Mac’s Tony Ballot for 2013

The good news for those of us who wait all year for the big gay Christmas that is the Tony Awards: it’s a pretty strong year.  Many categories are much more competitive, which is great.  Even better, we should have some knockout performances to look forward to.  There are also very few this year that you could categorize as egregiously overlooked with such strong competition.  As I do each year, I assembled my rankings, predictions, and gripes for you all–especially those who haven’t had the chance to see these but will be watching with baited breath nevertheless (I’m looking at you, Ari).  So let’s get to it…

Best Musical

What Should Win (Rankings):
1) Matilda
2) Kinky Boots
3) Bring It On: The Musical
A Christmas Story, The Musical (italicized means I missed the show before it closed)

What Will Win: Kinky Boots
What Should Have Been Nominated: N/A

The race is neck and neck between Matilda and Kinky Boots.  Matilda is far better, and will stand the test of time as an expertly crafted, clever, emotionally rich new musical.  My hunch is that the unabashed joy ride of Kinky Boots will best Matilda, which wasn’t afraid to delve into the darkness of Roald Dahl’s original text.  When I skim through the Best Musical winners of the last 15 years, Kinky Boots just feels more in line with what the Tonys like.  It reminds me a lot of the highbrow Sunday in the Park with George vs. the old-fashioned fun of La Cage Aux Folles contest in 1984, and I think it will end up much the same.  And will possibly be debated at Marie’s Crisis for just as long.


Best Play

What Should Win:
1) The Testament of Mary by Colm Toibin
2) Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike by Christopher Durang
3) The Assembled Parties by Richard Greenberg
4) Lucky Guy by Nora Ephron

What Will Win: Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
What Should Have Been Nominated: The Nance

The Testament of Mary was by far the best-written new work of the season, and unfortunately couldn’t find an audience to stay open–Broadway, this is why we can’t have nice things.  Fortunately, we have Durang’s Bucks County Chekhov fantasia Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, a deliciously delirious comedy.  It will easily win, and I’m more than fine with that.  The real problem for me is the exclusion of two wonderful plays The Nance and The Other Place for the professional but shrug-able Assembled Parties and Lucky Guy.


Best Revival of a Musical

What Should Win:
1) Pippin
2) Annie
3) Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella
4) The Mystery of Edwin Drood

What Will Win: Pippin
What Should Have Been Nominated: N/A

This is a pretty great line-up.   I wasn’t completely taken with Drood, but I won’t begrudge anything that is vehicle to seeing Chita Rivera on the boards.  Annie is masterfully revived by James Lapine, pulling off a fresh take with a heaping helping of Broadway nostalgia.  Cinderella is a great re-imagining of a classic score.  However, the prize will go to Pippin, in a big top revival that thrills, overwhelms, and delights the senses on top of Schwartz’s one great musical theatre score.

Best Revival of a Play

What Should Win:
1) Who’s Afraid of Virgina Woolf?
2) Golden Boy
3) The Trip to Bountiful
4) Orphans

What Will Win: Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
What Should Have Been Nominated: N/A

There were three fantastic play revivals this season that  took new takes on beloved classics and made them feel as fresh, vital, and urgent as if they were written today.  If Virginia Woolf, Golden Boy, or Bountiful wins–you’ll hear no whining from me.  Personally, I would have just had 3 nominees instead of including the flat Orphans.

Best Actress in a Play

Who Should Win:
1) Laurie Metcalf as Juliana in The Other Place
2) Amy Morton as Martha in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
3) Cicely Tyson as Carrie Watts in The Trip to Bountiful
4) Kristine Nielson as Sonia in Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
5) Holland Taylor as Ann Richards in Ann

Who Will Win: Kristine Nielson as Sonia Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
Who Should Have Been Nominated: Fiona Shaw as Mary in The Testament of Mary

This category BREAKS MY HEART.  Simply because it’s un-rankable.  My top 3–Metcalf, Morton, and Tyson give three of the greatest stage performances I’ve ever seen, performances that will stay with me for years.  I re-arranged them over and over before finally settling on this order–but in my heart they are unranked and I would be over the moon for any of the three to win.  However, my hunch is that Kristine Nielson breaks through the pack for the win, bumped by the love for her show and by a howlingly funny role that differentiates itself from the devastating turns of the aforementioned three.   I would have swapped Fiona Shaw for Holland Taylor, but there’s no real reason to complain here–what a strong year!

