By Karen Isaacs
Sunday is Tony Night and while some awards seem a sure thing, others are up-for-grabs.
One question is will the Tony voters follow the lead of the Outer Critics Circle and Drama Desk voters? Of course, these two programs have slightly different rules: they include off-Broadway productions and may exclude Broadway offerings that moved from an off-Broadway productions in a prior season. This year, Dear Evan Hanse and Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812 were impacted.
Bette Midler will win the Tony for outstanding female performer in a musical AND Hello, Dolly! will win the Best Revival of a Musical Tony. Even with Midler not doing eight performances a week (Donna Murphy fills in) and despite the rumor that she will take off additional performances in the future, she seems a certainty.
Some voters may be annoyed that she is apparently NOT performing on the Tony show; the rumor is that she demanded that the performance be at the Shubert Theater in a cut away, not actually at the awards ceremony.
Both groups agreed that Oslo was the Outstanding New Play and Come from Away the Outstanding New Musical. They also agreed on all the major acting awards: Kevin Kline (Present Laughter) and Laura Linney (The Little Foxes) for leading roles in plays with Danny DeVito (The Price) and Cynthia Nixon (The Little Foxes) for featured actor in a play. Bette Midler and Andy Karl (Groundhog Day) won for musicals with Gavin Creel (Hello, Dolly!) and Jenn Colella (Come from Away) for featured actor in a musical.
They also agreed on the best revivals: Hello, Dolly! and Jitney.
Where were the differences? The Outer Critics gave the direction of a play award to Rebecca Taichman for Indecent and the Drama Desk to Reuben Santiago-Hudson for Jitney. Similarly for direction of a musical the Drama Desk award went to Rachel Chavkin for The Great Comet while the OCC gave it to Warren Carlyle for Come from Away.
It could be the year of Dear Evan Hansen with the show winning best musical and Ben Platt beating out Andy Karl for the leading actor award. Yet the outstanding musical category is tough with three terrific shows: Hansen, Come from Away and Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812.
Oslo should win the Tony but A Doll House Part 2 has been getting a lot of buzz. Its leading lady, Laurie Metcalf might give Laura Linney a run for the top acting award.
The revials? Hello, Dolly! because most of the other musical revivals were weak and Jitney.
Kevin Kline should take home another Tony though Jefferson May (Oslo) deserves strong consideration.
For musicals: Gavin Creel will probably join Bette Midler in receiving Tonys. The featured actor in a play category is super competitive. Danny DeVito’s been picking all the wins but I preferred the performances of Richard Thomas (The Little Foxes), Michael Aronov (Oslo) and John Douglas Thompson (Jitney).
Deciding among the actress in a featured role category will be tough; Cynthia Nixon could easily win but I really liked Johanna Day in Sweat. I hope Jenn Colella takes home the featured role in a musical Tony but certainly Rachel Bay Jones (Dear Evan Hansen) and Stephanie J. Block (Falsettos) are strong contenders.
Directorial award categories are jammed with great productions. I’d like Rebecca Taichman for Indecent and Rachel Chavkin for The Great Comet to win. But all of the nominees are very worth.
So let’s see how I do
By Karen Isaacs
The major NYC theater awards kicked off with the nominations for Outer Critic Circle awards on Tuesday (April 25). By the way, I am a member of the group.
The OCC honors both Broadway and off-Broadway productions, sometimes in combined categories. Only the categories of outstanding play and musical are separated into Broadway and off-Broadway categories.
If a play or musical has previously been eligible for awards off-Broadway in an earlier season, it will only be eligible for awards when it arrives on Broadway IF there have been substantial revisions, or new cast members.
Thus, this season, Natasha, Pierre and The Great Comet of 1812 and Dear Evan Hansen were not eligible except for new elements/performers. Glenn Close was not eligible for her performance in Sunset Boulevard since she had won for that performance years earlier. Three shows that were off-Broadway earlier in the season but moved to Broadway were eligible for best play in the Broadway category (Indecent, Oslo and Sweat.) Also, shows that declared themselves ineligible or did not invite OCC members to review were not eligible for any awards. This included Sunday in the Park with George.
I was surprised at some of the omissions in the nomination list. War Paint did not receive a nomination for Outstanding New Musical but Holiday Inn did. Present Laughter was not nominated for Outstanding Revival of a Play. In the performances categories, Reed Birney (A Man from Nebraska,) John Douglas Thompson (Jitney) and Mark Ruffalo (The Price) were passed over Outstanding Actor in favor of four off-Broadway performances. In the musical category, Josh Groban (The Great Comet) was ignored.
Jennifer Ehle was omitted for her performance in Oslo and Sutton Foster was skipped for her fine performance off-Broadway in Sweet Charity in Outstanding Actress categories.
Outstanding Featured Actor/Actress in either a play or musical also omitted some of my favorites. I thought Tony Shalhoub (The Price) was more deserving than Danny DeVito and Brandon Darden deserved a nomination for Jitney. Jessica Hecht (The Price) and Sherie Rene Scott (Front Page) were ignored. For musicals, Tony Sheldon (Amelie) and Bobby Conte (A Bronx Tale) deserved nominations.
Winners will be announced in mid-May and the awards will be presented at a ceremony on May 25 at Sardi’s.
