Tuesday, May 05, 2009

The 2009 Tony Award Nominations

The Tony Awards nominations for 2009 come out this morning (at 8:30am EST)! I'll update this more later! But here were my predictions and my own picks. (Though boy, things sure have changed a lot in 2 weeks).

The actual show this year will be on Sunday June 7th at 8pm on CBS.

And the noms are coming out. CONSTANTINE MAROULIS? Now who would have thought, back during Idol days?!

Whoa, no 9 to 5? I thought this years massive major musical reject was going to be Shrek. I guess 9 to 5 is this years Legally Blonde. It's always the girls that lose out don't they?

A record 15 nominations for Billy Elliot. No big surprise there. Great news for Hunter Bell for [title of show]!!!

So, the big winner!?? Not Billy Elliot. That was expected. I think it's Rock of Ages which got a ton more than even I thought it would (and I actually thought it would get that Best Musical nod already, which it did).

Nominations below.
With my comments in red.
*****'s denotes shows I've seen and grades I've given them (out of 5).
"<" means I've seen the show/performance (for individuals nominated)
Highlight choices are the ones I'm rooting for.
Links to my reviews for all the shows I've seen are at the end of the post.
Last update: Mon. May 11th 2009 (Last shows seen: Exit the King, The Norman Conquests)

Best Play
Dividing the Estate by Horton Foote ***1/2
God of Carnage by Yasmina Reza ***
reasons to be pretty by Neil LaBute
33 Variations by Moisés Kaufman ***

Neil LaBute's first Broadway play! And they do love Reza don't they? And the departed Foote. Dividing was an entertaining triffle to me, and 33 tried for grand things but ultimately didn't live up to the task, as well as it may have been done. My guess is God of Carnage will win this one.

Best Musical

Billy Elliot, The Musical
Next to Normal ***
Rock of Ages**1/2
Shrek The Musical **

No [title of show]. Oh well. Rock of Ages huh? As I predicted! But Shrek? Yeck. What drek. I would have preferred 9 to 5. It wasn't brilliant but better than the big green monster (the show, not the character). And while Billy Elliot isn't perfect, it's done well and has everything everybody wants, and those musicals are rarer than you think nowadays. I didn't think N2N was as clever or emotionally involving as everyone else seems to think it is (though the performers do everything they can do make it so and are wonderful).

Best Book of a Musical

Billy Elliot, The Musical by Lee Hall ****1/2
Next to Normal by Brian Yorkey ***
Shrek by David Lindsay-Abaire **
[title of show] by Hunter Bell ****

The one [title of show] nod, and for Hunter Bell. Poor Jeff. You KNOW the next the [title of show] show is going to be talking about THAT. I can already see the glee in Hunter's eyes before he has to feign sorrow for Jeff as Jeff mopes about and the girls cheer him up by bitching about their shut out.

Wouldn't it be great if Hunter Bell WON this though? Granted it's Lee Hall's to lose. But Pulitzer winner Lindsay-Abaire put in subpar work for Drek and I had problems with Brian Yorkey's book. And Broadway loves Bell, so there could be a dark horse chance!

Best Original Score (Music and Lyrics)

Billy Elliot, The Musical Music: Elton John, Lyrics: Lee Hall ****1/2
Next to Normal Music: Tom Kitt, Lyrics: Brian Yorkey ***
9 to 5 Music & Lyrics: Dolly Parton ***1/2
Shrek The Musical Music: Jeanine Tesori, Lyrics: David Lindsay-Abaire **

As much as they didn't like 9 to 5, here's the nod to make sure Dolly (who we all love) shows up.

Best Revival of a Play
Joe Turner's Come and Gone
Mary Stuart
The Norman Conquests **** (Overall)
Waiting for Godot

They left out Speed the Plow, Equus, All My Sons, A Man of All Seasons all which I saw of course, but have seen none that have been nominated.

Best Revival of a Musical

Guys and Dolls ***
Hair *****
Pal Joey ***1/2
West Side Story ****1/2

Best Special Theatrical Event
Liza's at The Palace
Slava's Snowshow
Soul of Shaolin
You're Welcome America. A Final Night with George W. Bush

Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical
David Alvarez <, Trent Kowalik, Kiril Kulish Billy Elliot
Gavin Creel Hair
Brian d'Arcy James Shrek <
Constantine Maroulis Rock of Ages <
J. Robert Spencer Next to Normal <

Constantine Maroulis? Who would have guessed he would be second in line after J. Hud to garner critical acclaim in an acting field? Nice! Yay Creel! And how odd for James to be up against Spencer for the role he originated Off-Broaday.

Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical
Stockard Channing Pal Joey <
Sutton Foster Shrek <
Allison Janney 9 to 5 <
Alice Ripley Next to Normal <
Josefina Scaglione West Side Story <

No real shocker here. I LOVE me some Foster but that was not her best work, but she has to have a nomination everytime she's in something new, doesn't she? I'm sort of divided between newcomer Josefina who was simply wonderful and Janney who is snappy in a mundane role. Ripley will get it but her voice was WEIRD and OFF the night I went and I thought her younger co-stars stole the heart and despair from her, though my sister went again and said Ripley was much better the 2nd time around so maybe it was an off night when I saw it.

Best Performance By A Featured Actor in a Musical
David Bologna Billy Elliot, The Musical <
Gregory Jbara Billy Elliot, The Musical <
Marc Kudisch 9 to 5: The Musical <
Christopher Sieber Shrek The Musical <
Will Swenson Hair <

Wait. Where's Aaron Tveit? I guess they're saving him for Catch Me If You Can. Where's Daniel Breaker then? Granted, it's a pretty good list.

Kudisch does wonders with his cartoon role. So does Sieber. But my heart belongs to Swenson here.

Best Performance By A Featured Actress in a Musical
Jennifer Damiano Next to Normal <
Haydn Gwynne Billy Elliot, The Musical <
Karen Olivo West Side Story <
Martha Plimpton Pal Joey <
Carole Shelley Billy Elliot, The Musical <

Another strong list with no real surprises. Yay Damiano! Is she even 19 yet?

I'd give it to almost any of them. Damiano (who will have more chances), Gwynne, Olivo (who will have more chances) and Plimpton (who will have more chances now that we know she can sing and dance and is amazing at it).

Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Play
Jeff Daniels God of Carnage <
Raúl Esparza Speed-the-Plow <
James Gandolfini God of Carnage <
Geoffrey Rush Exit the King <
Thomas Sadoski reasons to be pretty

I guess Daniel Radcliffe didn't make the cut? (No pun intended, as bad and stale as that joke might be)

Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play
Hope Davis God of Carnage <
Jane Fonda 33 Variations <
Marcia Gay Harden God of Carnage <
Janet McTeer Mary Stuart
Harriet Walter Mary Stuart

2 for God of Carnage and 2 for Mary Stuart! And Jane Fonda. What a list!

Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Play
John Glover Waiting for Godot
Zach Grenier 33 Variations <
Stephen Mangan The Norman Conquests <
Paul Ritter The Norman Conquests <
Roger Robinson Joe Turner's Come and Gone

OMG Where's Ben Miles (Coupling) from The Norman Conquests? Everyone predicted HE would be the one getting the nom. Maybe everyone assumed he would and no one voted for him.

Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Play
Hallie Foote Dividing the Estate <
Jessica Hynes The Norman Conquests <
Marin Ireland reasons to be pretty
Angela Lansbury Blithe Spirit
Amanda Root The Norman Conquests <

I feel bad for the 2 from The Norman Conquests who DIDN'T get nominated. Ouch. Hallie Foote was a riot and the best part of Dividing the Estate.

Best Direction of a Play
Phyllida Lloyd Mary Stuart
Bartlett Sher Joe Turner's Come and Gone
Matthew Warchus God of Carnage
Matthew Warchus The Norman Conquests <

Matthew Warchus twice? Wow. And a woman director!

Best Direction of a Musical
Stephen Daldry Billy Elliot, The Musical <
Michael Greif Next to Normal <
Kristin Hanggi Rock of Ages <
Diane Paulus Hair <

Rock of Ages? Wow, they really didn't like 9 to 5. And no obligatory nod to nonagenarian (?) Arthur Laurents. Wow. Diane Paulus better win this though.

