Tony Picks — Best Musical, Play and Revivals

630231_US-Tony-Nominations.JPEG-00We’re just hours away from Tony night and the Front Mezz Junkies could not be more excited. We’ve reached the point where we get to share our picks for the big awards of the night: Best Play, Best Musical and Best Revivals.

You’ll find a lot of agreement below between Ross and I. So we’d like to welcome a fellow theater junkie, Nick Lipin, to share his picks along with us. We trust his taste and we were happy to have another set of views in our back-and-forth.

The high point of the night will obviously be the big Best Musical category (The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is almost guaranteed to win AnAmericanInParis1_MatthewMurphyjpegBest Play). The race is tight here, with both Fun Home and An American in Paris tied at 12 nominations. All the pundits and in-the-know watchers are giving the edge to An American in Paris, but then again, remember 2004 when Wicked looked to have the advantage over Avenue Q? Of course, as Nick will tell you, don’t count out Something Rotten! This show is hilarious and well-designed—an epic upset could be in the making. This is a nail biter ’til the end, folks.

Let us know what you think. And Happy Tony Night, everyone! May all your picks come true. (it’s the day after the Tony’s now, and I’m adding a star beside the winner)

Best Revival of a Play

The Nominees:
The Elephant Man
This is Our Youth
You Can’t Take it with You

Ross’s Pick: You Can’t Take it with You
Loren’s Pick: This is Our Youth

Ross Says: “It’s a strange batch of play revivals this year; all very star studded and impeccably done, but somehow the starrier two, The Elephant Man and Skylight, left me a bit cold and detached. This Is Our Youth did feel alive and engaging, but my vote goes to that kooky old play, You Can’t Take it with You. Everyone in that sensational cast seemed to fully commit to giving us the time of our lives, by treating us to fully realized lovely characters, and trusted in this play to take care of them, and thoroughly entertain us.”

Loren Says: “I totally agree with Ross on this one, and if I were a betting man, I’d put my money on You Can’t Take it With You. The show was tight and hilarious, with a scene-stealing Annaleigh Ashford. But my personal favorite among the revivals is Kenneth Lonnergan’s This is Our Youth. The all-star cast—Michael Cera and Keiran Culkin, along with YouTube sensation Tavi Gevinson—delivered an awkward and sufficiently funny performance. Youth is also one of Lonnergan’s best works, consisting of laugh-out-loud dialog, youthful angst and dead-end college kids trying to figure out adulthood. All the real action happens in the background—it’s less about what’s happening on stage, and more about what we know is happening in their lives off stage. If I were writing a play, it would be this. Sad for me, but lucky for us, it’s been done.”

Best Revival of a Musical

The Nominees:
*The King and I
On the Town
On the Twentieth Century

Ross’s Pick: The King and I
Loren’s Pick: The King and I
Nick’s Pick: On The Town

Ross Says: “My pick for best revival is An American in Paris…wait…that’s not a revival? It sure does feel like one….OK then, I pick Side Show! Huh? Not nominated? What? And On The Town is? I’m confused, cause that show was a slog to get through and actually made NYC seem ugly! On the Twentieth Century was a wonderfully performed pretty funny show, with one of the best musically comedic performances—thank you, Kristin! But was it the best? I’m thinking no. So my third and final pick will be The King and I, cause eve with a less than spectacular leading man and a sparse dude of a set, it’s still just plan beautiful. And really, it’s all about the ladies in that show. All magnificent, so thank you Kelli.”

Loren Says: “Rude! An American in Paris might have that nostalgic revival feel, and if it were included in this category it would wipe the floor with all of these nominees, especially that snooze-fest of a show, On the Town. My vote and money is on The King and I. The show is epic, with more than 50 phenomenal dancers and actors on that stage. And let’s talk about Kelli O’Hara. This show is all about her extraordinarily emotional and soaring performance. The King and I is well-designed, huge and seriously one of the best things about Broadway at the moment. If there were guarantees in the Tonys (and there aren’t), this would be one.”

Nick Says:The King and I is going to win and it is indeed a wonderful production lead by the dazzling Kelli O’Hara, who is my pick for best actress in a musical this season. But if I had to pick one I’d say On The Town, which was a truly ambitious production of a beloved classic done right—and it wasn’t a Lincoln Center production supported by their members. With that said, Gigi should have won the award (and should have been nominated to begin with) because I found it to be the most entertaining, magical, romantic, glamorous musical of the season.”

