Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The 2014 Tony Nominations

Yesterday morning, the Tony Award nominations were announced, recognizing the best on Broadway during the past season. For me, the Tony Awards are the only time of the year that I get a good glimpse of these shows, since I don't live in New York (and even if I did, I hardly have the money to regularly go to shows). This year, the American Theatre Wing went with more fall-premiering shows that spring debuts, and favored critical favorites and noted stage actors over popular hits and Hollywood stars. As Broadway musicals have increasingly been based on movies, or based on movies based on musicals (I know), this year saw them favor more "original" fare, with only one Best Musical nominee being based on a movie.

There were some surprises. Remarkably, Patrick Stewart's and Ian McKellan's two repertory plays, No Man's Land and Waiting For Godot, scored precisely zero nominations, a genuine surprise given how critically and popularly beloved the shows are. Similarly, the revival of Harold Pinter's classic play Betrayal, starring Daniel Craig and Rachel Weisz, came-up empty handed despite being the highest-grossing show of last fall. And the Michelle Williams-starring revival of Cabaret only managed two nominations, neither of which were for Williams nor the show itself.

Among musicals, A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder - a riff on Victorian comedies of manners - led in overall nominations, with 10, while Hedwig and the Angry Inch had 8 and After Midnight and Beautiful - The Carole King Musical followed 7. Among plays, revivals of Shakespeare's Twelfth Night and Tennessee Williams' The Glass Menagerie led with 7 nominations, followed by The Cripple of Inishmaan with 6 and Act One and the revival of A Raisin in the Sun with 5 apiece.


Below is the full list of the nominees. The Tony Awards will be given out on June 8. Links in the show categories go to the website for that show.

BEST PLAY

Act One, author: James Lapine
All the Way, author: Robert Schenkkan
Casa Valentina, author: Harvey Fierstein
Mothers and Sons, author: Terrence McNally
Outside Mullingar, author: John Patrick Shanley

Thanks to a new rule in voting for the show categories, if there are ten or more eligible works in a category, there can be a fifth nominee added to the category so long as the number of votes between the fourth and fifth nominee is three votes or less (traditionally there are four nominees in each show category). This category is the first to utilize that change, though it's unusual that Outside Mullingar was close enough to merit an nomination here despite not being nominated anywhere else. Overall, this category is made up of well-known playwrights who have all been nominated before, which leaves out new plays by newer voices.

BEST MUSICAL

After Midnight
Aladdin
Beautiful - The Carole King Musical
A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder

As I mentioned in the introduction, Aladdin is the only nominee based on a movie this year, with the others being an original comedy (A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder), a jazz revue (After Midnight), and a jukebox musical (Beautiful - The Carole King Musical). Should one of the latter three win the prize - and as of today, A Gentleman's Guide… is considered the frontrunner - it would be the first musical not based on a movie to win since The Book of Mormon in 2011. Some of the season's buzzier shows, such as If/Then and Bullets Over Broadway, surprisingly failed to make the cut.

BEST BOOK OF A MUSICAL

Aladdin, Chad Beguelin
Beautiful - The Carole King Musical, Douglas McGrath
Bullets Over Broadway, Woody Allen
A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder, Robert L. Freedman

It's interesting to see both Allen and McGrath nominated in this category, considering that they co-wrote the script for Allen's film Bullets Over Broadway.

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE

Aladdin; music by Alan Menken, lyrics by Howard Ashman, Tim Rice, and Chad Beguelin
The Bridges of Madison County; music & lyrics by Jason Robert Brown
A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder; music by Steven Lutvak, lyrics by Robert L. Freedman and Steven Lutvak
If/Then; music by Tom Kitt, lyrics by Brian Yorkey

Kitt and Yorkey are the Tony- and Pulitzer Prize-winning team behind next to normal, one of my all-time favorite musical scores, so I'm excited to check out their work on If/Then. Brown is best-known for his inventive musical The Last Five Years (currently being made into a movie), and his score for The Bridges of Madison County has received high praise as well. And of course, the Aladdin score incorporates the old favorites with new tunes.

