Tony Awards: THR Theater Critic David Rooney Reveals His Nominations Wish List

8:33 PM PST 04/27/2014 by David Rooney
Joan Marcus
Neil Patrick Harris in "Hedwig and the Angry Inch"

In advance of Tuesday's announcement, our reviewer names the choices he would most like to see figure in the principal kudos categories of this year's Broadway honors.

NEW YORK – On Tuesday morning, nominations for the 68th annual Tony Awards will be announced, and for once, many of the principal categories are wide open, with no clear favorites to dominate the race.

That makes it a tough year to predict. And given the dearth of outstanding new musicals and plays this season, it's a challenge to come up with four worthy contenders, let alone the five that are possible thanks to a tweak of the rules in the 2014 contest. Even at gunpoint, I couldn't cough up a fifth new play contender. By contrast, there were only four musical revival candidates, all of which had their strengths, making that field a no-brainer.

In a season of more robust new writing, I can't imagine including shows that I found to be ultimately unsatisfying, like Harvey Fierstein's play Casa Valentina or Jason Robert Brown and Marsha Norman's musical The Bridges of Madison County among my personal picks. But a weak year dictates a shift in criteria, meaning those works and others can make the cut by virtue of their ambition, their serious intentions, or simply thanks to stellar performances or a fine production that elevate the material. 

It seems odd to consider a song-and-dance revue like the Harlem Renaissance tribute After Midnight alongside traditional book musicals. But that exhilarating jazz compilation is pure entertainment in a grand Broadway tradition, and in its own high-energy fashion, it tells a story as vivid as any other.

Narrowing it down to five nominations in most of the acting categories poses the opposite problem. The embarrassment of riches in terms of great performances this season inevitably means a few heartbreaking omissions. It was also a terrific year for play revivals. So in that race too, I had to leave out some gratifying theater experiences, among them the unexpectedly rich rediscovery of Terence Rattigan’s The Winslow Boy. But that's the way it goes.

The Tony Awards include just four nominations each for direction of a play and a musical, but given that this is purely a wish list, I'm going with five. Superb staging, along with master-class acting, was one of this season's chief rewards.

So without further ado, here are my fantasy Tony nominations. Note that these are not predictions, but preferences. I'll be happy if at least a few match up with the official contenders in each category.

MUSICAL

After Midnight

Aladdin

Beautiful: The Carole King Musical

The Bridges of Madison County

A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder

 

PLAY

All the Way

Casa Valentina

Outside Mullingar

The Realistic Joneses

 

REVIVAL OF A MUSICAL

Cabaret

Hedwig and the Angry Inch

Les Miserables

Violet

 

REVIVAL OF A PLAY

The Cripple of Inishmaan

The Glass Menagerie

Of Mice and Men

A Raisin in the Sun

Twelfth Night

 

LEAD ACTOR IN A MUSICAL

Neil Patrick HarrisHedwig and the Angry Inch

Ramin KarimlooLes Miserables

Andy KarlRocky

Jefferson MaysA Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder

Bryce PinkhamA Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder

 

LEAD ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL

Sutton FosterViolet

Idina MenzelIf/Then

Jessie MuellerBeautiful: The Carole King Musical

Kelli O’HaraThe Bridges of Madison County

Michelle WilliamsCabaret

 

LEAD ACTOR IN A PLAY

Bryan CranstonAll the Way

Michael C. Hall, The Realistic Joneses

Chris O’DowdOf Mice and Men

Zachary QuintoThe Glass Menagerie

Daniel Radcliffe, The Cripple of Inishmaan

 

LEAD ACTRESS IN A PLAY

Toni Collette, The Realistic Joneses

Rebecca Hall, Machinal

Cherry Jones, The Glass Menagerie

Audra McDonald, Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill

Rachel Weisz, Betrayal

 

FEATURED ACTOR IN A MUSICAL

Brooks Ashmanskas, Bullets Over Broadway

Danny Burstein, Cabaret

Nick Cordero, Bullets Over Broadway

Joshua Henry, Violet

James Monroe Iglehart, Aladdin

 

FEATURED ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL

Linda Emond, Cabaret

Lena Hall, Hedwig and the Angry Inch

Anika Larsen, Beautiful: The Carole King Musical

Adriane Lenox, After Midnight

Lisa O’Hare, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder

 

FEATURED ACTOR IN A PLAY

Reed Birney, Casa Valentina

Alessandro Nivola, The Winslow Boy

Jim Norton, Of Mice and Men

Mark Rylance, Twelfth Night

Rafe Spall, Betrayal

 

FEATURED ACTRESS IN A PLAY

Sarah Greene, The Cripple of Inishmaan

Celia Keenan-Bolger, The Glass Menagerie

Sophie Okonedo, A Raisin in the Sun

Charlotte Parry, The Winslow Boy

Anika Noni Rose, A Raisin in the Sun

 

DIRECTION OF A MUSICAL

Warren Carlyle, After Midnight

Michael Mayer, Hedwig and the Angry Inch

Leigh Silverman, Violet

Alex Timbers, Rocky

Darko Tresnjak, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder

 

DIRECTION OF A PLAY

Tim Carroll, Twelfth Night

Sam Gold, The Realistic Joneses

Michael Grandage, The Cripple of Inishmaan

Anna D. Shapiro, Of Mice and Men

John Tiffany, The Glass Menagerie

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