By: Patrick Christiano
The Theater’s most glamorous event of the season the 67th Annual Tony Awards will take place tomorrow June 8 at Radio City Music Hall hosted by Hugh Jackman, an international film and theater mega star, who is a previous Tony winner and host. Most of my esteemed colleagues have published, posted or blogged about their selections for the 2014 Tony Awards, which will be handed out on Sunday in a live ceremony televised simultaneously on CBS at 8PM EST.
The evening will include performances from the leading musicals and plays in contention for the Theater’s prestigious Tony Award. Most of the critics agree A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Music is the most inventively creative musical of season, stylishly directed and beautiful performed with 10 Tony nominations as well, the most of any show this season. Although the musical is a standout, there is fierce competition from several well liked musicals. In an unusual turn of events, my choices for this year’s Tony Awards are often the same as my prediction of the winners. Here are my choices, along with my predictions of what the Tony voters might do as well. Check back afterwards to see how well I did.
Act One by James Lapine
All The Way by Robert Schenkkan
Casa Valentina by Harvey Fierstein
Mothers and Sons by Terrence McNally
Outside Mullingar by John Patrick Shanley
My choice All The Way, a searing political drama about Lyndon B. Johnson, set in 1963 during the Texan president’s term of office following the assassination of President John F Kennedy and leading up to his re-election. The other dramas are fine indeed, however All The Way is head and shoulders above the completion with a towering performance at its center. Look for the voters to honor this powerful drama.
Beautiful – The Carole King Musical
A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder
My choice A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder. This is a tight race and Beautiful could upset as Carole King’s music is popular with the voters and Jessie Mueller is very likeable.
Best Revival of a Play
The Cripple of Inishmaan
The Glass Menagerie
A Raisin in the Sun
My choice would be A Raisin in the Sun, a handsome well acted beautiful production of a still relevant classic, however I suspect the voters will honor the British import Twelfth Night.
Best Revival of a Musical
Hedwig and the Angry Inch
Les Misérables .
My choice and the voters will be Hedwig and the Angry Inch. Michael Mayer’s reinvention of the downtown classic by John Cameron Mitchell is an dynamic modern rock musical pulsating on all cylinders.
Best Book of a Musical
Aladdin by Chad Beguelin
Beautiful – The Carole King Musical by Douglas McGrath
Bullets Over Broadway by Woody Allen
A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder by Robert L. Freedman
My choice A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder, head and shoulders above the rest. If the voters don’t reward Mr. McGrath shame on them
Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics) Written for the Theatre
Aladdin Music: Alan Menken, Lyrics: Howard Ashman, Tim Rice and Chad BeguelinBest Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics) Written for the Theatre
The Bridges of Madison County Music & Lyrics: Jason Robert Brown
A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder Music: Steven Lutvak, Lyrics: Robert L. Freedman &
If/Then Music: Tom Kitt, Lyrics: Brian Yorkey
I look for the voters to honor Jason Robert Brown’s beautiful score for The Bridges of Madison County, however, my choice would be A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder, the music is marvelous and the lyrics sizzle with wit and inventiveness.
Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a 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
My choice would be Bryan Cranston’s towering performance at the Center of All The Way. His unforgettable transitions and volcanic tour de force serve the play beautifully. I can’t imagine another actor capturing LBJ’s macho directness with such authority. Chris O’Dowd turns in a heartbreaking performance in Of Mice and Men that still resonates, giving him an outside shot. Mark Rylance delivers a contrived Richard that re-cycles all his gimmicks. Can he fool the voters? I don’t think so.
Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a 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
Ok, Audra McDonald gives an extraordinary impersonation of Billy Holiday right down to her distinctive voice and phrasings. A truly amazing take on an American Jazz Legend, and I look for Audra to take home a record breaking 6th Tony Award for acting. Would she be my choice, I’m not certain, as I was very fond of La Tanya Richardson Jackson’s moving portal at the center of A Raisin in the Sun.
Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a 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 look for the voters to honor the popular and deserving Neil Patrick Harris, who re-invents the Rock Musical in Michael Mayer’s soaring production. My choice would be Bryce Pinkham, who not only holds his own with Jefferson Mays, but delivers a stylishly authentic performance filled with witty nuance. I doubt if the voter’s will honor him as the other two actors have been honored already at the Drama Desk, Drama League, and Outer Critic’s Circle,
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
Jessie Mueller will be honored for her sensitive performance of Carole King with an big assist from the lady’s music and the hit musical. Come on how could you not vote for her, even if Sutton Foster turned in the best acting performance of her career. All of these ladies are great stars and any one could win.
Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play
Reed Birney, Casa Valentina
Paul Chahidi, Twelfth Night
Stephen Fry, Twelfth Night
Mark Rylance, Twelfth Night
Brian J. Smith, The Glass Menagerie
I look for the voters to honor Mark Rylance, for being the force behind not only Twelfth Night, but Richard III. However I felt his Olivia was more one noted than actually lived in, and I would love to see Reed Birney win for his cross dressing Charlotte in Casa Valentina (come on they both played women, but Reed was delishously marvelous).
Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a 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
I liked Anika Noni Rose, however, she is a previous winner in a tough category that anyone could win, and Sophie Okonedo her co-star was wonderful as well. I look for the voters to honor Celia Keenan-Bolger as the shy club footed sister in The Glass Menagerie
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
James Monroe Iglehard is the favorite in Disney’s new block buster Broadway musical, and he is the heart and soul of the show. I look for the voters to honor this popular guy for his body of work as well. I liked Nick Cordero in Bullets, however, he is a relatively newcomer, and I doubt he could overcome Iglehard’s momentum and popularity.
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 & Murder
On a gut instinct I am going to go with Lena Hall. The boldest performance in this category and yet all are deserving
Best Scenic Design of a Play
Beowulf Boritt, Act One
Bob Crowley, The Glass Menagerie
Es Devlin, Machinal
Christopher Oram, The Cripple of Inishman
I predict Boewulf Boritt, Act One
Best 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
Rocky – The re-creation of the boxing ring for the finale is pure magic and technological wizardry for the 21st Century
Best 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
My choice would be Kenny Leon’s subtle staging of A Raisin in the Sun, but I can’t believe Bill Rauch, All the Way was shut out. I suspect the voters will go with Tim Carroll, for Twelfth Night, a very popular production done with men playing the women’s roles as was the custom during Shakespeare’s day.
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 & Murder
My choice would be Darko Tresnjak enough said already. Michael Mayer could upset, and wow the voters with his bold rock re-invention of Hedwig.
Warren Carlyle, After Midnight
Steven Hoggett & Kelly Devine, Rocky
Casey Nicholaw, Aladdin
Susan Stroman, Bullets Over Broadway
After Midnight, no contest even though they are all wonderful, After Midnight is non-stop dancing.