Tony Nominees 2014: The Bad

by lucky and the mick on April 30, 2014

in Tony Awards 2014,Tony Talk

Let’s give Woody Allen some things because Woody Allen doesn’t have enough things…
Rightfully ignored in most of the major musical categories (Best Musical, directing, the lead acting categories), of course Bullets Over Broadway scores a bookwriting nomination for one of the most annoying and pernicious celebrities of our times, Woody Allen. Clearly they chose Allen for his legacy and Hollywood cred, because it wasn’t for the quality of his Bullets book, which wedges songs into places where they don’t belong and panders heavily to lame stereotypes. We’re guessing he won’t win – seriously, who wants to sit through that acceptance speech? – but his inclusion here had us rolling our eyes at the nominating committee’s lapse into its old (and we do mean old), biased ways.

And now some showgirls will tap dance on top of a train…
Shuffle ball change, you guys! And with that, we give you the basic ethos of Susan Stroman’s Bullets Over Broadway choreography. We’ve liked Stroman’s splashy showgirl work in the past, but this show leaves them to blandly pitter-pat along in dances that feel wooden and stupidly literal. (This song is about tigers! Dance like a tiger! Rawr!) The gangster dance is kind of fun, but unfortunately for Stroman, Guys and Dolls already exists.

Mary Bridget Davies is a blast from the actual and pretend past…
We’re more conflicted about this than indignant. We liked watching Mary Bridget Davies screlt her face off as Janice Joplin in A Night with Janis Joplin. Her performance was easily the best thing about this wet sock of a show, which whitewashed hard-drinking, hard-drugging rock and roll royalty into a sentimental space cadet who likes the occasional swig of Jack. But we had to wonder: Is this really a fully realized acting performance, or is it more of an impersonation? Goodness knows, Tony nominations have spanned every kind of performance, rewarding actors who don’t sing a word, spend most of the show behind the piano, or appear onstage for all of five minutes. But to put Mary Bridget Davies in this category before Michelle Williams or even Krysta Rodriguez feels a little strange. Davies has talent to burn and her inclusion here honors that. We just wish it was showcased in a more authentic-feeling show.

And the fifth nomination goes to…
We spend the winter changing the rules, so there can be up to five nominees for the highly-coveted Best Musical honor, and then Broadway gives you a season chock-full of new musicals, some of them very good, and then… you only nominate four musicals? Are you trolling us, Nominating Committee? Or do you really dislike Bridges of Madison County and If/Then that much? Also, why? Also, ugh.

Actually, WTF Best Musical Nominees just in general…
So. Of the four nominees for best musical we are allowed, three of them do not have wholly original scores composed for Broadway (Aladdin, Beautiful & After Midnight)? And two of those three are actually jukebox musicals (Beautiful & After Midnight)? And one of those is actually more of a musical revue than a book musical (After Midnight)? At what point are you not just making a mockery of yourselves and the award itself? Some years the pickings are slim, and no one is calling If/Then the masterpiece of our times. But with a handful of new musicals with entirely new books and scores this year, how is it Gentleman’s Guide is the only really new production that managed to make the cut this year? Absolute shit-show, folks. If Gentleman’s Guide doesn’t win, we’re probably quitting theater.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

cat May 5, 2014 at 4:37 pm

Yes! Yes! Yes! to your last two points.

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