BEST REVIVAL OF A PLAY

The Cripple of Inishmaan
The Glass Menagerie
A Raisin in the Sun
Twelfth Night

Surprising but true fact: this year marks the first time ever that any production of The Glass Menagerie has received Tony nominations. While the original production premiered on Broadway in 1945 (before the inception of the Tony Awards), the play has since been considered an American classic and has been revived multiple times, yet never managed to earn a nomination until now. The revival of Twelfth Night has been a surprisingly robust one, outshining the other production in the Shakespearean repertory (Richard III) and featuring an all-male cast. A Raisin in the Sun had the benefit of starring Denzel Washington, helping set this production of the oft-revived play apart. And The Cripple of Inishmaan, from Irish playwright Martin McDonagh, made its Broadway debut this season, but officially premiered in London in 1996, which is why it's been (correctly) labeled a revival.

BEST REVIVAL OF A MUSICAL

Hedwig and the Angry Inch
Les Miserables
Violet

Another rule change in the show categories is that if there are five or fewer eligible shows for a category, then there will only be three nominees, with the possibility of a fourth if the difference between the third and fourth nominee is three or less votes. With only four eligible shows (it was a rough year for musical revivals), Cabaret was the only one to miss the cut. Les Miserables is a former Best Musical winner and, obviously, was recently made into a hit movie. This revival - its second - comes only 11 years after the closing of the original production. Interestingly, both Hedwig and the Angry Inch - about an East German rock star suffering from a botched sex-change surgery - and Violet - about a disfigured woman in the 1960s who believes a televangelist can heal her - are making their Broadway debuts, but are considered revivals for having previous productions Off-Broadway.

The complete list of nominees, after the jump.


BEST LEAD ACTOR 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

Rylance

Granted, this was a very competitive category, but it's worth noting that Ian McKellan (Waiting for Godot / No Man's Land), Patrick Stewart (Waiting for Godot / No Man's Land), Denzel Washingtion (A Raisin in the Sun), Daniel Radcliffe (The Cripple of Inishmaan), and James Franco (Of Mice and Men) all failed to make the cut. Cranston - best known as Walter White on Breaking Bad - earned raves for playing Lyndon B. Johnson in All the Way, and he'll likely go toe-to-toe with Rylance, who was universally acclaimed for his performance as Shakespeare's mad king.

BEST LEAD ACTRESS 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 & Grill
Estelle Parsons, The Velocity of Autumn

Should McDonald win here for her performance as Billie Holiday, she will be the first actor to ever win 6 acting Tonys (Julie Harris has 6, but one of her's is an honorary award), as well as the first to win a Tony in all four acting categories.

BEST LEAD ACTOR IN A MUSICAL

Neil Patrick Harris, Hedwig and the Angry Inch
Ramin Karimloo, Les Miserables
Andy Karl, Rocky
Jefferson Mays, A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder
Bryce Pinkham, A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder

There's no doubt that, in terms of critical reviews, Harris is the favorite here, for his performance as the titular glam-rock singer. Mays, it should be noted, played eight different characters in A Gentleman's Guide…, all of which are the victims of Pinkham's ambitious social-climber.

BEST LEAD ACTRESS 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

O'Hara (with co-star Steven Pasquale)

Foster, Menzel, and O'Hara are all Broadway regulars, and given the reviews she's received, O'Hara could be looking at her first Tony win. Mueller and Davies are relative newcomers, each playing a famous musician of the late 1960s and 1970s (Carole King and Janis Joplin, respectively). And with Menzel's nomination, expect plenty of "Adele Dazeem" jokes during the telecast.

BEST FEATURED ACTOR 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

Fry

Three nominees from Twelfth Night is an impressive tally. Rylance, too, gets to be a rare double nominee, even more impressive given that he was performing both Twelfth Night and Richard III in the same repertory.

