|Past Tony-winner Jane Krakowski and nominee Christopher Jackson announce the 2017 Tony Award nominees.|
It's Tony Tuesday!!!! Early this morning Jane Krakowski and Christopher Jackson announced the nominees for the 71st annual Tony Awards, with Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812 leading the pack with 12 nominations, followed closely by hot ticket revival Hello, Dolly! with 10. (You can see a complete list of the nominees here.)
I have lots of thoughts about this year's nominees, but first let's see how well I did with my predictions. An asterisks represents a nominee I correctly predicted, while an asterisk in parentheses is a wildcard selection that made the grade:
Come From Away*
Dear Evan Hansen*
Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812*
A Doll’s House, Part 2
Best Revival of a Musical
Best Revival of a Play
The Little Foxes*
Six Degrees of Separation*
Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical
Christian Borle, Falsettos*
Josh Groban, Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812*
David Hyde Pierce, Hello, Dolly!
Andy Karl, Groundhog Day*
Ben Platt, Dear Evan Hansen*
Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical
Denée Benton, Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812
Christine Ebersole, War Paint*
Patti LuPone, War Paint*
Bette Midler, Hello, Dolly!*
Eva Noblezada, Miss Saigon*
Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play
Denis Arndt, Heisenberg*
Chris Cooper, A Doll’s House, Part 2
Corey Hawkins, Six Degrees of Separation
Kevin Kline, Present Laughter*
Jefferson Mays, Oslo
Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play
Cate Blanchett, The Present*
Jennifer Ehle, Oslo
Sally Field, The Glass Menagerie(*)
Laura Linney, The Little Foxes*
Laurie Metcalf, A Doll’s House, Part 2*
That's 28 out of 35 correct guesses, which makes for a fairly good 80% accuracy rating. However, if I'm being honest that figure is misleading as I ended up prediction one more nominee in all of the production categories, figuring the breadth of work this season would lead to the close vote totals that cause category expansions. That was not the case, showing that the Tony nominators were generally in agreement on which shows they liked best.
As for the nominees themselves, they went pretty much as expected. I was clearly wrong about enthusiasm for The Great Comet having cooled, as it leads the pack in nominations including a somewhat surprising nod for lead Denee Benton as Best Actress. It's not a choice I'm entirely behind, but I'm probably biased due to my unadulterated adoration of Phillipa Soo in the show's Off-Broadway incarnation, and there isn't an actress I think is more deserving who was left off the list (including Soo, who is poorly used in the not fully realized Amelie).
I'm pleasantly surprised to see Dear Evan Hansen's Mike Faist and Falsettos' Brandon Uranowitz among the Best Featured Actor nominees, as I though both gentlemen did great work in somewhat thankless roles. (In particular, Faist's turn on a dime modifications to his character during the charming "Sincerely Me" number is some of the best subtle musical acting of the season.) Part of me also wishes Tony voters had found space for Hello, Dolly's Gavin Creel *and* Taylor Trensch in this category, as their Cornelius and Barnaby are both fantastic and neither performance would be as successful without the other's support.
As for omissions, I'm bummed about War Paint's relatively modest showing, although I can't say I'm surprised. I loved the show, but the Drama Desk and Outer Critic's Circle nominations made it clear that a lot of the New York theatre scene was lukewarm to everything about it except its sensational leading ladies. I will take solace in the show's $1 million+ weekly box office and the feeling that it will be a show people will slowly discover and appreciate as time goes on.
I'm genuinely shocked by Allison Janney's exclusion from the Best Actress in a Play race. I have not seen the show, but in my mind she is definitely the selling point and would be my primary reason for buying a ticket, and I've heard no rumblings about her being disappointing. I also wish they had found room for Jennifer Laura Thompson from Dear Evan Hansen, who is just as good as her rightfully nominated costar Rachel Bay Jones. And while I haven't seen enough of the Best Actor in a Play nominees to argue that Gideon Glick was snubbed, I do think he did exceptional work in Significant Other.
Check back in the coming weeks for my annual Tony predictions, as well as reviews of at least 3 more nominated productions I haven't quite had time to write yet. And feel free to weigh in with your own thoughts on this year's nominees in the comments!