Ah, Tony Award season: When we kick ourselves for all of the shows we didn’t get to see, fondly recall the ones we loved (and sometimes lost too soon) and shake our fists at the sky about nominations given and withheld (ahem, “The Realistic Joneses”).
Whether you’re hosting a viewing party with themed cocktails or just want to keeping it on in the background to stay topical at the water cooler on Monday, we’ve got everything you need to know ahead of the 68th Tony Awards, which will be held at Radio City Music Hall and airing live at 8 p.m. on CBS.
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Here’s what to follow:
Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but Neil Patrick Harris is not going to be wooing you with his remarkable talent, rapier wit and classic good looks this year. Instead, we’re stuck with Hugh Jackman’s remarkable talent, rapier wit and classic good lucks. Oh, wait — that’s not bad news at all! Carry on.
“A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder” swept this year’s nominations with 10 nods. That could make it a hot contender for Best Musical, in part because two of its leads are pitted against one another for Best Actor. That Sophie’s Choice could be avoided by tossing the win to someone else entirely (say, Neil Patrick Harris) and, as a sort of replacement, “Gentleman’s Guide” would get the hat-tip here. On the flip side, though, up to seven wins might end up generously spread out among its other categories, justifying a competitor, for example “Beautiful,” for this big one. The committee should realize that the decision will make a huge impact on the future of Broadway, and whether we can expect to see more new and unique musicals getting their gambit or another slew of “safe” jukebox hits in the coming years.
Lead Actress in a Musical
After 10 long years, Tony Award-winner Idina Menzel has made her way back home to the Broadway stage, and we want to reward her good behavior, right? Besides, “If/Then” is not that great of a show, so if we’re going to throw it a bone, this is a safe bone to throw. So does it matter whether her performance was actually better than, say, the charismatic Jessie Mueller as Carole King? Oh, but wait, we’re totally overlooking someone, as usual: Kelli O’Hara has been nominated four times before, and it’s really about time she gets her freakin’ statue for “The Bridges of Madison County.” (If not, well, there’s surely going to be another chance next year, or the year after — it’s such a dependable rain check we can practically see those gray clouds rolling in now.)
Lead Actress in a Play
Although “Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill” is punctuated with the songs of Billie Holiday throughout, the Tony Awards Administration Committee ruled that it would be designated as a play with music. This means that star Audra McDonald will have a shot of winning a Tony Award in all four acting categories for which she’s eligible, making her one of only five thespians of either sex to do so. As her sixth Tony Award (wow), this would also posit her as the record-holding female for the most Tony Awards of all time (surpassing Angela Lansbury and Julie Harris).