March 25, 2014 at 7:35 pm #432706
There are ten new plays eligible in the category of Best Play:
ACT ONE by James Lapine
ALL THE WAY by Robert Shenkkan
BRONX BOMBERS by Eric Simonson
CASA VALENTINA by Harvey Fierstein
MOTHERS AND SONS by Terence McNally
OUTSIDE MULLINGER by John Patrick Shanley
THE REALISTIC JONESES by Will Eno
THE SNOW GEESE by Sharr White
A TIME TO KILL by Rupert Holmes
THE VELOCITY OF AUTUMN by Eric Coble
My early guess is Casa Valentina, Mothers and Sons, The Realistic Joneses and The Velocity Of Autumn… I found the reviews of Mothers and Sons mixed-to-positive but only felt lukewarm to me? Certainly sounds like a play I would enjoy though!March 26, 2014 at 8:41 am #432708
I was surprised at some of the negative Mothers and Sons reviews. Flawed? yes. But I loved the production and the audience around me was eating it up as well. Its tough to get a whole house laughing one minute and crying the next, and thats what they achieved. I think the ending tableaux (which is then underscored with music) feels out of place for the tone of the production, and there were times where Bobby Steggert was really showing us he was acting rather than just living the character. But other than that I thought i was a wonderful piece.
I just saw Act One last night. I dont really want to provide a full review of an early preivew, but I think if they make the proper cuts it could be something that really resonates with the tony committee and the Broadway community. The first act is simply too long and needs at least 15 minutes cut (funny for a play called “Act One”). But as it is now, it comes off as a laundry list of events in Moss Harts’ life before we get to the meat of the story in act two. And because there are so many things to cover, very few of the moments in the first act are really given a chance to land. In Act Two Tony Shalhoub switches almost exclusively to playing George Kaufman opposite Fontana’s Hart, and watching them work together to make their first collaboration sing is fascinating and where the play really picks up steam. (I found the revolving set way too overdone and distracting, but I doubt any of that will change by opening). If they adjust the first act appropriately I can defintely see this love letter to a Broadway legend playing very well with the Tony crowd.
Im anxious to see Velocity of Autumn and Realistic Joneses (I guess more curious to see what NYC audiences/reviewers think). Eno and coble have certainly had lots of success as playwrights, but they generally dont write the types of scripts that a Broadway crowd welcomes. I can see them being “too quirky” or “too off-broadway” for the broadway crowd. In the same way that Neil LaBute has made a name for himself with much acclaim off-broadway, but his plays just arent mainstream enough to attract crowds on Broadway. Hopefully the big name actors will get people to pay attention.March 26, 2014 at 11:58 am #432709
There’s been some chatter that The Cripple of Inishmaan could make a case for Best Play and not Revival to the Nominations Committee since it’s never had a Broadway production before. I doubt the Committee would buy it, but you never know. They aren’t known for consistency in interpretation of the rules.March 26, 2014 at 12:05 pm #432710
I highly doubt they will manage that for Inishmaan. Its already had a professional production in NYC. And the Tony rules for revivals basically state that if its had a previous professional mounting in manhattan then its a revival.March 26, 2014 at 6:12 pm #432711
I’ve heard great things about the set design for Act One (Beowulf Boritt), so I see Act One as a potential winner in the Scenic Design of a Play category (although I think The Glass Menagerie has a strong chance in the category, with Richard III and Twelfth Night, perhaps Waiting For Godot)… Everything I’ve heard about Act One is that the second act is much better than the first one, since act one of Act One tries to cover too much ground….
I want to see The Velocity of Autumn much more than I want to see The Realistic Joneses… for me, the real wild card is Casa Valentina – I feel about it’s chances the same as I do for Hedwig in the musical categories, it will either be a huge success or a huge failure…March 26, 2014 at 7:43 pm #432712
The set for Act One is great…if youre sitting in the dead center. Otherwise it fails to take any advantage of the Beaumonts stage, and constantly provides terrible viewing angles. And it moves so much that it proved to be a distraction for me, especially during many of Shalhoubs narrations in the first act. It was spinning faster than a merry go round. At one point the audience laughed outloud because Shalhoub was walking on it while looking out and speaking to the audience, and he literally had to dodge objects and shove things aside as if he was going through an obstacle course. Its a big set that Im sure took a lot of work to build but it simply isnt executed correctly for the space. Didnt work for me.March 27, 2014 at 2:01 am #432713
SamEckmann, thanks for your analysis of the set for Act One – do you think the nominating committee will not nominate Act One for Scenic Design for a Play? Bob Crowley’s designs for The Glass Menagerie seems like the most likely winner in the category – it helped set the mood and elevated the play, added to its meaning….
Has anyone seen All the Way? Everything I’ve read about it seems to be that it is over-written yet still fascinates, but has two truly outstanding performances by Bryan Cranston and Michael McKean, who are both likely nominees in Lead Actor and Featured Actor…March 27, 2014 at 10:14 am #432714
Well the tony voters will obviously be given prime seats in the center when they go to see it. So they will probably like the set better than I did haha. But while they will have less obstructed viewing angles, I think its still a big distraction for much of the first half. They may nominate it simply for the sheer craftsmanship of putting such an immense and complex thing together, but I have a hard time seeing it winning. It would certainly win if the category was called “Most Set”, and that factor will likely garner it a nomination since its such a big prescence. I would say this set would actually work better in a standard proscenium stage. The Beaumont is a modified 3/4 thrust stage and I just didnt feel like it took advantage of that setup at all. Normally there isnt a bad set in that house, but for Act One I would say the center seating truly has a much better experience.
All the Way will almost certainly get Bryan Cranston a nomination, and McKean is very likely as well. Will performances be able to elevate it the same way Tom Hanks and Courtney B Vance did for Lucky Guy? Hard to tell. Its extremely long which will always put off a certain sector of people, and at times comes off too much like a history lesson. but the actors do fnatastic work. I think a best play nomination will depend on the strength of Velocity of Autumn and the Relaisitc Joneses (havent seen either) and whether those two click enough with voters to warrant a slot.