It's like Easter for the theater community!
I thought about doing a post like this - in celebration of this most blessed day - last year, but didn't get around to it.
But first, a few words of background:
As I've often said, I'm NOT a theater insider. I'm just a guy who loves to see shows. I haven't seen everything, but I have seen many of the nominated shows. I also tend to follow theater related news fairly closely, so I have a pretty decent working knowledge of all of the shows - even the ones I haven't seen.
Now, a word about my process for this post:
I filled out my "ballot" from the New York Times and these are my choices. It's a mix of predictions and wishes. In some categories I've selected the recipient that I expect to win because of the buzz I've heard. In some categories I've selected the recipient that I hope to win because of my strong feelings. I'll try to note which selection is which as I go along, along with maybe a few comments here and there.
In each category below, the title or name in italics is my choice for the award. Once the winners are announced, I'll update the post so that the actual winners appear in bold. I'll put an asterisk (*) before shows/performances I've actually seen. Won't it be interesting to see how many I get right?!
The Tony Awards are the ultimate "From the Cheap Seats" experience - my seat is right in my living room!
Don't forget to tune in on CBS at 8:00 pm on the East Coast! (Pre-show festivities can be viewed online at tonyawards.com - red carpet arrivals at 6:00, pre-broadcast awards at 7:00)
So here's my ballot:
Best Musical - I think it's going to be the Matilda year in the musical category
- *Bring It On: The Musical
- A Christmas Story, the Musical
- Kinky Boots
- Matilda the Musical
Best Play - I LOVED The Testament of Mary, but I really think it's going to be Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
- The Assembled Parties
- Lucky Guy
- *The Testament of Mary
- Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical - I sort of doubt it will ACTUALLY go to Laura Osnes, but I really wish it would. She was a dream in the role of Cinderella.
- *Stephanie J. Block, The Mystery of Edwin Drood
- *Carolee Carmella, Scandalous: The Life and Trials of Aimee Semple McPherson
- Valisia LeKae, Motown: The Musical
- Patina Miller, Pippin
- *Laura Osnes, Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella
Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical - again, it seems sort of unlikely, but Rob McClure was brilliant in this short-lived, but delightful show.
- Bertie Carvel, Matilda the Musical
- *Santino Fontana, Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella
- *Rob McClure, Chaplin: The Musical
- Billy Porter, Kinky Boots
- Stark Sands, Kinky Boots
Best Original Score - again, it's the Matilda year... But I have at least heard bits of the recordings of all of the shows, and I could see that Matilda should get this one.
- Matilda the Musical, Tim Minchin
- Kinky Boots, Cyndi Lauper
- *Hands on a Hardbody, Trey Anastasio and Amanda Green
- A Christmas Story, the Musical, Benj Pasek and Justin Paul
Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play - this one isn't just a hope, but a sort of prediction. Not only was Cicely Tyson brilliant and completely deserving, but she's getting old. She's 89. This may be her last chance to win a Tony, and I think the voters may take that into account.
- Laurie Metcalf, The Other Place
- *Holland Taylor, Ann
- Kristine Nielsen, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
- *Cicely Tyson, The Trip to Bountiful
- Amy Morton, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play - the fact of Tom Hanks' star power, and the fact that he is so generally beloved, and so rare to live theater makes for this prediction
- Tom Hanks, Lucky Guy
- Nathan Lane, The Nance
- Tracy Letts, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
- David Hyde Pierce, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
- Tom Sturridge, Orphans
Best Revival of a Musical - this is more of a wish than a prediction. If I were to "predict" in this category, I'd probably say Pippin. But any result other than Annie will please me.
Best Direction of a Musical - highly unlikely that I'm right on this one, but I can't decide between the other three.
- *Scott Ellis, The Mystery of Edwin Drood
- Jerry Mitchell, Kinky Boots
- Diane Paulus, Pippin
- Matthew Warchus, Matilda the Musical
Best Direction of a Play - I haven't seen any of them, so I'm just going with buzz, here...
- Pam MacKinnon, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
- Nicholas Martin, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
- Bartlett Sher, Golden Boy
- George C. Wolfe, Lucky Guy
Book of a Musical - again, it's the Matilda year
- Joseph Robinette, A Christmas Story, the Musical
- Harvey Fierstein, Kinky Boots
- Dennis Kelly, Matilda the Musical
- *Douglas Carter Beane, Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinerdella
Best Revival of a Play - obviously I just chose the only one I saw, but it WAS great!
- Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
- *The Trip to Bountiful
- Golden Boy
Best Performance by an Acrtress in a Featured Role in a Musical - this would be a bit of a coup, if I'm right, but she was an outstanding member of that cast. And even though the show wasn't excellent, and didn't do well at the box office, it was better than it got credit for being.
