The Playgoer: Tony Nom's 2008

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Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Tony Nom's 2008

They're out.

Here's a lede you won't see in any newspaper coverage tomorrow:

Grease, the universally panned production that bore the infamous distinction of being the first Broadway show cast by popular vote on "Reality TV," managed to still nab a nomination for the coveted Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical, alongside the much favored South Pacific and Gypsy and the much respected Sunday in the Park with George. Helping its chances was the fact that there are four slots for nominees, and that no other musicals were revived on Broadway other than three aforementioned.

(Am I wrong on that? I can't think of any others.)

Of course it won't win. But you know what this does mean: another chance for those two perpetual thespian innocents Max and Laura to strut their stuff on national TV. I'm sure CBS is delighted Grease is nominated.

By the way, when I say "universally panned," I mean the reviews were so bad, remember, that the producers resorted to filling out a whole page ad plastered with just the words "You're The One That I Want" attributed to various critics, who no doubt used the words at some point in their notices, in quite another context.

The nom's were broadcast on NY1 this morning, in a way that reminded everyone of why the Tonys are not the Oscars. David Hyde Pierce and Sara Ramirez (also of Spamalot--remember? probably not) read off the nominations in apparently computer-sorted random order. I think Best Play and Musical were about a third the way through, sandwiched between Lighting and Orchestration.

NY1's Roma Torre did pull off a touch of Hollywood glitz, though, by nabbing an on-air "phoner" with first-time nominee Patrick Stewart! But since it was only 8:30am and not 5:30 as the Oscar rollout is, not quite as impressive. Still, Stewart reportedly wants this trophy bad--so the campaign has begun!

Other sure-to-be headlines:

-As widely predicted, both Young Frankenstein (sorry, "The New Mel Brooks Musical Young Frankenstein," as Pierce and Ramirez had to embarrassingly repeat) and Little Mermaid were shut out of Best Musical and most of the other major categories. So, in a year where two indie upstarts (Passing Strange and In the Heights) are going to duke it out, the perceived message this time might well be that the major players are dissed and dismissed.

-If you consider that good news, then the bad news might be that the much coveted Best Musical slot #4 (after audience favorite Xanadu took #3) went to Cry-Baby! Slim pickings, I guess. Catered Affair had the classiness, but no one seems to actually like it.

-Little noted this morning was that among the dissed were David Mamet. And not only was November left out of Best Play, but neither was Nathan Lane nominated. Who have these guys pissed off at Sardis lately?

-I guess Nathan can take solace in how competitive a year it was. Especially with so many Brits! Rufus Sewell (Stoppard's Rock & Roll), Ben Daniels (Liaisons Dangereuse), Mark Rylance (Boeing, Boeing) and Captain Picard? Good luck. The one American representative had to be Laurence Fishburne for his 90 minute self-showcase.

-About Best Play, I wonder how Mr. Mamet feels about being passed over for a burlesque of an old Hitchcock film. (39 Steps) Otherwise, there's no story here, since it's the year of Osage County, even against the Anglo-Irish forces of Stoppard and McPherson.

Speaking of August, Chicago will be a big presence in general at the Tonys, what with three Steppenwolf actors nominated, along with their resident playwright and director. And the regional Tony is going to Chicago Shakespeare Theatre--whose work I've never seen but anyone that can make a serious classical rep run in the middle of an amusement park (Navy Pier) sure gets a tip of the hat from me.

That's pretty much it. Mark your calendars now for June 15th. And of course another Playgoer live Tony blogcast!


Steve On Broadway (SOB) said...

On that last point, make it five Steppenwolf actresses. Rondi Reed is nominated in the same category as longtime Steppenwolf ensemble members Martha Plimpton and Laurie Metcalf.

Also, Tony nominators were obliged to give a nod to Grease since they are compelled to round out categories, even if nominees aren't necessarily deserved. Arcane to be sure.

Anonymous said...

"Little noted this morning was that among the dissed were David Mamet. And not only was November left out of Best Play, but neither was Nathan Lane nominated. Who have these guys pissed off at Sardis lately?"

liberals. Damn Commie symps....

Anonymous said...

Is it a diss if the play is not up to his usual standards?

Bilal said...

Just wanted to clarify that Navy Pier is a tourist trap, not an amusement park. One giant honking Ferris Wheel does not, alone, an amusement park make.