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My Tony Voter Ballot

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  • Beau S.
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    #431904

    I just finished my tri-annual Broadway trip to see all nominated shows (this is the first year in a while that I got to see EVERY show nominated at some point throughout the year!) and I have filled out my ballot for my first year as an official Tony voter!

    Everything is ranked in the order I voted. Remember that my opinions/choices do not reflect that of the entire voting body and that this is not a sufficient source to base predictions/place bets on.

    Best Play

    Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike

    The Assembled Parties

    Lucky Guy

    The Last Testament of Mary

    I didn’t participate in the vote for the nominations as I had not seen all the shows, but based on this line-up it seems like other voters are trying to make it impossible for Vanya to not win this. I loved the show, it was funny, charming, heartbreaking and made you think. The other shows are much lesser. Lots of people loved Lucky Guy (the theater was packed – the largest audience I’ve ever seen at a Broadway show for a non-musical) but the show did nothing for me. Easy pick for Vanya.

    Best Musical

    Matilda

    Kinky Boots

    A Christmas Story

    Bring it On

    Nothing really remarkable here (unlike Book of Mormon, Sister Act, Newsies, Nice Work and of course Once like in the past few years). Very weak Best Musical line-up. I liked Matilda and Kinky Boots the same, and I picked Matilda simply because it has more of a longevity factor (kids LOVE this musical and it will be around a while). Kinky Boots will probably play better with other voters – it has better music and stronger direction – so I wouldn’t be surprised to see it win.

    Best Book of a Musical

    Matilda

    Kinky Boots

    Cinderella

    A Christmas Story

    I liked Matilda the best by a large margin, but like I said, Kinky Boots will likely play better. I would give it to Matilda in a heartbeat but this is probably a toss-up to predict.

    Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics) Written for the Theatre

    Kinky Boots

    Matilda

    Hands on a Hardbody

    A Christmas Story

    Kinky Boots has the funnest, cleverest and most well-written music of any new show this season. Probably one of the bigger locks going into Tony night.

    Best Revival of a Play

    Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

    The Trip to Bountiful

    Orphans

    Golden Boy

    To be honest, The Trip to Bountiful is the better production, but Woolf was a great reinvention of my favorite play of all time with some of the greatest acting I’ve ever seen. Golden Boy had no business being up here.

    Best Revival of a Musical

    Pippin

    The Mystery of Edwin Drood

    Cinderella

    Annie

    Initially I wasn’t even going to bother filling out the whole ballot for this one. Pippin was by far the greatest thing I have seen on Broadway in years and is the year’s best production by a HUGE margin. This is another one I can see staying on Broadway for years, and judging by the packed house, I think it will. If this doesn’t win, lots of people will be furious, including me.

    Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play

    Tracy Letts

    Nathan Lane

    Tom Hanks

    David Hyde Pierce

    Tom Sturridge

    Letts had a total reinvention of one of my favorite characters of all time. This should be an easy win for him. Like I mentioned above, Lucky Guy did nothing for me and I have always found Tom Hanks to be a rather overrated actor. Tom Sturridge is certainly the weakest here, but damn, what a talent he is. He has lots of Tonys in his future if he keeps this up.

    Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play

    Cicely Tyson

    Kristine Nielsen

    Amy Morton

    Laurie Metcalf

    Holland Taylor

    It’s painful for me to put Morton in third because you’ve probably noticed by now that I love the play, and Nielsen was a true revelation in Vanya, but this award belongs to Tyson. It should just already have her name on it. What she does with this role is insane. Expect a standing ovation for this true pro.

    Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical

    Bertie Carvel

    Stark Sands

    Rob McClure

    Billy Porter

    Santino Fontana

    Bertie Carvel is an absolute hoot in Matilda. It’s a great performance, great singing voice and hopefully his speech will be great too. I’m surprised to see Porter getting all the recognition for Kinky Boots, I found Stark Sands’ performance to be noticeably better. McClure’s turn as Chaplin is extremely underrated – the show sucked but he gave it his all. Fontana has no business here – it’s practically a featured role.

    Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical

    Patina Miller

    Stephanie J. Block

    Laura Osnes

    Carolee Carmello

    Valisia LeKae

    Miller’s total reinvention of the Leading Player (as well as her phenomenal execution of Fosse’s Manson Trio) will earn her what should be her second Tony but in reality is only her first. No other major threats in this category.

    Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play

    Danny Burstein

    Tony Shalhoub

    Richard Kind

    Courtney B. Vance

    Billy Magnussen

    Weak category. Burstein wins almost by default. Surprised (in a good way) that Vance and Magnussen got the nominations.

    Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play

    Condola Rashad

    Judith Light

    Carrie Coon

    Shalita Grant

    Judith Ivey

    Rashad surprised me. I was not expecting this performance, especially after her disappointing turn in Stick Fly last year. Light was also great, but I doubt she wins two years in a row. I’m living on the edge a bit here, but Rashad can win this.

    Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical

    Terrence Mann

    Will Chase

    Gabriel Ebert

    Charl Brown

    Keith Carradine

    Mann was perfect as Charlemagne, his comedic timing was spot on and he sang his songs perfectly. Will Chase certainly has a shot here, but it’s a long one. Shocked that Carradine got nominated.

    Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical

    Andrea Martin

    Annaleigh Ashford

    Victoria Clark

    Lauren Ward

    Keala Settle

    Martin has limited stagetime but what she does with it is amazing. Her song is the unlikely showstopper. She SPOILER hangs from a trapeze SPOILER and, at my show, got a standing ovation. That moment is the equivalent of Judy Kaye’s chandelier scene in Nice Work last year. This is Martin’s Tony, and nobody is touching it.

    Best Direction of a Play

    Pam MacKinnon (Woolf)

    Nicholas Martin (Vanya)

    George C. Wolfe (Lucky Guy)

    Bartlett Sher (Golden Boy)

    No real clear winner here – I went with MacKinnon because it was my favorite show.

    Best Direction of a Musical

    Diane Paulus (Pippin)

    Jerry Mitchell (Kinky)

    Matthew Warchus (Matilda)

    Scott Ellis (Drood)

    Paulus is the next greatest director of Broadway musicals – she should have won for Hair. The staging of Pippin is a marvel. It’s time for the next Bob Fosse (yes, the comparison is intentional) to be crowned.

    Best Choreography

    Pippin

    Bring it On

    Kinky Boots

    Matilda

    The trapeze acts in Pippin win this, and the merit of the award is added to be the glorious restaging of Fosse’s Manson Trio.


    I didn’t vote in any of the other tech categories as I have no idea what they entail, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see a Pippin sweep.

    Thoughts?

    Reply
    David Buchanan
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    #431906

    I think that this is a really great ballot overall, Beau S, and many of your choices certainly make me happy. I’m really thrilled you and I share a love for that Virginia Woolf revival, and to see that you voted for Letts. His performance as George is (and I believe will go down as) one of my favorite stage performances; utterly brilliant.

    I think your featured actor / actress categories for Play are off. I didn’t see The Big Knife, but I’m hearing Richard Kind is giving a terrific performance. Also, I believe Tony Shalhoub was much better in Golden Boy than Danny Burstein (no offense to Danny – love him and was so desperate for him to win for his performance in Follies last year). That being said, it’s a shame Burstein is not yet a Tony winner, so I wouldn’t mind seeing him win this year.  Although Light won last year, I think she can and will win again. I haven’t seen Trip to Bountiful, so I cannot comment on Rashad’s performance (who the Tony committee really seems to like as well), but Light beat Rashad at the Drama Desk this year, which I think does indicate that Light still has support even though she won that award last year, too.  Plus, she deserves it. The theater community loves her performance, and most importantly, they love her. You’re right to put Rashad in the top two, and I can’t fault you for voting for her if she was your preference, but I can’t rule out Light. 

    I would comment on the musical categories, but I haven’t seen any of them (getting rush for Matilda, Kinky, and Pippin is nearly impossible), and frankly, don’t really care all that much. I’d love to see Pippin, and have no doubt it will win most of the awards in their categories, but neither Matilda or Kinky Boots appeal to me. I think I would enjoy Matilda much more, so I’m rooting for that come Tony night.

    Formerly known in the forums as PianoMann.

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    SamEckmann
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    #431907

    Thanks for sharing Beau.  I think you have some great pics.  Im glad you voted for Letts and really hope he wins. (After seeing Macbeth Im still furious over Cummings snub, since he’d be my vote).  Hanks is definitely still a threat as he’s out charming everyone right now, but its good to see Letts still has support.

    I think featured actor in a play is one of the toughest calls of the year.  Shalhoub and Burstein seem to be the top picks, but there doesnt seem to be a united consensus behind one of them.  So I think there’s potential of them canceling each other out (just like the well liked performances of David Allen Grier and Philip Boykin in Porgy and Bess) and then Richard Kind or Courtney Vance slips ahead for the win.  I just cant seem to gauge who has more support out of Vance or Kind since Hanks is soaking up all the Lucky Guy buzz and people love Kind but hate the show he’s in.
    And while Im also hesitant to crown Judith Light a victor two years in a row, I think its the only place voters will be able to reward Assembled Parties. It’s a very well liked and well reviewed show, despite comparatively lower buzz, and I think the voters will try to give it something.

    I agree that Stark Sands does some amazing work in Kinky Boots, but it also comes down to personal preference of a subtle character vs. showy character.  A reason why Porter is getting most of the attention is because of his support in the community.  As a fan of his, Im thrilled that he’s finally found his breakout role, a leadnig one, that really showcases him well.  He’s been working for years and years (with a freakin killer voice) but he’s often been shoehorned into more “charming-leading-straight man” roles since he has the voice type often required for them.  And they just arent him. So much of the buzz comes from theatre folk excited that he’s at last found something that fits him like a glove.

