and the winner is…

The New York Times critics released their picks for the Tonys quite early (so it seemed) which also included who they thought were snubbed. These are always fun to read.

I’ve seen almost all of the best musical/play nominees, except for Nice Work If You Can Get It which I still have yet to decide whether or not I want to pay nearly $40 to see it. Gershwin is an American legend, but he’s not anywhere near the top of my list of favorite  composers. So everyone’s anticipation can be put to rest, as I now present to you with my opinions on who was nominated, who I think should win, and who I think was tragically overlooked.

Best Musical: The nominees include Once, NewsiesLeap of Faith, and Nice Work If You Can Get It. Who do I think should win? Once. It is an artistic masterpiece. It is visually stunning, emotionally moving, and the score is one of the best out there. What will win? If Once doesn’t get it, Newsies most certainly will. It has a worthy opponent, but there’s something about Once that strikes a deeper chord with me. I think it’s more universal, plus it needs the win to do well on tour. What should’ve been nominated? Hands down: GhostGhost is visually stunning and I was never bored for one minute of the two and a half hours. Leap of Faith was, with all due respect, a visually horrendous bore. 

Best Play: This category is going to be tough. Each nominee is fantastic: Clybourne ParkVenus in FurPeter and the Starcatcher, and Other Desert Cities. My first instinct is to say that Clybourne Park will take this one, but there is a chance that Other Desert Cities or possibly Peter and the Starcatcher might slide in. Although I absolutely loved Venus in Fur, I don’t think it has touring potential and it’s a limited run, so the award wouldn’t help it in any way. What should have been nominated was The Lyons. I find this show hilarious but maybe not all of the nominating committee has had a Jewish grandmother before. Or Theresa Rebeck’s Seminar definitely deserved a nod as well. (This snubbing was, I think, her punishment for writing Smash.)

Best Book of a Musical: The nominees are Lysistrata JonesOnceNice Work If You Can Get It, and Newsies. Given that Once and Newsies aren’t original books, so to speak, I’m going say that Lysistrata Jones has a pretty good chance of snagging this one much to everyone’s surprise. Is their book the best? No, not at all. The show didn’t work very well on Broadway. Or Newsies could very well start sweeping the awards and take this as well. What should have been nominated? Bonnie and Clyde. Sue me, but I really enjoyed that show and I thought the book was engaging the entire time. 

Best Original Score: The nominees are Bonnie and ClydeOne Man, Two Guv’norsNewsies, and Peter and the Starcatcher. I would love for Bonnie and Clyde to take this one, but it never will because the voters hate Wildhorn too much.  Newsies will probably sweep it because the other two are plays and that would be kind of sad for a play to take Best Original Score. (Though the score in One Man, Two Guv’nors was quite good.) What should have been nominated? Wonderland. (No, just kidding!) I don’t think there were any other truly memorable great scores written in the past season. I don’t remember the music to Lysistrata Jones. But part of me remembers a lot of the music from Newsies being in the movie too, and in that case, Once should also have been able to be nominated for Best Original Score.    

Best Revival of a Play: The nominees include Death of a SalesmanThe Best ManWit, and Master Class. First a huge congratulations is in order to MTC for scoring two nominations in this category. Each one of these nominees was a pleasure to sit through (though you never quite believed that Cynthia Nixon was a scholar in Wit), but I’m going to say that Death of a Salesman gets this one, if the voters don’t decide to be total star-fuckers for ratings and award The Best Man instead. Although there are a fair number of stars in Salesman too, but I just thought Salesman was better than The Best Man. I don’t think there were any shows that should’ve been nominated in this category. 

Best Revival of a Musical: The nominees this year are EvitaFolliesThe Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess, and Jesus Christ Superstar.  Jesus Christ Superstar and Follies were my favorites this year, and I’m going to put my money on Follies winning. It was a favorite this year, but Porgy and Bess was also a beautiful production, though it bored me to tears, and I could see it sneaking in from behind and taking the award.

Alright, the rest of these will be short…. Click through!

Best Performance By an Actor in a Leading Role in a PlayWill win: Philip Seymour Hoffman (Death of a Salesman). Should win: James Corden (One Man, Two Guv’nors). [Really, I’m okay with either one winning.]

