‘Once’ Leads the 2012 Tony Awards NominationsBy PATRICK HEALYNew York Times (click here)
Play | Musical
10:54 A.M. Final Thoughts
The four best play nominees, all by Americans, were also all transfers from Off Broadway, a rare feat. Two of the four took a little while to reach Broadway, such as "Clybourne Park" (which went to Los Angeles first) and "Peter and the Starcatcher," while the two others ("Other Desert Cities" and "Venus in Fur") went through some re-casting of key roles. Several of the acting nominees from those plays are theater veterans who have continued to return to Broadway or Off Broadway in between breaks in their television and film schedules.
Among the best musical nominees that came through the pipeline, "Once" had its start last year at the American Repertory Theater in Cambridge, Mass., and then Off Broadway at New York Theater Workshop; "Newsies" began at Paper Mill Playhouse in New Jersey last fall; and "Leap of Faith" played at the Ahmanson Theater in Los Angeles in 2010 before undergoing a script overhaul for Broadway.
And two of the four musical revival nominees had their start at important theaters in the United States - "Follies" at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., and "The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess" at the aforementioned A.R.T. (The other revivals hailed from elsewhere as well: "Evita" in London and "Jesus Christ Superstar" at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival in Canada.)
The acting categories are dominated by Americans this year, too, and several of the races - as well as the best new play and best revival of a musical category - are too close to call. The toughest competition is for best actress in a play, a category that has been on the weaker side in recent years; Tony voters will have to choose in the coming weeks among Nina Arianda ("Venus in Fur"), Tracie Bennett ("End of the Rainbow"), Stockard Channing ("Other Desert Cities"), Linda Lavin ("The Lyons") and Cynthia Nixon ("Wit"). Better they than me.
The winners in this batch of nominations? "Once," no doubt, with the most nominations (11) on the heels of glowing reviews from critics. The estates of George and Ira Gershwin, who can claim a measure of credit for 10 nominations for "The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess" and another 10 for "Nice Work If You Can Get It," a pastiche book musical featuring many of the brothers' tunes. "Peter and the Starcatcher," an imaginative and well-received show that is nevertheless hard to categorize - is it for kids? is it for adults? - and is hoping for a box office boost. And "Follies," lovely old "Follies," which has fallen during its two previous trips to the rodeo - but has a chance at the spotlight this time around.
The losers? "Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark," the $75 million blockbuster that received just two nominations. "Seminar" and "Godspell," which have some strong fans but were shut out of the nominations. And some performers who were passed over, too like actresses Elena Roger ("Evita") and Bernadette Peters ("Follies") and actors Matthew Broderick ("Nice Work If You Can Get It") and Reeve Carney (the long-running hero of "Spider-Man").
The Tony Awards ceremony is June 10 on CBS.
"Clybourne Park" received just four Tony Award nominations after winning the Pulitzer Prize for drama. (Nathan Johnson Photography / Associated Press / April 5, 2012)
NEW YORK -- “Clybourne Park,” Angela Lansbury and a play about a dysfunctional family were among those overlooked when Tony Award nominations were announced here Tuesday morning.
Although Bruce Norris’ “Clybourne Park,” the Pulitzer Prize-winner about race and real estate, received a best play nomination and enthusiastic reviews, it failed to dominate the Tony announcements, picking up just three top nominations, as well as a fourth for scenic design. The show received the Laurence Olivier Award for best new play when it opened in London. (A production of the satirical drama played at the Mark Taper Forum earlier this year.)
Meanwhile, a drama revival, “A Streetcar Named Desire,” starring Blair Underwood, was even more forgotten, picking up just one nomination in the costume category.
A number of leading actresses failed to impress Tony voters. Angela Lansbury was among the grandes dames of theater to be overlooked for her performance this year; her featured performance as a political operator in the election-themed revival “Gore Vidal’s The Best Man” did not land the five-time Tony winner a shot at what would have been a record-breaking sixth prize.
British musical comedy icon Elaine Paige also was snubbed for her role in “Follies” despite stellar reviews for her performance, especially her showstopping number “I’m Still Here.”
And Rachel Griffiths, the television star who followed Jon Robin Baitz to Broadway to incarnate the role of a troubled daughter and memoirist in his drama “Other Desert Cities” did not receive a nomination for her well-reviewed performance. She was left off a Tony list that included her costars Judith Light and Stockard Channing.
The 2012 Tony Award calendar of events
While “Cities” picked up five nominations, another dysfunctional-family drama, Nicky Silver’s “The Lyons,” was largely forgotten by Tony voters. The show received only one nomination, a leading actress nod for Linda Lavin for her performance as an acid-tongued matriarch.
Ricky Martin also failed to pick up a Tony nomination for “Evita,” his first appearance on Broadway in more than 15 years. The actor garnered mixed reviews for his role as Che, a troublemaking Greek chorus of one, in the musical revival. His costar Elena Roger was overlooked too.