Little Rock Culture Vulture

Cultural events, places and people in the Little Rock area

2014 Tony Award Predictions

Here are my thoughts, ruminations and predictions on the 2014 Tony Awards.  Hoping for 16 out of 26 right.  This year there are many many races which are down to the wire.  After my predictions in Bold, I’ve included in parentheses who I would like to win.

 

Best Play
Act One – James Lapine
All The Way – Robert Schenkkan
Casa Valentina – Harvey Fierstein
Mothers and Sons – Terrence McNally
Outside Mullingar – John Patrick Shanley

Not the strongest year for plays. Mothers and Sons and Outside Mullingar seem to be more filler in the category both by previous winners. Casa Valentina has some support, but the real race seems to be between the insider theatre valentine Act One and the LBJ history drama All the Way. While some are suggesting that the voters’ affection for the source autobiography Act One will carry the day, All the Way seems important. It has won all the other awards this year for which it was eligible. I think the momentum and the import carry the day for All the Way. (All the Way)

 

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

Everyone seems to love After Midnight but no one seriously thinks it will win. Aladdin is the movie on stage. Better than Tarzan and The Little Mermaid, but no The Lion King or even Beauty and the Beast. The race is between Beautiful and A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder. While there is definitely support for Beautiful to win, it isn’t Jersey Boys. The love is based more on the nostalgia for the songs than for the theatricality of the evening. Gentleman’s Guide was written for the stage and is clever. There is some fear that tour operator voters don’t like it and don’t think it will sell in Peoria and may back Beautiful. Gentlemen’s Guide should pull it out in a squeaker. And let’s face it, does either Aladdin or Beautiful need a Best Musical Tony to be successful on tour? (A Gentlemen’s Guide to Love & Murder)

 

Best Revival of a Play
The Cripple of Inishmaan
The Glass Menagerie
A Raisin in the Sun
Twelfth Night

The well-received and well-respected The Cripple of Inishmaan will have to be content with being well-received and well-respected. There is momentum for A Raisin in the Sun, but probably not enough. The race seems to be boiling down to The Glass Menagerie and Twelfth Night. Both revivals are long closed (so if Raisin wins, it can be chalked up to the fact it was still running helping the momentum). Both Menagerie and Twelfth Night were well-loved. The fact that Twelfth Night (along with its partner Richard III) made Shakespeare seem fun (in the midst of a Shakespeare explosion with a lot of productions which did not work) and used Elizabethean techniques, including men playing the women’s roles, probably gives the edges to Twelfth Night. The Glass Menagerie is one of my favorite plays, so it pains me to opt against it, but the Tony will probably go to Twelfth Night. (The Glass Menagerie)

 

Best Revival of a Musical
Hedwig and the Angry Inch
Les Misérables
Violet

Unlike the previous Broadway revival of Les Mis, at least this one got nominated. But it’s Les Mis. Been there, done that. Even the lack of a turntable may be a big deal on Broadway but for those who’ve seen it on tour or in regional theatres, lack of turntable is a yawn. The race really is between Hedwig and Violet. Both these 1990s musicals have never been on Broadway. Violet is ponderous and preachy, Hedwig is fun. Both have great performances, but in the end fun wins. And so should Hedwig and the Angry Inch(Hedwig and the Angry Inch)

 

Actor, Play
Samuel Barnett, Twelfth Night
Bryan Cranston, All The Way
Chris O’Dowd, Of Mice and Men
Mark Rylance, Richard III
Tony Shalhoub, Act One

Barnett and Rylance will probably cancel each other out. O’Dowd made a stunning Broadway debut and upstaged his bigger named costar. The race seems to be between Broadway favorite Shalhoub and newcomer (and TV star) Cranston. Last year the award seemed to be Tom Hanks’ yet Tracy Letts’ name was called. The same voters could be marking Shalhoub this year. Cranston becomes LBJ. What some call gimmicky and hammy is actually LBJ. While a win by Shalhoub would not be unexpected, I think the voters will go all the way with Bryan Cranston. (Bryan Cranston, All the Way)

 

Actress, Play
Tyne Daly, Mothers and Sons
LaTanya Richardson Jackson, A Raisin in the Sun
Cherry Jones, The Glass Menagerie
Audra McDonald, Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill
Estelle Parsons, The Velocity of Autumn

The only one no one seems to be favoring is Estelle Parsons, who seems destined to never win a Tony. There are apparently late surges for both Daly and Jackson, but the battle seems to be between Jones and McDonald. Though there are some who feel McDonald should be in the Actress in a Musical category, there is an equally strong camp who are lobbying for her to be the first performer to win six Tonys and the first to win in all four categories. You cannot compare Jones’ Amanda Wingfield and McDonald’s Billie Holiday. Both are fully-realized portrayals of conflicted women. The fact that McDonald’s win would be one for the record books and that the show is still running, probably gives the Tony to Audra McDonald. (Cherry Jones, The Glass Menagerie)

 

