Hey, I’ve actually got some investment in this year’s Tony Awards show, having seen four very good to great productions, with a total of 17 nominations. That’s pretty good for me, as off-Broadway has dominated my time for the past few seasons. I’m not going to predict winners(as I do annually with the Oscars)because I simply haven’t seen enough. Oh, I know what the favorites are, but a number of categories are ripe for an upset. So, I’ll simply concentrate on the quartet I experienced for myself this season. Turn elsewhere for a more in-depth analysis for your office pool.
“All the Way” has 2 nominations and is expected to win both. The lately ubiquitous Bryan Cranston makes his Broadway debut as LBJ in this three-hour political drama, and is expected to nab Best Actor in a Play for his work. Robert Schenkkan wrote the Best Play contender, and is the author of a follow-up titled “The Great Society”. I gave “All the Way” a score of 7 on my 1 to 10 theatre rating scale, and it recently garnered Outstanding New Broadway Play and Outstanding Actor in a Play(Cranston)from the Outer Critics Circle, and also received Outstanding Play and Outstanding Actor in a Play(Cranston)from the Drama Desk Awards. Bill Rauch also won Outstanding Director of a Play from Drama Desk for his work on “All the Way”. While I had some minor issues with the production itself, Mr. Cranston was superb, and it will be a joy to see him grab the Tony.
“Machinal” got a big 8 rating from me, and the Tony committee couldn’t deny its remarkable design work in giving it four total nominations. They are for Best Scenic Design of a Play(Es Devlin), Best Costume Design of a Play(Michael Krass), Best Lighting Design of a Play(Jane Cox), and Best Sound Design of a Play(Matt Tierney). Mr. Tierney did grab the Drama Desk for his superb sound design, but it would be a shame for Es Devlin’s incredible computerized box of a set to go without some form of recognition come Sunday night.
“Violet” is a fantastic musical, and I absolutely adored the performance of the wonderful Sutton foster in the title role. I gave the show a 9 rating, and Tony has bestowed four nominations. They are Best Revival of a Musical, Best Performance by an Actress in a Musical(Ms. Foster), Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical(Joshua Henry)and Best Direction of a Musical(Leigh Silverman). Much flashier stuff lifted the Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards over this production, but “Violet” is still my favorite musical in a few years.
“The Glass Menagerie” was anointed with seven Tony noms, and scored the rare 10 on my theatre rating scale. It is up for Best Revival of a Play, Best Performance by an Actress in a Play(the legendary Cherry Jones), Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play(Brian J. Smith), Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play(Celia Keenan-Bolger), Best Direction of a Play(John Tiffany), Best Scenic Design of a Play(Bob Crowley)and Best Lighting Design of a Play(Natasha Katz). The excellent Ms. Bolger won the Drama Desk for Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play for this, and Nico Muhly took home the DD for Outstanding Music in a Play. The Outer Critics Circle named “The Glass Menagerie” its Outstanding Revival of a Play, while calling Cherry Jones Outstanding Actress in a Play and Brian J. Smith Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play. It is a phenomenal revival, but having closed its limited run months ago, it could be forgotten amongst the slew of more recent openings from March and April.
So, while the big stories this coming Sunday night will most likely be Neil Patrick Harris, Audra McDonald and “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder”, don’t count out the four terrific Broadway offerings I’ve listed above, with only “All the Way” being ordained a shoo-in for major victory. Of course, you can find full reviews of all the above, right here on the blog in my Theatre section. “Break a leg” to all of this year’s nominees!