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And the winner is…

May 8, 2014 News Comments Off on And the winner is…

The 2014 Tony Award Nominations

 

by Colin Douglas

 

On the morning of April 29th New York theatre professionals and theatre geeks, like myself, anxiously awaited this year’s nominations for the most prestigious of America’s stage awards. Broadcast live from Broadway’s Paramount Hotel, the names of actors, actresses, show titles and techies tripped off the tongues of Lucy Liu and Jonathan Groff and into the annals of history. Win or lose, these lucky recipients will forever be referenced as a “2014 Tony Award nominee.” Not one to shrug off an opportunity for first-hand judgments, I immediately flew to the Big Apple to enjoy and evaluate as many of the nominees as possible in a week.

 

I had to eliminate some choices due to my limited time in New York City. First, I decided to cut from my list all of this year’s nominations for Best Play; I simply prefer the bigger, splashier musicals and this was one way to hone down my list to a manageable number. Next, because I’d recently seen some excellent local productions of “Violet,” “Cabaret,” “Les Miz” and “Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill,” I opted for eight of the more recent and/or unfamiliar musicals. I also decided to eschew “After Midnight,” not because I wasn’t interested in seeing this show, but because it’s more of a revue than a musical play. Thus it was that I saw and judged the following productions:

 

“If/Then,” one of Broadway’s few original musicals, was only nominated for Tom Kitt & Brian Yorkey’s interesting music and lyrics and for Idina Menzel’s well-deserved nod as Best Actress in a Musical. She carries this show and is almost never off stage. But the plot features two story lines that are sometimes difficult to follow; it actually might’ve played better in a smaller, Off-Broadway house. Several of the supporting cast also seemed worthy of nominations, but were snubbed. I’m not sure that it’s going to win in either category, however, because the competition is so stiff.

 

“Bridges of Madison County” is gorgeous and, despite being an adaptation of a popular film and novel, it felt new and heartfelt. Certainly Kelli O’Hara deserves her nomination for Best Actress (especially since she’s been nominated several times in the past but never won), as is Jason Robert Brown’s lush, romantic score. I would also argue that Steven Pasquale’s sensitively portrayed and gorgeously sung Robert should have been nominated, as well. The score certainly deserves to win for its lush musicality. However, this show isn’t doing as well at the box office and, sadly, it’s already posted an early closing date.

 

Disney’s “Aladdin” is fun and festive. It pulls out all the stops with its spectacular technical tricks and its astounding choreography for Tony-nominated hoofer Casey Nicholaw. James Monroe Iglehart is deserving of his Tony nod for his energetic and hilarious Genie, as well. The show, however, certainly isn’t the Best Musical because, while it’s colorful, splashy and over-the-top, it lacks the heart of other Disney musicals, such as “The Lion King” or “Beauty and the Beast.”

 

“Beautiful” has several nominations. They include Best Musical, Best Leading Actress, Best Supporting Actress and Supporting Actor. While all of them turn in wonderful, accomplished performances, this is Jesse Mueller’s show and (I predict) her year to win. Her portrayal of Carol King is layered and filled with honest emotion, not to mention her sparkling talent as a singer and accomplished pianist. She truly becomes the popular writer/recording star in this bio-musical. I strongly feel this might be the lady to beat in this category.

 

“Bullets Over Broadway” is lots of fun. It boasts a Tony-nominated book by Woody Allen, who also wrote and directed the film version upon which it’s based. Susan Stroman’s eye-popping choreography is worth the Tony nod and perhaps even the award, but the show has no composer/lyricist. Its score is comprised of tunes from the 1920’s and ’30’s. Nick Cordero as the mob bodyguard with a literary flair deserves his nomination for Featured Actor; Marin Mazzie certainly was worthy of a nod for her diva turn as Helen Sinclair, but was ignored. The show may have to be satisfied with awards for William Ivey Long’s gorgeous 1920’s costumes and Santo Loquasto’s sparkling sets.

 

However, when it comes to spectacular sets and technical fireworks, “Rocky” stands out this season. It can boast nominations (and a likely win) for Christopher Barreca’s astounding scenic design and Christopher Akerlind’s brilliant lighting. Nothing like them has ever been seen before on a Broadway stage and they not only enhance the story, they’re a marvel to behold. Andy Karl is superb in the title role and may be this year’s winner for Best Leading Actor in a Musical, as well.

 

I really, really loved “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder” for its originality, it’s broad, English humor and its cast of very accomplished actor/singer/dancers. Among its 10 Tony nominations, both leading men (Jefferson Mays & Bryce Pinkham) are extraordinary and deserve to share the Best Actor Award. Lauren Worsham, in her Broadway debut, is a standout in the Featured Actress category, and Alexander Dodge’s scenic design and director Darko Tresnjak should also be honored for their fine work. This, for my money, is the Best Musical of this season.

