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Broadway Shines a Bright Light on the Magnificent Suffs

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“Let Mother vote!” they sing in the altogether different beginning of Broadway’s new musical, Suffs. Altered from the staging at The Public Theater a few years ago. Gone are the vaudevillian-style clowns with fake mustaches, top hats, and tails. In their place are the members of the all-female old guard, asking, ever so politely, for a Mother’s permission to vote directed at their sons, a framework that does eventually sway the vote their way. It’s a stronger, classier beginning, presented with a wise wink and grin as the historical tale unveils itself with its newly sharpened inquisitive deep dive into the complex camaraderie of the women who forcibly brought forth the 19th amendment to the United States and the courageous ones who stood their ground until the right to vote was won.

With a strong skilled cast, Suffs, the new Broadway musical, unpacks the somewhat shocking and difficult mountain these dedicated suffragists climbed to bring forth change and enlightenment into the unfair world where women were not granted the right to vote alongside their husbands, fathers, and sons. The imbalance is clearly laid out throughout, and as directed with clarity and vision by Leigh Silverman (Broadway’s Grand Horizons), it is presented most beautifully and intelligently, particularly in one tenacious love song about what marriage actually means to a woman. Played out wisely between a young determined woman, Doris Stevens, smartly portrayed by Nadia Dandash (“Pretty Little Liars: Summer School“), and her somewhat confused male counterpart, Dudley Malone, portrayed strongly by Tsilala Brock (Barrington’s Blues for an Alabama Sky), the two, in a touching subtle flirtation, clarify the misogyny that the world is offering a woman when she accepts a marriage proposal. “Marriage is essentially a death trap for women,” Stevens informs in a manner that both surprises and educates the thoughtful Malone. The song is both tender and sweet, while also laying out the hard-truth imbalance for the unknowing to see and realize. And it does the job, both within the man and the delightfully wise production, written, in all aspects, by the ever-impressive Shaina Taub (Public’s Twelfth Night).

Jenn Colella as Carrie Chapman Catt and the Company of Broadway’s Suffs. Photo by Joan Marcus.

Dudley Malone, thanks to this musical interlude choreographed with charm and focus by Mayte Natalio (Broadway’s How to Dance…), and as history andSuffsinform us, becomes a significant member of the movement, shifting his perspective and resigning from Woodrow Wilson’s administration for his failure to take up or support the Woman Suffrage Amendment to the Constitution. Although all of this is historically accurate and well-known walking in, the way Taub lays it out is beyond smart. She seems to intuitively know her knowledgeable audience well, and delivers forth that tricky balance of informing the informed without ever feeling that we are being lectured or talked down to.

The revamped and elevated musical, new to Broadway, sings out strong and clear, and although the passing of the Nineteenth Amendment involved men in all of the three branches of the U.S. government, headed by then President Wilson, played here most beautifully by Grace McLean (Broadway’s Natasha, Pierre…), Taub finds her careful focus within the complicated band of brave women who worked diligently together to secure the right for women to vote. Their female union is wonderfully displayed, but not without conflict, and Taub, who wrote the book, music, and lyrics for this new musical (while also taking on the force of nature at the center of the fight, Alice Paul), treats their interpersonal dynamics of the women with the utmost respect unwrapping all the complexity that they deserve.

Nadia Dandash, Shaina Taub, Kim Blanck, Ally Bonino, and Hannah Cruz in Broadway’s Suffs. Photo by Joan Marcus.

Their path is multi-dimensional, and not without discomfort and discord. The formulation of these core women; Alice Paul, her loyal friend, Lucy Burns, played heroically by the wonderful Ally Bonino (Off-Broadway’s Dogfight); the socialite warrior-queen, Inez Milholland, gloriously played by the formidable Hannah Cruz (MCC’s The Connector), the socialist warrior, Ruza Wenclawska, deliciously portrayed by Kim Blanck (Signature’s Octet); and Dandashi’s steadfast and true Doris Stevens; form loyalist camaraderie in their internal fire and within debate. Just as it should be. Each has their specific worldview, and although the consensus-building within the group is not neat or as easy as maybe history would like to pretend to portray, Suffs succeeds in its mission; of climbing up the stairs to equality with a clarity of vision and an astute air of conviction that does the movement proud, mainly because it holds tight to the individuals at the center, and the conflicts that reside within.

Inside the stirring music and wise lyrics, the musical, led with grace by music director Andrea Grody (Broadway’s The Band’s Visit) with orchestrations by Michael Starobin (LCT’s The Gardens of Anuncia), never loses its vital steam, finding its clear footing within the narrative of the progressive firecracker, Alice Paul (Taub). This powerhouse woman exudes a passionate understanding of what is needed, and doesn’t have the patience to wait it out politely like the old guard of the movement would like her to do. She strides forward without ever really looking back, even when stymied and sidelined by the formidable Carrie Chapman Catt, played to perfection by Jenn Colella (Broadway’s Come From Away), the strongly liked president of the National American Woman Suffrage Association and the founder of the League of Women Voters and the International Woman Suffrage Alliance, who promotes polite patience over aggressive action.

