My Annual TONY Award Picks

I saw a lot of good theatre this season. Much more than I thought possible. And tonight the Hamilton Tony Awards are on. I saw a lot but I didn’t see everything. I’ll go ahead and say who I think should win and I’ll signify the shows I haven’t seen with a ^. Sound good? Good. 

Best Play – Honestly I have no idea what will win. i only saw two of these and the other two I wasn’t blown away buy. I thought Eclipsed was super powerful though. 

Eclipsed 

The Father^

The Humans

King Charles III^

Best Musical – Obviously Hamilton will win. It would be a huge upset if, say, School of Rock or Waitress won and I’d be 100% okay with that, but yeah, let’s move on. I would say I’m ashamed that I’ve only seen two of the nominated Best Musical nominees, but I’m not. I was very unmotivated to see Bright Star, had no interest in seeing Shuffle Along, and Hamilton was impossible to get tickets to. 

Bright Star^

Hamilton^

School of Rock – The Musical

Shuffle Along…. ^

Waitress

Best Revival of a Play – The only nominee I didn’t see was A View From the Bridge and I always miss that whenever it’s revived, but whatever. I think it will end up being The Crucible and I think that’s just fine. Long Day’s Journey could get it because of Jessica Lange though. Who knows. 

Arthur Miller’s The Crucible

Arthur Miller’s A View from the Bridge^

Blackbird

Long Day’s Journey Into Night

Noises Off

Best Revival of a Musical – This is a total toss up between The Color Purple and Fiddler on the Roof for me. The last incarnations of both productions were just so bad that these were so great by comparison. Spring Awakening was creative but not necessarily worthy of an award. I haven’t seen She Loves Me (yet, going in July) and I hear it’s great, so who knows. I think I’d lovvvvve for Fiddler to get it though. #JewPride

The Color Purple

Fiddler on the Roof

She Loves Me^

Spring Awakening

Best Book of a Musical – Hamilton has no book and since there are only four producers behind Hamilton, hopefully they won’t be able to vote their own way on this one. I can see Bright Star running away with this one (though I haven’t seen it).

Bright Star^

Hamilton^

School of Rock – The Musical

Shuffle Along….^

Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics) Written for the Theatre – I’m, like, 110% sure this going to Hamilton but maybe some voters have a soft spot for Steve Martin, Sarah Bareilles, or Andrew Lloyd Webber. 

Bright Star^

Hamilton^

School of Rock-The Musical

Waitress

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play – I haven’t seen The Father but I have a hunch it’s going to Frank Langella. If not him, I think definitely Gabriel Byrne. 

Gabriel Byrne, Long Day’s Journey Into Night
Jeff Daniels, Blackbird
Frank Langella, The Father^ 
Tim Pigott-Smith, King Charles III^ 
Mark Strong, Arthur Miller’s A View from the Bridge^

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play – I think Jessica Lange has this one locked in, but I could see Lupita Nyong’o or Sophie Okonedo stealing it and upsetting a whole lot of people. 

Jessica Lange, Long Day’s Journey Into Night
Laurie Metcalf, Misery
Lupita Nyong’o, Eclipsed
Sophie Okonedo, Arthur Miller’s The Crucible
Michelle Williams, Blackbird

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical – I think this should definitely go to Danny Burstein, but I’m pretty sure Lin-Manuel or Leslie will take this. 

Alex Brightman, School of Rock-The Musical
Danny Burstein, Fiddler on the Roof
Zachary Levi, She Loves Me^ 
Lin-Manuel Miranda, Hamilton^ 
Leslie Odom, Jr., Hamilton^

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical – I hear Laura Benanti is amazing in She Loves Me, but if anyone but Cynthia Erivo takes this award home, I’ll burning down Times Square.

Laura Benanti, She Loves Me^ 
Carmen Cusack, Bright Star^ 
Cynthia Erivo, The Color Purple
Jessie Mueller, Waitress
Phillipa Soo, Hamilton^

Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play – I hear Reed Birney is locked in and although I didn’t love The Humans off-Broadway, I thought it was really great, as always. 

Reed Birney, The Humans
Bill Camp, Arthur Miller’s The Crucible
David Furr, Noises Off
Richard Goulding, King Charles III^ 
Michael Shannon, Long Day’s Journey Into Night

Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play – I’d love to see Saycon Sengbloh take this but I think Andrea Martin probably will.

Pascale Armand, Eclipsed
Megan Hilty, Noises Off
Jayne Houdyshell, The Humans
Andrea Martin, Noises Off
Saycon Sengbloh, Eclipsed

Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical – I’m pretty sure it’s going to be someone from Hamilton, but Christopher Fitzgerald just totally stole every seen in Waitress. 

Daveed Diggs, Hamilton^ 
Brandon Victor Dixon, Shuffle Along…^
Christopher Fitzgerald, Waitress^ 
Jonathan Groff, Hamilton^ 
Christopher Jackson, Hamilton^

Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical –
I’d love it if Danielle Brooks took this home because she’s a powerhouse, but I think it’ll go to Renee Elise Goldsberry. 

Danielle Brooks, The Color Purple
Renée Elise Goldsberry, Hamilton^ 
Jane Krakowski, She Loves Me^ 
Jennifer Simard, Disaster!^ 
Adrienne Warren, Shuffle Along…^

Best Scenic Design of a Play – I don’t remember Therese Raquin or The Humans having an amazing set, so it will be A View From the Bridge. 

Beowulf Boritt, Thérèse Raquin
Christopher Oram, Hughie^ 
Jan Versweyveld, Arthur Miller’s A View from the Bridge^ 
David Zinn, The Humans

Best Scenic Design of a Musical – Give this one to American Psycho. I know it will probably go to Hamilton because we all now pray at the holy grail of Hamilton, but seriously, that set looks like a wooden version of Taboo’s set, or Rent’s set. 

