Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Tony Watch: FEATURED ACTRESS, Musical

Previous Spotlight on the TONY AWARDS: Featured Actor.

Know more than your friends when you watch the TONYs this year by reading this.

Carolee Carmello as "Gabrielle" in Lestat
This is Carolee's ninth show on Broadway since her debut in 1989 in City of Angels. This is her second nomination and only the third time she's originated a role (the only way you are eligible for nominations). She seems to be a permanent replacement type: a Broadway trouper they can always count on but they don't trust to sell tickets. Her husband is Gregg Edelman who is also a Broadway regular. You may remember him as Peter Parker's doctor in Spider-Man 2.

Felicia Fields as "Sofia" in The Color Purple
She's a well awarded stage star in Chicago...a true pro. You'd have to be really when you're playing the Oprah Winfrey role in a new musical produced by Oprah Winfrey. An amateur would collapse under the weight of that pressure. This is her first Broadway role and first TONY nomination.

Megan Lawrence as "Gladys" in The Pajama Game
The second I started typing her name I was flooded with joy. Seriously. She is terrific as the shy secretary who starts to tear the place up once she's got a little liquor in her. The place in question is "Hernando's Hideaway" and Lawrence makes that famous number the absolute peak of the show. She used to be on One Life to Live. This is her third Broadway show (after replacement stints in Les Miz and Urinetown) and first Tony nomination. If it were my choice third time would be the charm and she'd stagger away with the trophy.

Beth Leaval as The Drowsy Chaperone
It's probably thrilling to play a title character. The show isn't about her but she handles her comic bits very well as the drunk (and therefore sleepy) companion to the show's star (Sutton Foster --more on her in a later post). Leaval is ModFab's choice for will and should win. But I'll take the other drunk lady in this lineup. The one I just got done talking about above. This is Leaval's sixth show and first nomination..

Elisabeth Withers-Mendes as "Shug Avery" in The Color Purple
Remember crazy Margaret Avery who wrote that letter to God as her For Your Consideration AMPAS ad in 1985? OK well some of you don't (too young) but it was one of the more infamous Oscar campaigns of the 80s and it was for this role in the movie (the chanteuse who has the hots for Celie) . Anyway, my point --and I do have one is that the Tony voters followed the Oscar voters and gave nominations to Shug, Celie, and Sofia. Elizabeth had a club hit "Emotions" a few years back too apparently.

My prediction for the win: Beth Leaval, The Drowsy Chaperone

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