American Idiot: Ok, let’s get it right out of our systems. Scream. Stomp. Raise your middle fingers high. And say it with me: Congrats, Tony nominating committee, for being such a bunch of pearl-clutching ninnies about this show. As The Mick said, it’s like they all saw American Idiot, and thought, “OMG, This show is confusing and loud!” and gave up right there. On the bright side, we’re sure that Billie Joe Armstrong could give a fuck, and is probably secretly relieved that he doesn’t have to go head-to-head in any category, in any part of his life, with the keyboard guy from Bon Jovi. And Stark Sands is still hot.
Fela!: I love this show. I love its cockiness and its energy and its mind-blowing chorus of insanely toned female dancers. But what I mostly love is that someone thought it would be a great idea to make a Broadway musical—not a tribute concert, or a performance art piece, or a museum installation—about a vaguely-obscure African pop musician and his in-your-face political views. Bring on the Tonys, baby, because I’m thrilled with anything on a Broadway stage that looks forward and not backward, and Fela! does a fine job of that indeed.
Enron: So, I guess everyone hated it, huh? No Best Play, no Norbert, no nothing. (Except, you know, Lucy Prebble getting nominated for Best Original Score, which is just kind of unsatisfying.) American critics claimed that they’d heard it all before, from The Smartest Guy in the Room to the finance page of the New York Times. I thought it was towering—raptors and light sabers included. My best advice on this grim day? See it before it closes and try to control your gag reflex when you read all the “Enron Fails! Again!” headlines.
Finian’s Rainbow: Nice job, Kate Baldwin! You’re pretty and you sing pretty and I’m happy to see your name kicking around like a bazillion months after your show ended, and props to Chris Fitzgerald as well, because you’re talented, and you’re sexy in a totally uncomfortable way. Both of you kids—your show was an epic WTF, but I liked it a lot, even though the set looked like it was a papier mache diorama made by a second grader for science class. I’m almost glad it didn’t get too many nominations, though, because like… that craziness closed for a reason. Which brings me to.
Ragtime: OK, I’ll bite. I don’t get it. I don’t get why this show was revived and I don’t get why people were so attached to it when it failed (again! You know, like Enron!), and I don’t get why the Tony nominating committee felt the need to remind us of how regretful and attached to it we should be. And mostly, I don’t get why we’re rewarding what’s dead and gone, and what clearly didn’t work. The show itself is hugely problematic—what the hell even happens in that muddy second act?—but this revival itself was so blah. It looked just like it looked the first time around. (How sad that the costumer is nominated again… for the same costumes.) It sounded just like it sounded the first time around. The only thing different is that it lacked the one golden, brilliant thing that the original had—its stellar original cast. Ragtime minus Audra? Minus Stokes and Marin and even TV’s Lea Michele? Why bother? So it can be nominated for a truckload of Tonys, I guess. If this was the committee’s most rebellious move of the year… well… no wonder American Idiot didn’t get much love. And prepare thy acceptance speech, Bobby Steggert, and try to remember that you’re accepting for Ragtime and not Yank!, even though… you know… you’re really winning for Yank!
La Cage: Robin de Jesus is darling, but I have no idea what he’s doing in La Cage aux Folles, or what accent he’s doing, or what planet he’s on, which is proof of how thin the Best Featured Actor in a Musical category is this year. And Kelsey Grammer? This must be the nominating committee’s way of injecting some REAL STAR POWER into this year’s telecast. Or maybe they’re just trying to encourage Grammer to actually learn his lines. The sucky thing about his nomination isn’t that he’s stiff and dull in the role, it’s that he’s going to split the vote with Doug Hodge, who actually deserves the Tony.
Promises, Promises: Rob Ashford is the worst. Kids, that’s not choreography. That’s creative placement of arms in time to music. How did we ever get from Michael Bennett to here? Sean Hayes can win, though. That’s OK.