Hannah Cruz as Inez Milholland and the Company of Broadway’s Suffs. Photo by Joan Marcus.

Catt, one of the best-known women in the United States in the first half of the twentieth century for her role in the movement, finds Alice Paul a bitter and troublesome new pill to swallow, one she can’t seem to control like the rest of ladies who gather around her. Colella grabs hold of the part and delivers her solidly, epitomized by her magnificent rendition of “This Girl.” Her road to equality is to not “antagonize, irritate, enervate” the men, but to play nice, and make an appointment for tea with dignity and feminine gentleness. But Taub’s Alice doesn’t see it that way at all. This young woman is tired of waiting and playing by Catt’s old-school rule book. She wants progress, and to step up the movement by organizing a protest march on Washington to shake the movement from the ground up. “We need to stand up and demand our rights,” she states with a wide-eyed conviction. And the only way forward for this “Great American Bitch” is to fight the big fight without hesitation.

The contentious origins of the women’s rights movement drive the whole experience forward with determination and flair. There is a lot of history to cover here, and the piece tries to occupy as much of the historical space as possible, delivering forth the delicate issues of race and racism into the mix most beautifully. As the dynamic and outspoken investigative journalist, educator, and early leader in the civil rights movement Ida B. Wells, the magnetic Nikki M. James (Broadway’s The Book of Mormon) ushers forth one of the most powerfully engaging declarations of the movement with her commanding “Wait My Turn.” It’s a full-on showstopper, catapulting the moment and the song into something beyond great. The demand and the statement ring hard, strong, and true, even as we uncomfortably watch Alice try to sideline Ida for what she believes to be for the greater good. In reality, Alice is undeniably in the wrong. And in that hardheadedness, the imperfectness of Alice begins to show, which, in all honesty, serves the musical very well indeed. None of these women are without their flaws, and in that historical arena, Taub does them all justice.

Nikki M. James as Ida B. Wells and the Company of Broadway’s Suffs. Photo by Joan Marcus.

On the simplistic, yet effective set, designed with a clear intuitive vision by Riccardo Hernandez (Broadway’s The Thanksgiving Play) with strong lighting by Lap Chi Chu (Broadway’s Camelot), killer costuming by Paul Tazewell (Broadway’s Ain’t Too Proud), and a solid sound design by Jason Crystal (“Annie: Live!“), Suffs sounds the charge with inspiring and persuasive songs like “Finish the Fight”, “Find a Way”, and “How Long?” Each ignites the fire that lives inside Alice, who has set aside all ladylike manners and desires espoused by Catt and society to give fire to her voice and her fight even when it gets dangerous and downright dirty.

It’s a powerful, very thoughtfully created story that Taub wants to tell, and even throughout the silent protests and acts of civil disobedience that land the women in jail, the horrors inflicted elevate the musical to new heights of enlightenment, adding unforeseen power and connection to the eventual outcome song “Keep Marching“. “How long must women wait?” they sing, rightfully and majestically, as these dynamic and talented women demand equality so beautifully and with such faith and passion that we can’t help but give them the standing ovation they, and their theatrical counterparts, deserve. Broadway’s Suffs, wisely and wonderfully, delivers it all with a strong emotional punch to the gut, as Taub wisely reminds us that “the work is never over” and it can’t be done alone.

Broadway’s Suffs at the Music Box Theatre.

.For more go to frontmezzjunkies.com

 

My love for theater started when I first got involved in high school plays and children's theatre in London, Ontario, which led me—much to my mother’s chagrin—to study set design, directing, and arts administration at York University in Toronto. But rather than pursuing theater as a career (I did produce and design a wee bit), I became a self-proclaimed theater junkie and life-long supporter. I am not a writer by trade, but I hope to share my views and feelings about this amazing experience we are so lucky to be able to see here in NYC, and in my many trips to London, Enlgand, Chicago, Toronto, Washington, and beyond. Living in London, England from 1985 to 1986, NYC since 1994, and on my numerous theatrical obsessive trips to England, I've seen as much theater as I can possibly afford. I love seeing plays. I love seeing musicals. If I had to choose between a song or a dance, I'd always pick the song. Dance—especially ballet—is pretty and all, but it doesn’t excite me as, say, Sondheim lyrics. But that being said, the dancing in West Side Story is incredible! As it seems you all love a good list, here's two. FAVORITE MUSICALS (in no particular order): Sweeney Todd with Patti Lupone and Michael Cerveris in 2005. By far, my most favorite theatrical experience to date. Sunday in the Park with George with Jenna Russell (who made me sob hysterically each and every one of the three times I saw that production in England and here in NYC) in 2008 Spring Awakening with Jonathan Groff and Lea Michele in 2007 Hedwig and the Angry Inch (both off-Boadway in 1998 and on Broadway in 2014, with Neal Patrick Harris, but also with Michael C. Hall and John Cameron Mitchell, my first Hedwig and my last...so far), Next To Normal with Alice Ripley (who I wish I had seen in Side Show) in 2009 FAVORITE PLAYS (that’s more difficult—there have been so many and they are all so different): Angels in American, both on Broadway and off Lettice and Lovage with Dame Maggie Smith and Margaret Tyzack in 1987 Who's Afraid of Virginai Woolf with Tracy Letts and Amy Morton in 2012 Almost everything by Alan Ayckbourn, but especially Woman in Mind with Julia McKenzie in 1986 And to round out the five, maybe Proof with Mary Louise Parker in 2000. But ask me on a different day, and I might give you a different list. These are only ten theatre moments that I will remember for years to come, until I don’t have a memory anymore. There are many more that I didn't or couldn't remember, and I hope a tremendous number more to come. Thanks for reading. And remember: read, like, share, retweet, enjoy. For more go to frontmezzjunkies.com

