Tuesday, April 30, 2013

2013 Tony Nominations

It's my favorite time of the year. When the theater community (OK, theater producers) recognize the best of the theater season.

A number of notable snubs ("Chaplin" has one lone nomination; Alec Baldwin and Bette Midler were not nominated). My predictions for the winner are in bold.
"Lucky Guy"
 Best Play
"The Assembled Parties" by Richard Greenberg
"Lucky Guy" by Nora Ephron (The late playwright and screenwriter's last work, duh!)
"The Testament of Mary" by Colm Toibin
"Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike" by Christopher Durang

Best Musical
"Bring It On, The Musical"
"A Christmas Story, The Musical"
"Kinky Boots, The Musical"
"Matilda, The Musical"

Best book of a musical
"A Christmas Story, The Musical" Joseph Robinette
"Kinky Boots" Harvey Fierstein
"Matilda, The Musical" Dennis Kelly
Rodgers + Hammerstein's Cinderella" Douglas Carter Beane

Best Revival of a Play
"Golden Boy" Producers: Lincoln Center Theater, André Bishop, Bernard Gersten
"The Trip to Bountiful"
"Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?"


Best Revival of a Musical
'The Mystery of Edwin Drood'
"Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella"

Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics) Written for the Theatre
"A Christmas Story, The Musical" Music and Lyrics: Benj Pasek and Justin Paul
"Hands on a Hardbody" Music: Trey Anastasio and Amanda Green Lyrics: Amanda Green
"Kinky Boots" Music & Lyrics: Cyndi Lauper (Tony voters shouldn't pass up the chance to make history here; Should Lauper win, she will be the first female composer to be nominated solo --previous female composers have shared the nomination)
"Matilda The Musical" Music & Lyrics: Tim Minchin

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play
Tom Hanks, "Lucky Guy"
Nathan Lane, "The Nance"
Tracy Letts, "Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?"
David Hyde Pierce, "Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike"
Tom Sturridge "Orphans"

Cicely Tyson in "The Trip to Bountiful"
Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play
Laurie Metcalf, The Other Place
Amy Morton , "Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?"
Kristine Nielsen, "Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike"
Holland Taylor, "Ann"
Cicely Tyson, "The Trip to Bountiful"

Billy Porter, "Kinky Boots"
Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical
Bertie Carvel, "Matilda, The Musical"
Santino Fontana, "Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella"
Rob McClure, "Chaplin"
Billy Porter, "Kinky Boots"
Stark Sands, "Kinky Boots"

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Music
Stephanie J. Block, "The Mystery of Edwin Drood"
Carolee Carmello, "Scandalous"
Valisia LeKae, "Motown The Musical"
Patina Miller, "Pippin"
Laura Osnes, "Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella"

Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play
Danny Burstein, "Golden Boy"
Richard Kind, "The Big Knife"
Billy Magnussen, "Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike"
Tony Shalhoub, "Golden Boy"
Courtney B. Vance, "Lucky Guy"

Judith Light (r) with Jessica Hecht in "The Assembled Parties"
Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play
Carrie Coon, "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?"
Shalita Grant, "Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike"
Judith Ivey, "The Heiress"
Judith Light, "The Assembled Parties"
Condola Rashad, "The Trip to Bountiful"

Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical
Charl Brown, "Motown, The Musical"
Keith Carradine, "Hands on a Hardbody"
Will Chase, "The Mystery of Edwin Drood"
Gabriel Ebert, "Matilda The Musical"
Terrence Mann, "Pippin"

Annaleigh Ashford, "Kinky Boots"
Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical
Annaleigh Ashford, "Kinky Boots"
Victoria Clark, "Rodgers + Hammerstein's Cinderella"
Andrea Martin, "Pippin"
Keala Settle, "Hands on a Hardbody"
Lauren Ward, "Matilda, The Musical"

Best Scenic Design of a Play
John Lee Beatty, "The Nance"
Santo Loquasto, "The Assembled Parties"
David Rockwell, "Lucky Guy"
Michael Yeargan, "Golden Boy"

