The Tony nominations are two weeks away, and everyone in the 12 or so blocks that make up the theater district are a twitter, trying to figure out who’s name will be called when the nominations come out May 1. To help see through it all, we’ve sifted through the reviews, social media feeds, industry rags, and stage door hearsay, and spit it back out at you in my weekly Tony Tracker (ICYMI, the first installments are up on my site). Who’s up? Who’s down? And who should probably make dinner plans Tony day. It’s all here.
UP: Nice Work If You Can Get It. Buzz from previews have been pretty positive, and it filled 90% of its season during its first week of performances. This looks like a an old-fashioned crowd-pleaser that’ll tour super well. A “duh” nomination, if you will.
DOWN: Ghost the Musical. The London production was completely shut out of Sunday’s Olivier Awards. Not a good sign…
PREDICTED NOMINEES: Leap of Faith; Newsies; Nice Work If You Can Get It; Once
Best Revival of a Musical
UP: Jesus Christ Superstar. In the great Battle of the God-related, Jesus Christ Superstar is winning.
DOWN: Evita. Did you read that review in The New York Times? Ouch. And did you see those Good Morning America performances? Yikes. Perhaps it wasn’t as strong a contender as I first thought…
PREDICTED NOMINEES: Evita; Follies; The Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess; Jesus Christ Superstar
UP: Peter and the Starcatcher. It’s one of the most imaginative shows I’ve seen in years, which already helps it stand out from the crowd. Plus, it got some pretty strong reviews across the board – including a glowing review from The New York Times. And although this has nothing to do with their chances at getting a nomination, can I just talk about how great that artwork is? Best logo on Broadway, hands down.
DOWN: One Man, Two Guvnors. This show was completely shut out of the Olivier Awards, too. How much will that affect its chances for a Tony nomination?
PREDICTED NOMINEES: Clybourne Park; Other Desert Cities; Peter and the Starcatcher; Venus in Fur
Best Revival of a Play
UP: Death of a Salesman. With 99.9% of its seats filled, Death of a Salesman is filling more seats than any play on Broadway (and even a bunch of musicals). That’s more than War Horse and Wicked!
DOWN: Master Class. Were you hoping that the Tyne Daly-led production of Master Class would get some Tony love? I was, too. But in a tight race like this, closed shows don’t tend to do as well. It is playing in London right now, so that might help. But in this case, if any closed show is getting the Tony love, it’s going to be MTC’s other closed revival this season: Wit.
PREDICTED NOMINEES: Death of a Salesman; Gore Vidal’s The Best Man; A Streetcar Named Desire; Wit
Best Actor in a Musical
UP: Richard Fleeshman (Ghost the Musical). Pre-opening chatter around Ghost the Musical seems to be centered on one person: Richard Fleeshamn. Have you seen those abs? Damn! Plus, the boy can sing! Sure, it wasn’t enough to get him an Olivier nomination. But maybe the Tony nominating committee will feel differently.
DOWN: Matthew Broderick (Nice Work If You Can Get It). He’s won twice already, so it’s probably time to give someone else a chance, especially in a crowded category.
PREDICTED NOMINEES: Danny Burstein, Follies; Raúl Esparza (Leap of Faith); Jeremy Jordan (Newsies); Steve Kazee, (Once); Norm Lewis, (The Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess)
Best Actor in a Play
UP: John Lithgow (The Columnist). The buzz surrounding David Auburn’s new play about journalism and journalists is that John Lithgow is giving the performance of a lifetime.
DOWN: Hugh Dancy (Venus in Fur). Back when Venus in Fur transferred to Broadway, Dancy was considered a sure thing for a nomination. But as time has gone on, a slew of other shows have opened, and this category is looking much tighter. At this rate, Nina Arianda is the show’s best chance for both a nomination and a win.
PREDICTED NOMINEES: James Corden (One Man, Two Guvnors); Philip Seymour Hoffman (Death of a Salesman); Stacy Keach (Other Desert Cities); John Larroquette (Gore Vidal’s The Best Man); John Lithgow (The Columnist)
Best Featured Actor in a Musical
UP: Michael Cerveris (Evita). Ben Brantley may have pretty much hated Evita, but he didn’t seem to have any problems with Cerveris. As he said, “Mr. Cerveris is, as usual, just about perfect…. And he’s the only one of the stars here who finds the vocal richness in Mr. Lloyd Webber’s melodies.” That’s a pretty strong endorsement.