Broadway

The Glorious Corner

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G.H. Harding

GIAMATTI’S TREK — (via DEADLINE) Paul Giamatti has joined the cast of the upcoming Paramount+ original series Star Trek: Starfleet Academy in a recurring role. He will play the Season 1 villain, a man with an ominous past connected to one of our cadets.

“Sometimes you’re lucky enough to discover that one of the greatest actors alive is also a huge Star Trek fan, and meeting Paul was one of those miraculous moments for us. The sheer delight with which he dove in on Starfleet Academy is only surpassed by the gratitude we feel about him joining our incredible cast,” shared co-showrunners and executive producers Alex Kurtzman and Noga Landau in a joint statement.

He joins previously announced Holly Hunter, who will star in the series as the captain and chancellor of Starfleet Academy. The series will begin production later this summer.

Star Trek: Starfleet Academy follows a young group of cadets who come together to pursue a common dream of hope and optimism. Under the watchful and demanding eyes of their instructors, they discover what it takes to become Starfleet officers as they navigate blossoming friendships, explosive rivalries, first loves and a new enemy that threatens both the Academy and the Federation itself.

Alex Kurtzman and Noga Landau serve as co-showrunners and executive producers of the series alongside executive producers Gaia Violo, Aaron Baiers, Olatunde Osunsanmi, Jenny Lumet, Rod Roddenberry, Trevor Roth, Frank Siracusa and John Weber. The series premiere episode is written by Gaia Violo.

Star Trek: Starfleet Academy is produced by CBS Studios in association with Secret Hideout and Roddenberry Entertainment and is distributed by Paramount Global Content Distribution.

HEART STOPPED — (Via Deadline) The Heart of Rock and Roll, the struggling musical built around the hits of Huey Lewis, will play its final performance at a matinee on Sunday, June 23. The show will have played 24 previews and 72 performances.

In a statement, producer Hunter Arnold said, “It was pure joy working on the show with the team of creatives headed by writer Jonathan A. Abrams, director Gordon Greenberg, choreographer Lorin Latarro, music arranger and orchestrator Brian Usifer and special gratitude to the support and participation of the iconic music legend Huey Lewis.

The musical began previews on March 29 and opened on April 22.

“We were honored,” he continued, “to have an amazing cast and crew who brought their immense enthusiasm, commitment and talent to each and every performance. With our original cast album just released and talks underway for a national tour and international productions, the musical will continue to delight audiences for years to come.”

The musical, received by critics with lukewarm reviews, did not received any Tony Award nominations and has been struggling at the box office, sometimes with the James Earl Jones Theatre just more than half-full with audience members. For the week ending June 9, the show grossed a tiny $272,051.

SHORT TAKES — Francis Ford Coppola’s Megalopolis will be released through Lionsgate. Tepid reviews? Not really. Face it, Coppola’s a genius. Check out Roger Friedman’s (SHOWBIZ 411) take: https://www.showbiz411.com/2024/06/17/coppola-leases-megalopolis-to-lions-gate-for-september-release-in-distribution-only-deal

Darius Rucker said that the bandmates in Hootie and the Blowfish tried to outparty each other? Interesting. Check this out here: https://www.yahoo.com/entertainment/darius-rucker-says-hootie–the-blowfish-bandmates-tried-to-outparty-each-other-that-was-just-how-we-lived-214135068.html

Add one more Jon Bon Jovi-intervene to the list. NBC’s Sunday With Willie Geist. Was good, but nothing on Richie Sambora and nothing new. He’s not going to tour; he wants to tour; a surprise gig in Nashville ….

Micky Dolenz and Michael Stip (R.E.M.)

what’s going on? More kudos for his PR-man Brad Cafarelli … Congrats to R.E.M. on their Songwriters Hall of Fameinduction … HAPPY BDAY Michelle Toscas!

