Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Tony time

Tony nominations were announced this morning. The chatterati are abuzz. A few thoughts on the matter:

*THE DROWSY CHAPERONE (pictured; inevitable Tony nominee Sutton Foster in the center, Tony nominee Beth Leavel seated) is a likeable show with a good pedigree, given that its writers also concoct the wonderful SLINGS AND ARROWS TV show, which airs on the Sundance Channel (the first season will be available on DVD in June; a third is in the works). I'm happy for the Canadians. But with a more rigorous examination of its central character, a sad show lover (will Tony voters go for a lead actor who neither sings nor dances?), it could be so much better, and its near-record 13 nominations feel unearned.

*By the same token, I don't get SHINING CITY, either. It dries up and blows away the second you leave your seat.

*The Drama Desk did the right thing in denying THE COLOR PURPLE any nominations. Maybe now the naysayers crying racism will cease and desist. Note that the film and the show both received 11 nominations in their respective contest, with the movie not winning any. There's precedent.

*Hometown favorite JERSEY BOYS got eight noms, not as strong a showing as might have been hoped. There's understandable resistance to giving a jukebox musical, even an excellent one, too much attention. But New Jerseyans are always at their best as underdogs.

*The producers of WELL should have pitched their tent at least a week longer. Not that the receipts would have necessarily shown an "Oscar bump" but an almost-certain is now an also-ran with the show come and gone.

*Congrats to SWEENEY TODD nominee Manoel Feliciano, who I actually, sort of, know. He has a shot if the DROWSY and PURPLE juggernauts don't steamroll over him. I saw his last solo gig at Joe's Pub and recommend his next one, next month. [Hmm...Manoel signed my cast album for the show? Do I sell it on eBay now, or wait till he wins? But if he doesn't win, will it depreciate in value? Decisions, decisions.]

*I'm glad Judy Kaye pulled a nomination for SOUVENIR...and relieved that the vapid Julia Roberts didn't. The Tony Awards will pull the same lousy ratings with or without her. [Oprah will be there, no doubt.]

*LESTAT deathwatch: Two hours and counting. Has the vampire musical breathed its last? I'm weirdly proud to have seen all three. Already washed up: The lukewarm CAINE MUTINY COURT-MARTIAL revival, closing Sunday. [LESTAT expired on May 28.]

*For shame: Jason Lyons should have received a nomination--hell, the actual prize--for his sterling work on the otherwise dreary THREEPENNY OPERA revival. FESTEN should have been there, too, even if it is running on fumes till it expires. Other questionable design nods: THE COLOR PURPLE (natch), the overblown THREE DAYS OF RAIN, Michael Yeargan for his ostentatious AWAKE AND SING! work over his very lovely SEASCAPE.

*The winner for Best Replacement Castmember is...no one. The award was created this year but the field was somehow considered lacking, so no nods for Jonathan Pryce in DIRTY ROTTEN SCOUNDRELS or Eileen Atkins in DOUBT to name two deserving candidates. So, err, what was the point of the exercise?

*Fearless 2006-2007 nomination prediction: Christine Ebersole in GREY GARDENS, transferring from Playwrights Horizons to the Walter Kerr in October. Equally fearless prediction: Like this season's SOUVENIR, the cult show won't survive into the new year.

*Finally, as Tony celebrates its 60th anniversary (on June 11; CBS telecasts from 8-11pm), it could not have picked a better recipient for a Lifetime Achievement Honor than the legendary Harold Price. Well done.

And, as of last night, my vote is in for the Drama Desk awards. [Based on its Tonys showing I'd say TARZAN won't be much of a factor in next year's awards.] Showtime's this Sunday. I'll post my picks soon thereafter.

[Photo courtesy Joan Marcus]

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