|KING FOR A DAY
|By DAVID LEFKOWITZ
Published May 12 2008
| Paulo Szot and Kelli O’Hara in South Pacific
I am not, nor have I ever been, a Tony nominator. However, that hasn't stopped me and everyone I know from yakking incessantly about which shows and actors we would want to hear announced on Tuesday morning, May 13, when Spamalot vets David Hyde Pierce and Sara Ramirez read out the list of Tony nominees at Lincoln Center's Performing Arts Library.
Lobby conversations invariably range from who can't miss getting a nod to those we hope won't be - to quote Julie Andrews - egregiously overlooked. Less interesting are the intricacies of Tony rules and rulings, such as the one-night flop Glory Days being ineligible (assumedly because not enough nominators/voters had a chance to see it), Gypsy director Arthur Laurents being eligible - even though he's staged that same musical on Broadway twice before, and Top Girls being labeled a revival, even though the 1982 OBIE-winning drama never played on Broadway before.
But rules about which actors are above the line and which fall below into featured status are just less fun than speculating who'll make the cut on Tuesday, as well as who'll come away with the big prize on June 15th. So with apologies to everyone else who's either nominating for real or just in their imaginations, here are picks for some major categories of the 2007-08 Tony Nominations - if I ran the Tonys, that is.
August: Osage County
A Bronx Tale
Is He Dead?
Rock n' Roll
(All truly worthy contenders in my book. The Seafarer had a funny first act and a disappointing second. The Farnsworth Invention was brisk and entertaining but lightweight and factually uncomfortable. Is He Dead? knocks out both The 39 Steps and November just by being twice as funny and half as labored. I know August won the Pulitzer and will win on June 15, but Tracy Letts' eminently watchable drama didn't knock me out. A Bronx Tale did.)
In the Heights
(Cry-Baby nudges out Xanadu because it has a new original score the flawed In the Heights wins in June because it has the best overall qualities of a new American Broadway musical. Oh, and yes, I thought Young Frankenstein was funny. The much- maligned A Catered Affair is a lovely piece of work but a touch wan to make the cut here.)
BEST PLAY REVIVAL
Cyrano de Bergerac
Les Liaisons Dangereuses
(If there were a fifth slot, Cymbeline would have eked in, I guess nice job on tough material. As of this writing, I haven't seen Top Girls or Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (though neither play has ever done much for me). Come Back Little Sheba was a very respectable revival, The Country Girl stayed earthbound.) Even though it may win on Tony night, the less said about The Homecoming, the better.
BEST MUSICAL REVIVAL
Sunday in the Park with George
(Rather than letting the execrable Grease ooze into the fourth slot, or mulling whether the appealing How the Grinch Stole Christmas counts as a revival, let's just leave it at these three masterful mountings of masterpieces. South Pacific has the edge, not only because the leads are perfect and the mood even more so, but because everybody knows the oft-revived Gypsy kicks ass, whereas it's been half a century since someone tried to prove South Pacific does, too.)
BEST ACTOR IN A PLAY