Around The Town

TONY Predictions 2015

                                  By: Patrick Christiano
Broadway is a billion dollar business and the 2014-2015 theater season has been a block buster season with just under 40 shows posting the biggest box office grosses ever, along with the highest volume of attendance as well. Those shows were eligible for Nominations for the 2015 American Theatre Wing’s Tony Awards® that will be shown on CBS this Sunday June 7 hosted by Tony Award winners Kristin Chenoweth and Alan Cummings. The celebration of Broadway will be broadcast live from Radio City Music Hall on CBS at 8pm featuring performances from 11 Broadway shows.

                                  By: Patrick Christiano
Broadway is a billion dollar business and the 2014-2015 theater season has been a block buster season with just under 40 shows posting the biggest box office grosses ever, along with the highest volume of attendance as well. Those shows were eligible for Nominations for the 2015 American Theatre Wing’s Tony Awards® that will be shown on CBS this Sunday June 7 hosted by Tony Award winners Kristin Chenoweth and Alan Cummings. The celebration of Broadway will be broadcast live from Radio City Music Hall on CBS at 8pm featuring performances from 11 Broadway shows.

The nominations in 24 competitive categories have been spread around with only a handful of shows receiving the bulk of the nominations, and more than a third of the productions receiving nothing at all. The general consensus amongst industry professionals is that “An American in Paris” and the London import of “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” will dominate the evening in the new musical and new play category, respectively.

However theater lovers will probably have a keen interest in the race for best actress in a musical, which features an especially close race with three of Broadway’s most adored stars Kristin Chenoweth, Kelli O’Hara, adn Chita Rivera.
Let’s start there.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical
Kristin Chenoweth, On the Twentieth Century
Leanne Cope, An American in Paris
Beth Malone, Fun Home
Kelli O’Hara, The King and I

Kristin Chenoweth

Chita Rivera, The Visit


Opinion is divided here and anyone of the three Broadway stars are deserving for different reasons. I look for Kristin Chenoweth, who drives “On the Twentieth Century” with brilliant comedic zest to triumph over two time Tony Award winning Broadway legend Chita Rivera, magnificent in “The Visit,” and the popular Kelli O’Hara so lovely in the “The King and I.” This season Kristin’s star shines brightest. She is simply dazzling transitioning from a poor waif to the glamorous film star Lilly Garland. Poor Kelli looks like she will go home a six time loser unless the voters decide to give her the award for her body of work. This is a tight race and any of these three popular stars could win the Tony. Kristin Chenoweth deserves to win this one, and just last week won the Drama Desk Award over these two ladies.

Best Play
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Simon Stephens
Disgraced by Ayad Akhtar
Hand to God by Robert Askins
Wolf Hall Parts One & Two by Hilary Mantel and Mike Poulton

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time deserves to win, even though I adored Robert Askins’ dark comedy “Hand to God.”

Best Musical
An American in Paris
Fun Home
Something Rotten!
The Visit

Everyone is super impressed with the beautiful ballet. The production is admired for the choreography along with the beloved Gershwin music and the show has been the highest grossing musical from week to week. “Fun Home” is the most original with a fresh book and new music, The musical that moved from the Public has a strong following and deserves to win, but award shows are not always fair. “American in Paris” is a classic that could easily tour for years.


Best Revival of a Play|
The Elephant Man
Skylight
This Is Our Youth
You Can’t Take It with You

A very good literate production that is popular with voters in a weak category. My choice would be “You Can’t Take It with You.”


Best Revival of a Musical

The King and I
On the Town
On the Twentieth Century

The voters are enchanted with Bartlett Sher’s Lincoln Center production.

Best Book of a Musical
An American in Paris by Craig Lucas
Fun Home by Lisa Kron
Something Rotten! By Karey Kirkpatrick and John O’Farrell
The Visit by Terrence McNally

Definitely the most original; deserves to win and will win.


Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics) Written for the Theatre
Fun Home

Jeanine Tesori, Lisa Kron

Music: Jeanine Tesori
Lyrics: Lisa Kron

The Last Ship
Music & Lyrics: Sting
Something Rotten!
Music & Lyrics: Wayne Kirkpatrick and Karey Kirkpatrick
The Visit
Music: John Kander
Lyrics: Fred Ebb

A tight race. “Fun Home” has momentum and will probably deservedly win. I loved “The Visit,” but not as much as “Fun Home.”


Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play

Steven Boyer

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

I am going on a hunch. His performance is the centerpiece to the dark comedy “Hand to God.” He essentially plays two parts brilliantly. This is a two man race and smart money is on Alex Sharp as the boy in “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.” He won the Drama Desk last week, but didn’t compete with Steven Boyer there.


Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play

Geneva Carr, Hand to God

Helen Mirren

Helen Mirren, The Audience
Elisabeth Moss, The Heidi Chronicles
Carey Mulligan, Skylight
Ruth Wilson, Constellations

The Queen reigns supreme! Geneva Carr was a revelation but she’s out classed here.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical
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

The buzz is that the popular Broadway veteran as the closeted father in “Fun Home” will be swept to victory with the musical’s momentum. He is most deserving and so is Brian d’Arcy James, who I adored in “Something Rotten,” but in another tight race there is much support for Robert Fairchild in the popular musical.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play

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

Freeman is outstanding in a showy role and won the Drama Desk last week,
but Nathaniel Parker could win in another tight race, where Micah Stock has support as well.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play
Annaleigh Ashford, You Can’t Take It with You
Patricia Clarkson, The Elephant Man
Lydia Leonard, Wolf Hall Parts One & Two
Sarah Stiles, Hand to God
Julie White, Airline Highway

Ditto, Annaleigh Ashford is a refreshing presence in “You Can’t Take It With You,” and she is so likeable. She also picked up the Drama Desk last week.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical

Christian Borle

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

Just a hunch; I think Andy Karl deserves to win, but Christian took the Drama Desk and is very popular

Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical
Victoria Clark, Gigi
Judy Kuhn, Fun Home
Sydney Lucas, Fun Home
Ruthie Ann Miles, The King and I
Emily Skeggs, Fun Home

The best performance in “The King and I.” She deserves to win and she won the Drama Desk. I think the women in “Fun Home” may cancel each other out.

Best Scenic Design of a Play
Bunny Christie and Finn Ross, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
Bob Crowley, Skylight
Christopher Oram, Wolf Hall Parts One & Two
David Rockwell, You Can’t Take It with You

No contest; “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.”


Best Scenic Design of a Musical
Bob Crowley and 59 Productions, An American in Paris
David Rockwell, On the Twentieth Century
Michael Yeargan, The King and I
David Zinn, Fun Home

I’m going with this because of the opening sequence bring the ship into port, but “American in Paris” is a strong contender

Best Costume Design of a Play
Bob Crowley, The Audience
Jane Greenwood, You Can’t Take It with You
Christopher Oram, Wolf Hall Parts One & Two
David Zinn, Airline Highway

Best Costume Design of a Musical
Gregg Barnes, Something Rotten!
Bob Crowley, An American in Paris
William Ivey Long, On the Twentieth Century
Catherine Zuber, The King and I

Best Lighting Design of a Play
Paule Constable, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
Paule Constable and David Plater, Wolf Hall Parts One & Two
Natasha Katz, Skylight
Japhy Weideman, Airline Highway

Best Lighting Design of a Musical
Donald Holder, The King and I
Natasha Katz, An American in Paris
Ben Stanton, Fun Home
Japhy Weideman, The Visit

Best Direction of a Play
Stephen Daldry, Skylight
Marianne Elliott, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
Scott Ellis, You Can’t Take It with You
Jeremy Herrin, Wolf Hall Parts One & Two
Moritz von Stuelpnagel, Hand to God

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

Difficult to call, although I think Sam Gold is most deserving for handling a challenging subject with care, sensitivity and layers. I also loved John Rando’s work, but I think the voter’s are enchanted with the classic “The King and I,” while you can’t rule out Christopher Wheeldon, but I think the voters will honor him with coreography instead of both.”

Best Choreography
Joshua Bergasse, On the Town
Christopher Gattelli, The King and I
Scott Graham & Steven Hoggett for Frantic Assembly, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
Casey Nicholaw, Something Rotten!
Christopher Wheeldon, An American in Paris

Christopher will win here; he is deserving, but I loved “On the Town.”

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

“American in Paris” will be the big winner of the evening. There is passionate support for “Fun Home,” but no enought to overcome the money “American in Paris” could make on the road.

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Photography: Barry Gordin