 

In the Best Revival of a Musical category my vote goes to “Hedwig and the Angry Inch.” Certainly the revival of “Les Miserables” is wonderful and exciting, but Hedwig is the new kid on the block that truly dazzles. It’s often hilarious, sometimes dark and poignant and filled with all kinds of pizzazz. Director Michael Mayer does a monumental job with this production; Kevin Adams’ lighting design is fantastic, as are Arianne Phillips’ divine costumes and wigs. Lena Hall, nominated in the Best Featured Actress category for playing a guy whose dream is to become the best drag performer in America, is wonderful. But this is Neil Patrick Harris’ show all the way and I believe he’ll win this year’s Tony for Best Actor in a Musical. His popularity for hosting this award show in the past, along with his long-running television show, add to his accomplishments and fame. But Harris is now the toast of Broadway, and if he doesn’t win this accolade I’ll be very surprised.

 

Well, that’s my report from New York of this season’s Broadway musicals. Below is a roundup of the nominations in the Musical categories:

 

Best Musical
“After Midnight”
“Aladdin”
“Beautiful – The Carole King Musical”
“A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder”

Best Revival of a Musical
“Hedwig and the Angry Inch”
“Les Miserables”
“Violet”

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical
Neil Patrick Harris, “Hedwig and the Angry Inch”
Ramin Karimloo, “Les Miserables”
Andy Karl, “Rocky”
Jefferson Mays, “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder”
Bryce Pinkham, “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder”

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical
Mary Bridget Davies, “A Night with Janis Joplin”
Sutton Foster, “Violet”
Idina Menzel, “If/Then”
Jessie Mueller, “Beautiful – The Carole King Musical”
Kelli O’Hara, “The Bridges of Madison County

Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical
Danny Burstein, “Cabaret”
Nick Cordero, “Bullets Over Broadway”
Joshua Henry, “Violet”
James Monroe Iglehart, “Aladdin”
Jarrod Spector, “Beautiful – The Carole King Musical”

Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical
Linda Emond, “Cabaret”
Lena Hall, “Hedwig and the Angry Inch”
Anika Larsen, “Beautiful – The Carole King Musical”
Adriane Lenox, “After Midnight”
Lauren Worsham, “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder”

Best Direction of a Musical
Warren Carlyle, “After Midnight”
Michael Mayer, “Hedwig and the Angry Inch”
Leigh Silverman, “Violet”
Darko Tresnjak, “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder”

Best Book of a Musical
Chad Beguelin, “Aladdin”
Douglas McGrath, “Beautiful – The Carole King Musical”
Woody Allen, “Bullets Over Broadway”
Robert L. Freedman, “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder”

Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics) Written for the Theater
“Aladdin” (Music: Alan Menkin; Lyrics: Howard Ashman, Tim Rice and Chad Begeulin)
“The Bridges of Madison County” (Music & Lyrics: Jason Robert Brown)
“A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder” (Music: Steven Lutvak; Lyrics: Robert L. Freedman and Steven Lutvak)
“If/Then” (Music: Tom Kitt; Lyrics: Brian Yorkey)

Best Choreography
Warren Carlyle, “After Midnight”
Steven Hoggett and Kelly Devine, “Rocky”
Casey Nicholaw, “Aladdin”
Susan Stroman, “Bullets Over Broadway”

Best Orchestrations
Doug Besterman, “Bullets Over Broadway”
Jason Robert Brown, “The Bridges of Madison County”
Steve Sidwell, “Beautiful – The Carole King Musical”
Jonathan Tunick, “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder”

Best Scenic Design of a Musical
Christopher Barreca, “Rocky”
Julian Crouch, “Hedwig and the Angry Inch”
Alexander Dodge, “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder”
Santo Loquasto, “Bullets Over Broadway”

Best Costume Design of a Musical
Linda Cho, “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder”
William Ivey Long, “Bullets Over Broadway”
Arianne Phillips, “Hedwig and the Angry Inch”
Isabel Toledo, “After Midnight”

Best Sound Design of a Musical
Peter Hylenski, “After Midnight”
Tim O’Heir, “Hedwig and the Angry Inch”
Mick Potter, “Les Miserables”
Brian Ronan, “Beautiful – The Carole King Musical”

Best Lighting Design of a Musical
Kevin Adams, “Hedwig and the Angry Inch”
Christopher Akerlind, “Rocky”
Howell Binkley, “After Midnight”
Donald Holder, “The Bridges of Madison County”

And the winner is…

 

The 2014 Tony Award Nominations

 

by Colin Douglas

 

On the morning of April 29th New York theatre professionals and theatre geeks, like myself, anxiously awaited this year’s nominations for the most prestigious of America’s stage awards. Broadcast live from Broadway’s Paramount Hotel, the names of actors, actresses, show titles and techies tripped off the tongues of Lucy Liu and Jonathan Groff and into the annals of history. Win or lose, these lucky recipients will forever be referenced as a “2014 Tony Award nominee.” Not one to shrug off an opportunity for first-hand judgments, I immediately flew to the Big Apple to enjoy and evaluate as many of the nominees as possible in a week.

