So, the Drama Desk Awards were last night (read the the list of winners here). Can someone please tell me how the above makes sense if Once didn’t also win Best Music? Usually the show with the best orchestrations, lyrics, and who is awarded with Outstanding Musical usually also has the Best Music.

Anyone else confused?

Let’s hope the above is an indication as to who will win the Tonys this Sunday. Once wasn’t eligible for be nominated for Best Score for this committee, but their orchestrations and book sure were.  I suppose I need to watch the movie again because I don’t remember most of the music that was in the show being in the movie as well. The movie put me to sleep, so I could’ve been unconscious for the duration of most of it.

It’s between Once and Newsies for Best Musical at the Tonys, so I’m crossing my fingers that Once wins this award as well.

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

Outer Critics Circle Winners Announced; Once and One Man, Two Guvnors Are Top Winners

The winners for the various awards are starting to be announced and that means speculation as to what it means to shows who are up for TONY Awards. 

Once won for Outstanding New Broadway Musical, so I’m crossing my fingers for it’s chances increasing at the TONYs. It also won for Best Book, while Newsies won for Best New Score – but that’s only because Once wasn’t eligible to be nominated for Best New Score. Newsies took the award for choreography, as it should, and Spider-man even picked up two awards for Best Set and Best Costume Designs, which it was definitely deserving of. Ghost won for Best Lighting, which made me very excited as it’s been snubbed for the last spot in the Best Musical category when it didn’t deserve it by any means. Ghost’s lighting is brilliant too.

Danny Burstein won for his performance in Follies in the Outstanding Actor in a Musical category. Having seen this performance, he was quite deserving of this. I’m not sure if he’ll take the TONY though. The buzz has been around Steve Kazee for his performance in Once. If he won the award it would be an outstanding surprise to me, personally, as I thought he’d be the one replaced with a name for the transfer to Broadway.

Before I forget to mention: One Man, Two Guvnors won for Outstanding New Broadway Play, Death of a Salesman won for Outstanding Revival of a Play, and Follies won for Outstanding Revival of a Musical. Will this be the blueprint for the Drama Desk and TONY Awards? Only time will tell…

Outer Critics Circle Winners Announced; Once and One Man, Two Guvnors Are Top Winners

I’d watched Newsies, the movie, once a few months ago. It was OK. To be honest, I didn’t truly understand the hype, but I still wanted to see the stage version which everyone was going insane over at Papermill last year and now again on Broadway. Newsies is about a group of newsies, the paperboys, form a union after the newspaper publishers unexpectedly and unfairly raise their prices. 

The story is engaging but probably not as much if the cast wasn’t as top-notch. Jeremy Jordan is sexy and charming as the head of the newsies union Jack Kelly, and his love interest and biggest cheerleader Katherine, played by Kara Lindsay, is absolutely lovely and has a beautiful voice. Jon Dossett is evil and conniving as the head of the newspaper with questionable practices, Pulitzer. Andrew Keenan-Bolger and Ben Frankhauser are continuously entertaining as Crutchie and Davey, newsie confidants of Jack Kelly.

It’s very unique for an audience to have such high energy before a show begins. I experienced this only when working at Mamma Mia back in 2008 where every single person, practically, was so excited to be seeing that show. Well, Newsies is also a show like that. The amount of screaming after each song was loud, and at some points almost deafening. It was annoying at first, but in the end, it energized the cast even more and so we, the audience, were given a better performance. 

The set is incredibly simple, but intricate to look at and I’m rendered speechless when trying to find a way to describe it. Newsies is hands-down going to win the TONY Award for Best Choreography. The other nominees can just go home (yes, even though they’ve yet to be announced). The ensemble work their asses off and give 100% in every number. 

I’m not converted to a Newsies groupie by any means, but the show is a lot of fun. And who could say they don’t like looking at Jeremy Jordan for two and a half hours? You’d have to be crazy to not enjoy that.