Previous Categories Investigated: Featured Actor & Featured Actress. Watch the TONYs this Sunday night on CBS!
AND THE NOMINEES ARE...
Michael Cerveris as Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
This is Cerveris's fourth Broadway show and his third nomination. He won the award in the supporting category for his work in the revival of Sondheim's Assassins two years ago so if he wins Sunday night, he'd have won both TONYs for Sondheim revivals. (TONY voters are not as traditionally averse to repeat winners as the Oscars are). He's a magnetic stage presence who has had numerous recurring characters on TV shows like The American Embassy, CSI, dr. vegas and The Equalizer. Busy. He's also an acclaimed singer/songwriter and fronts a band called Tiny Mammoth. His previous album is called "Dog Eared"
Harry Connick Jr. as "Sid Sorokin" in The Pajama Game
Y'all know who he is. He's the most famous of this nominated batch by several country miles having recorded a plethora of successful CDs (over 20 million sold) and of course there's the recent on and off again Wil & Grace role. You don't need an introduction. (For my money though he still hasn't topped his 90s CD "We Are in Love.") This is his second experience with a Broadway. He wrote the Tony nominated music for the Therese Raquin musical adaptation (and flop) Thou Shalt Not. His sizzling chemistry with Kelli O'Hara in this production (it's not just buzz. they do sizzle) has had tongues wagging about backstage nookie. That is GOSSIP of course and I shouldn't pass it along. He's married after all.
Stephen Lynch as "Robbie Hart" in The Wedding Singer
This show comes most alive in the supporting roles where the cast members don't have the big problem of 'to ape or not to ape?' Drew Barrymore and Adam Sandler's performances in the movie. I saw this in previews so perhaps it got stronger but I sort of felt like Stephen Lynch hadn't quite worked that out...whether he would be imitating or not. That said he was funny and charming and given the competition, I think he deserved the fifth slot here. Stephen is a comedic singer/songwriter who has been featured on Comedy Central so you've probably seen him there. This is his first Broadway show.
Bob Martin as "Man in Chair" in The Drowsy Chaperone
An actor who also wrote the book... maybe that's like an actor directing at the Oscars: it has to give you extra points. The TONYs love a good narrator and 'Man in Chair' is a definitely a keeper charming the audience right from the start with his meta commentary about attending theatrical events. His love of the show within this show "The Drowsy Chaperone" is infectious and it also happens to be the whole point of the show. This is his first Broadway show and nomination but he's no stranger to awards. Martin is well known in Canada and can be seen in several Canadian films. He wrote and produced the TV series "Slings and Arrows" which has been showing on cable here in the USA recently.
John Lloyd Young as "Frankie Valli" in Jersey Boys
This is Young's first Broadway show and nomination. He built his reputation at New Jersey's Paper Mill theater and numerous Off Broadway stints. I haven't seen this show but he's supposedly great in it, garnering rave reviews. His biggest challenge for the win will be that the show opened a long time ago compared to his competitors. You can read his blog here.
Will (?) Win: I think Bob Martin might just edge this one out and he was grand too. Affection for this character (hard not to love him) combined with the enthusiasm for the show and Martin's overall contribution to it will push him over the edge with Young and Cerveris divvying up the dissenting votes. Or maybe not. OK. I have no idea who will win this. One of those three.