Thursday, October 15, 2020

2020 Tony Nominations: This Was the Season That Barely Was

 The Tony nominations were announced today and it's a lot of "we did what we could with what was available to us." Aaron Tveit, who starred as Christian in Moulin Rouge!, is the only nominee in Best Actor in a Musical (he still needs to get 60% of the vote to win), which while throwing some shade at Chris McCarrell (The Lightning Thief), also makes me wonder why they didn't just nix the category this season, like they did in 1985. No offense to Aaron Tveit, who is lovely and talented and whom I'd love to see win a Tony someday, but this is a shitty way to win one, and I'm sure he doesn't feel great about it. Meanwhile, we had such a low count of new musicals with original scores (Lightning Thief again) and musical revivals (none opened in time), that the latter category is eliminated and the former populated entirely by original scores written for plays.

In the play categories, Slave Play  and The Inheritance deservedly lead the pack with 12 and 11 noms respectively (Slave Play in fact setting a record with that number), though I am sad to see Kyle Soller's heartbreaking and uplifting performance as Eric in Inheritance left out of the mix (but happy to see Andrew Burnap, ignored by the Drama Desks, recognized here).

I wish I'd gotten to see Tina: The Tina Turner Musical before everything shut down. That, the revivals of Rose Tattoo and Betrayal, and Laura Linney in the one-woman My Name is Lucy Barton are the only shows from the list I didn't catch. (Well, and Linda Vista but I deliberately skipped that one, so I wouldn't say I've been missing it, Bob)

I thought I would have more reactions, once the nominations were finally posted, but we're over half a year away from when Broadway shut down, and so much has happened since then, that I'm having trouble mustering up much emotion to attach to this. I'm generically happy for artists' work being recognized, and I had earlier in the year been upset that it was looking like the work this past season would be swept under the Tony rug, but at this point it feels so much like too little too late. The world is burning, has been burning, for months, we don't know what November will bring, and I can't tell if this is Nero fiddling or the orchestra playing as the Titanic sinks. Neither one is a particularly cheery image.

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