Best Choreography
Karole Armitage Hair <
Andy Blankenbuehler 9 to 5: The Musical <
Peter Darling Billy Elliot, The Musical <
Randy Skinner Irving Berlin's White Christmas <


Best Orchestrations
Martin Koch Billy Elliot, The Musical <
Michael Starobin and Tom Kitt Next to Normal <
Danny Troob and John Clancy Shrek The Musical <

Only 3 nominees? Is that a mistake? Or did they REALLY not like 9 to 5? Or did it come out too late for all to see? And not even one to Larry for [title of show]? Come ON. I know it's just a keyboard but he fashioned it into a whole spectacular musical!

I thought the N2N songs started to sound the same by act 2 but they sounded great at least. Until they got a bit tired.

Best Scenic Design of a Play
Dale Ferguson Exit the King <
Rob Howell The Norman Conquests <
Derek McLane 33 Variations <
Michael Yeargan Joe Turner's Come and Gone

Best Scenic Design of a Musical
Robert Brill Guys and Dolls <
Ian MacNeil Billy Elliot, The Musical <
Scott Pask Pal Joey <
Mark Wendland Next to Normal <

Guys and Dolls? That was one of the most clumsy overdone sets I've seen. Wow, they really didn't like 9 to 5 then.

Best Costume Design of a Play
Dale Ferguson Exit the King <
Jane Greenwood Waiting for Godot
Martin Pakledinaz Blithe Spirit
Anthony Ward Mary Stuart

Best Costume Design of a Musical
Gregory Gale Rock of Ages <
Nicky Gillibrand Billy Elliot, The Musical <
Tim Hatley Shrek The Musical <
Michael McDonald Hair <

Best Lighting Design of a Play
David Hersey Equus <
David Lander 33 Variations <
Brian MacDevitt Joe Turner's Come and Gone
Hugh Vanstone Mary Stuart

Best Lighting Design of a Musical
Kevin Adams Hair
Kevin Adams Next to Normal <
Howell Binkley West Side Story <
Rick Fisher Billy Elliot, The Musical <

Seriously, I wish Kevin Adams would do the lighting at my place and around my work. Both Hair and Next to Normal!!!

Best Sound Design of a Play
Paul Arditti Mary Stuart
Gregory Clarke Equus <
Russell Goldsmith Exit the King <
Scott Lehrer and Leon Rothenberg Joe Turner's Come and Gone

Best Lighting Design of a Musical
Acme Sound Partners Hair <
Paul Arditti Billy Elliot, The Musical <
Peter Hylenski Rock of Ages <
Brian Ronan Next to Normal <

Here were all my reviews from the shows that I've seen so far:

33 Variations (Play) - Eugene O'Neill Theatre - Broadway, New York, NY - (Review ***)

Billy Elliot (Musical) - Imperial Theatre - Broadway, New York, NY - **** (Review)

Dividing the Estate (Play) - Broadway, New York, NY - ***1/2 (Review)

Guys and Dolls - Nederlander Theatre - Broadway, New York, NY - *** (Review)

Hair (Musical Revival) - Delacorte Theatre Central Park, New York, NY - (Review) *****

9 to 5: The Musical - Ahmanson Theatre - Los Angeles, CA - ***1/2 (Review)

Next to Normal (Musical) - Arena Stage Theater - Washington, D.C. - *** (Review)

Pal Joey x2 (Musical Revival) - Studio 54 - Broadway, New York, NY - Original Review ****, Now ***1/2 (Review)

Shrek (Musical) - Broadway Theatre - Broadway, New York, NY - ** (Review)

[title of show] (Musical) - Lyceum Theatre - Broadway, New York, NY - (Review) ****

West Side Story - (Musical Revival) - National Theatre - Washington, D.C. - (Review) ****1/2

Vance at http://tapeworthy.blogspot.com/


usagicassidy said...

God, this year looks so entirely pathetic.

Too bad Jason Robert Brown's 13 had to open and close in a whopping 3 months. It was a great show, has a great soundtrack.

Funyun said...

I don't know if I'm missing something, but why didn't West Side Story get nominated for choreography? I liked Hair but what choreography is there in that? WSS's choreography was incredible.

Vance said...

My guess is that WSS is not considered new choreography since it's Jerome Robbins original choreography (which has been contractually written into WSS that EVERY performance anywhere MUST do THAT choreography). So while there is a choreographer, that person is really just teaching Robbins beautiful original.

That being said, take a look at Hair's choreography again. It's so amazing because it is so subtle but all the movements are quite brilliant and enthralling while blending seemlessly into everything. It's much like Passing Strange or Spring Awakening in previous years.

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