Thursday, August 31, 2006

I Would Like To Thank My Agent, Francis Del Duca

Before returning to my Tony predictions, I would like to take a moment to applaud the casting of Ari Graynor in the Broadway transfer of The Little Dog Laughed. Miss Graynor is a fabulous actress and should be in everything. Her presence almost makes me forget about ugly Johnny Galecki and boring Tom Everett Scott. Almost.

Now, back to the Tonys.


Though Nathan Lane's performance in Butley will be finito by the time the Tony nominations come out, I bet he will be remembered. Tony has a tempestuous relationship with Nathan - he was blanked for Laughter on the 23rd Floor, Love! Valour!! Compassion!!! and The Frogs - but Butley will show a different side of Nathan - or at least that's what the critics will tell us; I haven't seen a different side of Nathan in about 10 years - and Tony will want to reward that.

I don't know much about The Coast of Utopia (except that the poster art blows), but I'm assuming that among Brian F. O'Byrne, Billy Crudup, Ethan Hawke and Richard Easton, one or more of them will be elevated to Lead Actor. Which means one or more of them will be nominated. I bet two get nominated. And I bet one of them is Brian F. O'Byrne. Shining City was his first Broadway performance NOT nominated for a Tony. He will climb back on the Tony horse here. He'll probably win. You heard it here first! Oh, here's something else you heard here first: Ethan Hawke will give a great performance, and be ignored by critics and award givers alike in favor of his co-stars who will be less good.

Who else? Liev Schreiber in Talk Radio? Definitely. That leaves one slot. Let's see... Philip Bosco (Heartbreak House), Bill Nighy (The Vertical Hour), Matthew Broderick (The Starry Messenger)? Possible. The male lead in Les Liaisons Dangereuses, the male leads in whatever other underbaked projects Roundabout puts forward this year? All possible. The lead in Radio Golf? Even more possible. Speaking of black males, James Earl Jones has a one man play about Thurgood Marshall he's peddling, Charles Dutton has that August Wilson thing I don't even want to think about, and Laurence Fishburne is in Fences, which will probably come in. But let's leave this last slot blank. David Wilmot would never have made this list last year at this time. Let's see what David Wilmots this season brings.


Poor Best Actress in a Play. She's a mess. She used to be fabulous. Colleen Dewhurst used to battle Julie Harris here on a regular basis. In 1960, Anne Bancroft beat Margaret Leighton, Claudia McNeil, Geraldine Page, Maureen Stapleton and Irene Worth. In 1975, Ellen Burstyn bested Elizabeth Ashley, Diana Rigg, Maggie Smith and Liv Ullmann. Last year, Cynthia Nixon beat Lisa Kron and Judy Kaye. Not exactly the same thing, as richly deserving as Ms. Nixon was.

This season, Vanessa Redgrave would appear to have the award all sewn up for The Year of Magical Thinking. If she can remember all her lines and not get fired - I have this strange feeling she will not open in the show - the award would appear to be hers.

Who will she leave in the dust come Tony night? I'm assuming Julie White will be up for Lead, though she might be put in Featured to assure a win. Julianne Moore could be remembered for her by then closed performance in The Vertical Hour. A couple of the above-mentioned, woebegone Roundabout productions' leading ladies will have a shot. And Angela Bassett might be elevated should Fences come in, though Mary Alice won a Tony for that role in Featured, and I think it's very much a Featured role. But billing is billing, and Bassett will be above the title.

BEST ACTOR - Musical

Well, I'm sure if you ask Raul Esparza who will win this award come June, he will say "ME! DON'T YOU LOVE ME?! I DO!" He will surely be nominated - if he could get nominated for his miserable turn in Taboo, I can get nominated for ghost-writing this blog - but I don't think he will win. David Hyde Pierce will probably win for Curtains. Who else is there? Our fearless leader would want me to mention Will Chase for High Fidelity. So, I just did that. There's Gavin Lee in Mary Poppins, Martin Short, the two male leads in the Les Miserables revival. I am a big Alexander Gemignani fan, so I'm hoping he might be invited to Radio City. The Spring Awakening boys might find themselves in this category, though more likely they will all be Featured. Though I didn't see it yet, so I'm actually talking out of my ass right now. But the Tony nominators for the most part nominate out of their asses, so that seems like a pretty good strategy! There's also the Roundabout's coming revival of 110 in the Shade, which has two good male parts, at least one of which will probably be lead.

Speaking of 110 in the Shade, that brings us to...


And this will be a battle. What? Surprised to hear that? Did you think L'Ebersole had it all sewn up? Oh, mother, dahling. She does not.

Because Audra Ann-hold-the-Ann McDonald is coming back to town. She will be very good in 110 in the Shade. She might even be great. No matter what she is, she will be called great. It's a very good role for her, and the show is solid. The critics will go wild for her and probably be happy to see a musical revived that is unjustly little known, in other words, worthy of a revival. Unless Christine Ebersole's married name is Gilooly, she's gonna have to shake every hand in the world and kiss every foot - which she's already been doing for the last 6 months.

The other nominees? Not that it matters, but Charlotte d'Amboise will most likely be nominated for her Cassie, whether she's good or not. Someone from Curtains will probably end up in this category, I'm assuming Debra Monk, and I'm assuming she'll be nominated. That leaves one slot. There's Ashley Brown (Mary Poppins), Nikki James (The Wiz), the blonde in Legally Blonde, Lea Michele in Spring Awakening (again, probably Featured). I would love to see Daphne Rubin-Vega celebrated for her Fantine. Patti won Best Actress in London for this role, don't forget. Randy Graff may have been snubbed, but... well...

It's all moot. It will be a battle between McDonald and Ebersole. I think Ebersole will win. But she might lose.

As for the Audra question, is she overrated? I think so. She certainly is overTonyed. She should have one Tony Award - for Best Featured Actress in a musical for Carousel in 1994. Her 1996 Tony belongs to Lois Smith for Buried Child, her 1998 Tony belongs to Tsidii le Loka for The Lion King, and her 2004 Tony belongs to her co-star Sanaa Lathan. I wish I could go to people's houses and redistribute Tony Awards. That would be fun. Donna Murphy, lock your doors! She can keep her Tony for Passion, but her King and I Tony? That's Daphne's.


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