Monday, June 10, 2019

How'd We Do? 2019 Tony Predictions

Well, two of us did okay: Liz and Sandra each had 17 correct predictions. I had decided to be iconoclastic, which was a bad idea: 10* correct predictions.

Best Musical: Hadestown
Best Play: The Ferryman
The Ferryman
The Ferryman
The Ferryman
Best Revival of a Musical: Oklahoma!
Best Revival of a Play: The Boys in the Band
The Boys in the Band
All My Sons
The Waverly Gallery
Best Book of a Musical: Tootsie, Robert Horn
The Prom
Best Original Score: Hadestown, music and lyrics: Anaïs Mitchell
Best Direction of a Play: Sam Mendes, The Ferryman
Sam Mendes
Sam Mendes
Sam Mendes
Best Direction of a Musical: Rachel Chavkin, Hadestown
Rachel Chavkin
Rachel Chavkin
Daniel Fish
Best Leading Actor in a Play: Bryan Cranston, Network
Bryan Cranston
Bryan Cranston
Adam Driver
Best Leading Actress in a Play: Elaine May, The Waverly Gallery
Elaine May
Heidi Schreck
Elaine May
Best Leading Actor in a Musical: Santino Fontana, Tootsie
Santino Fontana
Santino Fontana
Santino Fontana
Best Leading Actress in a Musical: Stephanie J. Block, The Cher Show
Stephanie J. Block
Stephanie J. Block
Stephanie J. Block
Best Featured Actor in a Play: Bertie Carvel, Ink
Bertie Carvel
Bertie Carvel
Benjamin Walker
Best Featured Actress in a Play: Celia Keenan-Bolger, To Kill a Mockingbird
Fionnula Flanagan
Celia Keenan-Bolger 
Ruth Wilson
Best Featured Actor in a Musical: André De Shields, Hadestown
André De Shields
Patrick Page
Andy Grotelueschen
Best Featured Actress in a Musical: Ali Stroker, Oklahoma!
Ali Stroker
Ali Stroker
Amber Gray
Best Scenic Design of a Play: Rob Howell, The Ferryman
Rob Howell, The Ferryman
Rob Howell, The Ferryman
Santo Loquasto, Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus
Best Scenic Design of a Musical: Rachel Hauck, Hadestown
King Kong
King Kong
Best Costume Design of a Play: Rob Howell, The Ferryman
Ann Roth 
Ann Roth 
Ann Roth, Gary
Best Costume Design of a Musical: Bob Mackie, The Cher Show
Bob Mackie, The Cher Show
Bob Mackie, The Cher Show
Bob Mackie, The Cher Show
Best Lighting Design of a Play: Neil Austin, Ink
The Ferryman
The Ferryman
Best Lighting Design of a Musical: Bradley King, Hadestown
The Cher Show
Best Sound Design of a Play: Fitz Patton, Choir Boy
The Ferryman
Choir Boy
Best Sound Design of a Musical: Nevin Steinberg and Jessica Paz, Hadestown
Nevin Steinberg and Jessica Paz, Hadestown
Ain’t Too Proud
Best Choreography: Sergio Trujillo, Ain’t Too Proud
Choir Boy
Kiss Me, Kate
Sergio Trujillo, Ain’t Too Proud
Best Orchestrations: Michael Chorney and Todd Sickafoose, Hadestown

*Corrected 6/10/19. I originally wrote 11, but, no, it was even worse.

Thursday, June 06, 2019

75th Theatre World Awards

Nathan Lane
The 75th Theatre World Awards celebrated the debut of promising Broadway and Off-Broadway actors on June 3 in a sweet ceremony full of touching stories, even though it ran more than two hours long. Host Peter Filichia charmingly kept the show moving though.

