A stellar group of leading men, many of whom would have easily won in a lesser competition, heat up the race. The leading women category pits two theater icons against each other, a brilliant newcomer and a Brit icon. Two new musicals indicate an exciting willingness to abandon traditional, while the revival category also features two tradition breaking productions from the past leaving the Golden Age far behind. New plays go from intimate to sprawling while revivals feature only one easily recognizable favorite. Political themes dominate with special relevance today balanced by some much needed, expertly delivered fluff.
In short this has been a most innovative season.
Curtains: my favorite, a good old fashioned Kander & Ebb theater savvy musical
Grey Gardens: Was a shoo-in early in the season but faded in the stretch
Mary Poppins: Really well done but snobbism will relegate to an also ran
Spring Awakening : will win despite darkness of theme and a likely poor showing on the road.
Frost/Nixon: brilliantly done but not that creative, based on real, existing material
The Coast of Utopia: will win on sheer size and scope but tends towards the tedious
The Little Dog Laughed: an aberration much more comfortable in its off Broadway beginnings
Radio Golf: A sentimental favorite to a departed, beloved author but predictable.
BEST REVIVAL OF A PLAY
Inherit the Wind: lacked the punch of the movie due to odd reinterpretation in which the friendship and respect between the protagonists mitigated the tension of the battle (and scary when you realize there are so many in power today who still deny Evolution)
Journey's End: a slight but poignant play enhanced with a boffo ending and an anti-war sentiment which will elicit the votes and, closing the day of the Tonys, will make the award look silly
Talk Radio: the best play, stunning delivery by Schreiber, biting, relevant - should have won - possible upset here
Translations: buried in brogue, barely understandable, but touching
BEST REVIVAL OF A MUSICAL
110 in the Shade: claustrophobically scrunched under a huge sun/moon, odd/mis casting brings out the weaknesses of the slight but lovable musical
A Chorus Line: Penalized because it is true to the original - but isn't that what the term "revival" means?
Company: ridiculous current vogue of having actors lug around instruments and play the score plus edgy nihilistic treatment of subject will bamboozle voters who want to appear hip
The Apple Tree: too goofy to consider
BEST PERFORMANCE BY A LEADING ACTOR IN A PLAY
Boyd Gaines, Journey's End: touching but low keyed in this volatile group
Frank Langella, Frost/Nixon - absolutely brilliant performance
Brian F. O'Byrne, The Coast of Utopia: lost in the tedium
Christopher Plummer, Inherit the Wind: would have been an automatic win in a lesser year
Liev Schreiber, Talk Radio: another slam dunk performance that could have/should have won
BEST PERFORMANCE BY A LEADING ACTRESS IN A PLAY
Eve Best, A Moon for the Misbegotten: though woefully miscast will take it since only acceptable way to avoid pitting Lansbury vs Redgrave (America loves the Brits)
Swoosie Kurtz, Heartbreak House: ???
Angela Lansbury, Deuce - should be a tie with Redgrave
Vanessa Redgrave, The Year of Magical Thinking - should be a tie with Lansbury
Julie White, The Little Dog Laughed: best, razor sharp performance but voters will not have the balls to diss the icons
BEST PERFORMANCE BY A LEADING ACTOR IN A MUSICAL
Michael Cerveris, LoveMusik: so quirky and thin (and unattractive)- will not make it
Raúl Esparza, Company: don't ask me why - nerdy in a sexually and dramatically ambivalent role
Jonathan Groff, Spring Awakening: no matter how many times I meet or see him on TV I never recognize the kid
Gavin Lee, Mary Poppins: the epitome of a perfect musical theater performance but its the Disney factor again
David Hyde Pierce, Curtains: my favorite, really good job but the play will bring him down
BEST PERFORMANCE BY A LEADING ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL
Laura Bell Bundy, Legally Blonde: who???
Christine Ebersole, Grey Gardens: if they don't vote her in - I give up!
Brilliant dual performance practically created by her, definitely for her
Audra McDonald, 110 in the Shade: not this time, break the streak of unbroken wins
Debra Monk, Curtains: yes, we love her but this was a feature, not lead role
Donna Murphy, LoveMusik: quirky character in a quirky production
BEST BOOK OF A MUSICAL
Rupert Holmes and Peter Stone, Curtains: seems the voters cant follow the clever whodunnit
Doug Wright, Grey Gardens: should win for faithfully following the material but not original
Heather Hach, Legally Blonde: clever adaptation from film but not award stuff
Steven Sater, Spring Awakening: flavor of the year but not to my taste
BEST ORIGINAL SCORE (MUSIC AND/OR LYRICS) WRITTEN FOR THE THEATER
Music: John Kander, Lyrics: Fred Ebb, John Kander and Rupert Holmes, Curtains
Wouldn't it be loverly if accessible brassy show biz music with clever lyrics by the best of the best would win???