 

I had to eliminate some choices due to my limited time in New York City. First, I decided to cut from my list all of this year’s nominations for Best Play; I simply prefer the bigger, splashier musicals and this was one way to hone down my list to a manageable number. Next, because I’d recently seen some excellent local productions of “Violet,” “Cabaret,” “Les Miz” and “Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill,” I opted for eight of the more recent and/or unfamiliar musicals. I also decided to eschew “After Midnight,” not because I wasn’t interested in seeing this show, but because it’s more of a revue than a musical play. Thus it was that I saw and judged the following productions:

 

“If/Then,” one of Broadway’s few original musicals, was only nominated for Tom Kitt & Brian Yorkey’s interesting music and lyrics and for Idina Menzel’s well-deserved nod as Best Actress in a Musical. She carries this show and is almost never off stage. But the plot features two story lines that are sometimes difficult to follow; it actually might’ve played better in a smaller, Off-Broadway house. Several of the supporting cast also seemed worthy of nominations, but were snubbed. I’m not sure that it’s going to win in either category, however, because the competition is so stiff.

 

“Bridges of Madison County” is gorgeous and, despite being an adaptation of a popular film and novel, it felt new and heartfelt. Certainly Kelli O’Hara deserves her nomination for Best Actress (especially since she’s been nominated several times in the past but never won), as is Jason Robert Brown’s lush, romantic score. I would also argue that Steven Pasquale’s sensitively portrayed and gorgeously sung Robert should have been nominated, as well. The score certainly deserves to win for its lush musicality. However, this show isn’t doing as well at the box office and, sadly, it’s already posted an early closing date.

 

Disney’s “Aladdin” is fun and festive. It pulls out all the stops with its spectacular technical tricks and its astounding choreography for Tony-nominated hoofer Casey Nicholaw. James Monroe Iglehart is deserving of his Tony nod for his energetic and hilarious Genie, as well. The show, however, certainly isn’t the Best Musical because, while it’s colorful, splashy and over-the-top, it lacks the heart of other Disney musicals, such as “The Lion King” or “Beauty and the Beast.”

 

“Beautiful” has several nominations. They include Best Musical, Best Leading Actress, Best Supporting Actress and Supporting Actor. While all of them turn in wonderful, accomplished performances, this is Jesse Mueller’s show and (I predict) her year to win. Her portrayal of Carol King is layered and filled with honest emotion, not to mention her sparkling talent as a singer and accomplished pianist. She truly becomes the popular writer/recording star in this bio-musical. I strongly feel this might be the lady to beat in this category.

 

“Bullets Over Broadway” is lots of fun. It boasts a Tony-nominated book by Woody Allen, who also wrote and directed the film version upon which it’s based. Susan Stroman’s eye-popping choreography is worth the Tony nod and perhaps even the award, but the show has no composer/lyricist. Its score is comprised of tunes from the 1920’s and ’30’s. Nick Cordero as the mob bodyguard with a literary flair deserves his nomination for Featured Actor; Marin Mazzie certainly was worthy of a nod for her diva turn as Helen Sinclair, but was ignored. The show may have to be satisfied with awards for William Ivey Long’s gorgeous 1920’s costumes and Santo Loquasto’s sparkling sets.

 

However, when it comes to spectacular sets and technical fireworks, “Rocky” stands out this season. It can boast nominations (and a likely win) for Christopher Barreca’s astounding scenic design and Christopher Akerlind’s brilliant lighting. Nothing like them has ever been seen before on a Broadway stage and they not only enhance the story, they’re a marvel to behold. Andy Karl is superb in the title role and may be this year’s winner for Best Leading Actor in a Musical, as well.

 

I really, really loved “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder” for its originality, it’s broad, English humor and its cast of very accomplished actor/singer/dancers. Among its 10 Tony nominations, both leading men (Jefferson Mays & Bryce Pinkham) are extraordinary and deserve to share the Best Actor Award. Lauren Worsham, in her Broadway debut, is a standout in the Featured Actress category, and Alexander Dodge’s scenic design and director Darko Tresnjak should also be honored for their fine work. This, for my money, is the Best Musical of this season.

