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Let the Tony jockeying begin.


I know the Tony committee will meet today to determine whether Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill is a Play or a Musical. (Outer Critics Circle and Drama League both determined it a Musical.) They will also determine whether Violet, Hedwig, and Lady Day will qualify as "New" productions or revivals. And finally they will determine into which categories performers can be nominated...used to be ONLY names above a show's title could qualify as LEAD roles, and all others were FEATURED.


My thoughts? (And that's just what this is...my musings...) I think there will be some horse races this year...


Only the leading men this year seem to be givens: Neal Patrick Harris and Bryan Cranston. For musicals, I know Jefferson Mayes will be nominated, will his co-star Bryce Pinkham? I HOPE Andy Karl will be. Will the nominating committee forget Norbert Leo Butz's amazing turn in Big Fish? Most assuredly they'll forget Zachary Levi's charming Broadway debut in First Date. And seemingly only Kelli O'Hara is getting buzz for Bridges of Madison County, but Stephen Pasquale does a terrific job.


And while Zach Braff in Bullets gets the final bow and has the highest TV-Q of the cast, he certainly doesn't carry the show. Whereas Adam Jacobs really carries the show in Aladdin, I suspect the nominating committee will just shake their heads and say "It's Aladdin." And Eric Anderson's efforts in Soul Doctor??? Anyone??? (Alan Cumming, who won for this role in the earlier presentation of this production is not eligible.)


Best Actress in a Play and Musical cannot even be discussed until committee decides which category Lady Day will fit into. If a Play (which I suspect, since it's about a Musical woman, who only sings songs in the character's repertoire, like the Judy Garland show two years ago,) then the musical actress category will be wide open for a four-way marathon between Sutton Foster in Violet, Jessie Mueller in Beautiful, Adina Menzel in If/Then, and Kelli O'Hara in Bridges.


I don't think Michelle Williams will win for Cabaret like her predecessor Natasha Richardson, but perhaps she'll be nominated.


And in an interesting contradiction to my earlier argument about musicals and plays...A Night with Janis Joplin was deemed a musical, and Mary Bridget Davies would be eligible (and I would make her the fifth nominee) in this category.


Interesting that so many shows don't have "leading" roles for the women this year. Aladdin's Jasmine, Rocky's Adrienne, neither of the powerhouse ladies in Gentlemen's Guide, nor the four ladies in Bullets over Broadway are leads. (At least I didn't think so...although the producers of Bullets may be trying to argue otherwise.)


In leading roles for Plays...in addition to Mr. Cranston, there are a lot of possibilities. Looking back to the early part of the season...will Zachary Quinto make the list this year for Glass Menagerie, or was he too overshadowed by Cherry Jones? I'd love to see Roger Rees be nominated for The Winslow Boy.


I don't think the MAJOR box office stars from Betrayal will be listed, but the committee sometimes nominates big names just get draw audience. (Although there isn't a shortage of big names this year, so no chance for Ethan Hawke's Macbeth or Orlando Bloom's Romeo. LOL)


It will be interesting to see if Mark Rylance is nominated as Richard III, assuredly a leading role...or for Olivia in Twelfe Night, which should be considered Featured, shouldn't it? (But then...I think his name is above the title.) I think I would nominate Samuel Barnett though, who was Viola/Cesario.


Denzel got raves...(I haven't seen it), but will he be nominated? The Outer Critics ignored him. And they ignored Daniel Radcliffe who got great reviews in Cripple of Inishmaan. (And the Tony committee has egregiously ignored him twice before, for Equus, in which he was terrific...and for How to Succeed, for which not only should he have been nominated, but should have won. (IMHO.) (For those who are curious, it went to Norbert Leo Butz in Catch Me if You Can.)


Michael C. Hall and Tracey Letts are both above the title in Realistic Joneses, but did of you see that?


What about Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen in their repertory roles this winter?


And James Franco probably won't get the love from the committee because although I thought he was terrific, he's...James Franco. I wouldn't mind Chris O'Dowd getting a nod though.


Brian F. O'Byrne was in Outside Mullingar, but it was a romantic comedy...(and it's closed.) But the Outer Critics Circle remembered him.


Tony Shalhoub or Santino Fontana in Act One? Patrick Page in Casa Valentina? (I might nominate him for Featured Actor from Time to Kill...he was tremendous.) Stephen Spinella for Velocity of Autumn? Lots of choices.


Leading Actresses in Plays: Again, if Lady Day is a Play (and I think it will be), Audra.


Audra. Audra. Audra.


And Cherry Jones, whom I suspect is her only real competition. (And since Glass Menagerie is closed, we can probably give Audra her sixth Tony, making her the only actress to win in all four acting categories.)


The other nominees? If they don't remember how stunning Rebecca Hall was in Machinal, there's no hope. I think Tyne Daly is a given for Mothers and Sons. And Estelle Parsons got great notices for Velocity of Autumn...(I don't see it for a couple weeks.) I suspect they won't even blink at Condola Raschad in Romeo and Juliet, or Mary Louise Parker in Snow Geese or Rachel Weisz in Betrayal. Any chance for Debra Messing in Outside Mulligar?




So to recap...(did anyone get this far?????)