Actor, Musical
Neil Patrick Harris, Hedwig and the Angry Inch
Ramin Karimloo, Les Misérables
Andy Karl, Rocky
Jefferson Mays, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder
Bryce Pinkham, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder

I could go into all the reasons and analysis, but this one is easy: Neil Patrick Harris. (Neil Patrick Harris, Hedwig and the Angry Inch)


Actress, Musical

Mary Bridget Davies, A Night with Janis Joplin
Sutton Foster, Violet
Idina Menzel, If/Then
Jessie Mueller, Beautiful
Kelli O’Hara, The Bridges of Madison County

Davies got a nomination and Menzel had her moment at the Oscars (plus she has a Tony). Foster broke new personal ground (not a bubbly tap dancer). But the race seems to be between Jessie Mueller and Kelli O’Hara, the up-and-comer and well-loved young veteran. Mueller becomes Carole King. Even people who didn’t like Bridges praised O’Hara. This seems to be Mueller’s moment. O’Hara may have to wait, yet again. For a performance which elevated the material and kept it from being just another jukebox biomusical, the Tony will probably go to Jessie Mueller.
(Kelli O’Hara, The Bridges of Madison County)


Featured Actor, Play

Reed Birney, Casa Valentina
Paul Chahidi, Twelfth Night
Stephen Fry, Twelfth Night
Mark Rylance, Twelfth Night
Brian J. Smith, The Glass Menagerie

Chahidi and Fry seem to cancel each other out. While Smith’s performance was praised, the show is closed. Birney, a well-loved veteran, gives the star turn in his play, which is still running. There seems to be some momentum for him. But the Tony voters love Mark Rylance and his rambling non-sensical acceptance speeches. That will probably give the edge to Mark Rylance. (Brian J. Smith, The Glass Menagerie)

 

Featured Actress, Play
Sarah Greene, The Cripple of Inishmaan
Celia Keenan-Bolger, The Glass Menagerie
Sophie Okonedo, A Raisin in the Sun
Anika Noni Rose, A Raisin in the Sun
Mare Winningham, Casa Valentina

Greene’s nomination was the honor. Rose and Okonedo probably cancel each other out. It seems to be between Keenan-Bolger and Winningham. The latter’s heartbreaking performance ensured that Fierstein’s play had heart. Keenan-Bolger is, though a young actress, a veteran who is well-liked in the community. She and her family have a history of much theatrical activism for good causes. I think the good will toward her as well as her shattering performance will give the Tony to Celia Keenan-Bolger. (Celia Keenan-Bolger, The Glass Menagerie)


Featured Actor, Musical

Danny Burstein, Cabaret
Nick Cordero, Bullets Over Broadway
Joshua Henry, Violet
James Monroe Iglehart, Aladdin
Jarrod Spector, Beautiful

Henry and Spector were honored by their nominations. Cordero steals his show, but (Tony nominations notwithstanding) many don’t like his show. Burstein has his supporters, and he has been nominated previously. But Iglehart is the reason that Aladdin is enjoyable. And he had the unenviable task of bringing a Robin Williams cartoon to life and making it his own. The Tony should go to James Monroe Iglehart. (Danny Burstein, Cabaret)

 

Featured Actress, Musical
Linda Emond, Cabaret
Lena Hall, Hedwig and the Angry Inch
Anika Larsen, Beautiful
Adriane Lenox, After Midnight
Lauren Worsham, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder

Lenox got the media love in the fall, but since she has a Tony already, the nomination will probably be enough. Worsham and Larsen both hold their own well with leading players. There seems to be a surge of support for Emond. But the Hedwig momentum and love looks like it could spread to Lena Hall. (Adriane Lenox, After Midnight)

 

Direction of a Play
Tim Carroll, Twelfth Night
Michael Grandage, The Cripple of Inishmaan
Kenny Leon, A Raisin in the Sun
John Tiffany, The Glass Menagerie

Grandage has a Tony. Leon redeemed himself from the P. Diddy version with the Denzel version. As in Play Revival, it seems to be Carroll (Twelfth Night) vs. Tiffany (The Glass Menagerie). Tiffany Tonyed for Once. Carroll directed two plays at once (Twelfth Night and Richard III). For the same reasons I think Twelfth Night will probably win Best Revival, I think Tim Carroll will win Director of a Play. (John Tiffany, The Glass Menagerie)


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 & Murder

Carlyle will probably be recognized elsewhere this evening, while Silverman’s nomination is her honor. It appears the race is between Mayer and Tresnjak. The latter keeps the show moving at the proper pace for a mystery farce and employs many unique touches. Mayer translated an Off Broadway show to a larger Broadway show without losing the effectiveness. The Tony will probably go to Michael Mayer. (Warren Carlyle, After Midnight)


Choreography

Warren Carlyle, After Midnight
Steven Hoggett & Kelly Devine, Rocky
Casey Nicholaw, Aladdin
Susan Stroman, Bullets Over Broadway

