Friday, June 10, 2011

Tonys 2011: Shot-in-the-Dark Predictions

I've already lamented the fact that I've seen absolutely none of these shows, thanks to my residence in central North Carolina and not in New York. Which, I don't think I mentioned in that post, is the reason why I tune into the Tony Awards every year: it's pretty much the only opportunity I get to see anything from Broadway (aside from bootlegged videos, but the poor quality of those never make it worth it). So when I make these predictions, know that I am mostly parroting what real critics who have actually seen at least some of these shows are saying, and that none of these should be taken as expert opinions. I won't make claims to the qualities of the shows, just what others are saying.


Best Play: War Horse. It seems to be the odds-on favorite, though from what I understand there's a lot of love for Good People, David Lindsay-Abaire's new play, and Jerusalem. I'm still going with War Horse though, especially since it seems this will be a great year for the source material with Spielberg's movie coming in December.

Revival: The Normal Heart. A lot of people loved Stanley Kramer's play this time around too, though I wouldn't be surprised to see The Merchant of Venice take this one.

Actor: Mark Rylance, Jerusalem. Broadway seems eager to honor its own this year (sorry, Pacino), and Rylance seems like the best bet. I do hear that Joe Mantello is a favorite too, but unless there's just a huge swing in favor of The Normal Heart, I'm betting on Rylance (his performance in La Bete as well shouldn't hurt his chances).

Actress: Frances McDormand, Good People. If any movie star is going to take this prize, it's going to be McDormand. All of the reviews I've read agree that she is the force that takes Good People from being a very good play to a great one, and they'll likely reward her for the effort. Nina Arianda of Born Yesterday is well-liked too, though, and if they really shy away from Hollywood stars...

Featured Actor: Yul Vazquez, The Motherf**ker with the Hat. John Benjamin Hickey (The Normal Heart) is actually a favorite here, but I'm going to go with wild card Vazquez, who is reportedly terrific and hilarious in Stephen Adly Guirgis's dark comedy. I've got a really good feeling about him. Also, he was Bob from the Seinfeld episode "The Soup Nazi." So he's got that in his corner.

Featured Actress: Ellen Barkin, The Normal Heart. The Drama Desks went with Edie Falco, and if she still has the career momentum, she could walk off with a Tony to go with her Emmys. But I'm thinking Barkin will win, since Falco's her toughest competition here.

Direction: Marianne Elliot and Tom Morris, War Horse. My guess is that War Horse is going to sweep the technicals, since that's mostly where the show's attention has been anyway (notice how it has no acting nominations, and the reviews don't tend to detail the performances as much as the props and costumes). However, I wouldn't be completely surprised if The Merchant of Venice took a few as well, seeing as how the stage photos I've browsed seem pretty great.


Best Musical: The Book of Mormon. This doesn't seem like much of a contest, seeing as how this show has the most nominations (14) and the most critical attention of any of the nominated shows. However, this year's group of musicals has really been a lot better than they have been the past few years. Two of them are even based on original ideas! And the two movie-musicals, Catch Me If You Can and Sister Act, look like tremendous fun, something that others (*cough* Shrek the Musical *cough*) haven't seemed to be. So overall, I'm not complaining, whoever wins.

Book of a Musical: The Book of Mormon; Trey Parker, Robert Lopez, Matt Stone. Again, it's hard to imagine The Book of Mormon losing this one. The South Park guys have apparently really shown some maturity here, and given that South Park is nearing the end of its run, maybe Broadway is the next career step for these guys? A win would certainly be a gracious invitation.

Original Score: The Scottsboro Boys; Music & Lyrics by John Kander & Fred Ebb. This is probably a misguided guess, and The Book of Mormon's Parker/Lopez/Stone will probably win this as well, but I'm thinking that the Tony voters will want to reward the legendary Kander & Ebb for their final show. Plus, I've actually listened to selections from all four nominated shows, and I can say that I enjoyed The Scottsboro Boys the best.

Revival: Anything Goes. With only two nominees this year, it doesn't seem like there's much of a choice here. But I suspect the enthusiastically received Anything Goes will top the very-well-received How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.

Actor: Norbert Leo Butz, Catch Me If You Can. The Book of Mormon boys will probably split the vote, letting Butz waltz his way up to the podium for his supposedly vivacious and excellent work in Catch Me If You Can. Though I wouldn't be surprised if Priscilla, Queen of the Desert's Tony Sheldon pulled the upset either (by the way: the movie the musical is based on is an Instant Watch on Netflix. If you haven't seen it before, I suggest doing so).

Actress: Sutton Foster, Anything Goes. For some reason they only nominated four women here this year (surely there were more!), and Foster seems like the best bet to pick up her second Tony (besides, tell me you're not in love with her. I am.). I wouldn't count out the great Donna Murphy, though, and Sister Act's Patina Miller could squeek by if enough people love her show.

Featured Actor: Rory O'Malley, The Book of Mormon. Conventional wisdom says that John Larroquette is the favorite, but I think the scene-stealing O'Malley has a legitimate shot. They love to honor those types of roles in the featured categories (see: Katie Finneran last year), and I believe The Book of Mormon will pick up more than just the top three prizes, since they obviously really love this show.

Featured Actress: Victoria Clark, Sister Act. Sister Act is enough of a crowd pleaser that it should score something, and Clark is reported top-notch in her role as Mother Superior. Of course, I wouldn't bet too much against Laura Benanti, who received great reviews for her performance despite the terrible reviews Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown picked up (some would argue unfairly).

Director: Susan Stroman, The Scottsboro Boys. I wouldn't be surprised to see Stroman win here, especially since her direction was celebrated in reviews of The Scottsboro Boys. Still, it wouldn't surprise me if The  Book of Mormon's Casey Nicholaw & Trey Park or Anything Goes' Kathleen Marshall took home the prize either.

Choreography: Kathleen Marshall, Anything Goes. The directing nominees are the same as the choreography nominees (minus Trey Parker), but I don't expect the same person to win both prizes. Anything Goes looks like the show that best showcases its choreography, and so I'm willing to bet that it will dance away with this one. In fact, I'm willing to bet that Anything Goes captures a lot of the technicals, with maybe the exception of Costume Design, which I suspect Priscilla, Queen of the Desert will win handily (though that could be a battle of Oscar winning costume designers, as The Book of Mormon's Ann Roth is also in the mix).

So those are my fearless/clueless predictions. If anyone's seen any of these, what did you think of the show? And Broadway experts, what are your picks?

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