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« Tribeca: "Anesthesia"and "When I Live My Life Over Again"| Main| Goodbye,Master of the Light,Andrew Lesnie »
Tuesday
Apr 28 2015

Tony Nominations.With Context!

Oscar nominee Ken Watanabe & Tony Nominee Kelli O'Hara in THE KING AND ITony/Emmy/Globe winner Mary Louise Parker and perpetually undervalued Bruce Willis announced the Tony nominations for the 2014/2015 theater season this morning with the musicalsFun Home&An American in Paris(which are both pretty great) leading with 12 nominations each.Broadway's "Best"will be honored live on Sunday June 7th on CBS with (this just in!) Tony winners and gargantuan cross-media talents Alan Cumming & Kristin Chenoweth co-hosting.

You can expect to see several movie star faces at the ceremony and you can also expect to see several closing notices before then for the shows that were shunned.The big question mark for the night of June 7th is whether perennial bridesmaid Kelli O'Hara (this is her fifth nomination for Best Actress in a Musical and her sixth overall) will finally take home the gold or if one of the living legends she's up against will win another;Chita Rivera and Kristin Chenoweth arenotplayin' around,each earning rave reviews.

When Oscar makes their announcements we rarely think to consult the list of 300ish movies that are eligible for Best Picture but because the Tony Awards are selected from a very distinct and small group of productions,it's useful to know what else was eligible,so we'reserving you context with this full list of nominations.

All three versions of Alison in "Fun Home"were nominated

THE TOP FOUR CATEGORIES

BEST MUSICAL

They were also eligible:Doctor Zhivago(reviewed),Finding Neverland,Holler If Ya Hear Me,Honeymoon in Vegas,It Shoulda Been You,The Last Ship.(Technically speaking their could have been a fifth nominee if a fifth candidate had gotten close vote totals to the fourth since there were 10 eligible productions and you only need nine to trigger that option).
Rooting For: I loved three of these four shows (I'm in the minority on "Rotten!") butFun Homeis a straight up miracle.

BEST MUSICAL REVIVAL

They were also eligible: (least competitive category)Gigiand Side Show (reviewed)

BEST PLAY

Curious Incident...

They were also eligible:Airline Highway,The Audience,Constellations,The Country House,Fish in the Dark,Living for Love,The River.(This was the most competitive category with 11 eligible productions - that was enough to trigger a fifth nominee if their vote total was close to the fourth nominees)
Rooting for:Hand to Godwhich was hilarious,shocking,and smart.But I'm desperate to seeCurious Incidentnow.

BEST PLAY REVIVAL

They were also eligible: A Delicate Balance,The Heidi Chronicles,It's Only a Play,Love Letters,The Real Thing.(Again just enough eligible productions to have triggered a fifth nominee if the voting had been close but this is also the category with the least amount of eligible shows still running...and not having closed yet when Tony balloting begins is a significant advantage)

LEAD ACTING

BEST ACTOR IN A MUSICAL

Gorgeous Dancer Tony Yazbeck headlines On the Town

  • Michael Cerveris,Fun Home
  • Robert Fairchild,An American in Paris
  • Brian D'Arcy James,Something Rotten!
  • Ken Watanabe,The King and I
  • Tony Yazbeck,On the Town

Ahhh.It's cute and true:

Not a Happy Morning for: Matthew Morrison,finally escaped fromGleeprison but no nomination forFinding Neverland.He should have jumped ship fromGleelong ago but I fear people will now hold it against him.He can be really great on stage (see:Light in the Piazza).
Oscar Crossover: Hey Ken Watanabe!How you doin'?
Rooting For: ...No strong preference actually beyond lust for Yazbeck and ongoing admiration for Cerveris (who I just loved as Sweeney Todd some years back).But I've yet to seeThe King and I.

BEST ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL

  • Kristen Chenoweth,On the Twentieth Century
  • Leanne Cope,An American in Paris
  • Beth Malone,Fun Home
  • Kelli O'Hara,The King and I
  • Chita Rivera,The Visit

Currently Rooting for: Chita,who was sublime inThe Visit.She's 82,but just the slightest hint of,like,a shoulder roll or side step has as much pizzazz as some younger dancers doing high kicks.But please to note: I haven't yet seen my darling Cheno's new show.
Not a Happy Morning for: Vanessa Hudgens who headlinedGigibut did not win glorious reviews.Broadway really needs to stop it with the stunt casting since there are more than enough famous faces out there who are good enough not to ever feel like they were cast for their fame alone.

BEST ACTOR IN A PLAY

Steven Boyer works his ass (and hand) off in "Hand to God"

  • Steven Boyer,Hand to God
  • Bradley Cooper,The Elephant Man
  • Ben Miles,Wolf Hall
  • Bill Nighy,Skylight
  • Alex Sharp,The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time

Will Bradley EGOT?I know I know.He doesnt' have any of the prizes yet.But it feels like only a matter of time.
Introducing...:Alexander Sharpwho is apparently just out of Juillard so what a breakout
Not a Happy Morning For: Jake Gyllenhaal (Constellations) who can't get arrested by awards bodies even though he's often brilliant.

