Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The 2008 Tony Awards - Passing New Heights!

The 2008 Antoinette Perry Awards, aka, the Tony's have announced their 62nd annual nominations list!

In a year where I've actually seen a few of them! For once! (links to my reviews at the bottom of the post) Usually, I love watching the televised broadcast (this year on Sunday June 15th on CBS) to get a glimpse of each new show, since it's so rare to actually catch a preview of new stage musicals.

So just quickly looking at the list, I can say it's a pretty good one with no glaring omission IMHO except for maybe Cheyenne Jackson for Xanadu in an already strong field. It's kinda funny to see Cry Baby land the 4th spot (since it was pretty much guaranteed that In The Heights and Passing Strange would get the first two, Xanadu get the third) after all the talk of Young Frankenstein, Glory Days and Little Mermaid sucking, and A Catered Affair being quite divisive while Cry Baby got slammed in buzz, but then is slowly building itself back up to mediocre reviews.

So happy for the strong showing from In The Heights and Passing Strange with 13 nominations for ITH, including one for Robin de Jesus, and Daniel Breaker and de'Adre Aziza getting featured actor noms for Passing Strange. Also, while August: Osage County is a deserved shoo-in for Best Play, I'm glad so many of its actors got nominations. Here's a list by the numbers.

Here's the top nominated shows:
In The Heights - 13 noms
South Pacific - 11 noms
Sunday in the Park with George - 9 noms
August: Osage County - 7 noms
Passing Strange - 7 noms
Gypsy - 7 noms
Macbeth - 6 noms
Boeing Boeing - 6 noms
The 39 Steps - 6 noms
Les Liaisons Dangereuses - 5 noms
Xanadu - 4 noms
Rock 'n' Roll - 4 noms
The Seafarer - 4 noms
Cry Baby - 4 noms

Anyways, if I have time at work later today, I'll add some more commentary below in RED as I usually do with award lists. (UPDATE: ARGH, for a second week in a row, I lost what I wrote so my commentaries will be quick and even more abbreviated than my original so might not be as coherent)

Best Play:
August: Osage County
Rock 'n' Roll
The Seafarer
The 39 Steps

It was really a fight to be honoured to be nominated beside Pulitzer Prize winner August: Osage County, which incidentally was the only one I saw.

Best Musical:
In the Heights
Passing Strange

After all the gossip, it's just funny to me that Cry Baby got the "final slot" that everyone thought A Catered Affair would get. I guess voters just hated it more. Young Frankenstein and The Little Mermaid, the big shows had little reactions, but what's awesome this year is the big love shown to the little musicals that could, from the brilliant Passing Strange, to the lovable In The Heights, to the ridiculously silly and fun Xanadu. I think Passing Strange is a better musical but I can see In The Heights will probably win, which works for me too.

Best Revival of a Play
The Homecoming
Les Liaisons Dangereueses

Les Liaisons Dangereuses was good but left me a little cold, at least until the last few seconds. Whereas the words left me cold and confused in Macbeth but the set and modern gimmicks actually left a huge impression for me. Will be seeing Boeing-Boeing next week, while I think The Homecoming seems too divisive to win.

Best Revival of a Musical
South Pacific
Sunday in the Park With George

According to Steve, Grease had to be nominated. It got lucky being the 4th Musical Revival where there are 4 spots in the category. As for the other three, it seemed like Sunday would win when it opened, then Gypsy opened and it seemed to be a shoo-in to win, now the South Pacific is steam rolling it through the awards and it's the only one I still haven't seen (I don't count Grease) but will only in July. Still, a terrifically strong category for revivals this year.

The rest of the nominations list continues below after the jump:

Best Book of a Musical
Cry-Baby, Mark O'Donnell and Thomas Meehan
In the Heights, Quiara Alegria Hudes
Passing Strange, Stew
Xanadu, Douglas Carter Beane

Again, discounting Cry Baby, I actually didn't mind the meandering book for In The Heights but both Passing Strange and Xanadu were great, though I'd give the book to Xanadu for completely making over a terrible film into a musical riot.

Best Original Score
Cry-Baby, Music & Lyrics: David Javerbaum & Adam Schlesinger
In The Heights, Music & Lyrics: Lin-Manuel Miranda
The Little Mermaid, Music: Alan Menken and Lyrics: Howard Ashman and Glenn Slater
Passing Strange, Music: Stew and Heidi Rodewald Lyrics: Stew

The music for in The Heights grew on me but something about the music in Passing Strange really felt inspiring in its melding of rock and blues into theatricality.

