The Wrap Sheet
A monthly airing of thoughts and grievances.
I'm going to try a little something new starting today.
I have come to the realization that most blogs are opinion-based. And while top ten lists and others are fun, they're not the only thing. I find that much of the feedback I receive comes from my opinion-based pieces.
Thanks to an idea from a friend of mine, a new segment- The Wrap Sheet- is born.
This is basically "Andrew Airs His Grievances," where I take a look at some of the events that happened in a given month and give opinions about them. You might find some of this fun to read, and it might even encourage some fun constructive debate.
The Wrap Sheet will be a monthly thing, and since June was super eventful, I figured this was a good place to start.
Again, I want to thank everyone who's been reading this blog over the last three and a half years.
Let's wrap up the month of June, now, shall we?
This month was a wild one, wasn’t it? I guess after that prolonged winter, June decided it reallywastime to bust out all over.
So let’s hucka those bejeepers and dive right into it.
If you’re not sure what I’m referring to by that, I’ll let Leslie Uggams explain.
Did you know she’s the old woman inDeadpool???I sure didn’t.
There’s a lot to cover this month, and I’ll try to keep it as organized by category as I possibly can.
Pancakes! I mean...
My featured story this month stems from the magical (or, rather not-so-magical-anymore) world of pancakes.
... I mean burgers.
Can’t re-add the Cinn-A-Stax, but you can change the LOGO??
IHOP, the beloved International House of Pancakes, went ahead andchanged its damn name. Henceforth, the restaurant will be known as IHOb, otherwise known as the International House of Blasphemy.
I mean, the International House of Burgers.
My problem with this is, well, everything.
And I believe the root of the problem, and ultimately the demise of the P, comes from the removal of the beloved Cinn-A-Stack pancakes from the IHOP menu.
Look at these. And their sweet, sweet cinnamon-y goodness.
These half-pastry, half-pancake bundles of joy were what kept me coming back time and time again. Hell, for national pancake day, I would STILL pay the $8.99 (or whatever it was) for an extra plate of these majestic creatures.
And then they were taken off the menu, and my lust for IHOP began to gradually die a little every day.
There was talk of the Cinn-A-Stacks being a secret menu item, allowing patrons to order them for a limited time until they were taken off the menu for good. When eating at the IHOP off I-90 in Newton on a fall morning some time in late 2016 (or maybe it was even before that. But it definitely wasn’t after April 2017, when they were officially ruled out as a food option), I was told that IHOP no longer made them anymore and that there was no way to recreate them, like the plans had been lost forever.
So, I say IHOP had what was coming to it. Makes sense that if you discard your BEST MENU ITEM, people will stop buying your pancakes enough for you to change your name.
I don’t have a problem with companies like Dunkin’ Donuts changing their name (at least, as far as I know there is impending change) to Dunkin’; I already call it that, and I can probably count on one hand how many donuts I purchased from there in the last 18 months.
But this? This one burns me. You’re a breakfast place, IHOP. Act like it. And if this is your idea of a publicity stunt, it’s stupid and no one likes you. I have always and will continue to refuse to eat your burgers.
IHOB. International House of Bring Back the Cinn-A-Stack Pancakes.
Moving on to politics, because if Donald Trump isn’t featured, is it really considered a month?
Of course, our cartoon president was involved in two major things that happened this past month, both of which I will touch on only very quickly because he does not deserve my attention for any more than I can bare.
The first is his meeting with Kim Jong-Un of North Korea, in the first summit between the leaders of the two countries.
After much hemming and hawing, with both sides threatening to pull out, and Trump even submitting a formal letter to call off the meeting, the two met in Singapore on June 12th.
"As soon as he stops shaking my hand, I'm gonna make a run for it."
International opinion was on the positive side, but I really think it’s because the two sides met, talked, and left, without really making complete asshats of themselves.