Best Actress in a Musical

Who Should Win:
1) Patina Miller as The Leading Player in Pippin
2) Stephanie J. Block as Edwin Drood in The Mystery of Edwin Drood
3) Carolee Carmello as Aimee Semple McPherson in Scandalous
4) Valisa LaKae as Diana Ross in Motown: The Musical
5) Laura Osnes as Ella in Cinderella

Who Will Win: Laura Osnes as Ella in Cinderella
Who Should Have Been Nominated: Adrienne Warren as Danielle in Bring It On

Another talented line-up this year to be sure, though not quite as satisfying as the Play category.  Block was fantastic in Drood, but it was disappointing to see such a great comedienne play the straight man.  Carmello gave a dynamo, belt-your-face off performance in the worst show of the season (the Kathie Lee Gifford-penned evangelical musical).  LaKae is a fabulous Diana Ross (her Reach Out and Touch Somebody’s Hand was a real highlight) but the script doesn’t give her much more to chew on.  Osnes is charming and has a lovely voice but fairy tale princesses aren’t generally very exciting performances.  Patina Miller is the standout of the group, giving a sexy and commanding turn as Pippin’s Leading Player.  Yet we all know awards aren’t given fully on performance, and I think the industry-loved Laura Osnes will take the Tony as Broadway’s own Cinderella story, the winner of a flop reality show that has been turning in consistently great work for 6 years.

Best Actor in a Musical

Who Should Win:
1) Bertie Carvel as Miss Trunchbowl in Matilda
2) Billy Porter as Lola in Kinky Boots
3) Santino Fontana as Topher in Cinderella
4) Stark Sands as Charlie in Kinky Boots
Rob McClure as Charlie Chaplin in Chaplin

Who Will Win: Billy Porter as Lola in Kinky Boots
Who Should Have Been Nominated: Anthony Warlow as Daddy Warbucks in Annie

This category is one of the most exciting horse races: the battle of the drag performances.  I would pick the frightening transformation of Bertie Carvel over the fierce diva Billy Porter, but I imagine the Tony voters will go the other way.

Best Actor in a Play

Who Should Win:
1) Nathan Lane as Chauncey Miles in The Nance
2) Tracy Letts as George in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
3) David Hyde Pierce as Vanya in Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
4) Tom Hanks as Mike McAlary in Lucky Guy
5) Tom Sturridge as Phillip in Orphans

Who Will Win: Tom Hanks as Mike McAlary in Lucky Guy
Who Should Have Been Nominated: Seth Numrich as Joe Bonaparte in Golden Boy

Listen, I like Tom Hanks as much as the next guy.  He’s funny, charming, and is as synonymous with the 90’s as Bill Clinton.  However, he is coasting on that in Lucky Guy, giving a charming non-performance in a non-play.  But the Tonys love big stars, and the Tony voters especially love big stars who are willing to schmooze and show up to a litany of events and make them feel all warm and special–and Hanks does just that.  So he will beat out Nathan Lane and Tracy Letts for their far superior work.  Such is life!

Best Featured Actress in a Musical

Who Should Win:
1) Andrea Martin as Berthe in Pippin
2) Annaleigh Ashford as Lauren in Kinky Boots
3) Victoria Clark as The Fairy Godmother in Cinderella
4) Lauren Ward as Miss Honey in Matilda
5) Keala Settle as Norma Valverde in Hands on a Hardbody

Who Will Win: Andrea Martin as Berthe in Pippin
Who Should Have Been Nominated: Rachel Bay Jones as Catharine in Pippin

Best Featured Actor in a Musical

Who Should Win:
1) Keith Carradine as JD Drew in Hands on a Hardbody
2) Gabriel Ebert as Mr. Wormwood in Matilda
3) Terrence Mann as Charlemagne in Pippin
4) Will Chase as John Jasper in The Mystery of Edwin Drood
5) Charl Brown as Smokey Robinson in Motown: The Musical

Who Will Win: Terrence Mann as Charlemagne in Pippin
Who Should Have Been Nominated: Gregory Haney as La Cienega in Bring It On

Best Featured Actress in a Play

Who Should Win:
1) Condola Rashad as Thelma in The Trip to Bountiful
2) Judith Light as Faye in The Assembled Parties
3) Carrie Coon as Honey in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
4) Shalita Grant as Cassandra in Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
Judith Ivey as Lavinia Penniman in The Heiress

Who Will Win: Condola Rashad as Thelma in The Trip to Bountiful
Who Should Have Been Nominated: Yvonne Strahovski as Lorna Moon in Golden Boy

Best Featured Actor in a Play

Who Should Win:
1) Billy Magnussen as Spike in Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
2) Richard Kind as Marcus Hoff in The Big Knife
3) Tony Shalhoub as Mr. Bonaparte in Golden Boy
4) Danny Burstein as Tokio in Golden Boy
5) Courtney B. Vance as Hap Hairston in Lucky Guy

Who Will Win: Billy Magnussen as Spike in Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
Who Should Have Been Nominated: Lewis J. Stadlen as Efram in The Nance

Best Score of a Musical

Who Should Win:
1) Tim Minchin, Matilda
2) Cyndi Lauper, Kinky Boots
3) Trey Anastasio and Amanda Green, Hands on a Hardbody
Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, A Christmas Story, the Musical

