2021 Tony Award Picks & Predictions – Deadline

I’m glad I took notes. Looking on the roster of nominees for this 12 months’s too-long-delayed Tony Awards is all of the reminder anybody may need of simply how interminable Broadway’s Covid pandemic shutdown has appeared. Productions and performances from the 2019-20 season, many reviewed almost two years in the past, are calling out – some extra forcefully than others – to be remembered and honored. As I mentioned, I’m glad I took notes.

This Sunday, the Tony Awards ceremony will likely be livestreamed on Paramount+, then instantly adopted by the two-hour CBS live performance particular Broadway’s Back!, a celebration of Broadway’s latest reopening after the shutdown of 16-months (or 17 or 18 relying on which reveals you resolve had been the official comebacks). Pre-pandemic, the Tonys initially had been scheduled for June 2020, however March of that 12 months introduced the illness and an abrupt shutdown of the business that would go away a mere 18 productions eligible for the awards, down from 34 the earlier 12 months. The awards had been postponed twice, most just lately – thought it definitely doesn’t really feel latest – a 12 months in the past when the nominations had been introduced.

As many as 16 reveals scheduled for spring 2020 fell out of the Broadway schedule (and Tony competitors). Some – together with Six, which was purported to open the very evening of the shutdown, and Girl From The North Country, which just like the revival of West Side Story had opened however had not but fulfilled its Tony voter necessities – would definitely have made at the very least the Best Musical race a more healthy contest.

So the Tony organizers – the Broadway League, the American Theatre Wing, CBS – had some large choices to make, even after the year-long postponement that appears, on reflection and at the very least to me, wrong-headed. First up was learn how to get the community to proceed its broadcast custom for an yearly low-rated occasion that this 12 months would, fairly actually, be a mere fraction of its former self.

The reply – and we’ll know Sunday whether or not it was one or not – was to basically break up the distinction. A number of large awards – Best Play, Best Musical and Best Revival of a Musical – will likely be introduced reside through the CBS particular (and in addition streamed on Paramount+) however the bulk of awards are set for livestream solely, a transfer that appears at odds with Broadway’s latest endeavors to place itself as one thing not only for rich New Yorkers and spend-happy vacationers. Paramount+ does, in reality, supply a free trial interval, so Broadway followers who don’t need to pay for a streaming service can watch the present with out spending a penny – simply ensure that to cancel earlier than the trial ends – however nonetheless. The visuals, as they are saying, aren’t nice.

Certainly in some methods, this break up determination – the livestream-broadcast hybrid – is smart. The abbreviated roster of nominees and the year-long delay was all the time going to be a troublesome promote to CBS, and simply as definitely Broadway followers need to see how even a number of the much less ballyhooed competitions play out. What will Moulin Rouge‘s Aaron Tveit – the only real nominee within the Lead Actor/Musical class – say when he takes the stage? And which of the nominees for Best Original Score will show actually memorable? That class consists of no musicals – repeat, no musicals – since every of the Best Musical nominees had been of the golden-oldie jukebox selection. That left the performs to deal with the Original Score burden – and left Tony voters making an attempt very, very exhausting to mentally summon simply what, precisely, the incidental music of The Rose Tattoo truly gave the impression of.

As a industrial transfer to advertise the reopening of Broadway (and increase much-needed ticket gross sales for Broadway’s present line-up, even when it consists of only some of this 12 months’s Tony nominees), each the postponement of the ceremony and the expansive live performance particular appears justifiable. The Tonys have all the time been as a lot an commercial for gross sales as a recognition of feat. But as a method to rejoice the productions and performers who hit the levels previous to the March 2020 shutdown, the choice feels much less defendable. Even with out CBS, a livestream or digital Tonys final fall would definitely have felt extra fast (and, in a approach, hopeful), with nominees nonetheless recent in minds and everybody – together with, I think, various in competitors – nonetheless feeling absolutely invested.

