Tony Nominees 2014: The Shafted

by lucky and the mick on April 30, 2014

in Tony Awards 2014,Tony Talk

Spoiler alert, love does not win in awards season…
Sure we may not have loved everything about this multi-million dollar tuner but this is shocking. Rocky was not nominated for Best Musical. Or Best Score (okay, that one’s not shocking). Or Best Direction. Or Best Actress in a Featured Role. Or… Lots of things , clearly, because the show received a grand total of only four nominations, three of them in design categories that, while well deserved are, let’s face it, not exactly lucrative prizes for a struggling show. The dearth of nominations here is especially shocking given that not only does Disney musical Aladdin — typically no favorites at the Tonys — have more nominations, but Beautiful, a show with a lukewarm critical response much like the one Rocky received, has a full three more nominations. As does jukebox musical revue After Midnight. That’s just harsh.

Your mom’s favorite show gets the shaft…
It feels kind of lame to be mad about four Tony nominations, but fuck that. We’re pretty mad. The lovely Bridges of Madison County was overlooked in so many important categories, including Best Musical. This feels especially touchy because Bridges, with its front-and-center female lead, emotional sensibility, and themes of love and family, makes it a show squarely geared toward women in a season of burly boxers and half-naked showgirls. If a great show for and about women is rewarded for its efforts with a tepid shrug from the Tony nominating committee, what the hell are we in for next season? More dick jokes from Woody Allen? Let’s hope not.

No one is keeping up with the Joneses…
Not a single nomination for The Realistic Joneses. Even with a wonderful (all-star) cast featuring past Tony winners, not a single nod. This just seems like an obvious, noteworthy stand-out, even if Joneses wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea. This was unexpected.

It was an outside shot, but…
We’re not sure she was even eligible in the Featured Actress in a Musical category, but we were a little sad that Keala Settle’s Tony luck didn’t span two seasons with another nomination for Les Miserables. She’s basically playing the best, most crass, most evil Madame Thenardier we’ve ever seen, and she walks off with all the show’s laughs.

Poor Daniel Radcliffe, yo…
Jesu Maria, team, what does the consistently excellent, unbelievably hardworking Daniel Radcliffe have to do to get some Tony Nomination love? I mean. He played a cripple (his body morphing so completely the disability seemed more a part of him than an affectation). He learned to dance like a mofo, and sing, too (his hardworking charm giving just the extra bit of shine to his performance as power-hungry upstart J Pierrepont Finch). He even fucking got ass-naked, letting his meat and two veg dangle right on out there in the cold NYC air, which is typically the kind of shit that wins you an Oscar. And here Radcakes is, wanting for even a Tony NOMINATION over here on the Broadway. We’re sorry, bro. We really do adore you, and the fact that you keep coming back for more grinding punishment on our boards. And we’ll be sad to see you go. So please, give it at least one more try? Next time we’ll buy our way onto the nominating committee, or something. We swear.

Sorry you weren’t nominated Steven Pasquale… now take your shirt off…
Are you kidding me right now? To see this fine actor (and we do mean fiiine) left out of this category shattered our hearts to bits, and frankly left us a little baffled. Did the nominating committee sleep through the season? Were they too dazzled and distracted by Kelli O’Hara’s boobs to notice the other performance onstage in The Bridges of Madison County? Is Laura Benanti shoving pins into a voodoo doll somewhere? Whatever the reason, Steven’s omission feels terribly unfair. We’re chalking it up to a strong season for leading men (I mean, shit, when is it not?), because we can’t honestly say we’d trade any of the other very deserving nominees for this one. But couldn’t they sneak in a fifth nominee just on the grounds of sexiness, blazing blue eyes, and notes that float to the ears of God on the wings of chubby angels? Ok, maybe not. At any rate, Steven Pasquale may not have a Tony nomination, but he still gets to be Steven Pasquale. That, we think, certainly counts for something.

Alex Timbers gets… WHAT?!
Okay. So we’re going to be totally calm about this BUT NEVERMIND — FUCK IT ALL — ARE YOU ABSOLUTELY SHITTING US YOU DIDN’T NOMINATE ALEX TIMBERS FOR BEST DIRECTION OF A MUSICAL? What did he ever do to you, besides take a sub-par musical and — purely through the power of his direction — turn it into something vital, gripping, authentic and wholly modern? But seriously. Did he murder someone on the nominating committee’s mother? Beloved cat? Steal someone’s girlfriend? Is his hair too perfect? You don’t have to love Rocky. You don’t even have to like it. But to look at the work on that stage — the new style of stage fighting, the marriage of old-school stage magic with modern technology, the balls-to-the-wall bravura and refusal to accept the impossible — and say that it wasn’t of the absolutely highest caliber of direction Broadway has maybe ever seen is just bullshit. Steven Hoggett and Kelly Devine don’t choreograph that show the way they did without him. Christopher Barecca doesn’t craft a set that remarkable without Alex’s vision. Andy Karl doesn’t give the same authentic, gentle, intricate performance without Alex drawing it out. None of any of that even exists without Timbers basically reinventing the the direction of musicals on Broadway altogether and fuck you for overlooking that. I hope he lights Radio City Musical Hall on fire come June. We’ll dance in the flames. He can film it and take it to Hollywood, because Broadway doesn’t even deserve him anymore.

 

Photo: Christopher Anderson

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Mackenzie April 30, 2014 at 2:25 pm

“If a great show for and about women is rewarded for its efforts with a tepid shrug from the Tony nominating committee, what the hell are we in for next season?”

You may have been referencing BRIDGES… but you just described BEAUTIFUL, which got 7 nominations. You also described VIOLET, which got 4 nominations. Women-centric programming was hardly ignored in general just because the women-centric show you liked most was.

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the mick April 30, 2014 at 3:37 pm

I disagree completely, and not just because I thought Beautiful was boring, or because I think it minimizes the power of King’s story in order to more kindly represent the male characters in her life, which to me is the opposite of entertainment for women. No, I also I think it’s damn near impossible to overlook Broadway’s recent trend toward courting straight (white) men — the Times wrote several articles on the phenomenon this season alone, and as a fairly conservative publication, they’re hardly the first to catch on in terms of trend pieces.

But moreso. It’s hard for me to imagine anyone looking at the nominations this year and not noting how they reflect the gender disparity at large in Broadway theater. I’d go on, but The Atlantic wrote a great piece about this issue yesterday in the immediate wake of the nominations that says it better than I can, and is worth checking out here: http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2014/04/broadways-shockingly-resilient-glass-curtain/361340/

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cat May 5, 2014 at 5:36 pm

I’m frankly baffled that Beautiful gets to put “7 Tony nominations” in its commercials.

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Dylan April 30, 2014 at 8:07 pm

Let’s not forget that the last musical with a female protagonist to win the Tony for best new musical was Hairspray in 2003 (2003!!). Since then, amazing musicals like Wicked and Next to Normal have been consistently overlooked for musicals that feature a male lead. When Broadway tells stories about women, they’re not getting the praise they deserve, at least not from the Tonys.

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chris May 4, 2014 at 11:53 am

Maybe the shows that didn’t get all the nominations they wanted were just…. bad. Isn’t it enough to get payed to play every night, get applause and make money doing it? Show people are getting very entitled these days. Instead of showing generosity and support for their peers, it’s not about wanting awards. Yet another reason NOT to see a show.

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