My favorite part of this was this little nugget from Trump:
“As an example, they have great beaches. You see that whenever they’re exploding their cannons into the ocean. I said, boy, look at that view. Wouldn’t that make a great condo? And I explained, I said, you know, instead of doing that you could have the best hotels in the world right there. Think of it from a real estate perspective. You have South Korea, you have China, and they own the land in the middle. How bad is that, right? It’s great.”
Ah, yes. World peace in the form of real estate development. Joy.
I mean, sure, the guy does have a little bit of a point, but it just amuses me to no end that THIS is what he got out of it.
Meeting with the dictator of a country that the United States has had hostile tensions with ever since the 1950s? You know what would ease international tensions and bring world peace. HOTELS. Bingo. On to the next one.
We are all aware that his entire presidency is all about him, right? It’s just one huge publicity stunt to be relevant again before he withers away and dies in his insanity. We know this, right?
My overall opinion on the guy is that nothing irreparable will be accomplished. I think republicans are just happy to have their title on the presidency, and the human internet troll can have his fun before politics becomes politics again in two and a half years and every executive order he’s introduced gets overturned again.
Think about it. He’s not getting much done at all with a REPUBLICAN CONGRESS. You can’t blame the Democrats for things not getting done if your party controls both the presidency and congress.
Which brings me to my next story.
So, there were children being held in cages at the border, separated from their families after they were detained for crossing the border illegally.
And by separated, I mean there are children being held inside an old Wal-Mart in giant chain link cages, sleeping on floors or mats, totally away from their parents and forced to care for their fellow child.
No one’s political compass is exactly 100% the same as anyone else’s, I don’t believe anyone is the same in that respect. I’ve always been self conscious about sharing my precise political opinions. I’ve always tried to see both sides of an argument and empathize with each (the difference is empathy, not agreement). Perhaps my rhetoric isn’t always correct, and perhaps I’m even a little misguided in my remarks. But here are my two cents.
I think separating families at the border is cruel. I think keeping children locked away together in cages is inhumane. I think the immigration system (and while we’re at it, the prison system) in this country is all kinds of messed up and needs to be fixed. I feel like there’s deportation of illegal immigrants, and then there’s this humiliation-of-sorts that happens beforehand that just makes me angry.
Being arrested for being in the country illegally, and then held in the United States for being an illegal immigrant? I mean… it feels kind of redundant and I don’t understand why it has to happen.
Obviously one solution is to close the border completely. But I still hold out hope that this country can serve as a melting pot and we can have people from other countries living here trying to make better lives for themselves.
Why not just fucking make it easier? If you’re obsessed with removing people that are here illegally because they’re here illegally, why not make it easier to live here legally? Isn’t that the problem?
We all know “we don’t want them here because they’re here illegally” isn’t really the overt problem. We know it goes much deeper than that. There’s some other heavily-rooted shit in this country that needs addressing. I really don’t feel like getting into it at this juncture, because there’s more to get to, and God knows I’ll probably end up addressing it another time.
Oh, and don’t put children in cages. That’s pretty much the end of my thoughts on that. Stop being cruel and disguising it as patriotism.
The World Cup is happening right now!
First, let’s all laugh at Germany for getting eliminated before the knockout round courtesy of South Korea.
Row, row, row your boat, gently down the loser stream!
Secondly, look at these Mexico supporters joyfully embracing partying outside the South Korean embassy and even letting them get in on the fun.
South Korea's performance is literally why the World Cup exists.
Thirdly, I don’t know that I’ve watch a single minute because the United States is not involved. This is perhaps a generalization, but unless you live in Seattle, Portland, or perhaps Columbus, Ohio, I don’t think there are casual soccer fans that exist in America. Like, even when the U.S. is involved in the World Cup, it’s like you can smell the stench of all the fairweather fans hopping up on the “I Believe That We Will Win” bandwagon.
Oh, I 100% am one of those people. But I don’t forget that U.S. soccer embarrassingly lost to Trinidad last year to fail to qualify for the World Cup when there are other sports things happening in this world.