Es Devlin & Finn Ross, American Psycho
David Korins, Hamilton^ 
Santo Loquasto, Shuffle Along…^
David Rockwell, She Loves Me^

Best Costume Design of a Play – I think Noises Off could get this. The set was really well designed and versatile. 

Jane Greenwood, Long Day’s Journey Into Night
Michael Krass, Noises Off
Clint Ramos, Eclipsed
Tom Scutt, King Charles III^

Best Costume Design of a Musical – I see Hamilton taking this even though they’re just re-purposing Felicity’s wardrobe from the American Girl Dolls collection. But whatever.

Gregg Barnes, Tuck Everlasting
Jeff Mahshie, She Loves Me^ 
Ann Roth, Shuffle Along^
Paul Tazewell, Hamilton^

Best Lighting Design of a Play – The lighting was ace for Long Day’s Journey and The Crucible. I hope Crucible takes it.

Natasha Katz, Long Day’s Journey Into Night
Justin Townsend, The Humans
Jan Versweyveld, Arthur Miller’s The Crucible
Jan Versweyveld, Arthur Miller’s A View from the Bridge^

Best Lighting Design of a Musical – Seriously, again, give it to American Psycho. That’s all I ask of you. 

Howell Binkley, Hamilton^ 
Jules Fisher & Peggy Eisenhauer, Shuffle Along…^
Ben Stanton, Spring Awakening
Justin Townsend, American Psycho

Best Direction of a Play – Please give this one to Jonathan Kent just because Long Day’s Journey is such a beast. 

Rupert Goold, King Charles III^ 
Jonathan Kent, Long Day’s Journey Into Night
Joe Mantello, The Humans
Liesl Tommy, Eclipsed
Ivo Van Hove, Arthur Miller’s A View from the Bridge^

Best Direction of a Musical – Michael Arden definitely deserves it for his originality but it’ll go to Hamilton.

Michael Arden, Spring Awakening
John Doyle, The Color Purple
Scott Ellis, She Loves Me^ 
Thomas Kail, Hamilton^
George C. Wolfe, Shuffle Along….^

Best Choreography – I would love to see Fiddler take this home, but Hamilton will get it. 

Andy Blankenbuehler, Hamilton^ 
Savion Glover, Shuffle Along…^
Hofesh Shechter, Fiddler on the Roof
Randy Skinner, Dames at Sea^ 
Sergio Trujillo, On Your Feet! The Story of Emilio and Gloria Estefan^

Best Orchestrations – Hamilton will definitely take this.

August Eriksmoen, Bright Star^ 
Larry Hochman, She Loves Me^ 
Alex Lacamoire, Hamilton^ 
Daryl Waters, Shuffle Along…^

So, overall, there was a lot I didn’t see, but it was because some of this season didn’t seem all that appealing. Maybe some of the performances tonight will change my mind. I remember how unbelievably boring the 2002 and 2003 Tony Awards were when The Producers and Hairspray took most of the awards in each of their years and those years are always the worst.

Hopefully the Tony voters did the right thing and voted for what was best, not what’s most popular. Happy watching!

I am nobody’s mother, but I am somebody.

On Tuesday night, @endotique met me (at the last possible minute, goddamn you, traffic; she literally got to the seat as the lights were going down!) to see new revival of The Color Purple. I saw the original production some years ago and I literally remembered nothing about it. LaChanze was in it, sure, but I don’t even remember her performance. I remember that Oprah was a producer and it didn’t do well – that’s about it. 

I think it’s safe to say that I will definitely remember this production.

The stage is very bare and has a semi-Our Town feel to it – in the sense that part of the first act has the characters that aren’t in the scene sitting onstage and watching. 

The elevator pitch for the show is it’s about two sisters, Celie and Netty, who live in Georgia and are separated when Celie is “given” to man by her step-father (who had been raping her since she was 12) to marry and basically be his slave. The new husband is abusive and doesn’t allow her to have contact with her sister at all. The Color Purple is about Celie’s journey to find her sister and her independence. Or at least a life that doesn’t include and daily rapings and beatings. 

Spoiler alert: There’s a happy ending.

The score is beautiful and I really enjoyed the direction (finally, John Doyle, you did something right!). The choreography is really excellent, too. But the stars of this show are Cynthia Erivo, Danielle Brooks, and Heather Headley. 

Cynthia Erivo was Celie and she has a voice you wouldn’t believe. She earned a standing ovation after one of her big songs in the second act. I’d be surprised if she talks at all when she’s not onstage. Give this woman the Tony Award ASAP.

Danielle Brooks, aka Tasty from Orange is the New Black (who I totally didn’t know was in this and it was a fantastic surprise), was Sophia, a woman in their small town who doesn’t take shit from her husband or any one else. Brooks has a killer voice and she’s a great actress. She helps encourage Erivo to leave her abusive husband.

And then there’s Heather Headley (who recently replace Jennifer Hudson, who, honestly, I could not care less about no matter how talented she is) as a famous singer named Shug Avery. Avery used to be in a relationship with Celie’s abusive husband and later becomes another advocate, and love interest, for Celie. I haven’t seen Heather Headley onstage since AIDA and I was so excited to be witness to her greatness again. She didn’t disappoint. She sounded great, she looked great, and her acting was, as far as I could tell, spot on.  

I could go and name the rest of the cast as they were all wonderfully talented with gorgeous voices, but you can go to IBDB for that. We stood as soon as the curtain call began and didn’t sit again. I enjoyed this show so much more than I thought I would and I’m so glad I gave it a second chance. 

The original production was a joke in comparison. Don’t hold it against this production because it’s 100% better.