“To Kill a Mockingbird” was snubbed for Best Play! Glenda Jackson is noticeably absent from Best Actress! But three of the five characters represented in the Featured Actor in a Play category are gay, so it’s all good! Let’s take the 2019 Tony Awards nominations category by category.
The nominees are: “Choir Boy,” “The Ferryman,” “Ink,” “Gary: A Sequel To Titus Andronicus” and “What The Constitution Means To Me”
Will Win: “The Ferryman.” Long. British playwright. Northern Irish setting. Impressive. An event. Wiih dancing, even. And it provides employment to geese, rabbits, and babies. Though most of the action happens in the last five minutes.
Left Out: “To Kill A Mockingbird,” which can console itself with running for years; “Network” (People liked the presentation more than the play); “American Son” (important subject, bad play); “The Nap” (some snored); “Bernhardt/Hamlet”; “The Lifespan of a Fact” (terrific, but as sadly forgotten as fact checkers).
The nominees are: “Ain’t Too Proud,” “Beetlejuice,” “Hadestown,” “The Prom,” “Tootsie”
Will Win: “Hadestown,” aka “Burn This, The Musical.” “Tootsie” is more of a flat out good time, but “Hadestown” has artful ambience and high aspirations and it’s based on an ancient legend, not a Dustin Hoffman movie. And it got 14 nominations! But I’d rather see “Tootsie” again.
Left Out: “Be More Chill” (It couldn’t be more annoying); “The Cher Show” (I guess she’s no Temptations); “King Kong” (With no snob appeal, it’s chances were as doomed as the title character),; “Head Over Heels” (wildly misunderstood); “Pretty Woman” (As ignored as a hooker in a Rodeo Drive boutique)
BEST PLAY REVIVAL
The nominees are: “All My Sons,” “Boys in the Band,” “Burn This,” “Torch Song, “The Waverly Gallery”
Will Win: “Waverly” has a chance, but it’ll probably be “All My Sons” because it’s strong, traditional, and still running.
Left Out: “King Lear” (Avant gimmicks only go so far), “True West,” “Straight White Men” (They’re not welcome here)
BEST MUSICAL REVIVAL
The nominees are: “Kiss Me Kate” and “Oklahoma!”
Will Win: They were the only two musical revivals all season. Open a musical revival and you have a 100% chance of getting nominated! (At least with the Play revivals, it’s a 62% chance, so there’s some doubt.) Which of the two will win? Well, “Kate” is a bit woke and very enjoyable, but “Oklahoma!” is wide awake and stirring, so the latter will triumph, despite the dream ballet and the chili.
Left Out: Nothing
BEST ACTOR (PLAY)
The nominees are: Paddy Considine (“The Ferryman”), Bryan Cranston (“Network”), Jeff Daniels (“To Kill A Mockingbird”), Adam Driver (“Burn This”), Jeremy Pope (“Choir Boy”)
Will Win: Cranston. He’s arresting, shocking, and poignant as the unraveling Howard Beale, who’s just like the kind of anchor you see on Fox News, except sincere and concerned. Daniels has never won, but the Tonys (like the Oscars) aren’t sentimental anymore. Congrats to Jeremy Pope on getting two nominations (He’s also up for Featured Actor in a Musical for “Ain’t Too Proud”.)
Left Out: Tracy Letts (“All My Sons”); John Lithgow for “Hillary & Clinton” who was touted in an ad for the show as a Featured Actor, though he’s so clearly the male lead. The Tony committee obviously ignored the attempt at category fraud and didn’t nominate him anyway; Nathan Lane for “Gary: A Sequel To Titus Andronicus” —though his two female co-stars are up for Featured; Jonny Lee Miller (“Ink”); Daniel Radcliffe (“Lifespan of a Fact”); Michael Urie (“Torch Song”); and Ethan Hawke (“True West”). This may be the the tightest category since Best Featured Actor in a Musical, 2015.
BEST ACTRESS (PLAY)
The nominees are: Annette Bening (“All My Sons”), Laura Donnelly (“The Ferryman”), Elaine May (“The Waverly Gallery”), Janet McTeer (“Bernhardt/Hamlet)”, Laurie Metcalf (“Hillary & Clinton”), Heidi Schreck (“What The Constitution Means To Me”)
Will Win: Elaine May. She was heartbreaking—a female Howard Beale, but not quite as loud. Dementia recently won for Frank Langella in “The Father ” and Glenda Jackson in “Three Tall Women, ” so how can you lose? “Waverly” closed, but the wonderful May will still prevail in June.
Left Out: Glenda Jackson for “King Lear” (Is someone starting to detect a bias against Scott Rudin? Nah, relax; Glenda was overpraised, and Rudin can be happy for the “Gary” nom for Best Play); Kerry Washington in “American Son” (a pretty one-note performance).
BEST ACTOR (MUSICAL)
The nominees are: Brooks Ashmanskas (“The Prom”), Derrick Baskin (“Ain’t Too Proud”), Alex Brightman (“Beetlejuice”), Damon Daunno (“Oklahoma!”), Santino Fontana (“Tootsie”)
Will Win: Santino Fontana, a hard working Broadway actor who turns in a star performance as Michael/Dorothy, singing, emoting and scoring laughs while looking like Faye Dunaway as a gym teacher.
Left Out: Reeve Carney, “Hadestown” (His character recedes); Will Roland, “Be More Chill”; Will Chase, “Kiss Me, Kate” (Where there’s a Will, there isn’t a way).
BEST ACTRESS (MUSICAL)
The nominees are: Stephanie J. Block (“The Cher Show”), Caitlyn Kinnunen (“The Prom”), Beth Leavel (“The Prom”), Kelli O’Hara (“Kiss Me, Kate”), Eva Noblezada (“Hadestown”)
Will Win: Stephanie J. Block is a member of the club, much appreciated in the Broadway circle, and she manages to do Cher while preserving her own identity and not selling her soul. She’s got it in the bag, bitches.
Left Out: Rebecca Naomi Jones for “Oklahoma!” (She doesn’t sing like Audra, but I thought that was the point); Sophia Ann Caruso, “Beetlejuice” (She has time); Christiani Pitts, “King Kong” (She was fine, but you feared for her life); and Samantha Barks, “Pretty Woman” (I never bought her as a hooker, but critics went overboard in hating on this).
By the way, good news for “Mockingbird” is that it got three Tonys nominations for actors…all white! Oy. See you on June 9th!