Wednesday, May 5, 2010

I Bet I Can Pick More 2010 Tony Winners Than You

The 2010 Tony Award nominees were recently announced, and once again I curse Broadway, New York, my salary, and the world in general that I have seen so few of the nominated performances. But when theater tickets go for $70+ a pop, and you live on a budget within a budget, sacrifices must be made. So I continue to eat and wear shoes rather than sinking all my hard-earned dollars into the world of professional theater.

However, that won’t stop me from wildly guessing the Tony winners based on things I’ve heard, things I’ve read, and my own unfounded personal prejudices against specific shows and actors.

Best Play
In the Next Room or the Vibrator Play
Next Fall
Time Stands Still

Red has received some positive attention, mostly due to a powerhouse lead performance by Alfred Molina. Next Fall made the transition to Broadway after starting Off-Broadway, which is usually a good sign (see Avenue Q and Rent). A win for either show wouldn’t surprise me, but I’ll go with Next Fall.

Best Musical
American Idiot
Million Dollar Quartet

Oh man, audiences REALLY love the Green Day musical, American Idiot. But the artistic critics are all about Fela!, so that’s who I’d bet on.

Best Revival of a Play
Lend Me a Tenor
The Royal Family
A View From the Bridge

The dramas Fences and A View From the Bridge come from two beloved playwrights, August Wilson and Arthur Miller. But both productions were reported to be uneven, while the comedies Lend Me a Tenor and The Royal Family were both very well received. As I’m going to see Lend Me a Tenor this weekend, I’ll hope that wins, since it would be nice if something I saw walked away a winner.

Best Revival of a Musical
Finian's Rainbow
La Cage aux Folles
A Little Night Music

I loved Ragtime and still can’t believe it wasn’t a massive hit. But the new revival of La Cage aux Folles is getting all sorts of love thrown its way. I still back Ragtime 100%, but expect La Cage to win.

Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Play
Jude Law, Hamlet
Alfred Molina, Red
Liev Schreiber, A View From the Bridge
Christopher Walken, A Behanding in Spokane
Denzel Washington, Fences

So this category reads more like Oscar nominees than Tony, but I guess I’ll save my rant on stunt casting for another day. It’ll probably be Alfred Molina, with a possible Jude Law upset. But Christopher Walken would give the best acceptance speech.

Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play
Viola Davis, Fences
Valerie Harper, Looped
Linda Lavin, Collected Stories
Laura Linney, Time Stands Still
Jan Maxwell, The Royal Family

Viola Davis and Laura Linney were both singled out as the best parts of their plays, so it’ll probably be one of them. My guess would be Linney, since she wore disfiguring facial makeup in her performance.

Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical
Kelsey Grammer, La Cage aux Folles
Sean Hayes, Promises, Promises
Douglas Hodge, La Cage aux Folles
Chad Kimball, Memphis
Sahr Ngaujah, Fela!

The two La Cage guys probably cancel each other out, and I don’t know anyone who loved Memphis THAT much. Promises, Promises is a fun, silly show, but lacks the gravitas of Fela! So with Sahr Ngaujah I will go.

Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical
Kate Baldwin, Finian's Rainbow
Sherie Rene Scott, Everyday Rapture
Montego Glover, Memphis
Christiane Noll, Ragtime
Catherine Zeta-Jones, A Little Night Music

Sherie Rene Scott seems like the closest thing to a sure bet out of all the 2010 nominations. Audiences and critics are up Everyday Rapture when it was Off-Broadway, and they seem to love it even more now that it’s transferred to Broadway. Having seen Scott in other performances, I’m not surprised; she’s pretty fantastic and should no doubt win.

Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Play
David Alan Grier, Race
Stephen McKinley Henderson, Fences
Jon Michael Hill, Superior Donuts
Stephen Kunken, Enron
Eddie Redmayne, Red

This is probably the category I both know and care the least about. Let’s go with the guy from Fences. Sure, why not?

Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Play
Maria Dizzia, In the Next Room or the Vibrator Play
Rosemary Harris, The Royal Family
Jessica Hecht, A View from the Bridge
Scarlett Johansson, A View from the Bridge
Jan Maxwell, Lend Me a Tenor

Jessica Hecht supposedly put in a much stronger performance than Scar-Jo in A View from the Bridge, but as often happens when performers from the same show are nominated together, they’ll probably split votes and neither will win. I’ll probably say Jan Maxwell, as she was nominated for Best Actress in The Royal Family, but isn’t likely to win there. This would probably make a decent consolation prize.

Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical
Kevin Chamberlin, The Addams Family
Robin De Jesús, La Cage aux Folles
Christopher Fitzgerald, Finian's Rainbow
Levi Kreis, Million Dollar Quartet
Bobby Steggert, Ragtime

Robin De Jesús stole the show when he was in In the Heights, and his performance in La Cage is apparently no exception. I thought Bobby Steggert was one of the high points of an already great Ragtime, but my money’s on De Jesús.

Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical
Barbara Cook, Sondheim on Sondheim
Katie Finneran, Promises, Promises
Angela Lansbury, A Little Night Music
Karine Plantadit, Come Fly Away
Lillias White, Fela!

Promises, Promises opened just recently, and all anyone who saw it can talk or write about is Katie Finneran’s hilarious performance. But, unfortunately for her, Angela Lansbury is also nominated in this category, and Tony voters LOVE giving Angela Lansbury awards. And they will continue to hurl awards at her until the woman drops dead of exhaustion on the stage. Probably at the age of 120.

Best Direction of a Play
Michael Grandage, Red
Sheryl Kaller, Next Fall
Kenny Leon, Fences
Gregory Mosher, A View from the Bridge

None of these plays have received overly glowing reviews, so it’s hard to find a standout pick. So…Michael Grandage? Maybe?

Best Direction of a Musical
Christopher Ashley, Memphis
Marcia Milgrom Dodge, Ragtime
Terry Johnson, La Cage aux Folles
Bill T. Jones, Fela!

Again, I want to stick by Ragtime, but everyone loves the new scaled-down La Cage. And of course Fela! is the most nominated show for a reason. So I guess I’ll say Bill T. Jones gets it.

So there are my predictions. I’ll skip the more technical categories that no one ever seems too interested in (you can check out the full list of nominees here). Though I will say that the best part of Present Laughter was its lavish set design. Be sure to tune into the Tony Awards on June 13 on CBS so you can crow over how wrong I am in my wild speculations (which are the best kind of speculations of all).

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