So. After racking my mind, checking my intestine and deciphering scribbles in previous notebooks, my picks and predictions in chosen Tony classes are as follows. Of course, the one positive wager is Tveit – although even that one-nominee class may, theoretically, see an upset: Tony voters may select to not give that award in any respect. Won’t occur, however after the final 12 months and a half, is anybody nonetheless able to being stunned?

Click on hyperlinks to learn Deadline’s evaluations.

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Joaquina Kalukango, Paul Alexander Nolan, ‘Slave Play’
Matthew Murphy

Grand Horizons, Bess Wohl
The Inheritance, Matthew López
Sea Wall/A Life, Simon Stephens & Nick Payne
Slave Play, Jeremy O. Harris
The Sound Inside, Adam Rapp

Will Win: Slave Play
Should Win: Slave Play
Jeremy O. Harris’ difficult – and, don’t overlook, very humorous – play about race relations as depicted by way of the weird setting of a assist group wherein interracial {couples} try to expunge their demons by enacting hackneyed sexual tropes of the antebellum South was, deservedly, the speak of Broadway (and past) through the 2019-20 season. I’d be stunned if it’s energy hasn’t endured. Possible spoiler: Sea Wall/A Life. This is likely one of the 12 months’s strongest classes, with Rapp’s haunting The Sound Inside and, particularly, the mixed solo one-acts Sea Wall/A Life making for very sturdy competitors. Wohl’s Grand Horizons was satisfying sufficient, however in the end too slight for a win, and López’s The Inheritance didn’t reside as much as its pre-opening hype.

Jagged Little Pill
Moulin Rouge! The Musical
Tina – The Tina Turner Musical

Will Win: Moulin Rouge! The Musical
Should Win: Moulin Rouge! The Musical
One of the classes most skewed by the pandemic, the Best Musical contest would on the very least have been a wider competitors if the season had lasted lengthy sufficient to incorporate Girl From The North Country (which might have been my choose) and even Sing Street. The overwrought Jagged Little Pill definitely has its devotees (and the latest controversy about trans erasure didn’t actually take maintain till after Tony voting ended final spring), and Tina isn’t brief on pleasure (although most of that comes courtesy of star Adrienne Warren, the closest factor to a shoo-in subsequent to Aaron Tveit). So the crowd-pleaser Moulin Rouge!, by default.


Charlie Cox, Zawe Ashton, Tom Hiddleston, ‘Betrayal’
Marc Brenner

Betrayal, Harold Pinter
Frankie and Johnny within the Clair de Lune, Terrence McNally
A Soldier’s Play, Charles Fuller

Will Win: A Soldier’s Play
Should Win: Betrayal
The fantastically carried out and directed Betrayal was a revelation – a Pinter play as downright entertaining because it was thought-provoking, however Fuller’s long-in-coming arrival on Broadway together with his fashionable basic A Soldier’s Play all however calls for a win. Of course, Broadway may select to honor McNally, the beloved stage icon who handed away from Covid final 12 months, and whose Frankie and Johnny stays a vital a part of the American canon. Still, for me, Betrayal is the manufacturing that stands out.

Ian Barford, Linda Vista
Andrew Burnap, The Inheritance
Jake Gyllenhaal, Sea Wall/A Life
Tom Hiddleston, Betrayal
Tom Sturridge, Sea Wall/A Life
Blair Underwood, A Soldier’s Play

Will Win: Hiddleston
Should Win: Sturridge
Hiddleston was terrific in Betrayal, and has each proper to the trophy, however for me Sturridge in A Life gave probably the most highly effective efficiency within the class because the grieving father whose household was destroyed by a single occasion of atrocious happenstance. Other devotees of Sea Wall/A Life would possibly select first-time nominee Gyllenhaal (and I’d don’t have any critical criticism there), and Underwood is definitely a well-liked and satisfying actor (although saddled with the least fascinating plot-device character in A Soldier’s Play). Barford and Burnap are excessive long-shots, leaving a four-man race with Hiddleston the doubtless winner if solely by a slight edge.

