Tony Nomination Day - Christmas Morning for Theater People

So, today was Tony Nomination Day. Michelle and I have decided that it's freaking exhausting. Not only did we wake up super early (some of us after a whole four hours of sleep thanks to studying for a final which will remain nameless) to watch the nominations be announced live (by the way, Lea Michele looked super gorgeous as usual, but could Jeff Daniels have looked and sounded any more bored? I don't think so) but then we had to deal with all the complaining and general "WTFness" that followed. To be sure, we were stunned at some of the categories, but now that we've taken the time to reflect, we've calmed down a little.

First of all, we love the Ragtime love. Unfortunately, we never got to see it before it closed, but we've heard nothing but good things about it and hope that it wins Best Revival, acting awards, etc. It was refreshing to see the nomination committee remember the shows that unfortunately closed too soon.

Best Musical seems like a bit of a mess fest. Obviously, we're rooting hard for American Idiot because we're both kind of obsessed (and by kind of, we mean that it's all we've been listening to for a solid three days). But Fela! and Memphis also got a lot of nominations, and it seems Million Dollar Quartet got nominated as a result of a relatively weak season for original musicals, as the majority of things we've heard about it could be summed up by the phrase "hot mess." Personally, I'm hoping American Idiot wins. While it's score may not be "original," I do think it's one of the most original shows this season in terms of concept and execution, and the fact that it's one of the first musicals to bring straight up angst to Broadway. I would have also loved to see Everyday Rapture get a nomination, but I'm thrilled that Sherie Rene Scott got the recognition she deserves for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical and for Best Book of a Musical along with Dick Scanlan. Both nominations were well-deserved.

However, we do have a few quibbles with the nominations, and the biggest one centers around one musical genius known as Tom Kitt. Before nominations were even announced, Michelle and I had agreed that Mr. Kitt was a lock for a nomination and a win for his brilliant, beautiful orchestrations for American Idiot. Heck, we thought he might even get nominated for Everyday Rapture as well. Imagine our surprise this morning, then, when we realized that Mr. Kitt had not been nominated for either show.

...Seriously Tony committee? Are you deaf? Did you actually see American Idiot or Everyday Rapture and/ or listen to their cast recordings? The man is a freaking genius! His orchestrations for both shows are amazing (particularly for "21 Guns" and "Whatshername" from American Idiot) and you didn't nominate him? What, just because he has a Tony already and won a Pulitzer Prize, you couldn't nominate him for another award? Do you not want him to run out of space on his Shelf of Really Prestigious Awards too soon? Are you just leaving room for all the awards he is sure to win in the future? I want a reason. Not nominating him makes no sense. Sure, the show wasn't eligible for Best Original Score, but the music is the most powerful part of the show, so why not recognize the music in the category it is eligible for? I am just really stunned and shocked by this omission.

The other major quibble Michelle and I have is the lack of a Best Choreography nod for Steven Hoggett for his incredible work for American Idiot. I get that the choreography may not be the more traditional dancing of Broadway musicals, but it is undeniable that the choreography for this show perfectly captures the rage and love of this piece (see what I did there?) The movement of the cast in all of the numbers is appropriate to the setting and the song, and no other show on Broadway had to choreograph a number in which both cast members flew around stage on harnesses. Also, the choreography for "Whatshername" pretty much blew our collective mind once we realized that it incorporated choreography from pretty much every other in the show. It was like an epiphany... one second we were just watching the show, and then the next we were like "Did you see...? That was choreography from the beginning of the show?! That shit is insane!" For reals - that boy deserved a nomination.

So what is the end result of our reflection and analysis of the Tony nominations? Apathy. Honestly, besides Best Musical, Best Book of a Musical, Best Leading Actress in a Musical, and maybe Best Featured Actor in a Musical, (for American Idiot, Sherie Rene Scott and Dick Scanlan, Sherie Rene Scott, and Bobby Steggert, respectively), I really don't care one way or the other who wins what. I suppose I want Bill T. Jones to win for his direction of Fela!, and Angela Lansbury is always a hoot when she wins an award, and of course it would be awesome if American Idiot one for the technical categories it was nominated for, but overall I'm somewhat disappointed with this year's nominations. I wouldn't begrudge anyone a nomination (although last year's total snub of Aaron Tveit came close), but this was kind of a weak year for musicals, especially original musicals. Here's hoping next year's Tonys will be more exciting.

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