If it was all up to me:


Lead Actor/Musical: Butz/Harris/Karl/Mayes/Pinkham


Lead Actress/Musical: Davies/Foster/Menzel/Mueller/O'Hara


Lead Actor/Play: Barnett/Cranston/O'Dowd/Radcliffe/Rees - (didn't see Washington...)


Lead Actress/Play: Daly/Hall/Jones/MacDonald/Parsons


Musings on Featured roles/nominations to come. That's gonna be nuts!!!!

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Part Two!


Musings on the Featured performances in time for Tony nominations.


What an embarrassment of riches.




I suspect that the gent's award is James Monroe Inglehart's to lose. He steals the show as Aladdin's genie. But since "Tony Nominee" in one's bio is always a good thing, it's interesting to surmise who will have that honor.


Going back to last summer, the supporting casts of First Date and Soul Doctor haven't stayed with me, but I loved Kate Baldwin in Big Fish...although not Bobby Steggert...but that was because of his character, I suspect.


I loved both the women in Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder: Lisa O'Hare who plays the ruthless Sybella and Lauren Worsham as the sweet Phoebe.


I think that Jarrod Spector and Anika Larson are both sensational in Beautiful.


I have to suspect that mousey Adrienne in Rocky won't capture Margo Seibert any notice (but I loved her), but Terrence Archie was pretty powerful as Apollo Creed.


There's a turntable of names in Les Mis...even if there isn't a turntable. Will Swenson, Nikki James, Caissie Levy, Seala Kettle...but I suspect that this revival may be overlooked completely in the performance categories. (Still, it's almost guaranteed a Best Revival nomination, so we'll see some of it on the Tonys.)


Bullets Over Broadway also has a slew of great Featured performances: Nick Cordero, Betsy Wolfe, Marin Mazzie, Helene Yorke, even Brooks Ashmanskas and Karen Ziemba are great fun in their fairly one-dimensional roles.


Violet's Joshua Henry is wonderful...but is he more wonderful that Colin Donnell?


And will After Midnight's Fantasia get a nod for singing four songs for twelve weeks? Adriane Lenox soars in her two numbers....


Will Lena Hall's Yitzhak be completely overshadowed by Neil Patrick Harris' Hedwig?


LaChanze makes a huge impression in If/Then, and I loved Linda Emond and Danny Burstein in Cabaret (I want him to win a Tony one of these years.)


Musical recap:


Gents: Burstein/Cordero/Henry/Inglehart/Spector


The ladies is a much tougher call...and I can't call a winner at this point. Have to wait to see who actually gets nominated. Cabaret just opened last night...will certainly be more on the nominating committee's mind than Gent's Guide, or even Bullets. And will the reviews which were pretty mixed for Bullets make it a tougher choice?


In a weaker season I'd nominate Caissie Levy's Fantine in a heartbeat, but I think I have to go with:





The plays are even more chock-full of excellent performers, particularly among the men.


I know that the nominating committee will have plenty of great choices on their minds in shows that are more recent, but I did think Chuck Cooper was pretty terrific as Lord Capulet in Romeo and Juliet.


I don't think that either Snow Geese or Bronx Bombers will elicit any attention, but there were several terrific performances by featured players in Macbeth. (Or were they just comparatively terrific, since I found Ethan Hawke so lackluster?) I thought that Brian Darcy-James and Daniel Sunjata were both exceptional. (And I have always wished that the Tonys had an ensemble award for either an entire cast, or a small cohesive group within a cast...in this case the three witches: John Glover, Malcolm Getz and Byron Jennings.)


Glass Menagerie had great reviews, but they were in September, and the show's been closed since January. I thought both Celia Keenan-Bolger and Brian Smith were worthy of notice by the committee.


Winslow Boy was a wonderful evening of theater...and I would definitely nominate Alessandro Nivola, and would certainly consider Charlotte Parry.


The Shakespeare plays were both full of great performances, and thought Stephen Frye as Malvolio and Paul Chahidi as Maria in Twelfth Night were awesome.


Were Shuler Hensley and Billy Crudup completely overshadowed by McKellan and Stewart in No Man's Land and Godot?


Outside Mullingar's Dearbla Malloy and Peter Maloney both got great mention in Outside Mullingar.


I thought that Brandon J. Dirden as MLK Jr. was exceptional in All the Way.


And the women in Raisin in the Sun, in addition to cross the board strong reviews, are getting a lot of publicity right now. (I still haven't seen it, but Sophie Okonedo and LaTanya Richardson Jackson are both names that are being bandied about.)


The four leads of Realistic Joneses are all above the title, and I think Rebecca Hall was the only one in Machinal who will be considered...


Of Mice and Men featured another attention-getting turn by Jim Norton, and Andrea Martin was notable in Act One.


And while I haven't seen it yet, Reed Birney, Patrick Page, and Tom McGowan are getting good word of mouth in Casa Valentina, as is Mare Winningham.


My choices for nominees would be:


Keenan-Bolger/Malloy/Martin/ and either two of the ladies from Raisin or one of them and Mare Winningham.)


Chahidi/Dirden/Nivola/Smith and one of the gents from Casa Valentina.



Nominations are tomorrow morning at 8:30 a.m., and will shown live on NY1. I'll be watching!!!

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