Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Tony Award Predictions Part 3: The Plays

For theater fans and those that work in the industry, the Tony Awards are the culmination of the entire season's worth of fun, excitement, and yes, sometimes disappointment. Since the awards are just about 4 days away (they will be broadcast live on June 10th, from 8-11PM on CBS), I thought I would add my $.02 as to who will take home the big prizes.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I have seen about 90% of the shows that opened on Broadway this season (among the shows I missed: Translations, 110 in the Shade, Pirate Queen, Inherit the Wind, A Moon for the Misbegotten and Heartbreak House).

I've taken a look at the design awards and the musical awards -- this time, it's the prizes for the plays. Here goes...

Best Play
The Coast of Utopia
Little Dog Laughed
Radio Golf

Should Win: The Coast of Utopia -- yes, I'm a bit biased, but there is a reason the Lincoln Center Theater production of the Tom Stoppard trilogy has been called "the theatrical event of the season." If a dazzling production of a great play with a fantastic cast isn't enough to grab the top prize, what is?
Will Win: The Coast of Utopia
Possible Spoiler: Frost/Nixon

Best Revival of a Play
Journey's End
Talk Radio
Inherit the Wind

Should Win: Journey's End -- this was one of the best reviewed plays of the season, and likely the only shot it has at taking home an award. Probably a shoo-in.
Will Win: Journey's End
Possible Spoiler: Talk Radio

Best Director of a Play
Jack O'Brien, The Coast of Utopia
Melly Still, Coram Boy
Michael Grandage, Frost/Nixon
David Grindley, Journey's End

Should Win: O'Brien -- three parts and 44 actors -- who else could have staged such a mammoth project with such theatrical magic? He should win the award for the curtain call alone.
Will Win: O'Brien
Possible Spoiler: Grindley

Best Performance by an Actor in a Play
Brian F. O'Byrne, The Coast of Utopia
Christopher Plummer, Inherit the Wind
Frank Langella, Frost/Nixon
Liev Schreiber, Talk Radio
Boyd Gaines, Journey's End

Should Win: Langella -- much more than an impression, Langella sometimes brashly and sometimes hearbreakingly summons the soul and spirit of Richard Nixon. A brilliant performance.
Will Win: Langella
Possible Spoiler: Schreiber -- theater folk love Schreiber (he won the Tony two years ago for Glengary Glenn Ross and picked up the Drama League Award for Distinguished Performance this year), so there is a small chance he could sneak in and grab the prize.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Play
Eve Best, A Moon for the Misbegotten
Julie White, Little Dog Laughed
Angela Lansbury, Deuce
Vanessa Redgrave, A Year of Magical Thinking
Swoosie Kurtz, Heartbreak House

Should Win: White -- I didn't see Best's performance, but White was hilariously on-point as a maniacal agent.
Will Win: Best -- this performance has been acclaimed right and left, so even though I haven't experienced it myself, I'm guessing she's gonna walk away the victor.
Possible Spoiler: Lansbury -- will voters be able to avoid the temptation to give Lansbury her fifth award?

Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Play
Billy Crudup, The Coast of Utopia
Ethan Hawke, The Coast of Utopia
Anthony Chisolm, Radio Golf
John Jelks, Radio Golf
Stark Sands, Journey's End

Should Win: Crudup -- both comically brilliant and devastatingly sad, Crudup gives, in my opinion, a career-best performance as the tortured Belinsky. Hawke has the bigger part, but Crudup leaves the more indelible impression.
Will Win: Crudup
Possible Spoiler: Chisolm -- his presence alone is enough to lift the quality of Radio Golf, and those voters who avoided Coast of Utopia will likely check his name off.

Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Play
Jennifer Ehle, The Coast of Utopia
Martha Plimpton, The Coast of Utopia
Xanthe Elbrick, Coram Boy
Jan Maxwell, Coram Boy
Dana Ivey, Butley

Should Win: Ehle -- playing three incredibly different women, Ehle makes sure that the boys don't steal the show. My favorite of the three? Her complex, sensual Natalie Herzen.
Will Win: Plimpton -- she doesn't really get to flaunt her stuff until Part 3, but once she gets the spotlight, she dazzles. She's also picked up the Outer Critics' Circle and Drama Desk Awards, so a Tony victory would seem appropriate.
Possible Spoiler: Ehle -- I think it will come down to the two Coast women -- which will prevail?

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