The USMNT lost in November to Trinidad and Tobago to eliminate themselves from World Cup contention.
The bandwagon thing is similar to the Olympics, but the United States has traditionally been successful at sports that come along every four years. But not soccer. David Beckham and Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Wayne Rooney are nice and all, but it’s nowhere near enough to pull the casual fan in.
Soccer also has to compete with football, basketball, baseball, and hockey. And people can complain all they want about how the NFL and NBA are “rigged” and how baseball is “too slow” and how they “can’t see the puck” in hockey. But those same people will, nine times out of ten, go back to the “Big Four” tit when faced with the choice of that or a soccer match.
That’s nice that all that money was invested into a program that fell off the face of the earth in November, though.
Let me also touch on the U.S. Open, while we’re here.
Golf is a hard sport. But I don’t think golf should be THIS hard. A final, 72-hole tournament where the winner finishes at ONE OVER PAR? Come on.
Golf is one of those underrated sports. Like NASCAR (yes, stock car racing is a wildly popular and fascinating underrated sport. Fight me). But the way golf is different than NASCAR is that you don’t have to be 16 and have a driver’s license to swing a golf club. Gold has the ability to garner interest from fans who watch or play at a very young age. But I think having the country’s national championship for the sport be so excruciatingly tough to watch (and I can’t even imagine how hard courses like Shinnecock Hill are to play) is going to drive away interest. People WANT to see someone run away with a championship at 20-under par. They want to see someone drive the ball 400 yards or sink a 75-footer. They want to see good golfers actually playing good golf, instead of seeing their idols shoot 11-over on the first nine of the week (looking at you, Rory McIlroy). And maybe the USGA could learn a little from the Masters, by limiting the U.S. Open to a select few courses. Just a thought.
But props to Brooks Koepka, who won his second consecutive U.S. Open. I remember the commentators during the telecast say the Koepka plays overseas a lot in Europe, and how he possesses the mental toughness to get through these tough courses, and that not many other golfers like him have such grit. I respect that.
I only want to talk about one movie, and that isSolo: A Star Wars Story.
There will be potential spoilers. Read at your own risk.
For anyone that knows me, I am a huge Star Wars fan.Solowas the first movie of the franchise that I was actually disappointed with.
Don’t get me wrong, it was a fine movie. Great visual effects, and some of the action sequences were quite fun.
But it wasn’tRogue Oneand, after much thought, I question whether this film actually needed to exist.
First, the good. I really liked Alden Ehrenreich in the lead role. I felt he accurately captured the aesthetic of Han Solo without coming off too much like an imitation or caricature. Then there were the effects, which were stunning.Solois one of the most expensive movies ever made, and it showed. They put some effort into the effects.
But where Ehrenreich’s Solo falls short is in the actual action, and that falls with the concept, writing, and directing more than it does with Ehrenreich’s acting.
Han Solo is a scoundrel. He’s a pessimist. His catchphrase is “I’ve got a bad feeling about this.” What I saw inSolowas a dreamer, a lover, a fighter. I think that’s the wrong outlook on the character, but that’s just me, especially with no bridge showing what got him from “I have a really good feeling about this” to “I’ve got a bad feeling about this.”
The plot dragged in the middle, and, to be honest, I really didn’t care much about the backstory that was being presented to me.
I cared more about the characters inRogue Onehaving never met them before than I did about the characters inSolo,two of whom I have known since I was six. I guess that’s what switching creative teams mid-project will do.
Han Solo is already an epic, iconic character. No film needs to convince me that he is already even more epic than he is. They’d be better off making a movie about Obi-Wan Kenobi (which isn’t being made right now, thanks to how this film turned out) and his relationship with Qui-Gon Jinn afterEpisode IIIbecause THAT WAS A HUGE THING FOR ME AND THEY NEVER TOUCHED ON IT NOT ONE TIME AFTER THAT.