Best Scenic Design of a Musical
Rob Howell, "Matilda, The Musical"
Anna Louizos, "The Mystery of Edwin Drood"
Scott Pask, "Pippin"
David Rockwell, "Kinky Boots"

Best Costume Design of a Play
Soutra Gilmour, "Cyrano de Bergerac"
Ann Roth, "The Nance"
Albert Wolsky, "The Heiress"
Catherine Zuber, "Golden Boy"

Best Costume Design of a Musical
Gregg Barnes, "Kinky Boots
Rob Howell, "Matilda, The Musical"
Dominique Lemieux, "Pippin"
William Ivey Long, "Rodgers + Hammerstein's Cinderella"

Best Lighting Design of a Play
Jules Fisher & Peggy Eisenhauer, "Lucky Guy"
Donald Holder, "Golden Boy"
Jennifer Tipton, "The Testament of Mary"
Japhy Weideman, "The Nance"

Best Lighting Design of a Musical
Kenneth Posner, "Kinky Boots"
Kenneth Posner, "Pippin"
Kenneth Posner, "Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella"
Hugh Vanstone, "Matilda The Musical"

Best Sound Design of a Play
John Gromada, "The Trip to Bountiful"
Mel Mercier, "The Testament of Mary"
Leon Rothenberg, "The Nance"
Peter John Still and Marc Salzberg, "Golden Boy"

Best Sound Design of a Musical
Jonathan Deans & Garth Helm, "Pippin"
Peter Hylenski, "Motown The Musical"
John Shivers, "Kinky Boots"
Nevin Steinberg, "Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella"

Best Direction of a Play
Pam MacKinnon, "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?"
Nicholas Martin, "Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike"
Bartlett Sher, "Golden Boy"
George C. Wolfe, "Lucky Guy"

Best Direction of a Musical
Scott Ellis, "The Mystery of Edwin Drood"
Jerry Mitchell, "Kinky Boots"
Diane Paulus, "Pippin"
Matthew Warchus, "Matilda, The Musical"

Best Choreography
Andy Blankenbuehler, "Bring It On: The Musical"
Peter Darling, "Matilda, The Musical"
Jerry Mitchell, "Kinky Boots"
Chet Walker, "Pippin"

Best Orchestrations
Chris Nightingale, "Matilda, The Musical"
Stephen Oremus, "Kinky Boots"
Ethan Popp & Bryan Crook, "Motown The Musical"
Danny Troob, "Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella"

Recipients of Awards and Honors in Non-competitive Categories
Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre
Bernard Gersten
Paul Libin
Ming Cho Lee

Regional Theatre Award
Huntington Theatre Company, Boston, MA

Isabelle Stevenson Award
Larry Kramer

Tony Honor for Excellence in the Theatre
Career Transition For Dancers
William Craver
Peter Lawrence
The Lost Colony
The four actresses who created the title role of Matilda The Musical on Broadway - Sophia
Gennusa, Oona Laurence, Bailey Ryon and Milly Shapiro

Tony Nominations by Production
"Kinky Boots" - 13
"Matilda The Musical"- 12
"Pippin" - 10
"Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella" - 9
"Golden Boy" - 8
"Lucky Guy" - 6
"Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike" - 6
"The Mystery of Edwin Drood" - 5
"The Nance" - 5
"Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" - 5
"Motown The Musical" - 4
"The Trip to Bountiful" - 4
"The Assembled Parties" - 3
"A Christmas Story, The Musical" - 3
"Hands on a Hardbody" - 3
"The Testament of Mary" - 3
"Bring It On: The Musical" - 2
"The Heiress" - 2
"Orphans" - 2
"Ann" - 1
"Annie" - 1
"The Big Knife" - 1
"Chaplin" - 1
"Cyrano de Bergerac" - 1
"The Other Place" - 1
"Scandalous" - 1 

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

In case anyone knows what I'll be doing the next day or so...my nose will be buried beneath the pages of this, the final "Sookie Stackhouse" book.