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    Beau S.
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    #431908

    Last year Michael McGrath did not win because Grier and Boykin split, he won because he was the best of the nominees.

    I really did love Kinky Boots as a whole, I thought the music was absolutely terrific, as was the set design and lighting design, but debating between Porter and Sands is unnecessary as the award will definitely go to Carvel. He was so much fun and played the role, with all of its perks and shortcomings, to perfection. I’m usually not a fan of the big showy performance, but this one happened to be great. Porter, though, is definitely on the map now and has multiple Tonys coming his way in the future.

    I think Burstein wins because people just want to finally see him win a Tony.

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    David Buchanan
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    #431909

    I don’t think Shalhoub and Burstein will split votes: Shalhoub received nearly universal raves for his performance, while I was surprised Burstein was even nominated for such a small (albeit well-acted) role. I think Beau is right in that the only way Burstein wins this year is that voters want to finally award him. I think Kind actually is the frontrunner in the category, because of his performance, because Golden Boy has been closed since January, and because he’s been winning the precursor-lite awards, which shows that there is support for him.

    Also, I think there is one major hitch standing in the way of Kinky Boots winning Best Score. Beau, please correct me if I’m wrong because I’m not entirely sure about Tony voting process, but I believe that voters are given the cast recordings of the shows that have released them, which they can use in determining who they vote for. I’ve listened to the cast recording of Kinky Boots and it plays really poorly in terms of a Broadway score. Many people have said that the magic of the music on stage is completely lost in what sounds like a pop album, complete with auto-tuning… My question regarding the process is do you have to see the show to vote in the category? Or can a voter receive the cast recording and vote for score based on that? Even if they did see the show, they may listen to the cast recordings and be completely turned off by the sound of the Kinky recording, and therefore not vote for it. I’m not saying that this will certainly happen, but I think it may lose votes as a result.

    Formerly known in the forums as PianoMann.

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    Benedick
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    #431910

    Best Play

    Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike

    The Assembled Parties

    Lucky Guy

    The Last Testament of Mary

    I didn’t participate in the vote for the nominations as I had not seen all the shows, but based on this line-up it seems like other voters are trying to make it impossible for Vanya to not win this. 

    The Tony nominations are selected by a small group of NY-based theater professionals who see every show and then convene in a conference room to cast their ballots, and none of them are allowed to abstain from voting in any category. There is no general vote for nominees the way there is for the Oscars. Any true Tony voter would know this.

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    adamunc
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    #431911

    I didn’t think Tony ballots were preferential? I thought it was just mark your favorite. Has this changed?

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    Beau S.
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    #431912

    @benedick – I am not a “true” Tony voter. I was filling in for the vote this year for an elderly family member (who is a perennial voter) that unfortunately became ill before he could finish the job. Since I see almost every if not every nominated show every year, this wasn’t a problem for me and we had this approved by ATW. Since I was not authorized to vote until very late in the game, I could only vote for winners. The family member is (fortunately) recovering so it is unlikely that I will ever be doing this again. Sorry for any confusion.

    @adamunc – You’re right, you only vote for your favorite. I was simply listing my preferences for the sake of it as well as to help others make predictions. I intended to note that but must have forgotten in the heat of the moment. Thanks.

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    Benedick
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    #431913

    Under no circumstances would anyone who is not a voter be allowed to cast a ballot for a voting member. 
     

     

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    Djoko
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    #431914

    Under no circumstances would anyone who is not a voter be allowed to cast a ballot for a voting member. 
     

     

    I agree that would never ever happen or be approved. The only way someone else can vote is if they’re given the ballot by someone they know to vote for them, but no way would the American Theatre Wing approve that. 

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    Beau S.
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    #431915

    I had a long response written but Goldderby did not post it and instead sent me to my account profile and I lost the whole thing (this is not the first time this has happened), so this is a much shorter and to-the-point version

    My grandfather’s brother (my great-uncle) is the usual voter. He is an elderly man who has devoted his life to theater and the study of it, he is an active member of the wing and has donated more money to the wing and other theater organizations in his lifetime than most Americans are capable of. He has many lifelong friends in the wing and is well known to some of the top players. He had a meeting in his hospital room with a man from the American Theaere Wing that ended up taking two days to finish. When I finished him about a week after, he told me that he wanted me to do his voting for him since he was medically unable. I had assumed that’s what the meeting was about, and that it was approved. I was wrong to flat-out say that it was approved and I apologize for the grave miscommunication. For all I know, he could’ve been going against the rules by giving me his ballot. The point is that I did see the shows, I did make personal rankings and I did fill out a ballot.

    You can believe whatever you want to believe. I know what truly happened and I’m content with just that. I do ask, though, that if you choose to respond please respect the fact that I do have an elderly, recovering family member and to please treat that aspect as such.

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