Outstanding New Broadway Play
A Doll’s House, Part 2
Outstanding New Broadway Musical
A Bronx Tale
Come From Away
Outstanding New Off-Broadway Play
If I Forget
Love, Love, Love
Outstanding New Off-Broadway Musical
The Band’s Visit
Himself and Nora
Outstanding Book Of A Musical (Broadway or Off-Broadway)
Terrence McNally, Anastasia
Itamar Moses, The Band’s Visit
Chazz Palminteri, A Bronx Tale
Danny Rubin, Groundhog Day
Irene Sankoff & David Hein, Come From Away
Outstanding New Score (Broadway or Off-Broadway)
Stephen Flaherty & Lynn Ahrens, Anastasia
Alan Menken & Glenn Slater, A Bronx Tale
Tim Minchin, Groundhog Day
Irene Sankoff & David Hein, Come From Away
David Yazbek, The Band’s Visit
Outstanding Revival Of A Play (Broadway or Off-Broadway)
The Front Page
The Little Foxes
Outstanding Revival Of A Musical (Broadway or Off-Broadway)
Outstanding Director of a Play
Lila Neugebauer, The Wolves
Jack O’Brien, The Front Page
Daniel Sullivan, The Little Foxes
Rebecca Taichman, Indecent
Kate Whoriskey, Sweat
Outstanding Director of a Musical
Christopher Ashley, Come From Away
David Cromer, The Band’s Visit
Darko Tresnjak, Anastasia
Matthew Warchus, Groundhog Day
Jerry Zaks, Hello, Dolly!
Andy Blankenbuehler, Bandstand
Warren Carlyle, Hello, Dolly!
Savion Glover, Shuffle Along
Kelly Devine, Come From Away
Denis Jones, Holiday Inn
Outstanding Set Design (Play or Musical)
Alexander Dodge, Anastasia
Nigel Hook, The Play That Goes Wrong
Mimi Lien, Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812
Scott Pask, The Little Foxes
Douglas W. Schmidt, The Front Page
Outstanding Costume Design (Play or Musical)
Linda Cho, Anastasia
Susan Hilferty, Present Laughter
Santo Loquasto, Hello, Dolly!
Ann Roth, Shuffle Along
Catherine Zuber, War Paint
Outstanding Lighting Design (Play or Musical)
Christopher Akerlind, Indecent
Donald Holder, Anastasia
Natasha Katz, Hello, Dolly!
Bradley King, Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812
Kenneth Posner, War Paint
Outstanding Projection Design (Play or Musical)
Duncan McLean, Privacy
Jared Mezzocchi, Vietgone
Benjamin Pearcy for 59 Productions, Oslo
Aaron Rhyne, Anastasia
Tal Yarden, Indecent
Outstanding Sound Design (Play or Musical)
Gareth Fry & Pete Malkin, The Encounter
Gareth Owen, Come From Away
Nicholas Pope, Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812
Matt Stine, Sweeney Todd
Nevin Steinberg, Bandstand
Doug Besterman, Anastasia
Larry Blank, Holiday Inn
Bill Elliott & Greg Anthony Rassen, Bandstand
Larry Hochman, Hello, Dolly!
Jamshied Sharifi, The Band’s Visit
Outstanding Actor In A Play
Daniel Craig, Othello
Michael Emerson, Wakey, Wakey
Kevin Kline, Present Laughter
David Oyelowo, Othello
David Hyde Pierce, A Life
Outstanding Actress In A Play
Janie Dee, Linda
Sally Field, The Glass Menagerie
Allison Janney, Six Degrees of Separation
Laura Linney, The Little Foxes
Laurie Metcalf, A Doll’s House, Part 2
Outstanding Actor In A Musical
Christian Borle, Falsettos
Nick Cordero, A Bronx Tale
Andy Karl, Groundhog Day
David Hyde Pierce, Hello, Dolly!
Tony Shalhoub, The Band’s Visit
Outstanding Actress In A Musical
Christy Altomare, Anastasia
Christine Ebersole, War Paint
Katrina Lenk, The Band’s Visit
Patti LuPone, War Paint
Bette Midler, Hello, Dolly!
Outstanding Featured Actor In A Play
Michael Aronov, Oslo
Danny DeVito, The Price
Nathan Lane, The Front Page
Richard Thomas, The Little Foxes
Richard Topol, Indecent
Outstanding Featured Actress In A Play
Johanna Day, Sweat
Jayne Houdyshell, A Doll’s House, Part 2
Katrina Lenk, Indecent
Nana Mensah, Man From Nebraska
Cynthia Nixon, The Little Foxes
Outstanding Featured Actor In A Musical
John Bolton, Anastasia
Jeffry Denman, Kid Victory
Gavin Creel, Hello, Dolly!
Shuler Hensley, Sweet Charity
Andrew Rannells, Falsettos
Outstanding Featured Actress In A Musical
Kate Baldwin, Hello, Dolly!
Stephanie J. Block, Falsettos
Jenn Colella, Come From Away
Caroline O’Connor, Anastasia
Mary Beth Peil, Anastasia
Outstanding Solo Performance
Ed Dixon, Georgie: My Adventures with George Rose
Marin Ireland, On the Exhale
Sarah Jones, Sell / Buy / Date
Judith Light, All the Ways to Say I Love You
Simon McBurney, The Encounter
John Gassner Award
(Presented for an American play, preferably by a new playwright)
Jaclyn Backhaus, Men on Boats
Sarah DeLappe, The Wolves
Paola Lázaro, Tell Hector I Miss Him
Qui Nguyen, Vietgone
Bess Wohl, Small Mouth Sounds