Who Will Win: Cyndi Lauper, Kinky Boots
Who Should Have Been Nominated: Lin-Manuel Miranda, Tom Kitt, and Amanda Green, Bring It On

Best Book of a Musical

Who Should Win:
1) Dennis Kelly, Matilda
2) Douglas Carter Beane, Cinderella
3) Harvey Fierstein, Kinky Boots
Joseph Robinette, A Christmas Story, the Musical

Who Will Win: Dennis Kelly, Matilda
Who Should Have Been Nominated: N/A

Best Director of a Play

Who Should Win:
1) Bartlett Sher, Golden Boy
2) Pam Mackinnon, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
3) Nicholas Martin, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
4) George C. Wolfe, Lucky Guy

Who Will Win: Nicholas Martin, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
Who Should Have Been Nominated: Jack O’Brien, The Nance

Best Director of a Musical

Who Should Win:
1) Matthew Warchus, Matilda
2) Diane Paulus, Pippin
3) Jerry Mitchell, Kinky Boots
4) Scott Ellis, The Mystery of Edwin Drood

Who Will Win: Diane Paulus, Pippin
Who Should Have Been Nominated: James Lapine, Annie

Best Scenic Design of a Musical

Who Should Win:
1) Rob Howell, Matilda
2) Scott Pask, Pippin
3) Anna Louizos, The Mystery of Edwin Drood
4) David Rockwell, Kinky Boots

Who Will Win: Rob Howell, Matilda
Who Should Have Been Nominated: Anna Louizos, Cinderella

Best Lighting Design of a Musical

Who Should Win:
1) Kenneth Posner, Pippin
2) Hugh Vanstone, Matilda
3) Kenneth Posner, Cinderella
4) Kenneth Posner, Kinky Boots

Who Will Win: Hugh Vanstone, Matilda
Who Should Have Been Nominated: Natasha Katz, Motown: The Musical

Best Costume Design of a Musical

Who Should Win:
1) Gregg Banres, Kinky Boots
2) William Ivey Long, Cinderella
3) Dominique Lemieux, Pippin
4) Rob Howell, Matilda

Who Will Win: William Ivey Long, Cinderella
Who Should Have Been Nominated: N/A

Best Sound Design of a Musical

Who Should Win:
1) Jonathan Deans and Garth Helms, Pippin
2) Nevin Steinberg, Cinderella
3) Peter Hylenski, Motown: The Musical
4) John Shivers, Kinky Boots

Who Will Win: Jonathan Deans and Garth Helms, Pippin
Who Should Have Been Nominated: N/A

Best Orchestrations

Who Should Win:
1) Danny Troob, Cindrella
2) Christopher Nightingale, Matilda
3) Ethan Popp and Bryan Crook, Motown: The Musical
4) Stephen Oremus, Kinky Boots

Who Will Win: Danny Troob, Cinderella
Who Should Have Been Nominated: Michael Starobin, Annie

Best Choreography

Who Should Win:
1) Peter Darling, Matilda
2) Andy Blankenbuehler, Bring It On
3) Chet Walker, Pippin
4) Jerry Mitchell, Kinky Boots

Who Will Win: Chet Walker, Pippin
Who Should Have Been Nominated: Josh Rhodes, Cinderella

Best Scenic Design of a Play

Who Should Win:
1) John Lee Beatty, The Nance
2) Michael Yeargan, Golden Boy
3) Santo Loquasto, The Assembled Parties
4) David Rockwell, Lucky Guy

Who Will Win: John Lee Beatty, The Nance
Who Should Have Been Nominated: Tom Pye, The Testament of Mary

Best Lighting Design of a Play

Who Should Win:
1) Donald Holder, Golden Boy
2) Japhy Wiedeman, The Nance
3) Jennier Tipton, The Testament of Mary
4) Jules Fisher and Peggy Eisenhauer, Lucky Guy

Who Will Win: Jules Fisher and Peggy Eisenhauer, Lucky Guy
Who Should Have Been Nominated: Rui Rita, The Trip to Bountiful

Best Costume Design of a Play

Who Should Win:
1) Ann Roth, The Nance
2) Catherine Zuber, Golden Boy
Soutra Gilmour, Cyrano de Bergerac
Albert Wolsky, The Heiress

Who Will Win: Ann Roth, The Nance
Who Should Have Been Nominated: N/A

Best Sound Design of a Play

Who Should Win:
1) Peter John Still and Marc Salzberg, Golden Boy
2) Leon Rothenberg, The Nance
3) John Gromada, The Trip to Bountiful
4) Mel Mercier, The Testament of Mary

Who Will Win: Peter John Still and Marc Salzberg, Golden Boy
Who Should Have Been Nominated: Fitz Patton, The Other Place

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