Best Play

The Nominees:
*The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
Hand to God
Wolf Hall Parts One & Two

Ross’s Pick: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
Loren’s Pick: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

Ross Says: “I’m so looking forward to seeing Wolf Hall next week, and I’m betting it’s gonna be excellent. Just as powerful and beautifully done as Disgraced. Hand of God is wickedly brilliant and a must see for anyone who doesn’t mind some good swearing. But the play that blew my head off, and represents everything that live theatre should be is The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time. It took a book and a story, that seemed like an impossible task to translate it to the stage. Not only did they accomplish that task, but layered on top an emotionally engaging representation of what it must be like to be inside the head of the lead character. They created a way for the characters to interact with the lead, especially the social worker/teacher, that not only deepened the relationship emotionally, but also deepened our understanding of other relationships and stories. The play that the cast and playwright had with us and the story they told, connected in a way that surprised and excited me. Now that’s what theatre should be.”

Loren Says:The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is serious ground-breaking theater. Curious Incident is fully immersive, and led by the extraordinary talents of Alex Sharp, we’re pulled into a very intimate, and technologically-innovative, experience that steals your heart. The stagecraft in this show is unlike anything that’s ever been tried before, pushing the limits of what can be done in a play. (That subway scene? Holy cow!) There’s a small contingent of voters who may go for the made-in-America production Hand to God over this British import, and there’s good reason to support Hand to God: it’s hilarious, shocking and thoughtful, and Steven Boyer delivers a virtuosic performance. But Curious Incident is head and shoulders above anything else in this category. I’m looking forward to this show sweeping all six of the categories its nominated in, except maybe Choreography. That’s going to Paris. But if a play beat a musical in the choreography category, what a stunner that would be!”

Best Musical

The Nominees:
An American in Paris
*Fun Home
Something Rotten!
The Visit

Ross’s Pick: Fun Home
Loren’s Pick: Fun Home
Nick’s Pick: Something Rotten!

Ross Says: “To no one’s surprise who reads this blog, Fun Home is one of the best stories (along with Curious Incident) being told on Broadway at the moment. It’s intimate, lovely, fun, engaging, devastating, and uplifting. It also happens to be a beautifully rendered musical, which just adds to the marvelous moment when we realize we just witnessed something magically.”

Loren Says: “I’m going to come out and say that I don’t think Fun Home is likely to win this category, but it absolutely should. An American in Paris has it all—gorgeous choreography, a soaring Gershwin score, a triple-threat performance from Robert Fairchild, stunning set design and an overall joyous and triumphant quality. You can tell by the way I attempt to wax poetic about this show that I am a true believer, and when/if it wins on Tony night, I will applaud my little heart out. But I’m throwing 100 percent of my support behind the little-engine-that-could: Fun Home. In Fun Home we have characters and a story that Broadway has never seen before (Paris has the sense of been there, done that). And Jeanine Tesori and Lisa Krohn’s beautiful score and lyrics are truly something special and wholly original, which can’t be said for Paris‘ recycling of sparkling Gershwin tunes. Fun Home show will leave you breathless, in tears, and all-together uplifted and hopeful. This is a show that evokes so many emotions that it makes you happy to be human. I’ll finish by saying there’s a lot of similarities between the race between Wicked and Avenue Q in 2004. Ultimately the little-engine-that-could (puppets and all) won out over the big mega blockbuster. I do hope we see a similar outcome.”

Nick Says:American in Paris seems to be the front runner and it is an enjoyable show, but it’s also not a very original concept and the singing and acting left a lot to be desired. I consider American a ballet more than a Broadway musical. Very hard to connect with, but very well done nevertheless. On the other hand, I found Something Rotten! to be a hilariously funny new musical with a brand new glorious score that kept me engaged for 2.5 hours. I don’t get Fun Home‘s buzz, I personally like big productions, I want to see an opulent Broadway show, not a couple of lesbians singing slow acoustic songs. I want a big orchestra, a big cast. Let’s leave Off-Broadway where it belongs…on Off-Broadway! But it seems that theatre-goers are willing to pay big bucks to see low budget shows, which I find unfair (dreadful shows like BKLYN and Once are two of the shows that come to mind as I state this). Regarding The Visit, well, we don’t even need to talk about it. It doesn’t have a chance.”

Loren Says: “Low budget? Have you gone mad? There’s millions in Fun Home’s ambitious stage craft. And those ‘acoustic’ tunes are actually part of a fully-realized and emotional Tesori & Krohn score that is wholly original. The same can’t be said for the Kirkpatrick’s score, which recycles Spamalot and The Producers and openly samples from Queen. And that opening number? A boring mess. Rotten! wasn’t ready for prime time, if you ask me. It needed a tryout.”

One comment

  1. I am for Something Rotten! The book of the musical loses to Fun Home I admit, but that should be confined to the Best Book of a Musical award, I feel. Something Rotten! has more appealing music than Fun Home; I feel Fun Home kind of overrated. It is not bad, but it is getting too much hype. An American in Paris is just plain bland in my opinion. Romantic as it is, but I am not a fan of Gershwin so… My pick is still Something Rotten! Having said that, I predict that Fun Home will win; Something Rotten! is just the show I love the most.

    Liked by 1 person

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