Joaquina Kalukango, Slave Play
Laura Linney, My Name is Lucy Barton
Audra McDonald, Frankie and Johnny within the Clair de Lune
Mary-Louise Parker, The Sound Inside

Will Win: Kalukango
Should Win: Kalukango
Three of the theater’s most beloved, gifted actresses – Linney, McDonald and Parker – will doubtless cede this 12 months to relative newcomer Kalukango, whose astonishing portrayal of Kaneisha, a Black girl enrolled within the antebellum sexual position play group along with her white husband, brings Slave Play to its highly effective, discomfiting finish. The whole play would crumble with out its final scene of rage and tentative grace, and it was as much as Kalukango every evening to deliver it residence. She did, and on Sunday she is going to.

moulin rouge

Aaron Tveit, ‘Moulin Rouge!’
Matthew Murphy

Aaron Tveit, Moulin Rouge! The Musical
Will Win, Should Win, Gotta Win: Tveit
Broadway’s abbreviated season – and a few strategic placement of different reveals’ actors into the supporting class – has left Tveit as the only real entrant right here. That’s a disgrace for at the very least two causes. First, Chris McCarrell, who starred within the critically lambasted industrial failure The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical, deserved a nomination, and the snub not solely punishes him for the manufacturing’s shortcomings however leaves the eminently award-worthy Tveit with out a lot as a shadowboxer. Had the wildly underrated West Side Story revival been round lengthy sufficient to ask Tony voters, Isaac Powell (who performed Tony) would doubtless be going toe to toe with Tveit, however that’s simply one of many many what-ifs we will blame on Covid.

Karen Olivo, Moulin Rouge! The Musical
Elizabeth Stanley, Jagged Little Pill
Adrienne Warren, Tina – The Tina Turner Musical

Will Win: Warren
Should Win: Warren
Nothing and nobody can upstage Adrienne Warren’s electrifying efficiency as Tina Turner this 12 months, not Karen Olivo’s dramatic resignation from Broadway over, amongst different issues, the business silence surrounding Scott Rudin nor Elizabeth Stanley’s sturdy, central efficiency because the mother who pops all these jagged little capsules.

Slave Play

James Cusati-Moyer, Ato Blankson-Wood, ‘Slave Play’
Matthew Murphy

Ato Blankson-Wood, Slave Play
James Cusati-Moyer, Slave Play
David Alan Grier, A Soldier’s Play
John Benjamin Hickey, The Inheritance
Paul Hilton, The Inheritance

Will Win: Grier
Should Win: Cusati-Moyer
Grier’s casting in A Soldier’s Play because the abusive grasp sergeant whose homicide offers the story’s central thriller allowed for a satisfying symmetry – the actor had performed a younger corporal within the 1984 movie adaptation A Soldier’s Story. But it was rather more than that: Grier gave immense depth to the essential character of a damaged man who turns his self-hatred outward, with tragic outcomes. Still, both Blankson-Wood or Cusati-Moyer can be my selection on this class, with the latter, because the racially confused white associate of a Black man in Slave Play, taking a slight lead. Cusati-Moyer acquired a hefty share of the play’s laughs whereas on the identical time demonstrating how being woke doesn’t imply you’re not privileged.

Jane Alexander, Grand Horizons
Chalia La Tour, Slave Play
Annie McNamara, Slave Play
Lois Smith, The Inheritance
Cora Vander Broek, Linda Vista

Will Win: Alexander
Should Win: Alexander
Unless Annie McNamara – so hilariously offensive as Slave Play‘s sexually frustrated and passive-aggressive Southern belle – pulls a surprise win, this category likely goes to one of two stage icons: Lois Smith or Jane Alexander. Smith’s heat and understated presence within the overheated The Inheritance offered some of the welcome appearances of the Broadway season, and a Tony win can be her long-overdue first, however I’d give a small desire for Alexander right here. As the feminine half of a long-married, growing old couple, Alexander takes a reasonably acquainted inventory character – suppose Lou Grant’s spouse on The Mary Tyler Moore Show – and turns it right into a devastating portrait of thwarted need. “I think I would like a divorce,” she tells her stunned husband (performed by James Cromwell) in an announcement that kicks off a household disaster. Alexander delivers the road with a floor serenity that may’t disguise a long time of disappointment. An impeccable efficiency.

