The Playgoer: Tony Noms, 2010-2011

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Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Tony Noms, 2010-2011

Yes, they're out there.

My first response was, "Will they say 'Motherfucker' on CBS television?"  The play is nominated for six Tony Awards, after all.

Secondary responses...

- Sister Act?  Really? Sister Act gets the fourth Best Musical slot and not Andrew Jackson? Really???

- Speaking of musicals, let us all remind ourselves (and everyone else who asks) that Spider-Man is not eligible this year. Why? Because they never "opened," silly! (Given the competition they're probably better off next year anyway.)

- Best Actor (Play): Will Al Pacino show up?  Only to lose to Mark Rylance? Or to a guy in a dress? Or to probable industry fave, part-time actor Joe Mantello?

- Best Actress (Play): Will this be the official coronation of Nina Arianda? Having just gotten out of her MFA program in 2009, followed by a smash Off B'way debut in 2010, Broadway may just embrace the prospect of newly minted royalty. (Tough contest, though, between her and Frances McDormand--movie star, Oscar-winner, but also Tony-less stage veteran who is starring in a big vehicle of a well-liked play practically written for her.)

- Too bad the two Mormon guys have to go against each other--they're both so excellent. (I give the slight edge to Andrew Rannells for sheer musical theatre power-chops.) So looks like Norbert Leo Butz again...

- Note: no Robin Williams, no Chris Rock nominations. I guess they're not so eager to please stars after all.  I haven't seen Williams yet (and Best Actor is one tight category this year), but Rock was certainly good enough to get a nod as "featured," but maybe he would have been insulted!  And what's Billy Crudup doing there in "Featured"? Isn't Nightingale basically the male lead in Arcadia?

-Speaking of Robin Williams... Not a lotta love here for Bengal Tiger. Just sayin'. Again, haven't seen either this or Normal Heart, but are you telling me Moises Kaufman's work on Bengal is less worthy than the last-minute tag-team job of Joel Grey and George Wolfe on Normal? (As successful as the latter apparently turned out to be...)

-Featured Actress (Play) has both Edie Falco and Ellen Barkin.  Aren't they the same person?

-Only two for Best Musical Revival this year? Were there any others that opened besides Anything Goes & How to Succeed? As for Best Play Revival, one would have thought Merchant of Venice had it all wrapped up, but it now seems so long ago, and Normal Heart has definitely had a late-entry surge.

-Best Play will be interesting. Good People seems to be the safe bet--Solid American Play. Haven't seen it yet myself, but I have seen War Horse which I absolutely loved. However, the script itself is not the best thing about it. Best Play is a funny category because technically it looks like you're voting for the "play" (i.e. the playwright), sometimes a play can win if it's just enjoyed more as an experience. Unlike with musicals, where one show can win all the component parts of book and score and another can win just overall "best show, the voters don't get to divide up plays like that. So if the voters were just swept up in the War Horse experience they may vote for it, even if they appreciated Lindsay-Abaire's writing more.

As for Best Musical, it's Mormon all the way, baby. Consider it the perennial Producers/Spamalot award for Broadway-novice comedians.  The question is: what number will they do for the broadcast? "Fuck you God in the Cunt" won't fly on CBS any better than "Motherfucker with the Hat." 

Then again, some F-Bombs are probably what that the Tony Broadcast needs to stay alive at this point.

See you on June 12!


JakeBraith said...

Agreed on the BBAJ front. Especially annoyed that Ben Walker (who gave up X-Men, let's remember) wasn't nominated. Thank god it wasn't Daniel Radcliffe, though, who I thought was just a bore.

Elisabeth Vincentelli said...

"are you telling me Moises Kaufman's work on Bengal is less worthy than the last-minute tag-team job of Joel Grey and George Wolfe on Normal?"
In this case I agree with the nominators: I think that Kaufman's flat, straightforward staging completely failed to explore the play's supernatural dimension. On the other hand, that last-minute tag team put together a stylistically coherent production that brought the best out of Kramer's text.

Susan said...

I'd definitely put Nightingale in Arcadia as a featured actor, not lead. He's barely in the first act, and while he has a big monologue in the second act, he's still not the main focus of the story. It really feels like more of an ensemble piece overall, but if any part were a lead I'd say it was Septimus.

Playgoer said...

Regarding Elizabeth's comment, I want to say that now, having seen both shows, that she's right! "Normal Heart" is a tight, seamless ensemble drama, and "Tiger" is rather sprawling and uninspired after all. I stand corrected!

By the way, Wolfe has just acknowledged in a interview that he basically directed Normal Heart alone after it was "handed off" by Grey when he went into "Anything Goes."