BEST ACTRESS IN A PLAY


  • Geneva Carr,Hand to God
  • Helen Mirren,The Audience
  • Elisabeth Moss,The Heidi Chronicles
  • Carey Mulligan,Skylight
  • Ruth Wilson,Constellations

EGOT?: Helen Mirren already has the Emmy and the Oscar.She's only been on Broadway three times but she's been Tony nominated for each of her shows.
Not a happy morning for: Glenn Close who was great inA Delicate Balance.
All Signs Point to Long Career: Elisabeth Moss,who'll be just fine afterMad Menin any actorly format: stage,tv,big screen
Fast Riser: Remember when Ruth Wilson was just like the quietly ignored suffering wife in things likeSaving Mr BanksandThe Lone Ranger.Now she's a Globe winner (The Affair) and a Tony nominee.Is Emmy next?

SUPPORTING

BEST FEATURED ACTOR IN A MUSICAL

Max von Essen in "Paris"

  • Christian Borle,Something Rotten!
  • Any Karl,On the Twentieth Century
  • Brad Oscar,Something Rotten!
  • Brandon Uranowitz,An American in Paris
  • Max Von Essen,An American in Paris

Rooting for: Max Von Essen who...I can't express how hard I fell for him inParis
But I Realize the Tony Will Go To...Brad Oscar because the Tony voters love those scene-stealing showy comic performers.Especially in this category
I Don't Get It: Christian Borle,who was just doing Tim Curry.

BEST FEATURED ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL

Gigi didn't go over well but Victoria Clark (far left) is always a treat on stage

  • Victoria Clark,Gigi
  • Judy Kuhn,Fun Home
  • Sydney Lucas,Fun Home
  • Ruthie Ann Miles,The King and I
  • Emily Skeggs,Fun Home

Awww.Adorable Reaction from this year's youngest nominee:

YAAAS!but also Noooo!Can we have a special three way tie for theFun Homeladies?
Not a Good Morning for: The female cast ofOn the Town.At one point I really thoughtAlysha Umphresscould win this for her awesome Hildy.She can cook!But she wasn't even nominated :*( Also where isVeanne Coxwho was so deliciously dry inAn American in Paris?Maybe this one category needed 10 nominees?

BEST FEATURED ACTOR IN A PLAY

Skylight reunion

  • Matthew Beard,Skylight
  • K.Todd Freeman,Airline Highway
  • Richard McCabe,The Audience
  • Alessandro Nivola,The Elephant Man
  • Nathaniel Parker,Wolf Hall
  • Micah Stock,It's Only a Play

Oh how cute.It's True!...

Oooh: Six nominees which means the voting was real close for that last spot.But who were the two last placers?
Rooting for: I have to abstain as I haven't seen enough of these.But Matthew Beard was super sweet/fun on the Oscar campaign trail forImitation Gameand I've been scribbling "NathanielAllesandro"in notebooks since the late 90s so...

BEST FEATURED ACTRESS IN A PLAY

Annaleigh Ashford is Awfully Awesome

  • Annaleigh Ashford,You Can't Take It With You
  • Patricia Clarkson,The Elephant Man
  • Lydia Leonard,Wolf Hall
  • Sarah Stiles,Hand to God
  • Julie White,Airline Hightway

Rooting For: Anyone.What a collection of fine talents.Ashford made me LOL several times inYou Can't Take It With Youand Patricia Clarkson is our spirit animal.
Not a Happy Morning For: Lindsay Duncan (Birdman,Le Weekend) who tore through her part inA Delicate Balance.

THE REST OF THE NOMINATIONS

BEST DIRECTION OF A PLAY

  • Stephen Daldry,Skylight
  • Marianne Elliott,The Curious Incident...
  • Scott Ellis,You Can't Take It With You
  • Jeremy Herrin,Wolf Hall
  • Moritz von Stuelpnagel,Hand to God

Oscar Crossover: Hi Stephen!

