By David Gordon, Managing Editor
The 2009-2010 theater season is quickly coming to an end. I've seen a number of the productions, but there are still a number of shows left to open. Here are my picks for how I think the Tony Award nominations will shake out, with a few winners predicted here and there.
"Memphis," which got rapturous reviews (though I detested it), is a shoo-in. Ditto "Fela," (which I thought was rather extraordinary). "American Idiot" is coming in on great buzz from it's tryout run this past fall and "Sondheim on Sondheim" will be nominated to honor the master – who will have a theater named after him in April.
Best Revival of a Musical
"Ragtime" got fantastic reviews but closed swiftly (I thought it was stunning). "A Little Night Music" got middling reviews, but, with the presence of Catherine Zeta-Jones and Angela Lansbury, is a huge moneymaker. This production of "La Cage aux Folles," which I saw in London, is an extraordinary new take on the classic musical, featuring the equally extraordinary performance of Douglas Hodge, who won an Olivier for his touching turn as Albin and his alter-ego Zaza. "Promises, Promises," will probably be nominated, as it will still be running Tony time, edging out the solid revival of "Finian's Rainbow."
Lucy Prebble's "Enron," about the rise and fall of the company, and John Logan's "Red," about the painter Mark Rothko, arrive in New York with great buzz from London. "Next Fall," Geoffrey Nauffts' piece about homosexuality and religion, is being hailed as the next Great American play. Donald Margulies' "Times Stands Still," put a fascinating spin on the war play, telling a war-at-home story from the point of view of a photojournalist who was injured in Iraq. I, however, would love to see Sarah Ruhl's "In the Next Room (the vibrator play)" sneak in and replace any one of those choices.
Best Actor in a Musical/Best Actress in a Musical
Nathan Lane and Bebe Neuwirth will be nominated for their Gomez and Morticia Addams in "The Addams Family." Kelsey Grammer and Douglas Hodge will both be nominated for their work in "La Cage" (and Hodge will win). Sahr Nagaujah will be nominated for his performance as Fela Kuti in "Fela!" (he never leaves the stage). I'd love to see Christiane Noll nominated for her touching work in "Ragtime," and Kate Baldwin in "Finian's Rainbow." One sure bet for Best Actress (and the probable winner): Catherine Zeta-Jones for "Night Music."
Best Actor in a Play/Best Actress in a Play
I'd like to see Laura Linney and Brian D'Arcy James nominated for their work in "Time Stands Still." I think Tony Shalhoub deserves to win the Best Actor Tony for his hilarious performance in "Lend Me a Tenor." I think Christopher Walken of "Behanding in Spokane" will give Shalhoub a run for his money. Alfred Molina will probably be nominated for his work in "Red." I hope James Spader is remembered for "Race." Jan Maxwell will definitely get a nod for "The Royal Family" as will Jessica Hecht for "A View from the Bridge," along with Liev Schreiber. It would be nice to see some of the "Next Fall" cast sneak in, as well, though they could be ruled as featured.
Tough year for new musical scores: we have "The Addams Family" and "Memphis," neither of which is particularly invigorating. In fact, the year is so dry that it wouldn't surprise me if they rule Maury Yeston's incidental score for "The Royal Family" eligible, along with Bille Joe Armstrong and Green Day's "American Idiot."