Tony nominations I made a list of what shows from the season I'd seen, and was a bit blown away by just how many new plays we were lucky enough to see (even if most of the exciting new work I've seen this Winter/Spring season has been Off-Broadway, rather than On). Meanwhile, in the category of Life Is Short, there are a few shows from this season I am missing (American Buffalo, MJ, Macbeth, Diana, Mrs. Doubtfire, and the last two thirds of Plaza Suite), so I have a lack of opinion when it comes to those specific works. By my count, for this season we had 13 new plays, 9 new musicals (I'm not sure where Little Prince resides, and it wasn't nominated for anything, so I guess it resides nowhere), 8 play revivals, and 4 musical revivals.
Anyway, let's get to it.
It's disappointing to see a few stunners shut out (Thoughts of a Colored Man, the Is This a Room/Dana H rep, Pass Over, and the fun POTUS) for Best Play. Of the list of nominated plays (Clyde's, Hangmen, The Lehman Trilogy, The Minutes, and Skeleton Crew), I'd definitely keep Lehman (which is the most nominated play of the season) and Skeleton, and add in Pass Over and Thoughts. I'm on the fence with Clyde's. For the Best Revival of a Play category, I feel mostly fine about the list (no opinion on Buffalo).
|Skeleton Crew. Photo by Matthew Murphy.|
Is This a Room, Pass Over, and Birthday Candles are shut out completely, which is a damn shame (so is Chicken & Biscuits, but eh). All three productions featured fine performances and lovely scenic (okay, the second two more than the first) and lighting designs, and the writing for Pass Over is particularly good and should be honored. Meanwhile, the Best Play nod is The Minutes's sole nod.
The Best Musical category is slim enough this year that six out of the nine new musicals got a nomination (not up in that category are Flying Over Sunset, Diana, and Mrs. Doubtfire). Honestly I'm not overly impressed with the crop of new musicals this season, and I'd be astonished if A Strange Loop doesn't walk away with a win here (it also leads the pack with 11 nominations overall, though MJ and Paradise Square aren't far behind). Best Revival of a Musical is a similarly thin category, with Funny Girl being the only revival out of four possible contenders not nominated (in fact, its only nomination is for Jared Grimes for Actor in a Featured Role).
|A Strange Loop.|
People are already hot-take-ing Beanie Feldstein and Katrina Lenk being left out of the Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical category, but for how divisively both their performances have been received, it's not a big shock. Otherwise I don't see any big surprises in the Musical acting category, though it's very nice to see both L Morgan Lee and John-Andrew Morrison recognized for A Strange Loop as well as Jennifer Simard for Company. What is a shame, though, is when you have ensemble casts where are truly no weak links, like the casts of A Strange Loop or Six, but are unable to nominate the whole group because we don't have a Best Company or Best Ensemble category. Meanwhile the acting categories for plays are STUFFED: all three actors from Lehman are up for Leading, three actors from Take Me Out are up for Featured, two actresses from POTUS are up for Featured (yay Rachel Dratch!). And when it comes to Leading Actress in a Play, I find myself in the Kimmel-ish position of wanting everyone to win.
As mentioned earlier, I'm bummed that the design work for Is This a Room, Pass Over and Birthday Candles were left out in the cold. I'm also quietly bewildered that Fly Davis's scenic design for Caroline, or Change wasn't recognized but Beowulf Boritt and 59 Productions's design for Flying Over Sunset was. I am pleased to see the scenic design for both Hangmen (Anna Fleischle) and Lehman (Es Devlin) recognized.
See ya at the Tonys next month!