Tony Picks — Best Book & Score of a Musical

fun-homeWithout a score and lyrics, a musical would be, well, a play. This past season we were treated to some extraordinary new musicals — from the hilarious Something Rotten! to the sad yet endearing Fun Home. It’s no surprise that Ross and I agree in this category that there is one show that is head and shoulders above the others. Whether it will actually win the awards (it’s a question of commercial viability versus high art) is a different question.

With eight days to go until the Tony Awards, here are our picks for Best Book of a Musical and Best Original Score. Let us know what you think.

Best Book of a Musical

The Nominees:
An American in Paris, Craig Lucas
Fun Home, Lisa Kron
Something Rotten!, Karey Kirkpatrick and John O’Farrell
The Visit, Terrence McNally

Loren’s Pick: Fun Home, Lisa Kron
Ross’s Pick: Fun Home, Lisa Kron

Loren Says: “Lisa Kron uses Alison Bechdel’s extraordinary graphic novel as the source material for the story of Fun Home. But she does a lot conflating and re-imagining in order to make the story work on stage. Take, for instance, the compelling moment in “Ring of Keys,” where the younger Alison (Sydney Lucas) sees herself in an “old school butch” delivery woman. The moment never happens in the book, but it’s invented here as a moving scene that pushes this story toward its devastating conclusion. Fun Home‘s book is filled with these funny, poignant and moving scenes, and it’s the best story on Broadway at the moment. Bravo, Lisa Kron.”

Ross Says: “This is by far the best story being told on Broadway at the moment, musical or otherwise. There is a chance it may lose in the Best Musical category simply for its lesser commercial viability, but this category should make up for the other possible (but hopefully not) slight.”

Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics) Written for the Theatre

The Nominees:
Fun Home (Music: Jeanine Tesori; Lyrics: Lisa Kron)
The Last Ship (Music & Lyrics: Sting)
Something Rotten! (Music & Lyrics: Wayne Kirkpatrick and Karey Kirkpatrick)
The Visit (Music: John Kander; Lyrics: Fred Ebb)

Loren’s Pick: Fun Home, (Music: Jeanine Tesori; Lyrics: Lisa Kron)
Ross’s Pick: Fun Home (Music: Jeanine Tesori; Lyrics: Lisa Kron)

Loren Says: “This is a song-writing duo that I suspect we will hear move of in the future. Fun Home‘s score is unlike anything you’ve heard before. Relying on a small group of musicians, the score is filled with the sounds of string and wind instruments, giving Fun Home a dream-like quality. And it works, as the main character Alison seems to floats through her own memories to uncover the mystery of her father. Kron’s lyrics are at once searing and keen: these words have been carefully chosen to create this devastating portrait of a family.”

Ross Says: “If this blog was about our predictions, I’d probably place my money on Something Rotten!, as the lyrics are the best and funniest part of this big commercial musical. And I wouldn’t be bothered, as I hope it does win a few so it has a long healthy run, but this blog is more about our picks, or how I see it, who I would vote for, if I had a say. That vote would go to Fun Home, this small intimate but beautifully emotional piece of theatre. I was drawn in and held captive, and the music and lyrics were the tools. That’s what great theatre is to me: emotionally kidnapping.”

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