Stroman has won the numerous times. And while her work in Bullets may have been clever, it did not dominate the season in the way her work often has. Nicholaw kept Aladdin moving. Hoggett & Devine not only made Rocky dance, but also created a pugilist ballet for the stage. While they might take the Tony for the mammoth effort, it will probably go to Carlyle for creating the best loved evening of song and dance this season. The award will likely go to Warren Carlyle. (Warren Carlyle, After Midnight)

 

Book of a Musical
Aladdin – Chad Beguelin
Beautiful – Douglas McGrath
Bullets Over Broadway – Woody Allen
A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder – Robert L. Freedman

Allen and Beguelin translated movies to the stage. McGrath kept Beautiful from becoming a schlocky “and then I wrote” affair. Freedman, however, masterfully transferred a 100 year old novel into a Broadway musical. The Tony will go to Robert L. Freedman. (Robert L. Freedman, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder)


Original Score

Aladdin – Alan Menken, Howard Ashman, Tim Rice and Chad Beguelin
The Bridges of Madison County – Jason Robert Brown
A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder – Robert L. Freedman & Steven Lutvak
If/Then – Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey

Kitt and Yorkey will probably have to console themselves with their previous Tony and their Pulitzer Prize. There had been some thought that a chance to recognize the late Ashman might propel Aladdin, but that seems to have fizzled. It is between the clever score of Gentlemen’s Guide and the lush score of Bridges. Brown is well-loved in the community. Lush probably trumps clever as the Tony should go to Jason Robert Brown. (Jason Robert Brown, The Bridges of Madison County)

 

Orchestrations
Doug Besterman, Bullets Over Broadway
Jason Robert Brown, The Bridges of Madison County
Steve Sidwell, Beautiful
Jonathan Tunick, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder

Probably a race between Brown and Tunick, though Sidwell could be a spoiler (making rock songs work on Broadway). Again, I think lush may win over clever with it going to Jason Robert Brown. (Jason Robert Brown, The Bridges of Madison County)


Scenic Design of a Play

Beowulf Boritt, Act One
Bob Crowley, The Glass Menagerie
Es Devlin, Machinal
Christopher Oram, The Cripple of Inishmaan

Boritt’s multiple sets or Crowley’s floating single set. Sometimes simple can seem easy. I think the fact Act One is still running will help put it over with the Tony going to Beowulf Boritt. Plus that is a fun name to say. (Bob Crowley, The Glass Menagerie)


Scenic Design of a Musical

Christopher Barreca, Rocky
Julian Crouch, Hedwig and the Angry Inch
Alexander Dodge, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder
Santo Loquasto, Bullets Over Broadway

Boxing ring knocks out all other competition. Christopher Barreca (Christophe Barreca, Rocky)


Costume Design of a Play

Jane Greenwood, Act One
Michael Krass, Machinal
Rita Ryack, Casa Valentina
Jenny Tiramani, Twelfth Night

Greenwood has never won. But she is getting a special Tony. Ryack dressed men in 1960s period dresses. But Tiramani dressed men in Elizabethean dresses using period materials and techniques. That will probably mean the Tony goes to Jenny Tiramani. (Jane Greenwood, Act One)


Costume Design of a Musical

Linda Cho, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder
William Ivey Long, Bullets Over Broadway
Arianne Phillips, Hedwig and the Angry Inch
Isabel Toledo, After Midnight

Phillips dressed a guy in heels outrageously. But the other three nominees costumed a lot more people and scenarios. Cho created comic period outfits (and dressed a man in high button shoes) and Toledo captured the feel of a bygone day. Don’t count out Long. He is president of the American Theatre Wing which founded the Tonys. I think that between his position and the creative (if crass) costumes he created, the Tony could go to William Ivey Long. (Isabel Toledo, After Midnight)


Lighting Design of a Play

Paule Constable, The Cripple of Inishmaan
Jane Cox, Machinal
Natasha Katz, The Glass Menagerie
Japhy Weideman, Of Mice and Men

All four provided striking lighting this year. But only one used light to not only tell the story but also become a part of the scenic design. It means the Tony probably goes to Natasha Katz.
(Japhy Weideman, Of Mice and Men)

 

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

Binkley and Holder both masterfully use lighting to mark shifts in mood. Akerlind lit a boxing ring and meat locker. But Adams used lighting to shift between a concert and storytelling. The Tony goes to Kevin Adams. (Donald Holder, The Bridges of Madison County)


Sound Design of a Play

Alex Baranowski, The Cripple of Inishmaan
Steve Canyon Kennedy, Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill
Dan Moses Schreier, Act One
Matt Tierney, Machinal

Shows about music often win this award. Kennedy’s show is about a singer. The Tony will probably go to Steve Canyon Kennedy. (Steve Canyon Kennedy, Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill)


Sound Design of a Musical

Peter Hylenski, After Midnight
Tim O’Heir, Hedwig and the Angry Inch
Mick Potter, Les Misérables
Brian Ronan, Beautiful

Three of the four nominees are for shows focused on entertainers. O’Heir dealt with a rock score, and translating an Off Broadway show into a Broadway space – making it loud enough but not overpowering. The Tony should go to Tim O’Heir. (Tim O’Heir, Hedwig and the Angry Inch)

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