Wednesday, June 6, 2012

My picks for the 2012 Tony Awards

The Tony Awards are Sunday night at 8 on CBS, hosted once again by the charming Neil Patrick Harris!

Here are the nominees in (most of) the categories and my picks if I had a vote. I've marked in bold the shows and performances that I've seen. It's so hard to choose because I enjoyed them all!

Best Musical
Nice Work if You Can Get It
Leap of Faith

I saw Newsies and Once on the same day, which was quite an experience. Newsies is a terrific traditional Broadway musical. But Once felt unique and captivating.

Best Revival of a Musical
The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess
Jesus Christ Superstar

This production of Follies got to me. Every role was wonderfully cast and hearing the score with a full orchestra was thrilling.

Best Original Score
Bonnie & Clyde
One Man, 2 Guvnors
Peter and the Starcatcher

I love the Newsies score, especially the big ensemble numbers "Seize the Day," "Carry the Banner" and "King of New York." Alan Menken's music and Jack Feldman's lyrics sing "Broadway" to me.

Best Book of a Musical
Lysistrata Jones, Douglas Carter Beane
Newsies, Harvey Fierstein
Nice Work If You Can Get It, Joe DiPietro
*Once, Enda Walsh

I think Enda Walsh did a beautiful job translating Once from the screen to the stage. His adaptation brings out the humor and heart in the story.

Best Actor in a Musical
Danny Burstein, Follies
*Jeremy Jordan, Newsies
Steve Kazee, Once
Norm Lewis, The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess
Ron Raines, Follies

Every year there's one category where I've seen all the performances, which makes it even harder to pick a favorite! I really did love them all. But Jeremy Jordan's strong vocals, charisma and 1,000-watt smile won me over.

Best Featured Actor in a Musical
*Philip Boykin, The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess
Michael Cerveris, Evita
David Alan Grier, The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess
Michael McGrath, Nice Work If You Can Get It
Josh Young, Jesus Christ Superstar

I saw the pre-Broadway Porgy and Bess at the American Repertory Theatre and Philip Boykin was scary terrific as the bullying Crown. I can only imagine how much more terrifying he's gotten.

Best Actress in a Musical
Jan Maxwell, Follies
Audra McDonald, The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess
*Cristin Milioti, Once
Kelli O'Hara, Nice Work If You Can Get It
Laura Osnes, Bonnie and Clyde

Yes I know the money's on Audra but I'd love to see Cristin Milioti, who simply sparkled in her portrayal of a Czech immigrant in Ireland, walk off with a Tony.

Best Featured Actress in a Musical
Elizabeth A. Davis, Once
*Jayne Houdyshell, Follies
Judy Kaye, Nice Work If You Can Get It
Jesse Mueller, On A Clear Day You Can See Forever
Da'Vine Joy Randolph, Ghost

This one is easy. I've seen Jayne Houdyshell onstage twice and each time she's been a hoot. I loved her belting out "Broadway Baby."

Best Choreography
Rob Ashford, Evita
*Christopher Gattelli, Newsies
Steven Hoggett, Once
Kathleen Marshall, Nice Work If You Can Get It

I'm a longtime fan of Christopher Gattelli's work and his acrobatic, athletic choreography brought such exuberance to Newsies. It was one of the best things about the show.

Best Play
*Clybourne Park
Other Desert Cities
Peter and the Starcatcher
Venus in Fur

I didn't see Clybourne Park on Broadway. But of the three, it's the one I most wanted to talk about afterward, for its examination of race and changing neighborhoods and how America has changed.

Best Revival of a Play
Death of a Salesman
Master Class
*The Best Man

I admired Death of a Salesman and I can see why it's a classic American play. But maybe this is the history and politics junkie in me speaking - I loved The Best Man. The way this 1960 play about a presidential campaign resonates in 2012 is amazing and incredibly entertaining.

Best Actor in a Play
James Corden, One Man, Two Guvnors
*Philip Seymour Hoffman, Death of a Salesman
James Earl Jones, The Best Man
Frank Langella, Man and Boy
John Lithgow, The Columnist

I was enthralled by Philip Seymour Hoffman's performance in Death of Salesman. He's such an expressive actor and he captured Willy Loman's weariness, as well as his exhilaration and confidence in the flashback scenes.

Best Featured Actor in a Play
Christian Borle, Peter and the Starcatcher
Michael Cumpsty, End of the Rainbow
Tom Edden, One Man, Two Guvnors
*Andrew Garfield, Death of a Salesman
Jeremy Shamos, Clybourne Park

He seemed a little too delicate for the role but Andrew Garfield brought such intensity and emotion to the role of Biff in Death of a Salesman, especially in the flashbacks showing him as a teenager.

Best Actress in a Play
Stockard Channing, Other Desert Cities
*Tracie Bennett, End of the Rainbow
Linda Lavin, The Lyons
Nina Arianda, Venus in Fur
Cynthia Nixon, Wit

As Judy Garland in End of the Rainbow, Tracie Bennett was devastating. I just wish that the play had been worthy of her talents.

Best Featured Actress in a Play
Linda Emond, Death of a Salesman
Spencer Kayden, Don't Dress for Dinner
*Celia Keenan-Bolger, Peter and the Starcatcher
Judith Light, Other Desert Cities
Condola Rashad, Stick Fly

As the precocious daughter of a British diplomat, Celia Keenan-Bolger had the voice and mannerisms of a young girl down pat. I adored her character - a spunky and determined heroine.


Dale said...

Nice breakdown - looking forward to the results. I'm so torn about Stockard, Judith Light and Tracie Bennett. Enjoy the big show!

Esther said...

I know, I'm torn about so many of these categories. I really did love every nominated performance that I saw. I could easily redo this and come up with an equally deserving group of winners! Hope you enjoy the show, too!