Given the bizarre nominations -- or non-nominations -- this year, it is difficult to predict who will win tomorrow night or care who wins. Herewith, out of sheer perversity, are my Tony Awards.
BEST BROADWAY PLAY
ALL THE WAY had interesting subject matter, but was clunky. Ditto CASA VALENTINA. Didn't see the quasi-Irish play. For me, it's a difficult choice between Will Eno's THE REALISTIC JONESES (not nominated), and Terrence McNally's MOTHERS AND SONS. MOTHERS AND SONS is the most recent chapter in McNally's half century chronicle of gay life in New York. It's an excellent piece of theatrical craftsmanship and a lovely, touching play. But I'd give McNally a Lifetime Achievement Award and offer the Best Play prize to THE REALISTIC JONESES, a truly beautiful play that questions whether we mortals ever do more than perform our lives. That sounds deep, but the play is funny and, ultimately, upbeat.
BEST BROADWAY MUSICAL
Here's another tossup. Can you give a show the Best Musical award if it isn't really an original show with an original score? Obviously the Tony folks think you can. I propose a category of Best Original Musical. That would eliminate most of this year's nominees. ALADDIN, another piece of Disney high-priced children's theatre, uses the music from the film, BEAUTIFUL is Carole King's greatest hits, and AFTER MIDNIGHT is a vaudeville with thirties music. BULLETS OVER BROADWAY also does not have an original score. That leaves me with A GENTLEMAN"S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MURDER, IF/THEN (not nominated) and THE BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY. IF/THEN is a witty, thoughtful show about life and relationships in the city. It's a New York show. Unfortunately Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey's score is a bit of a disappointment. Too many of the songs sound the same. It does boast a gorgeous production and terrific performances from Idina Menzel, LaChanze, Anthony Rapp and James Snyder. THE BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY has far and away the best original Broadway score, it tells its simple story well and also boasts terrific performances from its leads Kelli O'Hara, Stephen Pasquale and Hunter Foster. A GENTLEMAN'S GUIDE has a delightful book and a witty pastiche score. It also has excellent comic performances from Jefferson Mays, Bryce Pinkham and a zany supporting cast. It's the funniest musical comedy in eons. So that wins. I understand that a number of producers don't want it to win because they think audiences in the provinces will hate it and the tour will lose money. Maybe they underestimate the intelligence of the folks in Peoria.
I have to add that far and away the best musical of the year was FUN HOME, but that was not a Broadway show. HERE LIES LOVE (also not a Broadway show) was a solid runner-up.
BEST PERFORMANCES IN A PLAY - mass award
The entire cast of THE GLASS MENAGERIE (Cherry Jones, Celia Keenan-Bolger, Zachary Quinto, Brian J. Smith.
The entire cast of THE REALISTIC JONESES (Michael C. Hall, Toni Colette, Marisa Tomei, Tracy Letts)
Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellan for NO MAN's LAND and WAITING FOR GODOT
TYNE DALY for MOTHERS AND SONS
Bryan Cranston in ALL THE WAY
BEST PERFORMANCES IN A MUSICAL
Idina Menzel (IF/THEN), Kelli O'Hara (BRIDGES), Stephen Pasquale (BRIDGES), Sutton Foster (VIOLET). Joshua Henry (VIOLET).