Best Performance By a Leading Actor in a Play
Ben Daniels, Les Liaisons Dangereuses
Laurence Fishburne, Thurgood
Mark Rylance, Boeing-Boeing
Rufus Sewell, Rock 'n' Roll
Patrick Stewart, Macbeth
I've only seen Daniels and Stewart so far but I really can't decide between the two, though apparently it's Stewart's to lose at this point.

Best Performance By a Leading Actress in a Play
Eve Best, The Homecoming
Deanna Dunagan, August: Osage County
Kate Fleetwood, Macbeth
S. Epatha Merkerson, Come Back, Little Sheba
Amy Morton, August: Osage County
Dunagan got all the choice lines and flashy moments but Morton won my heart.

Best Performance By a Leading Actor in a Musical
Daniel Evans, Sunday in the Park With George
Lin-Manuel Miranda, In the Heights
Stew, Passing Strange
Paulo Szot, South Pacific
Tom Wopat, A Catered Affair
Don't know about Wopat and haven't seen Szot yet but apparently the money is on Szot. Though Stew, Miranda and Evans were all equally terrific in their own ways.

Best Performance By a Leading Actress in a Musical
Kerry Butler, Xanadu
Patti LuPone, Gypsy
Kelli O'Hara, South Pacific
Faith Prince, A Catered Affair
Jenna Russell, Sunday in the Park With George
A perfect list. Now let the claws come out. Butler is fantastic but the lighter fare will cut her out of the running. Russell had a chance until O'Hara and LuPone showed up, now it's a fight between the established diva and the ingenue. Prince would have gotten it if people actually liked the show more.

Best Performance By a Featured Actor in a Play
Bobby Cannavale, Mauritius
Raúl Esparza, The Homecoming
Conleth Hill, The Seafarer
Jim Norton, The Seafarer
David Pittu, Is He Dead?

Best Performance By a Featured Actress in a Play
Sinead Cusack, Rock 'n' Roll
Mary McCormack, Boeing-Boeing
Laurie Metcalf, November
Martha Plimpton, Top Girls
Rondi Reed, August: Osage County

Best Performance By a Featured Actor in a Musical
Daniel Breaker, Passing Strange
Danny Burstein, Rodgers & Hammerstein's South Pacific
Robin De Jesús, In The Heights
Christopher Fitzgerald, The New Mel Brooks Musical Young Frankenstein
Boyd Gaines, Gypsy
I can't complain about this group at all. Each one deserving. But Breaker's lead role and breakthrough debut performance is a revelation.

Best Performance By a Featured Actress in a Musical
de'Adre Aziza, Passing Strange
Laura Benanti, Gypsy
Andrea Martin, The New Mel Brooks Musical Young Frankenstein
Olga Merediz, In The Heights
Loretta Ables Sayre, Rodgers & Hammerstein's South Pacific
Benanti was a revelation and will win, but so happy for Aziza making it on the list! Too bad Mary Testa and Jackie Hoffman of Xanadu didn't.

Best Direction of a Play
Maria Aitken, The 39 Steps
Conor McPherson, The Seafarer
Anna D. Shapiro, August: Osage County
Matthew Warchus, Boeing-Boeing

Best Direction of a Musical
Sam Buntrock, Sunday in the Park with George
Thomas Kail, In The Heights
Arthur Laurents, Gypsy
Bartlett Sher, Rodgers & Hammerstein's South Pacific

Best Choreography
Rob Ashford, Cry-Baby
Andy Blankenbuehler, In The Heights
Christopher Gattelli, Rodgers & Hammerstein's South Pacific
Dan Knechtges, Xanadu
Blankenbuehler's choreography for in The Heights was truly cool and hypnotic, melding Latino Salsa with Hip Hop with Musical Theatre dancing. I hear Ashford's dances are the best thing in Baby and Knechtges had some fun with Xanadu though but ITH all the way.

Best Orchestrations
Jason Carr, Sunday in the Park with George
Alex Lacamoire & Bill Sherman, In The Heights
Stew & Heidi Rodewald, Passing Strange
Jonathan Tunick, A Catered Affair
in The Heights was great but again, I'm giving this to Passing Strange

Best Scenic Design of a Play
Peter McKintosh, The 39 Steps
Scott Pask, Les Liaisons Dangereuses
Todd Rosenthal, August: Osage County
Anthony Ward, Macbeth
Liaisons was quite simple yet effectively cunning, but Macbeth had an even simpler set that created an even more haunted feel for its play.

