BootLeg Betty

No Nomination For Bette At The Tony’s

New York Times
April 30, 2013, 7:49 am 1 Comment
‘Kinky Boots’ Leads With 13 Tony Nominations; Tom Hanks Gets Nod for ‘Lucky Guy’
By PATRICK HEALY

Photo: Bruce Glikas
Photo: Bruce Glikas

The new Broadway musical “Kinky Boots” led the pack with 13 nominations for the 67th annual Tony Awards, including for best musical, director, actor, score, and choreographer, while its chief rival “Matilda” had 12 nominations in many of the same categories. The nominations were announced at 8:30 a.m. on Tuesday. The revival of “Golden Boy” had the most nominations of any play, 8, with the new Tom Hanks play “Lucky Guy” close behind with 6 nominations. Lead acting nods went to only a handful of the Hollywood stars performing on Broadway this season – Mr. Hanks, Laurie Metcalf, Holland Taylor, and Cicely Tyson; among those snubbed were Bette Midler, Jessica Chastain, Katie Holmes, Scarlett Johansson, and Al Pacino. Among the surprises were snubs of “Motown” for a best musical nomination and its star, Brandon Victor Dixon, for best actor.

Best Musical Horse Race
The race for best musical may have four nominees – “Bring It On,” “Matilda,” “Kinky Boots,” and “A Christmas Story” – but only two real contenders: “Matilda” and “Kinky Boots,” both song-and-dance shows with large casts that center on an underdog storyline. “Matilda,” created in England and based on a Roald Dahl children’s novel, received the best reviews of the season for a new musical; “Kinky Boots,” created by the Broadway veterans Harvey Fierstein and Jerry Mitchell and based on a 2005 British movie, received slightly more mixed reviews – though, importantly, those notices stressed the joyous nature of the show, while “Matilda” came off more as a thinking person’s show. Which is to say, “Kinky Boots” may have more passionate fans who will help get out the vote among the 868 eligible Tony voters. Still, “Matilda” has to be judged as the front-runner: It has the sort of critical acclaim and pedigree (a Royal Shakespeare Company production; the winner of a record seven Olivier Awards, London’s version of the Tonys) that tend to appeal to Tony voters. The big surprise in this category is the snub of “Motown,” which is the best-selling new musical this season – but apparently too much of a jukebox show for many Tony nominators. And who would have expected a Tony nomination for “Bring It On,” a musical about cheerleaders that closed months ago?

Best Actress in a Play
The most competitive Tony Awards race next month, without question, will be best actress in a play. The nominees are Laurie Metcalf (“The Other Place”), Amy Morton (“Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?”), Kristine Nielsen (“Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike”), Holland Taylor (“Ann”), and Cicely Tyson (“The Trip to Bountiful”). Among the prominent actresses who didn’t make the cut – despite also giving critically acclaimed performances – were Bette Midler (“I’ll Eat You Last”), Jessica Hecht (“The Assembled Parties”), and Fiona Shaw (“The Testament of Mary”). Ms. Midler’s omission is particularly surprising because this is her first role on Broadway in roughly 40 years and she was roundly cheered by theater critics. Of the five women nominated, Ms. Morton is a slight surprise – if only because her play closed in early March. Still, in the four productions of “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” on Broadway since its debut in 1962, the actors playing he battling spouses George and Martha have always been nominated – as they were again with the nominations of Ms. Morton and Tracy Letts. As for the front-runners, Ms. Metcalf, Ms. Nielsen, and Ms. Taylor are seen as particularly strong.

Best Score
If Tony nominee Cyndi Lauper wins for best score for the musical “Kinky Boots,” she would become the first woman to ever win solo in the category. Earlier winners Betty Comden, Lynn Ahrens, and Lisa Lambert shared Tonys for best score with their songwriting partners. This is Ms. Lauper’s first Tony nomination – indeed, “Kinky Boots” is her first Broadway show – and some producers are already predicting that she will edge out her toughest competition in the category, Tim Minchin, who wrote the score for “Matilda.” The other nominees are the scores for “Christmas Story” and “Hands on a Hardbody.”