Awards went to Gbenga Akinnagbe (To Kill a Mockingbird), Tom Glynn-Carney (The Ferryman), Sophia Anne Caruso (Beetlejuice), Paddy Considine (The Ferrryman), James Davis (Oklahoma!), Micaela Diamond (The Cher Show), Bonnie Milligan (Head Over Heels), Simone Missick (Paradise Blue), Jeremy Pope (Choir Boy/Ain't Too Proud), Colton Ryan (Girl From the North Country), Stephanie Styles (Kiss Me, Kate!) and Phoebe Waller-Bridge (Fleabag). Hampton Fluker (All My Sons) won The Dorothy Loudon Award.

The highlight was Nathan Lane accepting the John Willis Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre. He mentioned that he was getting to the age where he was "distinguished" and had accepted three such awards this season. Phillip Boykin (The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess), Ernestine Jackson (Raisin) and Linda Eder (J&H) sang

Rosemary Harris
Linda Eder

Lane's Gary castmates congratulate him
Ernestine Jackson
Micaela Diamond

James Davis

Phillip Boykin

Wednesday, June 05, 2019


There are plenty of pleasures to be had at the Marquis Theater, where Tootsie is running and probably will be for a while. The show is often quite funny; the cast is solid; David Yazbeck's score is strong and occasionally boosted by some truly impressive lyrics. I was pleased with the way a handful of the more outdated aspects of the film plot have been reworked and updated for Broadway. Sandy, here played by Sarah Stiles and in the film by Teri Garr, was at least for me easily the most problematic character: in her original iteration, she was a relentlessly neurotic, irritating obstacle whose sole purpose seemed to be to ruin Michael's best-laid plans. A particularly fun musical number with increasingly tongue-twisty lyrics, performed exceptionally well, will do a whole lot for a gal, I guess. As will an actual character arc, replete with a resolution.

A very big deal, though, has been made about how the Broadway version has addressed contemporary cultural concerns, and on this point I'm not as convinced. Yeah, sure, Michael's schlubby roommate Jeff (Andy Grotelueschen)--a hilariously deadpan voice of reason here, as he was when Bill Murray played him--now strenuously assails Michael for stealing work from women, at least for a few seconds. There are some other attempts at updating with an eye toward contemporary gender roles: Julie (Lilli Cooper) is no longer sleeping with her sleazy director Ron Carlisle (Reg Rogers) as she was when she was Jessica Lange; here, she handles his sexism with aplomb. Later, when Michael-as-Dorothy forgets himself and kisses her, she eventually decides to roll with the times, and suggests they give romance a go anyway.

This is all well and good, but it's also all very much on the surface. One of the strengths of the film that the adaptation seems to have overlooked entirely is that back in 1982, Michael-as-Dorothy had to put up with a whole lot more in the way of condescending--and sometimes downright icky, scary, predatory--sexist bullshit from just about every man he worked with, talked to, or met. He also had to negotiate the very genuine feelings--and, eventually, break the heart--of Julie's father, Les (Charles Durning), who falls in love with Dorothy and who here has been completely rewritten as a younger, dumber, admittedly much funnier character named Max Van Horn (Jon Behlmann). But the constant barrage of sexism that Michael had to contend with in the film ultimately made the character's arc more meaningful: having walked in women's shoes, the character ends up Learning Some Valuable Lessons About Himself and Others. The final scene--in which he admits to Julie that he "was a better man with [her] as a woman than [he] ever was with a woman as a man"--thus feels more like a genuine realization, a heartfelt apology, and a serious attempt to move beyond a monstrous deceit that ended up hurting a great many people.

Of course, a Broadway musical has to make way for stuff a comedy film doesn't have to contend with, so there's much more singing and dancing, a speedier pace, and more frequent one-liners, but I was a little disappointed by how totally they replaced any real character development. Santino Fontana hits all his marks as both Michael and Dorothy, and sure, his character is still a self-centered blowhard who is exceedingly hard to work with. But Michael has no clear learning curve here. Instead, the Broadway Tootsie shows us a really talented straight, white dude who dresses like a woman, whereupon all the qualities that alienated people when he was a straight, white dude pretty much immediately get resolved. This is where I got a little confused: Maybe Tootsie was supposed to be set in a magical fairy world where everyone is totally cool about negative personality traits when middle-aged women exhibit them, but can't deal at all when dudes do? I don't get that part, having never in my life experienced such a thing, but maybe the all-male production team of the musical knows better?

Anyway, you know the drill: Michael-as-Dorothy lands a great role, puts up with Ron Carlisle's sexist remarks for about three seconds, bonds with Julie over how hard it is to be a professional woman in a man's world, teaches Max to be a better actor (or something), reveals his deception....and everything ends up pretty okay, anyway. He doesn't really need to do much in the way of penance, the supporting characters pair off (or don't), and it's pretty clear that Julie will come around in time, just like in the movie.

I say this all not to ruin your time seeing what is, in the end, a solidly produced and impressively-performed musical with some genuine laughs, and a few songs I fully admit I'll want to listen to repeatedly when the cast recording comes out. Go see it if the gender politics aren't going to bug the shit out of you. It's a charming, enjoyable show. But aspects of it irked me a lot more than I wish they had, largely because I've grown exceedingly weary of lip service to social causes, and to bandaids that blithely get slapped over deep wounds in the name of mass entertainment. If the prospect of a straight white guy who puts on a dress and thereby manages to succeed in all the ways straight white guys tend to succeed anyway doesn't jibe you at all, by all means, go, have fun, take your visiting relatives. Otherwise, though, maybe skip this one. Believe me when I tell you that you won't be missing anything you didn't know was already going to happen, anyway.

Friday, May 31, 2019

Nothing Here Is Real

Mentalist and magician Gary Ferrar
Mentalist and magician Gary Ferrar’s open-ended run and residency of Nothing Here is Real at The Cocktail Lounge Below Oxbow Tavern is not glitzy with Houdini like tricks of escape or Copperfield’s illusions, yet his parlor tricks, mind-reading and good-natured patter entertain his audience in an intimate speakeasy with tin-ceiling panels, bricked walls, velvet curtains and lounge chairs.

Ferrar, who does more than 300 performances each year on TV and at private and corporate events, creates an interactive show that includes a bit done on a 1942 Shatton Pool table. The premise of the production is to show that “nothing here is real,” and Ferrar reiterates this when he “mind reads” correctly, joking that he looked the information up on Facebook. 

Many tricks elicit wonder from the audience – for instance, when a volunteer arbitrarily collects index cards handed out to audience members at the show’s start and reads them aloud in an cohesive narrative that (gasp!) even lists her name and sweater color. (Spoiler Alert – my friend was chosen for this and was asked her name when she took her card).

He’s best with his misdirection work — at one point a trick that focuses on the movement of a coin and ball is a set-up for “magically” moving a volunteer’s watch from his wrist.

Allegedly, the show is scripted — something Ferrar emphasizes throughout the performance. So he knows the answers beforehand, he intimates. He also is exceptionally good at reading people, analyzing their faces and body language. When a volunteer is asked to choose a drink from the menu, Ferrar looks for clues on its identity by asking the audience member to take a pretend swig and swallow the beverage. Of course, he guesses correctly and to emphasize the fact, he presents that same drink from a bag on the stage. Yep, he knew all along what the selection would be. So how does he do it? “Our choices have consequences that we cannot predict,” he says. “I influence those choices.”

While generally entertaining, some of his patter falls flat – a bit guessing cereal type becomes long-winded despite its surprises. Mostly, thought the show, directed by Harrison Kramer, a magician and educator, moves fluidly. 

Performances take place every last Tuesday of the month at 7:30 p.m. at the Cocktail Lounge Below Tom Valenti’s Oxbow Tavern at 240 Columbus Ave. at West 71st St. Running time: 1 hour and 30 minutes. Tickets are $49 for adults and include two drinks. Available at


Sandra Mardenfeld
(press tickets)

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Mac Beth

I have seen enough mediocre-to-bad high-concept productions of Shakespeare's plays to shudder at the very idea of "high-concept." Then along comes Mac Beth, the amazing Red Bull Production adapted and directed by Erica Schmidt, and high concept suddenly looks like an excellent--no, brilliant--idea.

Isabelle Furhman and Ismenia Mendes
Photo: Carol Rosegg

Seven schoolgirls act out Macbeth in a vacant lot featuring a beat-up couch, an old bathtub, puddles, and some grass. There's no preamble; they jump right in.  Their performances are contemporary and young and present the themes and emotions of Macbeth in a new and fresh way. And, although virtually all of the words are Shakespeare's, Mac Beth also focuses on the lives of contemporary teenage girls and the fervor of their emotions and loyalties.

Schmidt directs Mac Beth as a whirlwind of a show; it is always compelling, frequently funny, and occasionally chilling. The cast of young women is astonishingly good, led by Isabelle Fuhrman as the too-easily-influenced Macbeth and Ismenia Mendes as a driving, intimidating Lady Macbeth. In Schmidt's hands, the Macbeths' interactions mirror teenage peer pressure along with adolescent testing of power, limits, and sexuality. It's almost like watching two plays at once, and the show is downright thrilling when the parts coalesce. (However, this would not be a good version for people seeing Macbeth for the first time. Some of the dialogue is lost in the general tumult, and it is not always clear who is playing whom.)

Years ago, there was a stir when Kenneth Branagh was nominated for a best screenplay Oscar for his film of Hamlet even though he had used Shakespeare's play verbatim. This of course brought up questions of what direction adds to a story, what is considered to be writing, and so on. This Mac Beth is listed as "by William Shakespeare" in the program, "adapted and directed by Erica Schmidt."
Yet Schmidt has brought so much that is new and unique to this production that I would have no problem with the credits reversed: "written and directed by Erica Schmidt, based on the play by William Shakespeare."

Wendy Caster
(third row, press ticket)
Show-Score: 90

Saturday, May 25, 2019

Happy Talk

I suspect that there is a good play inside Jesse Eisenberg's Happy Talk, currently  at The New Group at the Signature Center. The ideas and the situation are intriguing, and there is humor and insight in the telling. But, at least here, its good points are eclipsed by its problems.

Lorraine (Susan Sarandon) feels unmoored and lonely. Her (never seen) mother is bedridden and slowly dying in a room on the first floor. Her husband, Bill (Daniel Oreskes), barely speaks, so sunk is he in depression and multiple sclerosis. And her daughter, Jenny (Tedra Millan), has been out of touch for months. Lorraine does have a couple of things going for her: Her mother's caregiver, Ljuba (Marin Ireland), a cheerful woman from Serbia, provides Lorraine with emotional support and something resembling friendship, and Lorraine is playing Bloody Mary in South Pacific at the local Jewish Community Center. As happens in dramas of this sort, things are not quite what they seem, secrets are revealed, and people learn more about themselves and each other than they necessarily want to know.

The problem with Happy Talk is that, rather than peeling the onion to get deeper into the story and people's psyches, it switches onions a few times and even throws in an apple and an orange. In other words, one thing does not lead to another: the character revelations seem, well, out of character; the tone of the play pivots without logic; and the pay off is bizarre and unconvincing. Having seen and enjoyed Eisenberg's work before, I suspect that these problems could be solved in three ways: (1) rewrites, (2) better casting, and (3) better direction.

It must be a thrill to get a movie star like Susan Sarandon in your Off-Broadway play. Fame often brings with it free publicity and increased ticket sales, and, hey, it's Susan Sarandon! However, Sarandon is miscast; she lacks the size and personality of the sort of (white!) woman who would adore playing Bloody Mary, believe she's great in the role, and speak of herself as an "artist." The other problem is that Sarandon is pretty mediocre in the role. I have loved many of her performances in movies, but she is lost on stage, lost and uncomfortable. And her comic timing is awful. I sympathized with Eisenberg as his jokes and character bits fell flat because Sarandon simply didn't know what to do with them.

And then there's the direction of Scott Elliot. He lets Sarandon flounder. Worse, he directs three of the other four performers to eliminate subtlety and rely on either shtick or speedy yelling. Ireland eventually plays Ljuba as a complex human being, but in the beginning of the show she's a cartoon with an  embarrassingly exaggerated accent. I suspect that Ireland and Elliot are trying to show how Ljuba has to perform the role of cheerful caregiver, but the first 20 minutes or so are cringe-worthy. As the daughter, Millan barrels through her speeches, though she's lovely in her scenes with her father. Nico Santos, as a gay man "dating" Ljuba, manages to provide warmth and individuality here and there, but otherwise tips into caricature. Only Oreskes provides a wholly successful performance.

I hope that Happy Talk has a future. Its ideas about loneliness, ego, and desperation are interesting, and I suspect that their presentation could be compelling and touching. Just not here.

Wendy Caster
(sixth row, press ticket)
Show-Score: 60

Tony Predictions: 2019

Best Musical
Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of the Temptations
The Prom
  • Liz WollmanHadestown. Seriously, can we please celebrate a creative team that’s almost all women, along with an original book and score? I’m sure Tootsie’s great, but if we’re going to pretend the Tony’s honor the best of the genre, I’d love to see the award not go to another repurposed movie.
  • Sandra Mardenfield: Ditto. Even though Tootsie changed its movie scenario extensively, making it a better fit for the stage, Hadestown was the most original work.
  • Wendy Caster: I'm picking Hadestown not because I'm sure it'll win but because I loved it.

Best Play
Choir Boy
The Ferryman
Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus
What the Constitution Means to Me
  • LW: This seems to be a race between Ferryman and Constitution, either one of which would be fine with me (and I suspect it will go to Ferrymanthough I admit to rooting for Constitution).
  • SM: I, too, think Ferryman will win, even though I prefer the underdog Constitution. Still, isn’t this what the Tony’s are about—finding new talent and rewarding it? I am hopeful.
  • WC: Okay, so I saw What the Constitution Means to Me and thought it was a nice little play that I was glad to have only paid $45 to see. I never expected it to get all the attention it's gotten, so what do I know? But I'm predicting Ferryman, just like Liz and Sandra.

Best Revival of a Musical
Kiss Me, Kate
  • LW: If this doesn’t go to Oklahoma! then civilization has ended, and that’s not an exaggeration at all.
  • SMKiss Me, Kate still feels antiquated despite the updates, and although I still love the music and all that tap, Oklahoma! should take it.
  • WC: Haven't seen Oklahoma!, but Kiss Me, Kate, was bland and unnecessary. Oklahoma! it is.

Best Revival of a Play
All My Sons
The Boys in the Band
Burn This
Torch Song
The Waverly Gallery
  • LW: I’m stumped, especially since I missed a bunch of these. I’ll be thrilled to see any of the contenders win, though I think I’d be extra-thrilled to see Boys win, so that’s my pick even though I’ll probably be wrong and it’ll more likely go to Waverley Gallery.
  • SM: I tend to think Liz is right with this one. Still, I’m going to cast my vote in the name of sentiment for All My Sons, the first play that made me cry in the theatre.
  • WC: I'm going with The Waverly Gallery.

Best Book of a Musical
Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of the Temptations: Dominique Morisseau
Beetlejuice: Scott Brown and Anthony King
Hadestown: Anaïs Mitchell
The Prom: Bob Martin and Chad Beguelin
Tootsie: Robert Horn
  • LWHadestown, though I’d be happy to see Dominique Morisseau take a Tony home any day.
  • SM: I think Anais Mitchell for Hadestown will get it, but it could go to Robert Horn from Tootsie. Beetlejuice should have hired him to update their musical!
  • WC: While I loved Hadestown, I thought its book was its weak point. I'm going out on a limb with this one and predicting The Prom.

Best Original Score
Beetlejuice, music and lyrics: Eddie Perfect
Be More Chill, music and lyrics: Joe Iconis
Hadestown, music and lyrics: Anaïs Mitchell
The Prom, music by Matthew Sklar; lyrics by Chad Beguelin
Tootsie, music and lyrics: David Yazbek
To Kill a Mockingbird, music by Adam Guettel
  • LWHadestownhands (a long way) down.
  • SMHadestown. The musical was developed for years, and it shows with strong, emotional and impactful tunes.
  • WC: The gorgeous Hadestown.

Best Direction of a Play
Rupert Goold, Ink
Sam Mendes, The Ferryman
Bartlett Sher, To Kill a Mockingbird
Ivo van Hove, Network
George C. Wolfe, Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus
  • LW: If for the baby- and animal-wrangling alone, I’m going to bet this will go to Sam Mendes for Ferryman
  • SM: I agree Sam Mendes for The Ferryman, but I also like George C. Wolfe for Gary: A Sequal to Titus Andronicus, who makes the grisliness of Shakespeare’s bloodiest play as campy and fun as its going to get.
  • WC: I agree: Sam Mendes.

Direction of a Musical
Rachel Chavkin, Hadestown
Scott Ellis, Tootsie
Daniel Fish, Oklahoma!
Des McAnuff, Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of the Temptations
Casey Nicholaw, The Prom
  • LW: A tough one. Chavkin’s a genius with space and mood, but Fish has practically reinvented one of the most revered musical chestnuts without changing a word. I think Fish should get this one, but it’ll probably go to Chavkin (Hadestown).
  • SM: Can it be a tie? Both are deserving, but I go with Chavkin because of the structured beauty of each scene, for the overabundance of emotion in the vehicle, AND for her ability to make this downer of an ending uplifting and hopeful.
  • WC: I wish this would go to Chavkin, but I actually think Daniel Fish'll get it.

Best Leading Actor in a Play
Bryan Cranston, Network
Paddy Considine, The Ferryman
Jeff Daniels, To Kill a Mockingbird
Adam Driver, Burn This
Jeremy Pope, Choir Boy
  • LW: Cranston may get it because he’s easily the best thing about Network, though I’d love to see Pope get the award in a thrilling upset.
  • SM: I think Cranston for Network is the favorite here.
  • WC: This is a difficult one to predict, but I'm going with Adam Driver.

Best Leading Actress in a Play
Annette Bening, All My Sons
Laura Donnelly, The Ferryman
Elaine May, The Waverly Gallery
Janet McTeer, Bernhardt/Hamlet
Laurie Metcalf, Hillary and Clinton
Heidi Schreck, What the Constitution Means to Me
  • LW: Did you SEE Elaine May in Waverly? Because holy Moses the woman was just fucking extraordinary. If she doesn’t win, she sure as shit should have.
  • SM: Didn’t see Waverly, but I’m going with Heidi Schreck. The Tonys love a success story: from giving speeches about the Constitution to earn college tuition to opening a show about it on Broadway could be a plot to a new play next season.
  • WC: I'm still astonished that Glenda Jackson wasn't nominated, even though I didn't think she was all that good. I think it's Elaine May.

Best Leading Actor in a Musical
Brooks Ashmanskas, The Prom
Derrick Baskin, Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of the Temptations
Alex Brightman, Beetlejuice
Damon Daunno, Oklahoma!
Santino Fontana, Tootsie
  • LW: I bet it’ll go to Fontana, but again, if there’s an upset and Daunno gets it, I wouldn’t throw anything at the television set or anything.
  • SM: Damon Daunno of Oklahoma or Santino Fontana from Tootsie—although, like Liz I think Fontana is the favorite.
  • WC: I agree: Santino Fontana

Best Leading Actress in a Musical
Stephanie J. Block, The Cher Show
Caitlin Kinnunen, The Prom
Beth Leavel, The Prom
Eva Noblezada, Hadestown
Kelli O’Hara, Kiss Me, Kate
  • LW: This is tough. Block and Leavel stand out most from where I sit—and I think Block is favored over Leavel, so I’ll bet it’ll be her.
  • SM: Definitely Block. She captured the legendary Cher perfectly.
  • WC: I agree: Stephanie Block.

Best Featured Actor in a Play
Bertie Carvel, Ink
Robin de Jesús, The Boys in the Band
Gideon Glick, To Kill a Mockingbird
Brandon Uranowitz, Burn This
Benjamin Walker, All My Sons
  • LW: I’d love to see Robin de Jesús win for “The Boys in the Band” though I haven’t seen a great many of the contenders and I suspect the dude nominated for Ink (Bertie Carvel) will get it instead.
  • SM: Ditto on Bertie Carvel for Ink.
  • WC: Although I was not impressed with Benjamin Walker personally, a lot of other people were.

Best Featured Actress in a Play
Fionnula Flanagan, The Ferryman
Celia Keenan-Bolger, To Kill a Mockingbird
Kristine Nielsen, Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus
Julie White, Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus
Ruth Wilson, King Lear
  • LW: Fionnula Flanagan was particularly memorable in The Ferryman, though I’d be happy to see any of these women win.
  • SM: Flanagan should get it or Celia Keenan-Bolger in To Kill a Mockingbird. She made a grown-up version of Scout believable and touching.
  • WC: I'm going with Ruth Wilson, who was the best thing in Lear.

Best Featured Actor in a Musical
André De Shields, Hadestown
Andy Grotelueschen, Tootsie
Patrick Page, Hadestown
Jeremy Pope, Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of the Temptations
Ephraim Sykes, Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of the Temptations
  • LW: C’mon, people, give André De Shields some love for this role and for a career as one of the hardest working men in show business, will you please? But if not, seriously, then Patrick Page, ditto. Then again, they’re all awesome and brilliant at what they do, so whatever.
  • SM: Love De Shields, but Patrick Page, and that deep voice from Hell should get it.
  • WC: I think it will be Andy Grotelueschen because he's the only one who won't be splitting the vote with someone else from his show.

Best Featured Actress in a Musical
Lilli Cooper, Tootsie
Amber Gray, Hadestown
Sarah Stiles, Tootsie
Ali Stroker, Oklahoma!
Mary Testa, Oklahoma!
  • LW: Don’t make me pick this one! Just give them all a prize for ending up in the most competitive competition in the whole goddamn Tony awards, maybe ever in all of history. Truly, choosing one feels like a betrayal to all the other astounding brilliance. But Ali Stroker, probably.
  • SM: Sorry Amber Gray from Hadestown. I truly loved your joyfulness and energy but it's Ali Stroker’s year.
  • WC: While I suspect Ali Stoker will indeed win, I cannot vote against Amber Gray, who strikes me as a great star in the making and whom I adored.

Best Scenic Design of a Play
Miriam Buether, To Kill a Mockingbird
Bunny Christie, Ink
Rob Howell, The Ferryman
Santo Loquasto, Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus
Jan Versweyveld, Network
  • LW: I’m thinking it’ll go to The Ferrymanthough I haven’t seen Mockingbird.
  • SM: Rob Howell, The Ferryman
  • WCSanto Loquasto

Best Scenic Design of a Musical
Robert Brill and Peter Nigrini, Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of the Temptations
Peter England, King Kong
Rachel Hauck, Hadestown
Laura Jellinek, Oklahoma!
David Korins, Beetlejuice
  • LW: For me it’s between Hadestown and Oklahoma! with a slight edge toward the latter.
  • SM: I gotta go with the monkey so Peter England from King Kong. Although Rachel Hauck of Hadestown is probably going to win
  • WC: Total guess: King Kong

Best Costume Design of a Play
Rob Howell, The Ferryman
Toni-Leslie James, Bernhardt/Hamlet
Clint Ramos, Torch Song
Ann Roth, To Kill a Mockingbird
Ann Roth, Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus
  • LW: No clue. Ann Roth for one or the other? And will she be upset if she loses out to herself?
  • SM: I think  Ann Roth has the best odds …
  • WC:  Ann Roth for Gary

Best Costume Design of a Musical
Michael Krass, Hadestown
William Ivey Long, Tootsie
William Ivey Long, Beetlejuice
Bob Mackie, The Cher Show
Paul Tazewell, Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of the Temptations
  • LW If Bob Mackie doesn't win, his life will be a total sham and we will all have to apologize to him, both collectively and personally.  
  • SM Bob Mackie all they way for The Cher Show.
  • WC: Who am I to argue:  Bob Mackie

Best Lighting Design of a Play
Neil Austin, Ink
Jules Fisher and Peggy Eisenhauer, Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus
Peter Mumford, The Ferryman
Jennifer Tipton, To Kill a Mockingbird
Jan Versweyveld and Tal Yarden, Network
  • LW: Peter Mumford, The Ferryman
  • SM: Peter Mumford, The Ferryman
  • WC: Jan Versweyveld and Tal YardenNetwork

Best Lighting Design of a Musical
Kevin Adams, The Cher Show
Howell Binkley, Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of the Temptations
Bradley King, Hadestown
Peter Mumford, King Kong
Kenneth Posner and Peter Nigrini, Beetlejuice
  • LW: I gasped aloud at a few moments during Hadestown, which is one of the most visually beautiful musicals I've ever seen. It should go to King.  
  • SM: It’s amazing how Bradley King changes the mood onstage with light adjustment in Hadestown.
  • WC: Kevin AdamsThe Cher Show

Best Sound Design in a Play
Adam Cork, Ink
Scott Lehrer, To Kill a Mockingbird
Fitz Patton, Choir Boy
Nick Powell, The Ferryman
Eric Sleichim, Network
  • LW I think the Ferryman will take this, if only for the slow sonic build at the end of the three-hour saga.  
  • SM: Fitz PattonChoir Boy.
  • WC: Eric SleichimNetwork

Best Sound Design in a Musical
Peter Hylenski, King Kong
Peter Hylenski, Beetlejuice
Steve Canyon Kennedy, Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of the Temptations
Drew Levy, Oklahoma!
Nevin Steinberg and Jessica Paz, Hadestown
  • LW: I’m leaning toward Oklahoma!
  • SM: I think Nevin Steinberg and Jessica Paz for Hadestown.  
  • WC: Who knows? Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of the Temptations

Best Choreography
Camille A. Brown, Choir Boy
Warren Carlyle, Kiss Me, Kate
Denis Jones, Tootsie
David Neumann, Hadestown
Sergio Trujillo, Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of the Temptations
  • LW: I was delighted by Brown’s choreography for Choir Boy but suspect Tootsie.  
  • SM: Warren Carlyle for Kiss Me, Kate. The dancing is the best thing about the show—and he shows you why tap is still relevant as an art form.
  • WC: Sergio TrujilloAin’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of the Temptations

Best Orchestrations
Michael Chorney and Todd Sickafoose, Hadestown
Simon Hale, Tootsie
Larry Hochman, Kiss Me, Kate
Daniel Kluger, Oklahoma!
Harold Wheeler, Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of the Temptations
  • SM: Liz seems so passionate with this one, so I’m gonna side with her. Oklahoma!
  • WC: Peer pressure! Oklahoma!