Best Scenic Design of a Musical
David Farley and Timothy Bird & The Knifedge Creative Network, Sunday in the Park with George
Anna Louizos, In The Heights
Robin Wagner, The New Mel Brooks Musical Young Frankenstein
Michael Yeargan, Rodgers & Hammerstein's South Pacific
Sunday will win for successfully melding modern technology onto a basic canvas of a set. In The Heights has a great set in the traditional mode. Young Frankenstein was overbloated.

Best Costume Design of a Play
Gregory Gale, Cyrano de Bergerac
Rob Howell, Boeing-Boeing
Katrina Lindsay, Les Liaisons Dangereuses
Peter McKintosh, The 39 Steps

Best Costume Design of a Musical
David Farley, Sunday in the Park with George
Martin Pakledinaz, Gypsy
Paul Tazewell, In The Heights
Catherine Zuber, Rodgers & Hammerstein's South Pacific

Best Lighting Design of a Play
Kevin Adams, The 39 Steps
Howard Harrison, Macbeth
Donald Holder, Les Liaisons Dangereuses
Ann G. Wrightson, August: Osage County

Best Lighting Design of a Musical
Ken Billington, Sunday in the Park with George
Howell Binkley, In the Heights
Donald Holder, Rodgers & Hammerstein's South Pacific
Natasha Katz, The Little Mermaid

I know Kevin Adams won last year for Spring Awakening and he employs a similar fluorescent feel to Passing Strange but his lighting design is such a part of the show, that I can't believe it's not nominated. So that leave it to Billington to win for the projections.

Best Sound Design of a Play
Simon Baker, Boeing-Boeing
Adam Cork, Macbeth
Ian Dickson, Rock 'n' Roll
Mic Pool, The 39 Steps

Best Sound Design of a Musical
Acme Sound Partners, In the Heights
Sebastian Frost, Sunday in the Park with George
Scott Lehrer, Rodgers & Hammerstein's South Pacific
Dan Moses Schreier, Gypsy

Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre
Stephen Sondheim

Regional Theatre Tony Award
Chicago Shakespeare Theater

Special Tony Award
Robert Russell Bennett (1894-1981), in recognition of his historic contribution to American musical theatre in the field of orchestrations, as represented on Broadway this season by Rodgers & Hammerstein's South Pacific.

The 62nd Annual Tony Awards — hosted by Tony and Academy Award winner Whoopi Goldberg — will be presented June 15. CBS-TV will broadcast the event live from Radio City Music Hall, 8-11 PM ET. (Red-carpet arrivals will begin at 6 PM).

Here's all the reviews for the Broadway shows I saw this past theatre season (in alphabetical order).

August: Osage County (Broadway) (Review) ****

Boeing Boeing (Broadway) (Review) ***1/2

Gypsy (Broadway) (Review) ****1/2

In The Heights (Broadway) (Review) ****1/2

Is He Dead? (Broadway) (Review) ***

Les Liaisons Dangereuses (Broadway) ***1/2

Macbeth (Broadway) (Review) ****

Passing Strange (Broadway) (Review) ****1/2

Sunday In The Park With George (Broadway, Limited Run until June 29) (Review) ****

Xanadu (Broadway) (Review) ****

Young Frankestein (Broadway) (Review) **

Here are the other major theatre awards nominations and/or winners for this season (some which may be confusing since all other awards ended their season earlier than the Tony's, and some combine Off-Broadway shows which some Broadway shows qualified for last year, thus were ineligible this year):

Outer Critic Award 2008 Winners
Drama Desk Nominations
Drama League Nominations

Here was my Tony 2007 Coverage:
Video Wrap Up
61st Tony's Wrap Up
Tony Has Its Spring Awakening
That Was Totally... Cover Your Mouth!
White Rules
Being Alive with Raul
Can Audra Ever Be Bad?
Woo! John Galagher Jr. Wins!
The 2007 Tony Nominations

1 comment:

Bluelyric7 said...

Hey! (I work for a website, but this isn't spam, just for Tony addicts, and it looks like you enjoy theatre...anyway...)

Only five days ‘til the Tony Awards! That gives you approximately 120 hours to place bets, bake award-shaped sheet cakes and get that seven layer dip recipe from your Aunt Margaret (I’m only assuming you have an Aunt Margaret)!


Just wanted to give a heads up to Tony junkies that we’ll actually be live-blogging from the event on Sunday (we’re excited!).

Also, we’ve posted a ton of videos so you can meet the nominees and see clips of the shows nominated before flipping on the television Sunday night. This afternoon, Best Play will be posted as our final installment. Just head on over to http://mybroadway.com/ and tap the “channels” button!

See you on Sunday!