the rest of my Tony coverage below!

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