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2015 Tony Award Nominations: What’s Eligible, What SHOULD Be Nominated

tonysstatueWhat’s easiest to predict about the Tonys this year is that the predictions and objections will start as soon as the nominations are announced, which this year is on Tuesday, April 28, 2015.

But why wait?

Here is the list of eligible shows in four categories, and my list of which of them should (not will) be nominated, with links to my reviews.

Eligible for Best Play

Airline Highway

The Audience

Constellations

The Country House

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

Disgraced

Fish in the Dark

Hand to God

Living on Love

The River

Wolf Hall

Which should be nominated for Best Play

Airline Highway: Marking the Broadway debut of playwright Lisa d’Amour, the first woman to have an original play on Broadway in two year, this play works as an ensemble piece, with some terrific actors, about a group of people whom society calls losers who have created a family for themselves in an old hotel along a rundown road in New Orleans.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. Using breathtaking stage effects and movement, this adaptation of a novel gives us an entertaining look into the life of a brilliant autistic teenager, portrayed by the extraordinary young actor Alex Sharp.

Disgraced: This Pulitzer Prize winning play by Ayad Akhtar provides an important look at a clash of world views as well as a deeply satisfying dramatic experience.

Hand to God. Marking the Broadway debut of playwright Robert Askins, this little play that could started Off-Off Broadway, and is both genuinely funny and thought-provoking about the nature of morality and religion.

Eligible for Best Musical

An American in Paris

Doctor Zhivago

Finding Neverland

Fun Home

Holler If Ya Hear Me

Honeymoon in Vegas

It Shoulda Been You

Last Ship

Something Rotten

The Visit

Which should be nominated for Best Musical

An American in Paris. Director-choreographer Christopher Wheeldon has adapted this old Technicolor movie musical freshly, turning into a new Gershwin ballet. Craig Lucas adds a darkened book.

Fun Home is a moving, inventive adaptation of lesbian cartoonist Alison Bechdel’s graphic memoir about her childhood, and especially her relationship with her closeted father who committed suicide. Name another show that explores the father-daughter connection with such insight and feeling.

Last Ship. Sting’s deeply personal musical about the problems facing the shipbuilding community where the rock star grew up is a noble effort that deserves to be acknowledged.  If the book didn’t always make sense, the songs are sure to live on, one way or another.

Something Rotten. Though overstuffed and unwieldy as a narrative, it is the only musical comedy this season where I actually laughed, which is at least good for a nomination.

The Visit. The last musical written by Kander and Ebb, starring Chita Rivera, deserves to be acknowledged.

Eligible for Best Revival of a Musical

Gigi

The King and I

On the Town

On The Twentieth Century

Side Show

What should be nominated for Best Revival of a Musical

The King and I

On the Town

On The Twentieth Century

Side Show

This has so few eligible candidates I don’t feel the need to explain the individual choices, except to say that this is going to be one of the toughest categories to choose a winner.

Eligible for Best Revival of a Play

A Delicate Balance

The Elephant Man

The Heidi Chronicles

It’s Only A Play

Love Letters

The Real Thing

*Skylight

This is Our Youth

You Can’t Take it With You

What should be nominated for Best Revival of a Play

The Elephant Man. This deserves a nomination on the strength of the acting alone, especially Patricia Clarkson

The Heidi Chronicles. The script was more dated than many would admit, and, despite all the awards when it debuted, this would not turn out to be Wendy Wasserstein’s best, but the producers are to be admired for risking the revival of a show that represents a significant milestone in both social and theatrical history,

Love Letters. This was a small, lovely, touching and insightful play about love by A.R. Gurney, who after having written some 50 plays over 50 years (admittedly only three of them on Broadway) deserves some acknowledgement and respect.

This is Our Youth. This three-character play had a dynamic cast, especially Kieran Culkin, and still has something to say about young adults in our culture.

You Can’t Take it With You. While admittedly an old chestnut done frequently in American high schools, this production featured so many terrific performances (such as Annaleigh Ashford) that that alone makes it worthy of nomination.

(In looking over the plays in this category, I am surprised to realize that it’s the weakest of the four categories I have considered.)

Remember, this is not my prediction of what the Tony nominating committee will pick. It’s what I would pick if I were a one-man Tony nominating committee.

*Skylight is the only show I have not yet seen (I was invited to a performance that is a few days after the nominations are announced), so cannot choose it.

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About New York Theater
Jonathan Mandell is a 3rd generation NYC journalist, who sees shows, reads plays, writes reviews and sometimes talks with people.

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