Mac’s Tony Award Breakdown

Best Musical

What Should Win Rankings:
1) The Scottsboro Boys
2) The Book of Mormon
3) Catch Me If You Can
4) Sister Act

What Will Win:
The Book of Mormon

What Should Have Been Nominated:
Priscilla, Queen of the Desert

The Scottsboro Boys is the kind of musical theatre brilliance that will be talked about and remembered for decades to come.  It was controversial, passionate, and subversive–and it will join the rank of such Tony Award losers as Follies, West Side Story, Hair, and Caroline, or Change–that will be talked about for years to come but will lose the big prize.  However, in this year we are in luck, because the monster commercial hit, The Book of Mormon is pretty fabulous as well.  Far more clever in its execution than its material, Mormon delivers joy and laughter for 2.5 hours, and if the Tony helps catapault it into a 5-6 year run, I am more than okay with that.  The biggest slight here is the wonderful camp glittery megamix, Priscilla, being snubbed for the ineffectual, half-succeeding Catch Me and Sister Act.

Best Play

What Should Win Rankings:
1) Jerusalem
2) Good People
3) The Motherf*cker with the Hat
4) War Horse

What Will Win:
War Horse

What Should Have Been Nominated:
Brief Encounter

The Tony voters are presented three fantastic options this year for the Best Play category–a rare treat.  Jerusalem is a brilliant new British play, a Waiting for Godot in the modern English countryside.  Good People is a masterfully crafted well-made play with a first-class ensemble led by Frances McDormand.  The Motherf*cker with the Hat overcomes Chris Rock’s poor acting abilities to present a tender urban drama laced with pain and anguish.  Instead, they are going to go with the fourth choice War Horse.  The film comes out this December, yet the production already looks like a Spielberg epic–there is showy lighting, flashy battle scenes, and a swelling score to tug at the heart strings of the audience enamored by the boy-and-his-horse love story.  The stagecraft is incredible–there is no denying that. Unfortunately, the play around it is just not very good, and the performances scale between amateurish and passable.  But it’s big, and loud, and flashy, and has a national tour planned, and it will win handily.

Best Revival of a Musical

What Should Win Rankings:
1) How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying
2) Anything Goes

What Will Win:
Anything Goes

This sparse category, created by the only two eligible nominees, has two very solid productions–neither of which is a knockout, but both are a very fun evening at the theatre and not much else.  I felt Anything Goes had some major pacing issues that made long bits of it drag interminably, though getting to hear the glorious Cole Porter score and see a 30-person cast tap dance in unison is might satisfying–which has given it the edge with critics and audiences.

Best Revival of a Play

What Should Win Rankings:
1) The Normal Heart
2) The Importance of Being Earnest
3) The Merchant of Venice
4) Arcadia

What Will Win:
The Normal Heart

What Should Have Been Nominated:
The House of Blue Leaves

The Normal Heart does what a great play revival should do–it gives urgency.  It makes you feel like this MUST be performed right now.  While I have reservations about the writing, it’s hard to imagine this play ever being better than this production at The Golden Theatre.  It should and will take home the big prize. David Cromer’s heartbreaking revival of The House of Blue Leaves being snubbed in sad, but not altogether surprising giving its poor critical reception.

Best Actor in a Musical

Who Should Win Rankings:
1) Tony Sheldon, Priscilla, Queen of the Desert
2) Andrew Rannells, The Book of Mormon
3) Norbert Leo Butz, Catch Me If You Can
4) Joshua Henry, The Scottsboro Boys
5) Josh Gad, The Book of Mormon

Who Will Win:
Norbert Leo Butz, Catch Me If You Can

Who Should Have Been Nominated:
Daniel Radcliffe, How to Succeed in Business…

Tony Sheldon gives a performance that succeeds on so many levels, and is the emotional heart of Priscilla, yet he will be overlooked like his show.  Andrew Rannells is hysterical in Mormon and brings so many intensely dislikable qualities into a genuinely sincere character that you always root for.  I’m pretty sure Norbert Leo Butz will take the big prize in this split category.  Though his performance is really Featured, he scores the biggest showstopping musical number in the category, is well-regarded in this industry, and is the best thing about a show that has a lot of Tony voters money tied up.  If he loses, look for Josh Gad, the cartoonish other leading man from Book of Mormon doing his best Chris Farley imitation.

Best Actress in a Musical

Who Should Win Rankings:
1) Patina Miller, Sister Act
2) Sutton Foster, Anything Goes
3) Donna Murphy, The People in the Picture
4) Beth Leavel, Baby It’s You!

Who Will Win:
Sutton Foster, Anything Goes

Who Should Have Been Nominated:
Sherie Rene Scott, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown

Patina Miller holds on her back a painfully mediocre show, but makes it as good as it could possibly be.  Her charisma, comic timing, and diva belt show the signs of a great career.  Though this will not be her first Tony.  Sutton Foster, the golden girl in a mediocre show of 10 years ago, has this in her proverbial bag as the singing, dancing evangelist Reno Sweeney is the much-loved Anything Goes.  The only Tony crime here is Beth Leavel (in a trainwreck of a dinner theater production gone wrong) edging out Sherie Rene Scott (the hardworking emotional center of a flawed)–I just can’t wrap my head around that at all.