Other thoughts onSolo:
L-3 is a blatant rip-off of K-2SO fromRogue Oneand wasn’t all that funny.
Did they make this whole film from the quote “made the Kessel Run in less than twelve parsecs”? I feel like they did.
Also, Han was involved in the Imperial Navy? What?? I need to go back and watchA New Hope.
Unpopular opinion: Donald Glover was just okay. His character arc gave me no reason to believe that Lando and Han are lifelong buddies.
Oh and THIS NUGGET. (SPOILERSPOILERSPOILERSPOILER)
I'm sorry... WHAT?
I guess I should be watching Rebels. The filmmakers knew they screwed up by killing off Darth Maul, so they’re trying to make this half-assed second attempt to make him relevant again. Which is fine but also not at all fine.
So we've had enough pessimism for one day, I think. Let's do a positive story, just to finish this thing out on a high note.
Time to feel good!
Go, daredevil raccoon, go!
This raccoon in Minnesota scaled a building. Not just any building, the 15th-tallest building in St. Paul, Minnesota. And I don’t mean like there was a big ladder or a cable or anything.
I mean he straight up Mission-Impossible’d this thing.
The videos and images of this adorable creature lit up Twitter, and captivated the nation as the tweets went out.
Raccoons have incredible climbing skills (according to Google), but climbing 23-story tall buildings is obviously way out of the ordinary for these backyard trash-searchers.
The New York Times chronicled the climb in story fashion and I encourage you to check it out.
And, that was your monthly report for June, 2018.
I don’t know if there are any July puns like there are for May and June, and I really don’t feel like looking. But thank you, readers, for indulging me in this new project. Leave a comment below if you like it, and let me know if there’s anything you’d rather I touch on for next time!
What that makes the Tony Awards different from any other awards show are the performances. For a medium that is unlike any other, in that people can only see shows in one place at one time for an absurd amount of money, the Tonys offer us normal people a glimpse of what beautiful spectacle and artwork awaits us in New York.
Since the Tony Awards are this evening, I thought I’d throw a quick list together of the greatest Tony television performances.
There are a bunch that didn’t make this list, I understand that right out of the gate. Betty Buckley’s stirring rendition of “Memory” from Cats isn’t here. Neither is “Turkey Lurkey Time” from Promises, Promises, and neither is “I Am What I Am” from La Cage Aux Folles. I 110% acknowledge that these songs and performances are great in their own rights.
Other personal preferences include "Run Freedom Run" from Urinetown, "Gold" from Once, "I Believe" from The Book of Mormon, "Anything Goes" from the 2011 revival of Anything Goes. All incredible. And if I had more room (and more time), the list would be longer and they'd all be here too.
But every other song on this list is here for a reason… and of course, I certainly like some shows over others.
So, on we go.
Les Misèrables, "At The End of the Day"/"One Day More" (1987)
This was the performance the showed that the British invasion was here and was very, very real. I may not be Les Mis’s biggest fan, but these are two of my favorite songs. There’s something oddly satisfying about the simple two-step marching and red flag waving in the background. Not to mention all those swirling motifs building over the course of “One Day More.”
Fun Home, "Ring of Keys" (2015)
Note how Sydney Lucas plays to the camera on this one. As great as the performances ofSomething Rotten and The King and I were, Fun Home stole the show with this quiet, intimate, soul-searching song for a proto-lesbian girl after trying to make sense of what a fateful encounter with another woman might mean. Truly stirring.
In the Heights, "In the Heights"/"96,000" (2008)
Before Lin-Manuel Miranda created Hamilton, he created In the Heights. Having lived in Washington Heights, In the Heights is, to a T, the world that Miranda described. This jubilant medley that creates the high-energy world of upper Manhattan, and then flies into a song dealing with the prospects of winning the lottery, was one of the best performances of the night. This fresh take on what music belongs on a Broadway stage earned the show the Tony for Best Musical.
