Tuesday, April 29, 2014

EITHER/OR: Several surprises in this morning's Tony nominations:
  • Despite having 12 options, the Nominating Committee only went with 4 Best Musical nominees, leaving out If/Then, Bullets Over Broadway, Bridges of Madison County, and Rocky.  Making the cut?  Cotton Club tribute revue After Midnight, Disney adaptation Aladdin, Beautiful, the Carole King biomusical, and A Gentleman's Guide To Love and Murder, which is based on the same book that was adapted as Kind Hearts and Coronets.
  • Because After Midnight didn't really have a book, it's not nominated for Best Book.  Getting that slot is Woody Allen for Bullets Over Broadway.  (Woody's never even been nominated for a Grammy or Emmy before, so EGOT watch seems low.)
  • Somewhat surprisingly, Aladdin does get into original score (there are some new songs, generally considered inferior to the Ashman/Mencken stuff), with If/Then and Bridges of Madison County filling out the category.
  • Though controversially eligible, Cabaret is largely snubbed--no Best Revival nomination, no nomination for Michelle Williams--just a pair of featured acting nods.  (Taking the slot presumed to be hers in Best Actress in a Musical?  The lead from A Night With Janis Joplin.)
  • In addition to Michelle Williams, a number of other "name" performers didn't get in, including Zach Braff (Bullets Over Broadway), Norbert Leo Butz (Big Fish), Zachary Levi (First Date), Daniel Radcliffe (Cripple of Inishmaan), James Franco (Of Mice and Men), and Denzel Washington (Raisin in the Sun).


  1. Adam B.9:44 AM

    Really surprised by the If/Then shun, just based on buzz and We Must Get Idina To Perform-ness.

    Correction: Allen was nominated for a Primetime Emmy in 1959 for Best Writing of a Single Musical or Variety Program, The Sid Caesar Show, a nomination he shared with Larry Gelbart.

  2. I would add the four actors in "The Realistic Joneses" to the "name" performers who weren't nominated list. Like Adam said, they might be a bit more of a surprise for the theater community, but I'm still surprised.
    A concern for me is that the best musical nominations are all adaptations or based significantly on previously written music. No new musicals were nominated this year, with the exception of "A Gentleman's Guide" (still an adaptation of a book and movie). The same would be true if "Bullets," "Bridges," or "Rocky" were nominated, though at least they all have new scores. But it makes me more frustrated that "If/Then" wasn't nominated. I know I'm a grumpy theater person and it is incredibly risky and expensive to bring an unknown story/musical to Bway, but more new musicals would be nice. At least "Violet" (also adapted from a short story) is finally having a Bway run and is nominated as a Revival.

  3. The Best Musical category was the most surprising. I expected If/Then or Bridges to make it in, at least based on the respect their writers have in the field.

    Also really surprised about Denzel. Not only does he have the star factor, but he's been getting great reviews.

    Very happy to see Joshua Henry (Violet) and Reed Birney (Casa Valentina) get noticed.

    The Best Actress in a Play is going to be a very competitive category. You've got the Grand Dames (Tyne Daly, LaTanya Richardson Jackson, Cherry Jones and Estelle Parsons), plus the woman who wins a Tony every time she steps onstage, Audra McDonald.

    Lead Actress in a musical is also tough, but I would love to see Kelli O'Hara finally win it. Not sure if she can do it against Idina and Sutton, but I'm pulling for her.

  4. O'Hara can be competitive, but the Bridges producers face a tough call--they're losing money every week and didn't get the big nominations that they were hoping to give them a bump (and they're not assured of performing on the broadcast)--do they spend more money in the hope of an O'Hara win or a score win maybe giving them a bump, or do they throw in the towel now, which is going to hurt their chances in the race?

  5. Eric J.11:34 AM

    A Night with Janis Joplin was good, but it's no Jackie Jormp-Jomp.

  6. Genevieve12:11 PM

    So many categories with only four nominations - direction of a musical, best book, best score, choreography, direction of a play. Does that indicate that the voters didn't think there were five worthy of nominating, or is a mathematical thing like no fifth entry got x% of the vote, so the votes for a potential fifth could've been split?

  7. OK--the rules here are a mess (http://www.tonyawards.com/pdf/2014_Tony_Rules_Regulations_April_25.pdf)--basically it's "there are usually 4 nominees," but in performance categories, if there are at least 7 persons eligible for nomination, there are 5 slots open. Complicating matters further, the nominating committee can choose to nominate as few as 2. (This is designed for seasons where categories are very thin.)

    There's an additional special rule in the top show categories (http://www.tonyawards.com/pdf/Rules_Addendum_2014_-_Best_Show_Categories.pdf). Basically, if there are at least 9 eligible productions, there are 4 nominees UNLESS the fifth place nominee is very close. If there are fewer than 9, there are 3 nominees UNLESS the fourth place nominee is very close. Basically, what that means this year is that Cabaret didn't come close to making the cut on revival, and there wasn't a close runner up for an additional Best Musical nominee.

  8. Emily: We can't get exercised about the lack of totally original musicals, because those are so very rare -- musicals are much more likely to be successful (and good) if they're based on a preexisting property. It is concerning that none of the fully original scores ended up in Best Musical, but hey, if the shows overall weren't considered good enough, too bad. (It's not fair that creating a show with an original score is much harder than assembling a jukebox musical, but they're both competing for Best Musical.)

    Matt: I would be stunned if BRIDGES doesn't post notice immediately. They are losing SO much money, and wins for Best Score and Best Actress would make literally no impact at the box office.

    Genevieve: With rare exceptions, there are always five nominees in the acting categories and four in the others.

  9. Genevieve1:10 PM

    Ah, thanks - I didn't remember that from prior years, had assumed it was up to 5 for all categories, not just performance categories.

  10. StvMg1:15 PM

    Other people probably know the answer better than I would, but I'm guessing Idina performs on the Tonys anyway. If I recall correctly, there was a Motown performance at last year's Tonys even though the show itself wasn't nominated. And the fact that Idina herself got nominated means it might not seem all that unusual for them to allow a performance slot for a non-nominated musical.

  11. Watchman1264:07 PM

    So has anybody seen Satchmo at the Waldorf? Is it any good? Wife is a big Louis Armstrong fan and we making the once every ten years trip to NYC in a couple of weeks. Wondering if it is worth adding to the agenda.