Best Actor in a Play

Who Should Win Rankings:
1) Mark Rylance, Jerusalem
2) Bobby Cannavale, The Motherf*cker with the Hat
3) Joe Mantello, The Normal Heart
4) Brian Bedford, The Importance of Being Earnest
5) Al Pacino, The Merchant of Venice

Who Will Win:
Mark Rylance, Jerusalem

Who Should Have Been Nominated:
Jeffrey Wright, A Free Man of Color

A stacked category this year, all five of these performances could be award-worthy in a less competitive year.  Narrowing things down, Bedford should have been in Featured and is not the leading man of his show, knocking him out.  Al Pacino was fantastic, but in a role that he’s performed many times before in a show that closed in February, so he’s also out.  I am giving the edge to Mark Rylance.  John Lahr of the New Yorker described his star turn best as “this deep and daring performance…defies the tropes of critical language.  It is unprecedented, really.  You could position it somewhere between acting and athletics; it’s mesmerizing, sensual recklessness, however, has to be witnessed to be understood.”

Best Actress in a Play

Who Should Win Rankings:
1) Frances McDormand, Good People
2) Nina Arianda, Born Yesterday
3) Vanessa Redgrave, Driving Miss Daisy
4) Hannah Yelland, Brief Encounter
5) Lily Rabe, The Merchant of Venice

Who Will Win:
Frances McDormand, Good People

Who Should Have Been Nominated:
None, they got it perfect this time.

Best Featured Actor in a Musical

Who Should Win Rankings:
1) Colman Domingo, The Scottsboro Boys
2) Rory O’Malley, The Book of Mormon
3) John Laroquette, How to Succeed in Business…
4) Forrest McClendon, The Scottsboro Boys
5) Adam Godley, Anything Goes

Who Will Win:
Rory O’Malley, The Book of Mormon

Who Should Have Been Nominated (And Won):
John Cullum, The Scottsboro Boys

Best Featured Actress in a Musical

Who Should Win Rankings:
1) Laura Benanti, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown
2) Nikki M. James, The Book of Mormon
3) Patti LuPone, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown
4) Victoria Clark, Sister Act
5) Tammy Blanchard, How to Succeed in Business…

Who Will Win:
Nikki M. James, The Book of Mormon

Who Should Have Been Nominated:
Rose Hemingway, How to Succeed in Business…

Best Featured Actor in a Play

Who Should Win Rankings:
1) Mackenzie Crook, Jerusalem
2) John Benjamin Hickey, The Normal Heart
3) Billy Crudup, Arcadia
4) Arian Moayed, Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo
5) Yul Vasquez, The Motherf*cker with the Hat

Who Will Win:
John Benjamin Hickey, The Normal Heart

Who Should Have Been Nominated:
mos, A Free Man of Color

Best Featured Actress in a Play

Who Should Win Rankings:
1) Edie Falco, The House of Blue Leaves
2) Elizabeth Rodriguez, The Motherf*cker with the Hat
3) Judith Light, Lombardi
4) Joanna Lumley, La Bete
5) Ellen Barkin, The Normal Heart

Who Will Win:
Ellen Barkin, The Normal Heart

Who Should Have Been Nominated:
Annette McLaughlin, Brief Encounter

Best Director of a Musical

Who Should Win Rankings:
1) Casey Nicholaw & Trey Parker, The Book of Mormon
2) Susan Stroman, The Scottsboro Boys
3) Rob Ashford, How to Succeed in Business…
4) Kathleen Marshall, Anything Goes

Who Will Win:
Casey Nicholaw & Trey Parker, The Book of Mormon

Who Should Have Been Nominated:
Simon Phillips, Priscilla, Queen of the Desert

Best Director of a Play

Who Should Win Rankings:
1) Joel Grey & George C. Wolfe, The Normal Heart
2) Anna D. Shapiro, The Motherf*cker with the Hat
3) Marianne Elliot & Tom Morris, War Horse
4) Daniel Sullivan, The Merchant of Venice

Who Will Win:
Joel Grey & George C. Wolfe, The Normal Heart

Who Should Have Been Nominated:
Emma Rice, Brief Encounter

Best Score

Who Should Win Rankings:
1) John Kander & Fred Ebb, The Scottsboro Boys
2) Robert Lopez, Trey Parker & Matt Stone, The Book of Mormon
3) David Yazbeck, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown
4) Alan Menken & Glenn Slater, Sister Act

Who Will Win:
John Kander & Fred Ebb, The Scottsboro Boys

Who Should Have Been Nominated:
Marc Shaiman & Scott Whitman, Catch Me If You Ccan

Best Book of a Musical

Who Should Win Rankings:
1) Robert Lopez, Trey Parker & Matt Stone, The Book of Mormon
2) David Thompson, The Scottsboro Boys
3) Douglas Carter Beane, Sister Act
4) Alex Timbers, Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson

Who Will Win:
Robert Lopez, Trey Parker & Matt Stone, The Book of Mormon

Who Should Have Been Nominated:
Stephen Elliot & Alan Scott, Priscilla, Queen of the Desert

Best Choreography

Who Should Win Rankings:
1) Susan Stroman, The Scottsboro Boys
2) Kathleen Marshall, Anything Goes
3) Casey Nicholaw, The Book of Mormon
4) Rob Ashford, How to Succeed in Business…

Who Will Win:
Kathleen Marshall, Anything Goes

Who Should Have Been Nominated:
They got it perfect again!

Best Orchestrations

Who Should Win Rankings:
1) Larry Hochman, The Scottsboro Boys
2) Marc Shaiman & Larry Blank, Catch Me If You Can
3) Larry Hochman & Steven Oremus, The Book of Mormon
4) Doug Besterman, How to Succeed in Business…

Who Will Win:
Larry Hochman & Steven Oremus, The Book of Mormon

Who Should Have Been Nominated:
Simon Hale, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown

 

SEE MY DESIGN CATEGORY BREAKDOWN HERE

 

 

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