Best Performance By an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play: Will win: Nina Arianda (Venus in Fur). Should win: Nina Arianda (Venus in Fur). [Again, all of these nominees were memorable and fantastic, but you just have to see Arianda’s performance to believe it.]

Best Performance By an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical: Will/should win: Danny Burstein (Follies). If you saw him in this show, you’ll know that’s true. I also thought Jeremy Jordan (Newsies) was fantastic. 

Best Performance By an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical: I think this is a toss up between Jan Maxwell (Follies) and Audra McDonald (Porgy and Bess). I hope it’s Maxwell’s year, finally. Cristin Milioti (Once) could sneak through and win though because her performance is so heartbreaking. 

Best Performance By an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play: I think Christian Borle (Peter and the Starcatcher) should win, but if the voters are starf*ckers, Andrew Garfield (Death of a Salesman) might win instead. 

Best Performance By an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play: I think Judith Light (Other Desert Cities) or Linda Edmond (Death of a Salesman) will walk away with this award, but I’d love to see Spencer Kayden (Don’t Dress For Dinner) or Celia Keenan Bolger (Peter and the Starcatcher) win this. 

Best Performance By an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical: David Alan Grier (Porgy and Bess) or Michael Cerveris (Evita) will take this one, but I’d love to see Josh Young (Jesus Christ Superstar) run away with it. His Judas is brilliantly sung and acted. 

Best Performance By an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical: This is a toss-up, I believe, between Judy Kaye (Nice Work..) and Jessie Mueller (On A Clear Day..). I didn’t see either of these two women perform, but I heard that they were both brilliant. 

Best Direction of a Play: Roger Rees and Alex Timbers (Peter and the Starcatcher) will hopefully take this. Their direction is original and innovative. Mike Nichols (Death of a Salesman) could pull through though. 

Best Direction of a Musical: I hope John Tiffany wins for Once, though I won’t be surprised if Jeff Calhoun takes it for Newsies

Best Choreography: Everyone else can go home, Christopher Gattelli for Newsies will take this one. 

Best OrchestrationsWill win: Danny Troob (Newsies). Should win: Martin Lowe (Once).

Best Scenic Design of a Play: Daniel Ostling (Clybourne Park) better win this. The transformation between the first and second acts is amazing. I know a lot of people are going to say Donyale Werle (Peter and the Starcatcher) should win because his idea for the set was so innovative, but it was also extremely minimal and there wasn’t much a set designed. 

Best Scenic Design of a Musical: I hope George Tsypin (Ghost) takes this. His set was visually stunning, but I won’t be surprised if Tobin Ost and Sven Ortel (Newsies) win either. 

Best Costume Design of a Play: William Ivey Long’s (Don’t Dress For Dinner) costumes stand out the most over the other nominees, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Paloma Young (Peter and the Starcatcher) wins.

Best Costume Design of a Musical: If the voters will award any award to Spider-man, I believe it will be this one to Elko Ishioka. The costumes are pretty out there. If not, I’m predicting Gregg Barnes will win it for his gorgeous work in Follies.

Best Lighting Design of a Play: Jeff Croiter (Peter and the Starcatcher) better take this one. If not, Brian McDevitt (Death of a Salesman) is a strong contender as well.

Best Lighting Design of a Musical: I believe Natasha Katz (Follies) would still have a good chance if it were still open – I’m pretty sure the lighting was quite haunting – but it’s not, so I’m putting my money on Hugh Vanstone (Ghost) or Natasha Katz (Once).

Best Sound Design of a Play: I didn’t notice the sound design being remarkable for any of the nominees, but I’ll say Darron L. West (Peter and the Starcatcher) will win this one.

Best Sound Design of a Musical: This is a toss-up for me between Clive Goodwin (Once) and Kai Harada (Follies), and I really have no idea which way the critics will go. 

There’s my long-winded prediction for the winners this year. Who do you think will win?

photo credit: me

The part in which I eat my metaphorical hat.