- Annaleigh Ashford, Kinky Boots
- *Victoria Clark, Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella
- Andrea Martin, Pippin
- *Keala Settle, Hands on a Hardbody
- Lauren Ward, Matilda the Musical
Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical - I'm pretty sure I'm wrong about this one, but he was superb in Drood.
- Charl Brown, Motown The Musical
- *Keith Carradine, Hands on a Hardbody
- *Will Chase, The Mystery of Edwin Drood
- Gabriel Ebert, Matilda the Musical
- Terrence Mann, Pippin
Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play - a total shot in the dark, based on buzz. But at least you can see that I'm not just picking the shows I saw... haha
- Carrie Coon, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf
- Shalita Grant, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
- Judith Ivey, The Heiress
- Judith Light, The Assembled Parties
- *Condola Rashad, The Trip to Bountiful
Best Lighting Design of a Play - okay, maybe this time I'm just picking the one I saw...
- Jules Fisher and Peggy Eisenhauer, Lucky Guy
- Donald Holder, Golden Boy
- *Jennifer Tipton, The Testament of Mary
- Japhy Weideman, The Nance
Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play - you know how I keep saying it's the Matilda year on the musical side? Well, I think it's the Vanya... year on the play side.
- Danny Burstein, Golden Boy
- Richard Kind, The Big Knife
- Billy Magnussen, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
- Courtney B. Vance, Lucky Guy
- Tony Shalhoub, Golden Boy
Best Sound Design of a Play - So. Sound Design isn't really something that I usually pay a lot of attention to. But it was SO good in Testament... that I noticed it. I'm pretty sure I even wrote about it. Since that's so rare for me, I can't imagine that any of the others could have been much better.
- *John Gromada, The Trip to Bountiful
- *Mel Mercier, The Testament of Mary
- Leon Rothenberg, The Nance
- Peter John Still and Marc Salzberg, Golden Boy
Best Sound Design of a Musical - WOW! A musical category where Matilda doesn't get a nomination! Weird! haha... But as to my pick - just picked the one I saw. No idea, really. (see above - this isn't really my category...)
- Jonathan Deans and Garth Helm, Pippin
- Peter Hylenski, Motown: The Musical
- John Shivers, Kinky Boots
- *Nevin Steinberg, Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella
Best Lighting Design of a Musical - I've said it before...
- Kenneth Posner, Kinky Boots
- Kenneth Posner, Pippin
- *Kenneth Posner, Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella
- Hugh Vanstone, Matilda the Musical
Best Choreography - part of me thinks my choice here is a long shot, but in reality, the acrobatics in Bring It On were amazing. I'm surprised the show didn't last longer than it did.
- *Andy Blankenbuehler, Bring It On: The Musical
- Peter Darling, Matilda the Musical
- Jerry Mitchell, Kinky Boots
- Chet Walker, Pippin
Best Orchestrations - I haven't seen the others, but the orchestrations in Cinderella were superb.
- Ethan Popp and Bryan Cook, Motown: The Musical
- *Danny Troob, Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella
- Stephen Oremus, Kinky Boots
- Chris Nightingale, Matilda the Musical
Best Scenic Design of a Play - totally a biased wish. I have a friend who worked on The Nance in this department.
- John Lee Beatty, The Nance
- Santo Loquasto, The Assembled Parties
- David Rockwell, Lucky Guy
- Michael Yeargan, Golden Boy
Best Scenic Design of a Musical - It will probably be Matilda, but just a shot in the dark for me...
- Rob Howell, Matilda the Musical
- *Anna Louizos, The Mystery of Edwin Drood
- Scott Pask, Pippin
- David Rockwell, Kinky Boots
Best Costume Design of a Play - again, just pulling for my friend's show, even though this wasn't directly his department. Though this is high on my "to see" list.
- Soutra Gilmour, Cyrano de Bergerac
- Ann Roth, The Nance
- Albert Wolsky, The Heiress
- Catherine Zuber, Golden Boy
Best Costume Design of a Musical - this one isn't actually a shot in the dark, just picking the one I saw sort of pick. The costumes in Cinderella were beyond spectacular. Not just that they were beautiful and appropriate to the setting, but they actually contributed to the story telling through the transformations of both Cinderella and the Fairy Godmother. I'll be disappointed if I'm wrong on this one.
- Gregg Barnes, Kinky Boots
- Rob Howell, Matilda the Musical
- Dominique Lemieux, Pippin
- *William Ivey Long, Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella