Saturday, May 9, 2009

The 2009 Tony Nominees

The 2009 Tony nominees were announced earlier this week. Billy Elliot, following in the tradition of movies turned into musicals, leads the pack with 15 nominations followed by another new (and original) musical Next to Normal, which has 11 noms. Truth be told, since I am not that familiar with the new shows on Broadway, I am not terribly excited about the musical nominees. I know absolutely nothing about Billy Elliot or Next to Normal, and even though I have no clue if Dolly Parton's 9 to 5 is any good at all, I sort of hope she wins Best Original Score because Dolly would be a hoot at the Tonys. (Incidentally, she occasionally shopped at the store I used to work at in Nashville, and she was always very sweet and polite.)

Despite the rather unspectacular race for Best Musical, it should be interesting to see who gets Best Revival of a Musical. There are four strong shows (West Side Story, Hair, Pal Joey, and Guys & Dolls) up for the award, but none of them got rave reviews. Even more competitive is the field of Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical. Sutton Foster, who seems to be an almost perennial nominee and is a two time Tony winner, is nominated for her turn as Princess Fiona in the uneven Shrek. She is facing off against Alice Ripley (Next to Normal), Allison Janney (9 to 5), Stockard Channing (Pal Joey), and Josefina Scaglione (West Side Story). My completely uninformed guess is that it is going to come down between Scaglione and Foster, but they may end up splitting the field, allowing one of the other three ladies to get the Tony. However, they are all incredible actresses, so it is sort of a toss up.

Even though I'm not usually a straight play fan, I'm stoked about the nominees for the straight play categories. Straight plays had an incredibly strong season. A quick glance at the nominees for Best Performance by a Leading Actor (James Gandolfini, Geoffrey Rush, Raúl Esparza) and the Best Performance by a Leading Actress (Marcia Gay Harden, Jane Fonda, Janet McTeer) illustrates this.

If you are interested in more Tony coverage, the New York Times site has a section dedicated to the Tony Awards. One warning - it can be very addicting :)