Strap on in, dear readers. The Tony noms have been announced. From here on out it’s a grip-and-grin, luncheon attending, sobbing-interview-filled race to June 9th. But first. Heres our take on what made us happy, what made us frown, and what came out of nowhere. First, The Good…
Tom Sturridge for Orphans
After his jackassery with Pat Healey in that Times interview, we were primed to hate Tom Sturridge. Until he started acting. And by the end of the show, Sturridge and his intelligent, nuanced, fully-realized performance had totally usurped Tracy Letts as our favorite performance of the season. Which is a thing we never thought we’d say. Still, in a category stacked with Hollywood stars and big performances, it was easy to see how Sturridge’s performance could be overlooked yesterday morning. To say we were stoked to see the Nominators remembered Tom’s performance, too, is an understatement. Like. We maybe shouted some obscenities when we heard his name. All in joy, of course.
Pasek and Paul’s Best Score
It’s been a tough year for new musicals on Broadway. The best evidence of that fact? Our favorite new musicals of the 2012-13 season were basically all off-Broadway. One of them was young composing duo Benj Pasek and Justin Paul’s gem Dogfight. Consequently, seeing Pasek and Paul nominated for a Tony for their work on another, higher profile production–A Christmas Story: The Musical–was pretty damn exciting. Their work gives us hope for the future of musical theater, and this nomination feels like the universe is feeling that hope, too. We dig it.
Pippin for 10 Things
This fall, between the badness of shows like Chaplin and Scandalous, and the mounds of insufferable children in Annie, we almost gave up on musical theater entirely. We felt listless and unmoored in a vast sea of existential dread. And then, in January, we went to Boston and saw Pippin at the ART and just like that, we believed in musical theater again. Needless to say, we were happy to see Pippin score 10 much-deserved noms this morning. Sure. We wish Rachel Bay Jones had snagged an 11th nomination. But to see Terrence Mann’s gleeful turn as Charlemagne, Patina Miller’s razor-sharp Leading Player and Andrea Martin’s show-stopping, performing-the-best-number-on-Broadway Berthe honored–not to mention all the work of the creative team–that’s more than a fair start.
Keith Carradine & Keala Settle Carry the Hardbody Banner
Hands on a Hardbody was a strange, well-intentioned, not-entirely-craptastic experiment in how far you can take one small idea. Its failure was noble, and almost admirable in a universe where most Broadway shows are created specifically for the enjoyment of hyperactive nine year olds. So we were happy to see Keith Carradine, that’s Mr. Will Rogers to you, and the lovely — LOVELY — Keala Settle, get nods for their good work. Settle in particular owned Hardbody, and was the source of much of its heart. Andrea Martin will be tough to beat, but we’ll be happy to see first-time nominee Keala on the carpet come Tony night.
It was the perfect role for the perfect actor in the perfect moment. After years of playing second-fiddle in replacement casts and starring in outright bombs (Oh yeah, we remember High Fidelity…), Will Chase, at the age of 42, has done what everyone expected him to do a decade ago. He has finally fucking arrived. Worth the wait? Oh hell yes, to see him play the most utterly delightful, literally mustache-twirling John Jasper in Drood. Who knew that Broadway’s consummate straight-laced leading man just needed one chance to play… well… a total ham? With Terrence Mann gunning for his first win after four nominations, Will has some competition. But in our hearts, this is his to lose.
Vanya & Sonia & Masha & Spike & All Those Other People
Christopher Durang’s stylized riff on Chekov gives its actors plenty of room to stretch out and get comfortable. (And in the case of Billy Magnussen, we mean that literally.) Its roomy monologues and crackly interplay basically guarantee its talented cast a swath of awards season nominations, and well… here they are. With four of the show’s six actors up for Tonys — including the awesome Shalita Grant, who plays the family’s housemaid and resident oracle, and the forever blissfully shirtless Magnussen — we’re figuring at least one of them will win.
Matthew Warchus v Diane Paulus for Director of a Musical
Other awards nominations may not be a great guide for what to expect from the Tony noms, but we were still shocked to see Warchus get the snub for his work on Matlida in places like the Outer Critics Circle. The man won himself an Olivier, after all. So we were happy to see him appear on the list of Tony Nominees. But now, he’s up against Diane Paulus, twice nominated female director of our hearts, who also happens to be directing our favorite Broadway musical of the season. While we think this is an awesome Battle Royale for the Best Director Prize, we’re also kind of like… we hope you lose, Warchus. No matter how much we want to shag you. Because Diane Paulus never steers us wrong. She’s our girl. And she’s been nominated 3 times in the last 5 years. We want 2013 to be her year.