Remember when I wrote about the sad plight of Bonnie and Clyde closing on December 30th and I was going to try to see it this week? Well, my friend and I scored rush tickets (awesome seats: orchestra, J 5 & 7) for last night’s performance. He’d seen it once before and loves Wildhorn, so he found ways to enjoy it. One of my friend’s had told me “it’s not that bad,” but I tried to go in with an open mind (but I was really expecting to be bored – as I am at most Wildhorn shows).

Well, I’m perplexed, but happy, to say that I thoroughly enjoyed myself. I knew extremely little about Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow as real people before seeing the show (admittedly, I barely knew they were real people) but I was completely enthralled once it turned out that this was a history lesson (I’m a sucker for things like that) as well as a musical.

The score is great, save for a couple of songs in the second act (especially Made in America – they were proud, but I had no idea why). For the most part, it’s Wildhorn with an edge. The songs that the priest sang were a little annoying at times, but I got through it. Oddly enough, Jeremy Jordan didn’t win me over until he sang “Raise A Little Hell” during Act 1 but after that, I was hooked. Laura Osnes was great as Bonnie too. This was, at the core, a love story of two people who were so passionate and in love that they’d do anything to be together – a plot I did not expect to be singing.

Louis Hobson, from Next To Normal, has a couple of great songs and he really gets to show off his voice. I didn’t care for him, or his character, much otherwise though. Kelsey Fowler and and Talon Ackerman as Young Bonnie and Young Clyde are both immensely talented and were a pleasure to watch onstage. Claybourne Elder, who I’d seen in One Arm earlier this season, was my favorite supporting character. He’s a great actor and has a fantastic voice. 

The set was in the middle of being neat and simple. Furniture moves on and off automatically, and the center piece of the back of the set moves up and down, but otherwise, they make a lot of use out of one  consistent set.  

Between Bonnie and Clyde and Wonderland, this was definitely the better of Wildhorn’s two attempts at Broadway this year. It boggles my mind that certain shows doing an average ticket price of $25 haven’t posted closing yet, but this had it’s life cut so short. If you can catch B&C before it closes on December 30th, you should.

Bang! Broadway’s Bonnie & Clyde Will Close Dec. 30

And the first show of the 2011-2012 theatre season bites the dust (at least I’m pretty sure, someone correct me if I’m wrong). This is Frank Wildhorn’s second flop in a single year, and his fifth consecutive flop on Broadway.

Bonnie and Clyde spent years in development, or at least it seemed like we were hearing about it for years. I’d heard pretty good things about it out of town. Then it came to New York and word of mouth slowly started to take a turn for the worse. I declined an opportunity to help a friend raise money for the show, which he ended up declining altogether too (which he’s now happy he did), and I’m glad I did – duh. I absolutely wasn’t at all excited about it and how can you raise money for a show when you have no enthusiasm about it? You can’t. Unless you’re just very smooth – which I am not, yet.

In addition to Bonnie and Clyde, Frank Wildhorn has had Wonderland, The Civil War, Jekyll and Hyde, and The Scarlet Pimpernel on Broadway in the last decade or so, and I’ve seen them all (save for The Civil War). 

The verdict? Wildhorn can write one hell of a score. I mean, really gorgeous. How many times have you heard This Is The Moment (from Jekyll and Hyde) in the past? Yeah. That song is basically a classic. I did however doze of for a moment during Jekyll and Hyde because the book was awful and boring (I was also 9 or 10 at the time). I remember the same thing about The Scarlet Pimpernel. Great score! – but boring show.

Lest we forget Wonderland – this was a concept that had such potential and a couple of great songs. I think it could’ve been the next Wicked. If it had been good (or decent, because a lot of people don’t really like Wicked and consider it poorly written as well). The show, I heard, had a bunch of inexperienced producers behind it though (from Florida, where it had it’s out of town try out) who didn’t realize the massive amount of work that needed to be done on it. 

I wonder what Wildhorn’s next show will be. Maybe he’ll hire a new collaborator to stop another bomb from being produced. But now it’s the rush of all theatre flop-junkies (yours truly included) to see this seasons first huge flop before it closes and goes down as another to-be-written chapter in an updated version of Not Since Carrie.

I’ll be there, hopefully, on Tuesday night. Or maybe not hopefully? Nah, I think hopefully is the right word.

Bang! Broadway’s Bonnie & Clyde Will Close Dec. 30