"Big Fish" poised to make a Broadway splash next season

Kate Baldwin (left) and Norbert Leo Butz in a scene from "Big Fish."
by Misha Davenport
(cross-posted from Broadwayworld.com)

Never, ever begin a show with a hoedown. Much less a hoedown in the belly of a catfish.                           
Perhaps, I’m getting ahead of myself.
“Big Fish,” is a visually stunning, ambitious and thoroughly original musical currently enjoying its pre-Broadway tryout at the Oriental Theatre. It features Tony award-worthy performances by its leading talents Norbert Leo Butz and Kate Baldwin.
Based on the novel by Daniel Wallace and the 2003 Tim Burton film, the show features a book  by John August (who also penned the film) and music and lyrics by Andrew Lippa (more on the latter in a bit).
Norbert Leo Butz appears well on his way to another Tony nomination with his performance of patriarch Edward Bloom. A traveling salesman, Bloom is a world-class spinner of yarns. As played by Butz, he is less P.T. Barnum and more charming huckster who sees the ordinary world and its run-of-the-mill events as an opportunity for the magical and fantastic. Sure, he makes a few edits and stretches the truth along the way, but sometimes the world needs a little embellishing.
Kate Baldwin, singing "I Don't Need a Roof" in "Big Fish"
His wife Sandra (the lovely Kate Baldwin) is no stranger to Southern charm herself and for the most part indulges her husband in his tall tales. The second act ballad “I Don’t Need a Roof” has expressing her profound love for her husband and Baldwin’s performance is the emotional highlight of both the show and the score.
A father’s tall tales are a poor replacement for an absent father, however. Their son Will (played as a child on alternating days by Anthony Pierini and Zachary Unger and as an adult by Bobby Steggert) initially resents his father’s absences at all his baseball and soccer games and soon grows to resent his father’s tales. As an adult, Will is an award-winning journalist who has traveled the globe to expose the truth through his reporting.

His father’s cancer diagnosis forces the prodigal son to return home and for dad and son to come to terms with their relationship.
Essentially a memory play, father and son explore Edward’s life, albeit from two very different perspectives. Edward wants one more last chance to tell his stories complete with their exaggerations; his son simply wants to know the truth.
You will believe a man can fly (after being shot out of a cannon).
Thank goodness for the fanciful, however. Under Susan Stroman’s expert direction and choreography, Julian Crouch (scenic design) and Donald Holder (lighting design) are able to conjure up some truly magical moments of theater: a dark and haunted forest comes alive with bats, witches and scary trees, the stage overflows with brightly colored daffodils, and a  trio of elephants (seen from their backsides) dance in time beneath a big top circus.  When the big fish of the title finally makes her appearance late into the show, we’ve been treated to so many spectacles that the poor fish is horribly upstaged.
Lippa’s score and lyrics are perhaps the most complex that we have seen from the composer. There are definite strong points. Including the previously mentioned “I Don’t Need a Roof,” the score also features a bluesy “I Know What You Want” (song by Katie Thompson who plays the witch as equal parts Bonnie Tyler and Bonnie Raitt), “Bigger” (in which Ryan Andes as the giant Karl effortlessly sings and dances wearing stilts) and “Time Stops” (a splendid duet between Butz and Baldwin).

Much like “The Addams Family”( Lippa’s previous show that enjoyed a pre-Broadway run here) it’s in need of a new opening number. “The God’s Honest Truth” is equal parts hoedown and church-ish revival. It fails to set the magical tone of the rest of the piece.
Also at odds is the show’s final number “How It Ends.” For a man who had imagined living such a unique life, his final moments are perhaps a bit too quiet.
Still, the show has several months to fix these things. As it stands, “Big Fish” has enough in place to indicate it should make a big splash next season on Broadway.
“Big Fish” runs through May 5 at the Oriental Theatre, 24 W. Randolph. Tickets, $33-$100. Call (800) 775-2000. www.BroadwayInChicago.com.