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Theatre: 2010 Tony Picks

by Jonathan Warman

Every year, my boyfriend and I look over the Tony nominees and pick our favorites. Not who we think will win, mind you, but whom we would choose if we were Tony voters. Here is a list of whom we would like to win with a guess or two at who will. Enjoy.


Best Play

In the Next Room or the vibrator play

Next Fall

Red

Time Stands Still

Our pick: Red. Playwright John Logan did a tremendous job of capturing how much Art mattered to Modernist painter Mark Rothko. Time Stands Still is as smart and well-written, but not as insightful.


Best Musical

American Idiot

Fela!

Memphis

Million Dollar Quartet

Our pick: Memphis. This is a very good – but not great – show, that in a more competitive season might not capture the prize. This season, however, it is easily the most well-rounded, successful musical. Both American Idiot and Fela! were more ambitious, but neither show quite achieved everything they aimed for.


Best Book of a Musical

Everyday Rapture Dick Scanlan and Sherie Rene Scott

Fela! Jim Lewis & Bill T. Jones

Memphis Joe DiPietro

Million Dollar Quartet Colin Escott and Floyd Mutrux

Our pick: Memphis. Joe DiPietro’s book is inspirational, heart wrenching and devastatingly smart — sometimes all in the same moment. It's not the most tightly plotted show ever, but its emotional arc rings very true.


Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics) Written for the Theatre

The Addams Family Music & Lyrics: Andrew Lippa

Enron Music: Adam Cork, Lyrics: Lucy Prebble

Fences Music: Branford Marsalis

Memphis Music: David Bryan, Lyrics: Joe DiPietro, David Bryan

Our pick: Memphis. David Bryan’s music, while it is more ’60s rock & soul than ’50s r&b, is miles more sophisticated than his work on The Toxic Avenger or anything he did with Bon Jovi. It isn't a very competitive season in this category, with Memphis featuring the only successful musical theatre score of the season.


Best Revival of a Play

Fences

Lend Me a Tenor

The Royal Family

A View from the Bridge

Our pick: A View from the Bridge. The entire production was a class act. It didn’t suddenly become my favorite play by Arthur Miller, but this production was rock-solid, hitting every level of this play and adding a few more.


Best Revival of a Musical

Finian's Rainbow

La Cage aux Folles

A Little Night Music

Ragtime

Our pick: La Cage Aux Folles. I have to say that it’s the most authentic, fun and touching version of this drag-centric story I’ve ever even heard of. From the Chorus of Cagelles on up, a sassy, heartfelt winner.


Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical

Kelsey Grammer, La Cage aux Folles
Sean Hayes, Promises, Promises
Douglas Hodge, La Cage aux Folles
Chad Kimball, Memphis
Sahr Ngaujah, Fela!

Our pick: Douglas Hodge, La Cage aux Folles. I don’t think I’ve seen an Albin that’s as believably a drag diva as the one Hodge gives us. He doesn’t just add a fey layer to the songs he sings, as some Albins do. He sings this line as Piaf, this line as Dietrich. Nagaujah was hot as Fela Kuti, and its very much apples and oranges. Egregiously overlooked: Nathan Lane working his tuchus off in Addams Family.


Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical

Kate Baldwin, Finian's Rainbow
Montego Glover, Memphis
Christiane Noll, Ragtime
Sherie Rene Scott, Everyday Rapture
Catherine Zeta-Jones, A Little Night Music

Our pick: Montego Glover, Memphis. She positively glowed as beautiful, black rhythm and blues singer Felicia. Sherie Rene Scott gets an A for hard work and charisma, and Zeta-Jones was better than anybody expected, but this should be Montego's.

For my complete Tony Picks, see my blog Drama Queen.

 


 






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