NAMES IN THE NEWS — Tom & Lisa Cuddy; Mark Adelman; Christine Nagy; Race Taylor; Anthony Noto; Robert Funaro; Al Roker; Tony LoBianco; Les Moonves; Les Schwartz; Marion Perkins; Mary Wilson; Tony Seidel; Bob Schartoff; Julie Laufer; Liza Lillien; Richie Ridge; William Schill; Dan Zelinski; Carol Ross; Gary Gershoff; David Adelson; Roy Trakin; Lee Jeske; Anthony Mason; and BELLA!

Images on this page have been licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.

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And The Winners Of The 77th Tony Awards Are: The Outsiders, Merrily We Roll Along, Stereophonic and Appropriate

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Hillary Clinton did show and the Tony’s gave her a standing ovation, but against all odds the best musical of the year The Outsiders won. I have never been so happy to be wrong in my predictions as The Outsiders was my favorite show this year. I am so proud of this industry for honoring this amazing production.

Merrily We Roll Along, Stereophonic, Sarah Paulson, Appropriate, Maleah Joi Moon and so many other predicted choices took home the coveted award.

Ariana DeBose hosted the night, where the surprises were Jeremy Strong, Danya Taymor for The Outsiders, Kecia Lewis for Hell’s Kitchen.…yeah! 

The playbill for the night and the 77th Tony Awards, had speeches that were powerful. Especially in Act One. The theatre before the event.

In the show a tribute to Chita Rivera, Chita you will be missed.

Here is the list of the winning shows and performers:

BEST MUSICAL: The Outsiders

Daniel Radcliffe, Jonathan Groff, and Lindsay Mendez in NYTW’s Merrily We Roll Along. Photo: Joan Marcus.

BEST MUSICAL REVIVAL: *Merrily We Roll Along

BEST ACTRESS (MUSICAL): *Maleah Joi Moon, Hell’s Kitchen

BEST ACTOR (MUSICAL): *Jonathan Groff, Merrily We Roll Along. 

BEST FEATURED ACTRESS (MUSICAL):***Kecia Lewis — Hell’s Kitchen

BEST FEATURED ACTOR (MUSICAL): *Daniel Radcliffe, Merrily We Roll Along

BEST DIRECTOR (MUSICAL): ***Danya Taymor — The Outsiders. This win gives me such hope as Danya Taymor directs with heart. Her directorial performance in Jonah also was a tour de force. Taymor makes you feel.

BEST BOOK Of A MUSICAL: *Shaina Taub for Suffs

BEST MUSICAL SCORE: * Shaina Taub for Suffs

BEST ORCHESTRATIONS: *Jonathan Tunick, Merrily We Roll Along

BEST CHOREOGRAPHY: *Justin Peck, IIinoise

SCENIC DESIGN (MUSICAL): Tom Scutt — Cabaret at the Kit Kat Club

COSTUME DESIGN (MUSICAL): *Linda Cho, The Great Gatsby 

LIGHTING DESIGN (MUSICAL): ***Brian MacDevitt and Hana S. Kim — The Outsiders

SOUND DESIGN (MUSICAL): ***Cody Spencer — The Outsiders

PLAYS

Tom Pecinka and Sarah Pidgeon Photo by Julieta Cervantes

BEST PLAY: * Stereophonic

Sarah Paulson and Elle Fanning in 2ST’s Appropriate. Photo by Joan Marcus.

BEST PLAY REVIVAL: *Appropriate 

BEST ACTRESS (PLAY): *Sarah Paulson, Appropriate

BEST ACTOR (PLAY): Jeremy Strong — An Enemy of the People

BEST FEATURED ACTRESS (PLAY): *Kara Young, Purlie Victorious

BEST FEATURED ACTOR (PLAY): **Will Brill, Stereophonic. Thrilled for this win. One of my favorite performances of the year.

BEST DIRECTOR (PLAY): *Daniel Aukin, Stereophonic

BEST SCENIC DESIGN (PLAY): David Zinn, Stereophonic

BEST COSTUME DESIGN (PLAY): *Dede Ayite, Jaja’s African Hair Braiding 

BEST LIGHTING DESIGN (PLAY): Jane Cox — Appropriate

BEST SOUND DESIGN (PLAY): *Ryan Rumery, Stereophonic

Audra McDonald

Given special awards were: The Wilma Theatre Outstanding Regional Theatre,

lifetime Achievement to George C. Wolfe, Excellence in Theatre Education to CJay Philip

Harvey Fierstien

lifetime Achievement to Jack O’Brien

Brian Stokes Mitchell and Billy Porter

Isabelle Stevenson Award Billy Porter

*our prediction to win.