Danny Burstein, Moulin Rouge! The Musical
Derek Klena, Jagged Little Pill
Sean Allan Krill, Jagged Little Pill
Sahr Ngaujah, Moulin Rouge! The Musical
Daniel J. Watts, Tina – The Tina Turner Musical

Will Win: Burstein
Should Win: Burstein
Here’s the place class over-strategizing may backfire. Both Daniel J. Watts of Tina and Sean Allan Krill of Jagged Little Pill had been, by most stretches of the creativeness, the lead actors of their respective reveals. Both had been glorious – Watts because the horrific Ike Turner, Krill as a clueless suburban patriarch. But that is Danny Burstein’s time for the featured actor class. A beloved determine within the Broadway group, Burstein has endured a dreadful 12 months, hospitalized with Covid and, unthinkably, struggling the lack of his spouse, Broadway legend Rebecca Luker, to ALS. All that apart – if it’s remotely potential to place all that apart – Burstein, who has been nominated earlier than however by no means received, was the epitome of an award-worthy featured actor in a musical, commanding the stage because the Moulin Rouge! emcee within the grand custom of Cabaret‘s Joel Grey. Both Derek Klena and Sahr Ngaujah were, as always, formidable talents, making this category without a doubt one of the year’s strongest.

8 0749 lauren patten and company performing e2809cyou oughta knowe2809d in jagged little pill c matthew murphy

Lauren Patten, ‘Jagged Little Pill’
Matthew Murphy

Kathryn Gallagher, Jagged Little Pill
Celia Rose Gooding, Jagged Little Pill
Robyn Hurder, Moulin Rouge! The Musical
Lauren Patten, Jagged Little Pill
Myra Lucretia Taylor, Tina – The Tina Turner Musical

Will Win: Patten
Should Win: Patten
The controversy surrounding Patten’s portrayal of a personality that beforehand had been written as binary didn’t actually explode till properly after Tony voting ended, so its affect somehow on tonight’s end result ought to be negligible. Patten’s large musical quantity – the Morissette hit “You Oughta Know” – is likely one of the showiest, most overblown moments in a showy, overblown musical, making it one of many extra memory-sticking performances from these long-ago pre-shutdown days.

A Christmas Carol, music by Christopher Nightingale
The Inheritance, music by Paul Englishby
The Rose Tattoo, music by Fitz Patton and Jason Michael Webb
Slave Play, music by Lindsay Jones
The Sound Inside, music by Daniel Kluger

Will Win: Anybody’s guess
Should Win: Anybody’s selection
Perhaps the strangest improvement on this uncommon 12 months – and that features Tveit – this 12 months’s Original Score competitors options no musicals since all three of the Best Musical nominees reworked previous tunes, jukebox-style. Instead, the class is made up of the scores that accompanied numerous performs. I’d be mendacity if I mentioned I had sturdy reminiscences of any music from these productions excluding the silver-bell chestnuts carried out by the forged of A Christmas Carol on the present’s finish (which I supposed doesn’t even rely as authentic music). No disrespect supposed to any of the nominees – none of whom recorded forged albums – however this complete class is one more sufferer of the shutdown.

The 74th Annual Tony Awards, hosted by Audra McDonald, will likely be livestreamed Sunday, Sept. 26, at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT, on Paramount+. The Tony Awards Present: Broadway’s Back!, hosted by Leslie Odom, Jr., airs at 9 p.m. ET/PT on CBS and can be out there to stream reside and on demand on Paramount+.

Source Link – deadline.com

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