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Kelli O’Hara vs. Chita Rivera?

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  • Actriz
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    #434530

    Early on it seemed like this year’s Best Actress in a Musical race was (as usual) locked up from the start. Kelli O’Hara seemed finally poised to take home her first Tony Award for the upcoming revival of “The King and I.”

    But then, at the last possible minute, Chita Rivera swooped in with the long-gestating Broadway production of the final Kander and Ebb collaboration “The Visit.” It is also said to be the last time Rivera, a true legend, will appear on Broadway.

    I listened to bits of the score to “The Visit” and I have to say it’s top-notch Kander and Ebb. If Rivera knocks it out of the park, as we know she will regardless of the quality of the production, she will be tough to beat. She will have performance + sentiment. However, Rivera already has two Tony Awards so it’s not like this is an urgent, we-must-award-you scenario.

    Anna Leonowens, on the other hand, is a proven winner in this category, and O’Hara is notably due for a Tony, right up there with Jan Maxwell in the group of criminally overdue ladies. And knowing Bartlett Sher and Lincoln Center’s reputations, it is highly possible that this production of “The King and I” will sweep the Tony’s, and O’Hara could go along for the ride. However, O’Hara is still fairly young, and voters could conceivably think that they still have plenty of time to reward her, as opposed to Rivera who, as previously mentioned, will supposedly retire after this production runs its course.

    Who do you think will be out front by Tony time? 

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    Joe Burns
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    #434532

    I don”t think Kelli is a lock, given the reasons you mentioned, and I do think Chita has a chance, but don”t count out Kristin Chenoweth. She has a great role and she hasn”t been on Broadway in a while, so I”m not sure who will win this year, but I”m keeping my fingers crossed for Kelli. She should hands down win this year.

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    Anthony
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    #434533

    With the early word-of-mouth for Kristin Chenoweth, it could mean a huge race between the veteran in what she says is her final Broadway bow….the overdue actress who arguably has been worthy to win once or twice already….and then you have one of the most prominent and well-known to the masses Broadway star who last won in Featured and they may want to give her a Leading trophy.

    Unless someone else really takes off, I think one of the three will end up winning….but it is still too early to tell, plus no one has seen O’Hara yet. 

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    CAROL-CHANNING
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    #434534

    One thing is for certain, Kelli is going to have to BRING. IT.

    Dammit, if they had just awarded her for Piazza 10 years ago like they SHOULD have, we wouldn’t be in this predicament!  

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    Anthony
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    #434535

    One thing is for certain, Kelli is going to have to BRING. IT.

    Dammit, if they had just awarded her for Piazza 10 years ago like they SHOULD have, we wouldn’t be in this predicament!  

    I would support that, but I want to add that they should’ve just given her the win for Bridges last year and then it would be so much easier to spread the wealth….although if Kelli O’Hara DOES bring it, then obviously she would’ve deserved to win back-to-back Tonys.

    I think giving it to Jessie Mueller was a mistake….not a terrible one, because she was solid in the role but I could just see her giving more fantastic and complex performances in the future and possibly missing out on winning for something more deserving. BEAUTIFUL is a very paint-by-numbers jukebox show but at the same time, I left the theatre feeling more happy and satisfied than with any other jukebox show…even Jersey Boys, despite it having a little more of a “clever” vibe. A lot of it did have to do with Jessie Mueller, whom I adore, but I think giving the Tony to O’Hara would’ve been so great because 1) she was overdue and 2) It was some of her best work, even if she wasn’t the most convincing at times as an Italian.

    Anyways, sidetracked….

    O’Hara has given very strong and worthy performances…I’d say the only nomination I question, at least in terms of coming close to a win would be for Nice Work If You Can Get It….all of the others were great to fantastic.

    I can’t wait to see these three! And then add the two Side Show girls (I hope they are remembered) and possibly Laura Michelle Kelly….it is pretty solid year shaping up! 

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    Ted Stevenson
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    #434536

    If Chita’s show is a hit and her performance is great, I just don’t see how she could lose. Especially with it being called her last Broadway performance. She is one of the last true musical theatre legends still alive. Kelli O’Hara might have to wait one more time, as crazy as that seems. A few months ago, I thought for sure Kelli would finally win. Now, I’m not so sure.

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    Big Explosions
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    #434537

    I’m not sold on Chita winning just yet, especially having just seen Kristin Chenoweth and Kelli O’Hara in succession. Chenoweth was on top of her game but O’Hara is in another ballpark. Her Anna is dense, rich and perfectly calculated, her vocals are the best they have been since Piazza. This is the first time I’ve ever personally ranked O’Hara first (I chose Keenan-Bolger in 2005 and Foster last year) but this is without seeing Chita.

    Also, do we know if Chita is performing 8 shows a week? That’s a huge demand for an actress of her age, and I know that Donna McKechnie has been announced as her standby. It’s possible that Donna will have scheduled performances for which she will go on in Chita’s place. Even then, I’m sure the producers will be careful to schedule Tony voters to go to performances that Chita is in to avoid the risk of them missing her.

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    Madson Melo
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    #434538

    as of now I don’t think either O’Hara or Rivera will get the reception that Cheno got, but I believe the power of K&I will be enough to get the Tony for O’Hara.

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    adamunc
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    #434539

    According to the website and press for The Visit, Donna McKechnie is listed as the understudy for the character of Claire, not an alternate or “at certain performances” credit. So it appears Chita is scheduled to do all 8 performances as of now.

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    FreemanGriffin
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    #434540

    This will likely be an unpopular opinion but I believe that the roles Chita Rivera and Kristin Chenowith play in their musicals are much more difficult to pull off than the role of Anna in The King and I. I have no idea if this factors in to the voters choice, but I would prefer for Chenowith and esp. Rivera to win this year’s Tony. That’s not a prediction; this is an exciting 3-way race – perhaps the precursors will all go to one of the three and it will be clear who the winner will be but I see this as a truly suspenseful Tony category for the first time in years.

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