** our prediction to what should win

*** our prediction for Best but we did not think would win

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James Monroe Iglehart At The Drama Desk and A Rap For A Wonderful World: The Louis Armstrong Musical

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T2C was at the Drama Desk Awards and talked to our friend James Monroe Iglehart. Years ago I learned that James could make up raps instantaneously, so I had him do one at the Hamilton opening night for Lin Manuel Miranda. Since James is opening up in October in A Wonderful World: The Louis Armstrong Musical, I ask him to do a rap to plug his show. This is the result.

James’s new musical is about the life and loves of Louis Armstrong and Tony Award® winner James Monroe Iglehart is the legendary American icon. A Wonderful World charts Armstrong’s incredible journey from the birth of jazz in his native New Orleans through his international stardom. It features beloved songs recorded and made popular by Armstrong, including favorites like “What a Wonderful World” and “When You’re Smiling,” among many other standard favorites.

The show is conceived by Tony Award® nominee and Drama Desk Award winner Christopher Renshaw (Broadway’s The King and I, Taboo), and novelist Andrew Delaplaine. Book by Aurin Squire (“This is Us,” “The Good Fight”). Directed by Renshaw, with choreography by Rickey Tripp (Associate Choreographer for Broadway’s Hell’s Kitchen, Once on This Island, and Choir Boy). Featuring classic songs from Armstrong’s catalogue.

We look forward to seeing James and this new musical.

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Who Should/Will/Did Win a 2024 Tony Award? Predictions and Actual Winners.

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Here’s my list of who I think will win, who I think should win, and who ended up winning on June 11th, Tony night, as I like to call it. There are a number of obvious choices, but a few races that are difficult to call. Like the Jessica Vs Sarah American Horror alumn battle, or the emotional contest of Best New Musical. Here are mine.

Below is the full list of winners (🏆), my predictions (⭐️), who I think should win (👍), and all of the nominations:

Here goes nothing.

⭐️= Who I think Will Win

👍= Who I Think Should Win

🏆= Who Did in the End Win (stay tuned Sunday, June 11th, 2023 from the United Palace Theatre in NYC)

Best Book of a Musical

Hell’s Kitchen – Kristoffer Diaz

The Notebook – Bekah Brunstetter

The Outsiders– Adam Rapp and Justin Levine

👍 ⭐️ Suffs – Shaina Taub

Water for Elephants – Rick Elice

Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics) Written for the Theatre

Days of Wine and Roses – Music & Lyrics: Adam Guettel

Here Lies Love – Music: David Byrne and Fatboy Slim – Lyrics: David Byrne

👍 The Outsiders – Music & Lyrics: Jamestown Revival (Jonathan Clay and Zach Chance) and Justin Levine

Stereophonic – Music & Lyrics: Will Butler

⭐️ Suffs – Music & Lyrics: Shaina Taub

Jeremy Strong in An Enemy of the People – Photo by Emilio Madrid.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play

William Jackson Harper, Uncle Vanya
Leslie Odom, Jr., Purlie Victorious: A Non-Confederate Romp Through the Cotton Patch
Liev Schreiber, Doubt: A Parable
👍 ⭐️ Jeremy Strong, An Enemy of the People
Michael Stuhlbarg, Patriots

This is a hard one, but I’m leaning on the overall effect of the riveting An Enemy of the People leading Strong to a Tony victory. Stuhlbarg was excellent in the lesser excellent Patriots. Odom and Harper are two good actors who I believe underperformed, and I’m hoping their star-power doesn’t push them over the winning line.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play

Betsy Aidem, Prayer for the French Republic
Jessica Lange, Mother Play
Rachel McAdams, Mary Jane
👍 ⭐️ Sarah Paulson, Appropriate
Amy Ryan, Doubt: A Parable

Although everyone here excelled, particularly Aidem and Ryan, I do believe Paulson delivered something more profound and detailed than Lange, probably because the play gave her so many more complex opportunities which she gobbled up fantastically for our pleasure.

Sarah Paulson and Elle Fanning in 2ST’s Appropriate. Photo by Joan Marcus.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical

Brody Grant, The Outsiders
👍 ⭐️ Jonathan Groff, Merrily We Roll Along
Dorian Harewood, The Notebook
Brian d’Arcy James, Days of Wine and Roses
Eddie Redmayne, Cabaret at the Kit Kat Club

No shocker here. This is Groff’s moment, even though I loved Grant and Redmayne in their lesser received shows. James was also good, vocally, in a musical that I just didn’t connect to, so I wasn’t as connected to him or his performance. The same can be said of O’Hara. I just didn’t care, even within the dramatic ending.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical

👍 Eden Espinosa, Lempicka
⭐️ Maleah Joi Moon, Hell’s Kitchen
Kelli O’Hara, Days of Wine and Roses
👍 Maryann Plunkett, The Notebook
Gayle Rankin, Cabaret at the Kit Kat Club

I think the new kid on the block might take home the prize, although I would not be disappointed if either Espinosa or Plunkett jumped to the front of the Hell’s Kitchen train.