BEST FEATURED ACTRESS 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

Okonedo and Rose both had flirtations with the Oscars around ten years ago, with Okonedo earning a Best Supporting Actress nomination for Hotel Rwanda in 2004 and Rose playing a key role in Dreamgirls (2006) and lending her voice to Best Animated Feature nominee The Princess and the Frog (2009). Clearly, there was a lot of talent in this revival.

BEST FEATURED ACTOR 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

Iglehart, the only actor to be nominated for Aladdin, plays the genie. It shouldn't be all that surprising that that role would translate the best to the Broadway stage.

BEST FEATURED ACTRESS 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 & Murder

Hall

I'm not really familiar with any of these actresses, but I didn't want to leave any of the acting categories without commentary.

BEST DIRECTION OF A PLAY

Tim Carroll, Twelfth Night
Michael Grandage, The Cripple of Inishmaan
Kenny Leon, A Raisin in the Sun
John Tiffany, The Glass Menagerie

BEST DIRECTION OF A MUSICAL

Warren Carlyle, After Midnight
Michael Mayer, Hedwig and the Angry Inch
Leigh Silverman, Violet
Darko Tresnjak, A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder

Mayer has a history of staging rock musicals, having also directed 2007 Best Musical winner Spring Awakening and 2010 Best Musical nominee American Idiot.

BEST CHOREOGRAPHY

Warren Carlyle, After Midnight
Steven Hoggett & Kelly Devine, Rocky
Casey Nicholaw, Aladdin
Susan Stroman, Bullets Over Broadway

BEST ORCHESTRATIONS

Doug Besterman, Bullets Over Broadway
Jason Robert Brown, The Bridges of Madison County
Steve Sidwell, Beautiful - The Carole King Musical
Jonathan Tunick, A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder

BEST SCENIC DESIGN OF A PLAY

Act One, Beowulf Boritt
The Glass Menagerie, Bob Crowley
Machinal, Es Devlin
The Cripple of Inishmaan, Christopher Oram

BEST SCENIC DESIGN OF A MUSICAL

Rocky, Christopher Barreca
Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Julian Crouch
A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder, Alexander Dodge
Bullets Over Broadway, Santo Loquasto

BEST COSTUME DESIGN OF A PLAY

Act One, Jane Greenwood
Machinal, Michael Krass
Casa Valentina, Rita Ryack
Twelfth Night, Jenny Tiramani

BEST COSTUME DESIGN OF A MUSICAL

A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder, Linda Cho
Bullets Over Broadway, William Ivey Long
Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Arianne Phillips
After Midnight, Isabel Toledo

BEST LIGHTING DESIGN OF PLAY

The Cripple of Inishmaan, Paule Constable
Machinal, Jane Cox
The Glass Menagerie, Natasha Katz
Of Mice and Men, Japhy Weideman

BEST LIGHTING DESIGN OF A MUSICAL

Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Kevin Adams
Rocky, Christopher Akerlind
After Midnight, Howell Binkley
The Bridges of Madison County, Donald Holder

BEST SOUND DESIGN OF A PLAY

The Cripple of Inishmaan, Alex Baranowski
Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill, Steve Canyon Kennedy
Act One, Dan Moses Schreier
Machinal, Matt Tierney

BEST SOUND DESIGN OF A MUSICAL

After Midnight, Peter Hylenski
Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Tim O'Heir
Les Miserables, Mick Potter
Beautiful - The Carole King Musical, Brian Ronan

SPECIAL TONY AWARD FOR LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT IN THE THEATRE
Jane Greenwood

ISABELLE STEVENSON AWARD
Rosie O'Donnell

REGIONAL THEATRE AWARD
Signature Theatre, New York, New York

TONY HONORS FOR EXCELLENCE IN THE THEATRE
Joseph P. Benincasa
Joan Marcus
Charlotte Wilcox

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