BEST DIRECTION OF A MUSICAL

  • Sam Gold,Fun Home
  • Casey Nicholaw,Something Rotten!
  • John Rando,On the Town
  • Bartlett Sher,The King and I
  • Christopher Wheeldon,An American in Paris

BEST BOOK OF A MUSICAL

  • An American in Paris
  • Fun Home
  • Something Rotten
  • The Rotten

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE

Sting's first Tony nomination

  • Fun Home (Jeanine Tesori & Lisa Kron)
  • The Last Ship (Sting)
  • Something Rotten!(Wayne Kirkpatrick & Karey Kirkpatrick)
  • The Visit (John Kander & Fred Ebb)

EGOT?: Sting has Grammys and an Emmy.Plus 3 nominations Oscar and now a Tony nomination.But he's still got to win the latter two prizes to make the quartet happen.
Not a Good Morning for: I felt a little bad forDoctor Zhivago's composers this morning.There was some good work buried in a terrible production

BEST SCENIC DESIGN (PLAY)

  • The Curious Incident...
  • Skylight
  • Wolf Hall
  • You Can't Take It With You

BEST SCENIC DESIGN (MUSICAL)

  • An American in Paris
  • On the Twentieth Century
  • The King and I
  • Fun Home

WHAT?I am alarmed...okay not alarmed but annoyed,thatThe Visitisn't here.It's only one set but what a beauty.At least the lighting of that set was nominated.

BEST COSTUME DESIGN (PLAY)

  • The Audience,Bob Crowley
  • You Can't Take It With You,Jane Greenwood
  • Wolf Hall,Christopher Oram
  • Airline Highway,David Zinn

Really?:The Audience.People really just do love Helen Mirren in frumpy royal garb don't they.
Not a Good Morning for:  Clint Ramos,who I thought would win his first Tony nomination forThe Elephant Manhere.

BEST COSTUME DESIGN (MUSICAL)


  • An American in Paris,Bob Crowley
  • On the Twentieth Century,William Ivey Long
  • The King and I,Catherine Zuber
  • Something Rotten!,Gregg Barnes

Good Category: But I think my vote has to go toAn American in Paris

LIGHTING DESIGN (PLAY)

  • Curious Incident...
  • Wolf Hall
  • Skylight
  • Airline Highway

LIGHTING DESIGN (MUSICAL)

  • An American In Paris
  • Fun Home
  • The King and I
  • The Visit

BEST CHOREOGRAPHY (both plays and musicals eligible)

  • On the Town,Joshua Bergasse
  • The King and I,Christopher Gatelli
  • The Curious Incident...,Scott Graham & Steven Hoggett
  • Something Rotten!,Casey Nicholaw
  • An American in Paris,Christopher Wheeldon

Wow: Plays are almost never nominated in this category.It's only happened a few times so congrats toThe Curious Incident

BEST ORCHESTRATIONS

  • An American in Paris,Christopher Austin,Don Sebesky,and Bill Elliot
  • Fun Home,John Clancy
  • Something Rotten!,Larry Hochman
  • The Last Ship,Rob Mathes

SPECIAL PRIZES

  • Tommy Tune - Lifetime Achievement Tony
  • Stephen Schwarz - Isabelle Stevenson Tony Award
  • John Cameron Mitchell - Special Tony
  • Cleveland Play House (Ohio) - Regional Theater
  • Arnold Abramson,Adrian Bryan-Brown,and Gene O-Donovan - Excellence in Theater

Personal Best & Worsts From Intermittent Theater Going
From the shows I took in this year my favorites wereHand to God(Play),A Delicate Balance(Revival),Fun Home(Musical) andOn the Town(Musical Revival) and the worst things I saw wereThe River(Play - I went for Hugh Jackman and it's the first time I've regretted going to a show for him) andDoctor Zhivago(Musical,reviewed).But take my "bests"with a grain of salt in the non-musical divisions.I usually see a fair representative of what's our there musically but have often missed key "straight plays"- for those of you who aren't into theater that does not refer to sexual orientation but just narrative that aren't musicals.

Hugh Jackman's first Broadway misstep in "The River"

Last Year's Winners(in case you've forgotten)

More Context If You're New To Obsessing Over Theater
Only so many productions can be eligible in each category each year because there are only so many theaters big enough to qualify as "Broadway"(40 of them currently,with 500 seats minimum though most have much more) which is to say that 'Playing on Broadway' means the size of the house you're in and not the street where you live.The largest houses are The Lyric (1938 seats) whereOn the Townis playing and The Gershwin (1933) whereWickedhas been selling out for over a decade.The smallest is the Helen Hayes (597 seats) which is currently empty sinceRock of Agesvacated it in January.Further restricting eligibility each year is that not all of those 40 houses are available in any given season since annoying undead shows likePhantom of the Opera,which has been running for (gulp) 27 years,just can't be staked since the tourists keep buying tickets.STOP THAT.I sincerely wish Broadway could put a cap on it a bit like Presidential term-limits.Say,12 years and ya gotta go because artforms need fresh blood!The other long-running shows hogging space areChicago(18 years),The Lion King(17 years),Mamma Mia(14 years - but finally closing in the fall.woooo),Wicked(12 years),andJersey Boys(about to turn 10).