Eden Espinosa in Lempicka. Photo: MATTHEW MURPHY AND EVAN ZIMMERMAN

Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play

👍 Will Brill, Stereophonic
⭐️ Eli Gelb, Stereophonic
Jim Parsons, Mother Play
Tom Pecinka, Stereophonic
Corey Stoll, Appropriate

Such a hard call, but I fully believe that, as in many categories including this one, it will be a winning Stereophonic night. Some say Stoll might snatch it up, but I’d be very surprised.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play

Quincy Tyler Bernstine, Doubt: A Parable
👍 Juliana Canfield, Stereophonic
Celia Keenan-Bolger, Mother Play
👍 Sarah Pidgeon, Stereophonic
⭐️ Kara Young, Purlie Victorious: A Non-Confederate Romp Through the Cotton Patch

Gosh. Young was, for me, by far the best thing in this revival elevating it spectacularly leaving everyone, including the bland Odem, Jr. At the bottom of the hill.

Leslie Odom, Jr. and Kara Young in PURLIE VICTORIOUS – Photo by Marc J. Franklin.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical

Roger Bart, Back To The Future: The Musical
👍 Joshua Boone, The Outsiders
Brandon Victor Dixon, Hell’s Kitchen
Sky Lakota-Lynch, The Outsiders
👍 ⭐️ Daniel Radcliffe, Merrily We Roll Along
Steven Skybell, Cabaret at the Kit Kat Club

I’ll be cheering for Radcliffe when he wins the Tony for his performance in this stellar production, but I did love The Outsiders maybe more than most, and Boone really gave the new musical its solid emotional heart.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical

Shoshana Bean, Hell’s Kitchen
Amber Iman, Lempicka
Nikki M. James, Suffs
Leslie Rodriguez Kritzer, Monty Python’s Spamalot
👍 ⭐️ Kecia Lewis, Hell’s Kitchen
Lindsay Mendez, Merrily We Roll Along
👍 Bebe Neuwirth, Cabaret at the Kit Kat Club

What an amazing group, and I’d really be happy anyway this one went, but Neuwirth feels so damn perfect in the part, and Lewis made me cry, so there’s that….

Steven Skybell and Bebe Neuwirth in CABARET at the Kit Kat Club at the August Wilson Theatre. Photo by Marc Brenner.

Best Scenic Design of a Play

dots, Appropriate
dots, An Enemy of the People
Derek McLane, Purlie Victorious: A Non-Confederate Romp Through the Cotton Patch
David Zinn, Jaja’s African Hair Braiding
👍 ⭐️ David Zinn, Stereophonic

Conrad Ricamora (Ninoy Aquino – left), Arielle Jacobs (Imelda Marcos – right), and the cast of Here Lies Love in the Broadway Theatre.
Photo Credit: Billy Bustamante, Matthew Murphy and Evan Zimmerman (2023)

Best Scenic Design of a Musical

AMP featuring Tatiana Kahvegian, The Outsiders
Robert Brill and Peter Nigrini, Hell’s Kitchen
Takeshi Kata, Water for Elephants
David Korins, Here Lies Love
Riccardo Hernández and Peter Nigrini, Lempicka
Tim Hatley and Finn Ross, Back To The Future: The Musical
👍 ⭐️ Tom Scutt, Cabaret at the Kit Kat Club

Best Costume Design of a Play

Dede Ayite, Appropriate
⭐️ Dede Ayite, Jaja’s African Hair Braiding
👍 Enver Chakartash, Stereophonic
Emilio Sosa, Purlie Victorious: A Non-Confederate Romp Through the Cotton Patch
David Zinn, An Enemy of the People


Eddie Redmayne (center) and the cast of CABARET at the Kit Kat Club at the August Wilson Theatre. Photo by Marc Brenner.

Best Costume Design of a Musical

Dede Ayite, Hell’s Kitchen
Linda Cho, The Great Gatsby
David Israel Reynoso, Water for Elephants
👍 Tom Scutt, Cabaret at the Kit Kat Club
⭐️ Paul Tazewell, Suffs

Best Lighting Design of a Play

Isabella Byrd, An Enemy of the People
Amith Chandrashaker, Prayer for the French Republic
👍 ⭐️ Jiyoun Chang, Stereophonic
Jane Cox, Appropriate
👍 Natasha Katz, Grey House

The cast of The Outsiders. Photo by Matthew Murphy.

Best Lighting Design of a Musical

Brandon Stirling Baker, Illinoise
⭐️ Isabella Byrd, Cabaret at the Kit Kat Club
Natasha Katz, Hell’s Kitchen
Bradley King and David Bengali, Water for Elephants
👍 Brian MacDevitt and Hana S. Kim, The Outsiders

Best Sound Design of a Play

Justin Ellington and Stefania Bulbarella, Jaja’s African Hair Braiding
Leah Gelpe, Mary Jane
Tom Gibbons, Grey House
Bray Poor and Will Pickens, Appropriate
👍 ⭐️ Ryan Rumery, Stereophonic

The cast of Stereophonic on Broadway. Photo by Julieta Cervantes.

