After much internal debate, I gave in yesterday and saw Nice Work If You Can Get It. I went into it with an open mind, with most people having told me that it was a good show, a cute show, and not that bad, with only one “it was awful” from a good friend. The cast was top-notch: Matthew Broderick, Kelli O’Hara, Judy Kaye, Jennifer Laura Thompson, and Estelle Parsons comprised a majority of the leads. George and Ira Gershwin are American legends, so I knew what the music was going into it. The only thing I didn’t know was the plot. 

I was so terribly bored during the first act. The plot (boy meets girl, they fall for each other, but the boy is already married, and the girl is a con artist) was thin and most of the songs chosen to flesh it out barely moved the plot forward at all. The second act was unquestionably better though, though I can’t pinpoint why. I think it was because I liked the the wrap-up of who everyone was. Also: Judy Kaye gets “drunk” and sings while swinging from a chandelier.

The choreography was very good (though I still think Newsies’ and Evita’s were better) and the company was fantastic. Broderick can still sing and dance with ease, but his acting was phoned in (though it’s not like his character was complex or well-written enough to need any depth). O’Hara sings well and acts her slightly better written character convincingly, but she does better when she’s given better material to work with. Kaye was entertaining in her role and if it weren’t for her easy competition for the TONY this year, I don’t think she’d be a shoe in. But considering that her competition is the star of a show that no one saw and a violinist with two lines, among others, she probably has this one in the bag. Thompson played her usual character that she plays in every show she is cast in (though she does it well), and Parsons is entertaining in her small role. My personal favorite was Chris Sullivan, as Duke Mahoney, a bootlegger. He was vocally talented, and also endearing.

Nice Work will run for a while because of the cast and also because of the baby boomer generation that loves the Gershwins. It has it’s moments, but even with an open mind, it couldn’t win me over. 

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