DOWN: Ricky Martin (Evita). Last week, Martin seemed like a shoe-in for a nomination. Then the reviews came in, and he got across-the-board negative reviews. To quote New York Magazine’s Scott Brown, “where’s the attitude, the anger, the anything? He’s little more than an avid grin and an Errol Flynn pose — the rest fades instantly into the scenery. There’s no consistent sentiment of any detectable level in Martin, no visceral critique of the lady in question, beyond the mountains of Ricean info-babble he’s called upon to sing.” Eek. In a particularly weak category this year, Martin’s tepid everyman may still get him the nomination. But I’d say the win is about as likely as Martin falling in love with me.
PREDICTED NOMINEES: Michael Cerveris (Evita); David Alan Grier (The Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess); Tom Hewitt (Jesus Christ Superstar); Ricky Martin (Evita); Michael McGrath (Nice Work If You Can Get It)
Best Featured Actor in a Play
UP: Christian Borle (Peter and the Starcatcher). Although it’s an ensemble piece, Christian Borle is a complete standout in Peter and the Starcatcher. Plus, he’s pretty much the best thing about Smash each week. He should be a lock for a nomination.
DOWN: James Earl Jones (Gore Vidal’s The Best Man). It’s hard to bet against Dearth Vader. But his role in Gore Vidal’s The Best Man may be a little thin to get him recognition from the Tonys.
PREDICTED NOMINEES: Christian Borle (Peter and the Starcatcher); Andrew Garfield (Death of a Salesman); James Earl Jones (Gore Vidal’s The Best Man); Hamish Linklater (Seminar); Michael Esper (The Lyons).
Best Actress in a Musical
UP: Jan Maxwell (Follies). As Follies prepares for its run at the Ahmanson Theater in Los Angeles, the pre-opening buzz seems to be as it was when the show was on Broadway: around Jan Maxwell. I think the four-time Tony Award nominee will easily get her fifth nomination.
DOWN: Elena Roger (Evita). The critics beat up on Roger. Their general beef? That despite her hard work and likability, she lacks the emotional depth that the character needs. Audiences are having another problem with her: her diction. Seems that her thick Argentine accent is too thick for American audiences. When Patti Lupone has better diction than you, you know you’re in trouble.
PREDICTED NOMINEES: Caissie Levy (Ghost); Jan Maxwell (Follies); Audra McDonald (The Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess), Cristin Milioti (Once); Elena Roger (Evita)
Best Actress in a Play
UP: Stockard Channing (Other Desert Cities). Channing returned to Other Desert Cities last week after a scheduled absence. No surprise, she quickly reminded us all why she’s been the talk of the town since the show opened. In what has got to be the most crowded Tony race of the year, Stockard is very much in the running.
DOWN: Cynthia Nixon (Wit). It was a steamroller of a performance… if you can remember it. The show closed on March 17.
PREDICTED NOMINEES: Nina Arianda (Venus in Fur); Stockard Channing (Other Desert Cities); Tracie Bennett (End of the Rainbow); Linda Lavin (The Lyons); Cynthia Nixon (Wit)
Best Featured Actress in a Musical
UP: Terri White (Follies). Remember the mirror number? So does everyone else.
DOWN: Lindsay Mendez (Godspell). I love Lindsay Mendez. Next to Hunter Parrish’s white boxer shorts, she’s the best thing about Godspell. But no one takes me seriously when I mention her in this category. We’ll keep her up there one more week. But unless she gets some big buzz fast, she’s pretty much out.
PREDICTED NOMINEES: Judy Kaye (Nice Work If You Can Get It); Lindsay Mendez (Godspell), Jessie Mueller (On A Clear Day You Can See Forever); Elaine Paige (Follies), Da’Vine Joy Randolph (Ghost the Musical)
Best Featured Actress in a Play
UP: Celia Keenan-Bolger (Peter and the Starcatcher). As the only female in an ensemble of 12, it’s easy to notice Celia Keenan-Bolger. But noticing someone is one thing; standing by them is a completely different thing. And Celia (we’re on a first name basis) completely had me in her character’s corner the whole time. Plus, how great was she is Merrily We Roll Along at Encores? Ahhh she has to be nominated, she just has to!
DOWN: Margaret Colin (The Columnist). Eleanor Waldorf is my spirit animal. That’s how much I love Margaret Colin. But in The Columnist, Colin mostly walks around in flowy dresses and quietly cries herself to sleep. She looks amazing, but this probably won’t win her a Tony.
PREDICTED NOMINEES: Linda Emond (Death of a Salesman); Celia Keenan-Bolger (Peter and the Starcatcher); Angela Lansbury (Gore Vidal’s The Best Man); Judith Light (Other Desert Cities); Lily Rabe (Seminar)