Best Sound Design of a Musical

M.L. Dogg and Cody Spencer, Here Lies Love
👍 Kai Harada, Merrily We Roll Along
Nick Lidster for Autograph, Cabaret at the Kit Kat Club
⭐️ Gareth Owen, Hell’s Kitchen
Cody Spencer, The Outsiders

Best Direction of a Play

👍 ⭐️ Daniel Aukin, Stereophonic
Anne Kauffman, Mary Jane
Kenny Leon, Purlie Victorious: A Non-Confederate Romp Through the Cotton Patch
Lila Neugebauer, Appropriate
Whitney White, Jaja’s African Hair Braiding

Gabriel Olivera de Paula Costa and Wade McCollum in WATER FOR ELEPHANTS – Photo by Matthew Murphy.

Best Direction of a Musical

👍 ⭐️ Maria Friedman, Merrily We Roll Along
Michael Greif, Hell’s Kitchen
Leigh Silverman, Suffs
👍 Jessica Stone, Water for Elephants
Danya Taymor, The Outsiders

Friedman, in a way, did the impossible with this formerly problematic musical so her win is well deserved. But Stone also delivered a spectacular worthy of the Water for Elephants story it told.

Best Choreography

Annie-B Parson, Here Lies Love
Camille A. Brown, Hell’s Kitchen
👍 Rick Kuperman and Jeff Kuperman, The Outsiders
⭐️ Justin Peck, Illinoise
Jesse Robb and Shana Carroll, Water for Elephants

Ricky Ubeda and Ben Cook of Broadway’s Illinoise. Photo by Liz Lauren.

Best Orchestrations

Timo Andres, Illinoise
👍 Will Butler and Justin Craig, Stereophonic
Justin Levine, Matt Hinkley and Jamestown Revival (Jonathan Clay and Zach Chance), The Outsiders
Tom Kitt and Adam Blackstone, Hell’s Kitchen
⭐️ Jonathan Tunick, Merrily We Roll Along

Best Play

Jaja’s African Hair Braiding – Author: Jocelyn Bioh

Mary Jane – Author: Amy Herzog

Mother Play – Author: Paula Vogel

Prayer for the French Republic – Author: Joshua Harmon

👍 ⭐️ Stereophonic – Author: David Adjmi

No contest. Really. And that’s no slight to the other wonderfully written plays in this group.

Kecia Lewis and Maleah Joi Moon in Hell’s Kitchen on Broadway. Photo by Marc J. Franklin.

Best Musical

⭐️ Hell’s Kitchen

Illinoise

👍 The Outsiders

Suffs

👍 Water for Elephants

This is a hard call cause none of them are perfect yet all deliver something pretty special. And unique. I loved The Outsiders, more than I imagined I would. Its heart beats the strongest for me, but I think Keys will triumph for expanding the genre and the audience up so many floors.

Natalie Gold, Alyssa Emily Marvin, Michael Esper, Sarah Paulson, and Corey Stoll in 2ST’s Appropriate. Photo by Joan Marcus.

Best Revival of a Play

⭐️ Appropriate – Author: Branden Jacobs-Jenkins

👍 An Enemy of the People – Author: Amy Herzog

Purlie Victorious: A Non-Confederate Romp Through the Cotton Patch

An Enemy of the People is solid and as strong as its Strong star, but Appropriatedelivers in so many unexpected ways it’s impossible not to be taken in completely, laughing in its uncomfortableness and its tense emotional turmoil.

Best Revival of a Musical

Cabaret at the Kit Kat Club

Gutenberg! The Musical!

👍 ⭐️ Merrily We Roll Along

The Who’s Tommy

Another no-contest win. But I also loved Cabaret far more than your average critic. And I’m still a little surprised by that.

Daniel Radcliffe, Jonathan Groff, and Natalie Wachen in Merrily We Roll Along. Photo by Mathew Murphy.

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Broadway

Tony Predictions: What Will Win, What Should Win and What Should Have Been Nominated

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Stereophonic, Illinoise, Sarah Paulson in Appropriate, and Jessica Lange in Mother Play, Julieta Cervantes; Matthew Murphy; Belasco Theatre; 2ndStage

There were 36 productions that included musicals, plays, and revivals, opening on Broadway this season. On Sunday the coveted statues will be given out at the 77th annual Tony Awards. Here is T2C’s predictions of what and who will win, what should win and what whould have been nominated.

BEST MUSICAL

What will win: Suffs, because Hillary Clinton is a producer and New York is a fan.

