(pt 1: the plays)
I'll have a full discussion of the TONY Nominations after they're announced on the 16th (filtered thru the lens celluloid) But until then...
MUSICALS and MUSICAL REVIVALS
There was a glorious time not so very long ago when I saw virtually everything. No more *sob* but I have seen enough to have some favorites this season. The race for Best Musical will be a showdown between Jersey Boys (which I have not seen) and The Drowsy Chaperone (which I have and which is a blissful hoot for musical theater lovers since it's about irrational obsession with musical theater). In the revival category it's a war between --oh who am I kidding. It's a (deservedly) done deal. Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street won this prize the day it opened. (my best of year list in December) It doesn't matter who else gets nominated. It's a sensational rethinking.
For those curious about this and its eventual film adaptation: by all means try and see this production. When they finally make a movie of it they will not use this interpretation as a template --they'd be way too scared to go this weird and minimal. I'm sure the film version would 'go for ba-roque' if you know what I mean.
Actresses? ModFab predicted:
Sutton Foster, The Drowsy Chaperone
Kelli O'Hara, The Pajama Game
LaChanze, The Color Purple
Patti LuPone, Sweeney Todd
Chita Rivera, Chita Rivera: The Dancer's Life
My feeling is that he is spot on except in the case of my beloved Sutton Foster who I think will fall to Maria Friedman for Andrew Lloyd Webber's failed The Woman in White. My reasoning is this: Ms. Foster has been amply rewarded already and her show is an ensemble piece. Maria battled cancer and still showed up regularly to perform a flopping show. The theater loves a trouper.
That said...I love Sutton Foster and would be happy to see her nominated for the third time. She was the breakout star and Tony Winner of the 01/02 season for Thoroughly Modern Millie, a better "Jo March" than Oscar nominated Winona Ryder in the 04/05 musical version of Little Women and now in the 05/06 season she's sassy, sounds great, and she's hilarious too in The Drowsy Chaperone. I cherish Sutton Foster more than I should. But love is like that; it make you blind & crazy. Despite being beautiful and a true triple threat (actor/singer/dancer) Sutton still has not done any film or tv. If it's because she only wants to tread the boards on Broadway than more power to her. If it's because Hollywood is still ignoring theater greats, shame on them. Shame on them.
Actors? Michael Cerveris will win the prize for Sweeney Todd. He was haunting and you know his voice is amazing. OK... well you don't know. But just pretend you're always at the theater and trust me on this. As for more famous men in the running? Alan Cumming and Harry Connick Jr could be up for the prize for The Threepenny Opera and The Pajama Game (Connick Jr. is surprisingly the safer bet). Someone you've never heard of that will be in the shortlist (and could provide the only threat to Cerveris) is Bob Martin who plays "man in chair" in The Drowsy Chaperone and is the true star of that well received show. We already discussed Tarzan but it doesn't look likely for Josh Strickland, the guy swinging on those vines.
Featured (Supporting) Actresses?
You all know who Cyndi Lauper is. But if you are less familiar with her discography than her persona you should read this earlier blog post. She's nearly the only thing worth raving about in The Threepenny Opera. The two other ladies I'm rooting for you probably won't know. There's Felicia Finley who completely elevates the comedy in The Wedding Singer in two scenes (previous post on her brilliance) and Megan Lawrence in The Pajama Game who has one of those numbers, "Hernando's Hideaway," that make you want to throw flowers and attend every show on Broadway for the chance of seeing such entertaining lunacy. (previous post exalting her name) I don't feel like any of these three are "safe" for nominations given internal competition from their own shows and lots of competitors in other shows but I want all three in the mix.
Featured (Supporting) Actors? I don't have strong preferences in this category. I'm thinking we'll see Jim Dale for The Threepenny Opera and a Jersey Boys player and one or two people from The Drowsy Chaperone. I have no clue.
Again, more on the actual nominations next week including DIY film festival suggestions to understand this year's race if you haven't made it to Broadway this season.
tags: Sweeney Todd, Drowsy Chaperone, Patti LuPone, Broadway, theater, musicals, Cyndi Lauper, Sutton Foster, Harry Connick Jr