 

In the Best Revival of a Musical category my vote goes to “Hedwig and the Angry Inch.” Certainly the revival of “Les Miserables” is wonderful and exciting, but Hedwig is the new kid on the block that truly dazzles. It’s often hilarious, sometimes dark and poignant and filled with all kinds of pizzazz. Director Michael Mayer does a monumental job with this production; Kevin Adams’ lighting design is fantastic, as are Arianne Phillips’ divine costumes and wigs. Lena Hall, nominated in the Best Featured Actress category for playing a guy whose dream is to become the best drag performer in America, is wonderful. But this is Neil Patrick Harris’ show all the way and I believe he’ll win this year’s Tony for Best Actor in a Musical. His popularity for hosting this award show in the past, along with his long-running television show, add to his accomplishments and fame. But Harris is now the toast of Broadway, and if he doesn’t win this accolade I’ll be very surprised.

 

Well, that’s my report from New York of this season’s Broadway musicals. Below is a roundup of the nominations in the Musical categories:

 

Best Musical
“After Midnight”
“Aladdin”
“Beautiful – The Carole King Musical”
“A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder”

Best Revival of a Musical
“Hedwig and the Angry Inch”
“Les Miserables”
“Violet”

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical
Neil Patrick Harris, “Hedwig and the Angry Inch”
Ramin Karimloo, “Les Miserables”
Andy Karl, “Rocky”
Jefferson Mays, “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder”
Bryce Pinkham, “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder”

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical
Mary Bridget Davies, “A Night with Janis Joplin”
Sutton Foster, “Violet”
Idina Menzel, “If/Then”
Jessie Mueller, “Beautiful – The Carole King Musical”
Kelli O’Hara, “The Bridges of Madison County

Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical
Danny Burstein, “Cabaret”
Nick Cordero, “Bullets Over Broadway”
Joshua Henry, “Violet”
James Monroe Iglehart, “Aladdin”
Jarrod Spector, “Beautiful – The Carole King Musical”

Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical
Linda Emond, “Cabaret”
Lena Hall, “Hedwig and the Angry Inch”
Anika Larsen, “Beautiful – The Carole King Musical”
Adriane Lenox, “After Midnight”
Lauren Worsham, “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder”

Best Direction of a Musical
Warren Carlyle, “After Midnight”
Michael Mayer, “Hedwig and the Angry Inch”
Leigh Silverman, “Violet”
Darko Tresnjak, “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder”

Best Book of a Musical
Chad Beguelin, “Aladdin”
Douglas McGrath, “Beautiful – The Carole King Musical”
Woody Allen, “Bullets Over Broadway”
Robert L. Freedman, “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder”

Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics) Written for the Theater
“Aladdin” (Music: Alan Menkin; Lyrics: Howard Ashman, Tim Rice and Chad Begeulin)
“The Bridges of Madison County” (Music & Lyrics: Jason Robert Brown)
“A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder” (Music: Steven Lutvak; Lyrics: Robert L. Freedman and Steven Lutvak)
“If/Then” (Music: Tom Kitt; Lyrics: Brian Yorkey)

Best Choreography
Warren Carlyle, “After Midnight”
Steven Hoggett and Kelly Devine, “Rocky”
Casey Nicholaw, “Aladdin”
Susan Stroman, “Bullets Over Broadway”

Best Orchestrations
Doug Besterman, “Bullets Over Broadway”
Jason Robert Brown, “The Bridges of Madison County”
Steve Sidwell, “Beautiful – The Carole King Musical”
Jonathan Tunick, “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder”

Best Scenic Design of a Musical
Christopher Barreca, “Rocky”
Julian Crouch, “Hedwig and the Angry Inch”
Alexander Dodge, “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder”
Santo Loquasto, “Bullets Over Broadway”

Best Costume Design of a Musical
Linda Cho, “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder”
William Ivey Long, “Bullets Over Broadway”
Arianne Phillips, “Hedwig and the Angry Inch”
Isabel Toledo, “After Midnight”

 

Best Sound Design of a Musical
Peter Hylenski, “After Midnight”
Tim O’Heir, “Hedwig and the Angry Inch”
Mick Potter, “Les Miserables”
Brian Ronan, “Beautiful – The Carole King Musical”

Best Lighting Design of a Musical
Kevin Adams, “Hedwig and the Angry Inch”
Christopher Akerlind, “Rocky”
Howell Binkley, “After Midnight”
Donald Holder, “The Bridges of Madison County”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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