What Should Win: Hell’s Kitchen. This show shows New York in a fabulous light, unlike New York, New York of last year. Also Alicia Keys music will bring in a younger audience which will help Broadway survive.

What Should Have Been Nominated: Heart of Rock and Roll. This heartfelt musical was ignored by the critics, but is beloved by those who see it.

BEST MUSICAL REVIVAL

What will win, what should win: Merrily We Roll Along Hands down this is the chosen piece.

BEST ACTRESS (MUSICAL)

What will win, what should win: Maleah Joi Moon, They are going to want to honor Hell’s Kitchen and this is how they will do it.

BEST ACTOR (MUSICAL)
Who will win: Jonathan Groff, Merrily We Roll Along. Merrily is going to take every award it is nominated for.

Who Should Win: Brian d’Arcy James, Days of Wine and Roses. Brian has deserved this honor and his performance was layered and heartbreaking.

BEST FEATURED ACTRESS (MUSICAL)

Who will win: Lindsay Mendez, Merrily We Roll Along. Merrily is going to take every award it is nominated for.

Who Should Win: Bebe Neuwirth, Cabaret. It is a spectacular performance and Bebe has given a great deal to theatre.

BEST FEATURED ACTOR (MUSICAL)

Who will win: Daniel Radcliffe, Merrily We Roll Along. Merrily is going to take every award it is nominated for.

Who Should Have Been Nominated:George Abud in Lempika and Paul Alexander Nolan Water for Elephants. Mr Nolan’s performance was my favorite of the season.

BEST DIRECTOR (MUSICAL)

Who will win: Maria Friedman, Merrily We Roll Along. Merrily is going to take every award it is nominated for.

Who Should Win: Jessica Stone, Water for Elephants. Her direction was like looking at slides from a view master.

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE

What will win: Shaina Taub for Suffs. She is the darling of Broadway.

Who Should Win and should have been nominated: Music by Matt Gould, lyrics by Carson Kreitzer, for Lempicka. This was an exciting score and had songs that will last.

Who Should Have Been Nominated: Music by Barry Manilow and lyrics by Bruce Sussman for Harmony. This score is a classic and was ripped off.

BEST BOOK OF A MUSICAL

What will win: Suffs

Who Should Have Been Nominated: Harmony

BEST ORCHESTRATIONS

What will win: Jonathan Tunick, Merrily We Roll Along

Who Should Have Been Nominated: Music orchestrated by Cian McCarthy; Music arranged by Remy Kurs for Lempicka

BEST CHOREOGRAPHY

What will win: Justin Peck, IIinoise. This is a dance show so they will honor it.

Who should win: Rick and Jeff Kuperman, The Outsiders. The Kuperman’s have their cast flying and soaring and it is spectacular.

Who should have been nominated: Lorin Latarro  Heart Of Rock and Roll. Dancing on bubble wrap and cardboard is inventive and should have been reconized.

SCENIC DESIGN (MUSICAL)

What will win: David Korins, Here Lies Love 

Who Should Have Been Nominated: Paul Tate dePoo III, The Great Gatsby 

COSTUME DESIGN (MUSICAL)

Who will and should win: Linda Cho, The Great Gatsby 

LIGHTING DESIGN (MUSICAL)

What will win: Bradley King and David Bengali, Water for Elephants

SOUND DESIGN (MUSICAL)

What will win: Kai Harada, Merrily We Roll Along 

PLAYS

BEST PLAY

What will win: Stereophonic. It is the darling of the critics.

Who Should Win: Prayer for the French Republic. This play was so brilliantly done, but with the Pro-Palestinian conflict this show is being dismissed by the voters.

BEST PLAY REVIVAL
What will win: Appropriate 

BEST ACTRESS (PLAY)
Who will win: Sarah Paulson, Appropriate and Jessica Lange, Mother Play. This should be a tie, but if they give the award to one person it will go to Sarah Paulson

BEST ACTOR (PLAY)
Who Will Win: Leslie Odom Jr., Purlie Victorious

Who Should Win: Michael Stuhlbarg, Patriots

BEST FEATURED ACTRESS (PLAY)

Who will win: Kara Young, Purlie Victorious

Who Should Win: Celia Keenan-Bolger, Mother Play

BEST FEATURED ACTOR (PLAY)

Who will win: Corey Stoll, Appropriate

Who Should Win: Will Brill, Stereophonic, but the nominees will cancel each other out. This was one of the best performances of the year.

BEST DIRECTOR (PLAY)

Who will win: Daniel Aukin, Stereophonic

BEST SCENIC DESIGN (PLAY)

What will win: dots, Appropriate 

BEST COSTUME DESIGN (PLAY)

What will win: Dede Ayite, Jaja’s African Hair Braiding 

BEST LIGHTING DESIGN (PLAY)

What will win: Jiyoun Chang, Stereophonic 

BEST SOUND DESIGN (PLAY)

Who will win: Ryan Rumery, Stereophonic

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