Music: Scott Frankel, Lyrics: Michael Korie, Grey Gardens: somewhat grating but brilliant score (second half) sabotaged by liltingly lovely old fashioned first
Music & Lyrics: Laurence O'Keefe and Nell Benjamin, Legally Blonde: by staying true to the light ad fluffy material nolo contere
Music: Duncan Sheik, Lyrics: Steven Sater, Spring Awakening: a unique sound for Broadway - let's hope its not a trend
BEST PERFORMANCE BY A FEATURED ACTOR IN A PLAY
Anthony Chisholm, Radio Golf: hands down the most remarkable and significant performance in the play
Billy Crudup, The Coast of Utopia: lost in the shuffle
Ethan Hawke, The Coast of Utopia: lost in the shuffle
John Earl Jelks, Radio Golf: another well done part
Stark Sands, Journey's End: poignant and touching performance for the Broadway newcomer. Will win if nostalgia for the just closed play survives.
BEST PERFORMANCE BY A FEATURED ACTRESS IN A PLAY
Jennifer Ehle, The Coast of Utopia - tie between sisiters
Xanthe Elbrick, Coram Boy: should win but against the other all Broadway favorites (and the show just posted closing notices)
Dana Ivey, Butley: too long ago, besides overacted
Jan Maxwell, Coram Boy: too small a role - wasted in it
Martha Plimpton, The Coast of Utopia - tie between sisters
BEST PERFORMANCE BY A FEATURED ACTOR IN A MUSICAL
Brooks Ashmanskas, Martin Short: Fame Becomes Me?
Christian Borle, Legally Blonde?
John Cullum, 110 in the Shade: competent but not award stuff
John Gallagher, Jr., Spring Awakening: best thing in the show
David Pittu, LoveMusik: quirkily overacted in quirky musical
BEST PERFORMANCE BY A FEATURED ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL
Charlotte d'Amboise, A Chorus Line: everybody likes her but nobody loves her though her performance cannot be faulted
Rebecca Luker, Mary Poppins: wasted in a trivial role
Orfeh, Legally Blonde: nice new name in featured role, maybe next time
Mary Louise Wilson, Grey Gardens: Broadway loves her though not usually in a musical - great job but only in second half - if Ebersole takes it she will bring mommy with her
Karen Ziemba, Curtains: a Broadway sweetheart (see d'Amboise above)
BEST DIRECTION OF A PLAY
Michael Grandage, Frost/Nixon
David Grindley, Journey's End
Jack O'Brien, The Coast of Utopia: should win for sheer perseverance alone
Melly Still, Coram Boy
BEST DIRECTION OF A MUSICAL
John Doyle, Company: hope this ends the trend towards abolishing the orchestra
(the union will love that)
Scott Ellis, Curtains: competent, perfect for show but.......
Michael Greif, Grey Gardens: odd disconnect between Act I & II should disqualify
Michael Mayer, Spring Awakening: again, takes courage to be so different
Rob Ashford, Curtains: good job but unfortunately out of fashion this year
Matthew Bourne and Stephen Mear, Mary Poppins: should win - specially with Gavin's proscenium climb/dance, statues come to life, chimney sweeps on roof -
Bill T. Jones, Spring Awakening: again minimal touchy feely stuff new to Broadway - but is it better???
Jerry Mitchell, Legally Blonde: first time doubling as director, squelched his former half
Bruce Coughlin, Grey Gardens
Duncan Sheik, Spring Awakening
Jonathan Tunick, : purists love his naturalistic authenticity to the score
Jonathan Tunick, 110 in the Shade
BEST SCENIC DESIGN OF A PLAY
Bob Crowley and Scott Pask, The Coast of Utopia: if not this, what - the best thing about the play
Jonathan Fensom, Journey's End
David Gallo, Radio Golf
Ti Green and Melly Still, Coram Boy
BEST SCENIC DESIGN OF A MUSICAL
Bob Crowley, Mary Poppins
Christine Jones, Spring Awakening
Anna Louizos, High Fidelity
Allen Moyer, Grey Gardens: yes, this is what the play is all about
BEST COSTUME DESIGN OF A PLAY
Ti Green and Melly Still, Coram Boy
Jane Greenwood, Heartbreak House
Santo Loquasto, Inherit the Wind
Catherine Zuber, The Coast of Utopia: all I remember is Ehle naked!
BEST COSTUME DESIGN OF A MUSICAL
Gregg Barnes, Legally Blonde: should win since this is what THIS play is about
Bob Crowley, Mary Poppins
Susan Hilferty, Spring Awakening
William Ivey Long, Grey Gardens: who could deny those safety pins
BEST LIGHTING DESIGN OF A PLAY
Paul Constable, Coram Boy
Brian MacDevitt, Inherit the Wind
Brian MacDevitt, Kenneth Posner and Natasha Katz, The Coast of Utopia
Jason Taylor, Journey's End
BEST LIGHTING DESIGN OF A MUSICAL
Kevin Adams, Spring Awakening
Christopher Akerlind, 110 in the Shade
Howard Harrison, Mary Poppins
Peter Kaczorowski, Grey Gardens
BEST SPECIAL THEATRICAL EVENT: no comment
Kiki and Herb: Alive on Broadway
Jay Johnson: The Two and Only!
REGIONAL THEATER TONY AWARD
Alliance Theater, Atlanta
So how did we do????????????