The Playgoer: Tonys in Context

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Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Tonys in Context

By my count, 37 productions opened on Broadway during the official Tony-defined season. Thanks to the current category rules, 16 of them (yes, just less than half) got to be cited as "Best" musical or drama, new or revival. (4 categories, 4 nominees for each.)

And 3 of the 37 were "Coast of Utopia." Thankfully, Tony declared a Holy Stoppardian Trinity of "three yet one" to prevent a complete monopolizing of at least 3 of every 4 or 5 slots in the dramatic nominations. So that leaves 34 productions, really. Two of those were deemed "Special Theatrical Event" and thus nominated. (So, I guess this was your year to put up a one person non-narrative performance piece on B'way. You could have gotten a nomination!) Also, I believe the "Les Miz" revival was deemed not eligible for Best Musical revival, though actors could be nominated.) They weren't. So that leaves...31 productions eligible for Best something. Which means more than half automatically merited nomination.

So I thought it would be fun to see just what wasn't nominated. As you can imagine, they weren't all memorable, so it required some looking up. And I don't know what it may or not prove, but take a look.

(If you're still catching up on what was nominated click here.)

Not nominated for Best Musical:
Martin Short: Fame Becomes Me
The Times They Are A-Changin'
Dr Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas (not eligible?)
High Fidelity
The Pirate Queen
LoveMusik
*Legally Blonde

Funny story about Martin Short: Fame Becomes Me, by the way--supporting actor Brooks Ashmanskas was nominated, but not...Martin Short!

Not nominated for Best Play:
Losing Louie
another MTC Biltmore puzzlement

The Vertical Hour
yes, for those keeping score, Vertical Hour by Sir David Hare, directed by Sam Mendes, starring Julianne Moore was a big zero today. (Nothing even for Bill Nighy)

The Year of Magical Thinking
quoth the Riedel: "will not get in because nominators think it's 'a recitation' rather than a play."

Coram Boy
didn't help that it positioned itself as a drama/musical hybrid, where some of the music was eligible for score, the production itself is under "Play", and George Frederick Handel gets bupkis.

Deuce
The Tonys still fulfilled the only purpose for this show anyway, by nominating Ms. Murder She Wrote.

Not nominated for Best Play Revival:
Heartbreak House (Roundabout)
Butley (starring Nathan Lane)
Prelude to a Kiss (Roundabout)
A Moon for the Misbegotten (Kevin Spacey, Old Vic)

Not
nominated for Best Musical Revival:
nothing**

Does this tell us anything?

*CORRECTED: How could I forget Legally Blonde!!!
**Okay that was wrong, too. Turns out (thanks to commenter) the Les Miz revival WAS eligible.

5 comments:

Steve On Broadway (SOB) said...

If past years are any indication, the Tony nominating committee need not have provided a full complement of shows in any of the categories if they didn't believe they were merited.

For example, as recently as 2002, only two musicals were nominated for Best Revival of a Musical: Oklahoma! and Into The Woods (the latter won). Just last year, only three tuners were nominated in that category.

In 1995 - when musicals were considered all but dead - only two shows were nominated for Best Musical: the winner Sunset Boulevard and the also-ran Smokey Joe's Cafe.

Of course, there was a time -- way back -- when as many as five shows were nominated in a category, but that was also long before the Best Revival categories became official in 1994.

While this may not have been a banner year for Broadway, it was still a pretty decent one. Thanks to the real competition in so many categories, I'm actually looking forward to the awards for the first time in years.

The Playgoer said...

Just like to add--

I do realize I'm not being entirely fair to the Tony committee I suppose by bringing up what's not nominated. I mean, how could they win, right? If good shows were neglected, we'd criticize them for being philistines, or whimping out. If the pickings were so slim that the only passable shows were the ones they nominated, that hardly reflects badly on them, does it.

So I guess my only point in seeing what the field was overall this "season" was to show that emaybe the reason the Tonys are so arbitrary and lame is because Broadway has ceased to entail any inherent quality as a genre/category any more.

Steve On Broadway (SOB) said...

Actually, we're more in agreement than my previous post let on.

Personally, I'm not a fan of the Grammytization of the Tonys where you have to have a category for everyone. I think their decision a couple years back to differentiate between the scenic, lighting and costume design for musicals and plays further diminishes the integrity of the awards.

The one new award I actually wish they'd consider offering would be a Tony for Best Ensemble - something that I think the Screen Actors Guild does with great success.

Enjoy reading your site with your thoughtful commentary each and every day!

The Playgoer said...

Thank you, Steve.

Just so you know, my comment wasn't really meant as a response or counter to yours. Just something I forgot to say in the original post and didn't get around to till later.

Anonymous said...

Not really contributing anything, but for the record, Les Miserables was indeed eligible for best revival of a musical. the only things it was ineligible for was individual awards for the creative team (i.e. direction, design). So, in a way, it was a snub. However, I don't think the producers are crying on their way to the bank with this one.