Tony Picks — Best Costume & Scenic Designs

PicCollage copyWe’ve got nine days — nine whole days! — until the Tony Awards, and we couldn’t be more excited. Ross and I really have to rev up the posting of our picks, so watch for more, more, more in the coming days.

For today, we’ll tackle the costume and set design categories for both plays and musicals. The look and feel of a show can really make or break the experience. These are also categories where we’ll see a lot of the same names over and over (Bob Crowley, anyone?). Here are our picks. Again, these aren’t necessarily predictions. They’re who we’ll be rooting for come Sunday, June 7 (which couldn’t come soon enough!).

Best Costume Design of a Play

The Nominees:
Bob Crowley, The Audience
Jane Greenwood, You Can’t Take It with You
Christopher Oram, Wolf Hall Parts One & Two
David Zinn, Airline Highway

Ross’s Pick: Christopher Oram, Wolf Hall Parts One & Two
Loren’s Pick: Christopher Oram, Wolf Hall Parts One & Two

Loren Says: “Sadly, Ross and I won’t get to see Wolf Hall until after the Tony’s, but everything I’ve seen of Wolf Hall—from their Instagram photos, videos, and promotions—the costumes in this show look lavish and gorgeous. I’m a sucker for period costumes, and the hooker garb from Airline Highway or the shabby-chic look from You Can’t Take It With You just doesn’t do it for me.”

Ross Says: “I just have to agree. Without seeing the show yet, I am going to say that those beautiful costumes that I have seen in the posters are worthy of the Tony. I loved Chita’s costumes in The Visit, but a grande dame in a great dress and some yellow shoes are not quite enough for a Tony.”

Best Costume Design of a Musical

The Nominees:
Gregg Barnes, Something Rotten!
Bob Crowley, An American in Paris
William Ivey Long, On the Twentieth Century
Catherine Zuber, The King and I

Ross’s Pick: Catherine Zuber, The King and I
Loren’s Pick: Catherine Zuber, The King and I

Loren Says: “I am in love with The King and I, partially because of the extraordinary costumes. Kelli O’Hara in a big bold hoop dresses is a gay boy’s dream (there’s a reason Brandon Uranowitz from An American in Paris named her his Tony crush in a recent interview with, though he too is gay). Zuber out did herself with the luxurious fabrics and vibrant colors that make up the clothing of the King’s court. Zuber used historic photos of the King of Siam and the royal family, importing fabrics from Thailand and India, to create this visual treat.”

(Watch Zuber discuss the costumes from The King and I.)

Ross Says: “This show was just so beautiful to look at. The set was a bit stark (except for that glorious first scene), but what made the show, and every scene, were those beautiful intricate costumes from the King, and Kelli, all the way down to every child. Stunning at every level.”

Best Scenic Design of a Play

The Nominees:
Bunny Christie and Finn Ross, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
Bob Crowley, Skylight
Christopher Oram, Wolf Hall Parts One & Two
David Rockwell, You Can’t Take It with You

Ross’s Pick: Bunny Christie and Finn Ross, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
Loren’s Pick: Bob Crowley, Skylight

Loren Says: “All right, you guys. For the scenic categories, I’m going out on a big limb. Skylight as a piece of work is not my favorite. In fact, I was quite bored with the repetitive dialog and the lack of propulsion in the main action. But the set was gorgeous. Taking place in a rundown apartment building in the slums of London, we get an apartment with no walls (well, the walls retract to reveal a walless apartment). The foreground was made up of real furnishings, complete with functioning gas stove. (The actors actually cooked on it. I could smell the spaghetti sauce from my seat.) In the background, we got the backside view of an urban apartment building with shabby windows that lit up as rooms presumably became occupied. We even got the trickle of snow flurries leading up to a full snow fall. I’m on a limb here because The Curious Incident is most likely to take this award, and for good reason. But I’m a fan of Bob Crowley’s work in this show and in An American in Paris (see below), and I’m rooting for him to get two Tonys (maybe three, since he’s also nominated for Paris’ costumes) in one night.”

Ross Says: “My favorite play was Curious Incident… and part of the beauty of it was it’s visuals, and how it used space and props to create such a powerful world, where you really felt like you were inside the head of the main character and how chaotic it was for him to be in this world. The train ride to London and the train track he created spoke volumes to us, and pulled us into his world in a way I never imagined when I read the book and heard it was becoming a play.”

Best Scenic Design of a Musical

The Nominees:
Bob Crowley and 59 Productions, An American in Paris
David Rockwell, On the Twentieth Century
Michael Yeargan, The King and I
David Zinn, Fun Home

Ross’s Pick: David Zinn, Fun Home
Loren’s Pick: Bob Crowley and 59 Productions, An American in Paris

Loren Says: “An American in Paris seriously has one of the most gorgeous sets on Broadway at the moment. I’m tempted here to go with Fun Home, because of its innovation of designing in the round and some of the amazing things they do with trap doors, but I’m sticking with Bob Crowley for the set design categories. Paris never looked more beautiful, with watercolor projections of Paris streets, boats floating along the Seine, and Jerry Mulligan’s sketches come to life against white cutouts. Actors roll set pieces in and out, giving the audience the sense of Parians rebuilding their city after WWII. I absolutely fell in love with the set design from the second scene, set in a Paris tavern, centered around a old piano. I’m a big fan of An American in Paris, and a lot is owed here by the ambiance created through Bob Crowley’s design. Give the man his Tony(s).”

Ross Says: “The intricate stage design of Fun Home kept us fully engaged and captivated in this quiet and heart wrenching musical. it created movement and alternate vantage points as the view we were given kept shifting and new perspectives were given. Lovely and detailed, the house we were invited into became another member of the cast, and a deeper meaning to denial.”

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