You may have noticed a trend.All of them have been made into movies (or inThe Lion King's case,were derived from a movie)exceptWickedbecause they've been exceptionally dumb about striking while the iron was hot.Now in 2015 there is surelyWizard of Ozfatigue given how manyOz-related TV series and movies have exploded in the last 12 years largely because ofWicked's phenomenal success...and because the characters are in the public domain which is no small thing;if you wanna make your own movie about Dorothy Gale,you can!The musical has earned about $3 billion dollars to date.That's right.Billion.Why they've been sitting on a chance to add an extra billion with a movie version is beyond rational thought.Big screen adaptations do not actually hurt ticket sales of live shows,contrary to family budget sense.Most shows that become movies get a boost (Chicagowas declining until the movie arrived for example but the movie plus moving to a smaller theater have kept it open an additional dozen years) even though the economics are weird.Pay $15 to see it at the movies or to own it on DVD or $100+ to see it on Broadway!It all comes down to people loving the familiar,we suppose.

What will you be trying to catch before the Tonys?

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Reader Comments (15)

I want to see them all.I miss NYC.

April 28,2015 | Unregistered CommenterHenry

Carey Mulligan is beyong amazing,beyond transfixing in Skylight.I was sobbing with her during the second act.Moved me so much.Hope she wins.

April 28,2015 | Unregistered Commentermurtada

murtada -- i've been avoiding it because i heard Nighy & her were lovers in it and the age diference is !!!!!!

April 28,2015 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

I don't want to pile on with something I haven't seen,but the complete shut-out for "Neverland"really feels like something.On the other hand,what a strong year all around - a lot of deep fields that wouldn't leave much room for something with only mixed reviews.

April 28,2015 | Unregistered CommenterDave S.

nat - if it makes you feel better,their age difference is supposed to be a large one,as it is a factor in the power relationship between the two (orig production featured michael gambon and lia williams).don't let that get in the way of seeing mulligan onstage - i saw her in the seagull (with kst!) a few years ago and she was incredible,breathtaking.

April 28,2015 | Unregistered CommenterCharles O

Ok!Sixth nomination for Kelli O' Hara.She BETTER win this time!Come on Tonys;she's the Oscar equivalent of Glenn Close for this awards show;she delivers every time,but either politics or some other hyped performance wins over her.It's her time damn it!!

April 28,2015 | Unregistered CommenterTory Smith

Victoria Clark.The Streep of the Tony's.

April 28,2015 | Unregistered CommenterHenry

Thanks so much for this!I love getting some personal perspective on Tony nominations.

April 28,2015 | Unregistered Commenterbillylbil

Nathaniel,what did you love about A Delicate Balance?I saw that one and wasn't particularly wowed.I didn't think it needed any Tony nominations,though I did very much enjoy Martha Plimpton in it.For the part Elaine Stritch made famous,all I could think of was Elaine Stritch (RIP).

Looks like I need to check out Fun Home.

Also,have you still not seen It Follows??

April 28,2015 | Unregistered CommenterAdam K

Wow,I had no idea The Curious Incident had already opened on Broadway (they opened that show in Mexico back in October of 2013 and it lasted over a year here,which no one was expecting).It's an incredible show!!!Well,as an Aspie,it's a show that meant a lot to me (just like the book meant a lot to me),but the staging of it (at least here in Mexico) was extremely clever and really felt like something that was taking the audience into the mind of an autistic teenager.I'm curious to know how they staged it in the US (the lead down here was Luis Gerardo Mendez,who has become one of our national treasures).

By the way,Nat,I heard the Wicked movie is in development (or maybe development hell,you never know with these things) and the fact that the show is still selling out,I would say that means the iron is still hot and even hotter now that there are international productions (here in Mexico,it played for 16 months at the newest and biggest theater in Mexico City,and that's a long time for us down here).

April 28,2015 | Unregistered CommenterRichter Scale

Happy for my girls,Annaleigh Ashford,Elisabeth Moss and the lovely Carey Mulligan,although she's a bit too young for that role.I believe Kate Winslet was going to do it initially.

Is Helen Mirren still a lock to win now that they have snubbed her show for Best Play?

I'm not crazy about The Curious Incident.It's not my type of play.Too eager to please,if you ask me.It's totally going to win though.

April 28,2015 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

Lindsay Duncan was ruled Leading along with Glenn Close,with Plimpton and Clare Higgins in supporting.none of the four got in though.

April 28,2015 | Unregistered CommenterNina

What should Jake Gyllenhaal do to be nominated?If he's snubbed again this year for "Demolition",it will be rage!!

April 28,2015 | Unregistered CommenterLeon

Dave S,the Finding Neverland thing can be boiled down to two words: Harvey Weinstein.The Tonys/Broadway went through David Merrick once,they don't need another one.

April 28,2015 | Unregistered CommenterArkaan

I'm surprised ADelicate Balance didn't do better.Lots of former winners\nominees in that cast so the love is there.

April 29,2015 | Unregistered CommenterHenry

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