Alec Baldwin Botch
The producers of the Broadway play “Orphans” may have botched Alec Baldwin’s chances at a Tony nomination. The producers had wanted Mr. Baldwin to be eligible for a best actor Tony, and his co-stars, Ben Foster and Tom Sturridge, to be eligible for featured actor nominations. But when the Tony administration committee met Friday to consider those requests, members balked: They viewed Mr. Baldwin’s character – the gangster Harold – as a featured role, given time onstage and lines of dialogue. In the end, the committee decided to make all three actors eligible in the lead category. And on Tuesday, Mr. Sturridge received a best actor nomination for his portrayal as the young shut-in Phillip – but Mr. Baldwin came up empty-handed.

Best Actor and Actress in a Musical
The winners in the lead acting categories for musicals are often hard to predict; the same is true this year, though the contests are relatively easy to define. The best actor race is likely to be between two men in drag: The British actor and Broadway newcome Bertie Carvel, as the sadistic headmistress Miss Trunchbull in “Matilda,” and the New York theater veteran Billy Porter as the drag queen Lola in “Kinky Boots.” If there’s a dark horse in the field, it’s Stark Sands, who plays the straight man Charlie in “Kinky Boots.” Among the best actress nominees, the contest is between Patina Miller (the Leading Player in “Pippin”) and Laura Osnes (the title role in “Cinderella”). The two women were nominees in the category before – Ms. Miller for “Sister Act,” Ms. Osnes for “Bonnie and Clyde” – and both women were helped by a Tony committee ruling last week that the four young actresses rotating in the role of Matilda were not eligible. (The four will receive special Tony honors for their work in “Matilda.”) But while the contests are likely to be just two-person races, the eventual winner seems like anyone’s guess right now.

Best Play
More than in any recent year, the Tony Award for best play is up for grabs. The recent winners in the category – “Clybourne Park,” “War Horse,” “Red,” “God of Carnage” and “August: Osage County” – were all favorites to varying degrees. This year’s nominees have admirers and detractors, and none can be called a front-runner at this point. The first nominee, Richard Greenberg’s “The Assembled Parties,” received many glowing reviews, but he has won for best play already, in 2003 for “Take Me Out.” The second, “Lucky Guy,” drew critical praise for star Tom Hanks and director George C. Wolfe (both nominated) but mixed reviews for the writing; still, the author is Nora Ephron, a beloved figure in New York who worked on the play for a decade before her death last June. The third nominee, “The Testament of Mary,” is a lovely piece of writing with moments approaching poetry, but reviews were mixed on the production and its lead actress, Fiona Shaw, who plays the mother of Christ (and who was not nominated). The final best play nominee, “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike,” earned strong reviews and has the added appeal of its playwright, Christopher Durang, a longtime fixture of New York theater who has never won a Tony. Still, his play is a comedy – though with some powerfully moving monologues in the second act – and the Tony for best play tends to go to a drama.

Fosse’s “Pippin” vs. Paulus’s “Pippin”
In 1973 Bob Fosse’s original “Pippin” received 11 Tony nominations and won 5, for best actor, director, choreography, lighting and sets; it lost best musical to the Stephen Sondheim-Hugh Wheeler show “Little Night Music.” On Tuesday, Diane Paulus’s new “Pippin” received 10 nominations, including for best musical revival, best actress (Patina Miller), best featured actress (Andrea Martin), best featured actor (Terrence Mann), best choreographer (Chet Walker), and best director for Ms. Paulus. Will her “Pippin” top Mr. Fosse’s in the Tonys haul?

Tony Nominations by Production
“Kinky Boots” – 13
“Matilda: The Musical” – 12
“Pippin” – 10
“Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella” – 9
“Golden Boy” – 8
“Lucky Guy” – 6
“Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike” – 6
“The Mystery of Edwin Drood” – 5
“The Nance” – 5
“Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” – 5
“Motown: The Musical” – 4
“The Trip to Bountiful” – 4
“The Assembled Parties” – 3
“A Christmas Story, The Musical” – 3
“Hands on a Hardbody” – 3
“The Testament of Mary”- 3
“Bring It On: The Musical” – 2
“The Heiress” – 2
“Orphans “- 2
“Ann” – 1
“Annie” – 1
“The Big Knife” – 1
“Chaplin” – 1
“Cyrano de Bergerac” – 1
“The Other Place” – 1
“Scandalous” – 1

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