Company, "Being Alive" (2007)
I really love Raul Esparza’s Bobby. It’s classy and refined, yet rough and deeply flawed all at the same time. Watching the full version of the 2007 revival of Company and this performance are two different things, but the fact that it is stripped down to a man and his piano allows us to see, bare bones, the personal breakthrough that Esparza’s Bobby is on the verge of, in all its glorious intensity.
Spring Awakening, "Mama Who Bore Me"/"The Bitch of Living"/"Totally Fucked" (2007)
The Deaf West performance was moving, but there’s nothing like the original, especially when Spring Awakening had first appeared on Broadway. Is that… is that a rock musical whose songs actually sound like rock songs? And yeah, maybe covering up of mouths during swear words is a little corny… but that chorus of “blah blah blah”s during “Totally Fucked” is chilling and inspiring.
Next to Normal, "You Don't Know"/"I Am the One" (2009)
I love me some Next to Normal. And I actually… don’t hate Alice Ripley in this. She’s like steel wool- rough, but powers through and gets the job done. I love everything about this performance, from the song choice, to the direction, to Ripley’s every choice as the frazzled Diana, dealing with her husband’s frustration and her son’s haunting temptation. Also, baby Aaron Tveit for the win.
The Top 10:
10. Hamilton, "History Has Its Eyes On You"/"Yorktown" (2016)
Taking place on the night after the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, the LGBT and greater theatre community was in a vulnerable state. Hamilton, the favorite for just about every award that year, brought the house down and helped heal hearts a little bit with a performance for the ages. The caveat- their song choice, involving the Battle of Yorktown, featured soldiers carrying muskets. In a powerful statement, the cast chose to do the number without the use of guns. When everyone freezes after the intense dance break to see people holding invisible guns- it’s a really powerful and moving image. On top of that, Hamilton is representative of a reset of how the world sees musical theatre, as Miranda's war story pushed Broadway once more to the forefront of cultural relevance.
9. Guys and Dolls, "Sit Down, You're Rocking the Boat" (2009)
Ah, the power of live theatre. When Tituss Burgess’ microphone died on him, the run crew stepped up and frantically delivered a handheld mic mid-song (hooray for shotty audio feeds allowing us to hear when the crew member was “going in with it”). No hat, no problem. I love the arrangement of this showstopper, as the coda has this really cool new gospel-type groove, which I much prefer to the shorter, less-climactic original version. Also, Tituss casually knocking a high E out of the park on the last line. Look, ma! One hand!
8. Gypsy, "Everything's Coming Up Roses" (2008)
Angela is the OG. Bernadette was fantastic. But, as I begrudgingly admit, there’s something romantic about Patti LuPone playing Mama Rose. I think this is the last great Patti performance we’ll get, but man, is this Act I closer of Gypsy powerful. Patti has this extraordinary ability to fill both the television screen as well as Radio City Music Hall, as Rose’s bottomless frustration grows in intensity, as she refuses to let reality get in her way.
7. Hairspray, "You Can't Stop the Beat" (2003)
This is the best closing number in the history of musical theatre. Fight me. And even though the song is very formulaic- with something like five different character groups getting a verse and chorus to themselves- it is futile to bop along with the music. High points include Harvey Fierstein’s entrance, Matthew Morrison’s white suit, and everything from 3:41 onwards. Enjoy.
6. Evita, "A New Argentina" (1980)
My opinion is that everything that Andrew Lloyd Webber wrote 1980 and before it is amazing, and everything after it is garbage. Evita fits into that category as the last piece, premiering in 1979. It is amazing how a composer make a chanting crowd sound terrifying. But the story here is the “A New Argentina,” the Act I finale, in which we get to see peak Mandy and Patti as Che and Eva- and where Patti becomes the first mainstream talent to create the concept of the belting diva in a rock musical. Also, there’s fire! Hooray fire! (Spoiler, the vocals were pre-taped for the telecast, but it’s still fierce as hell.)
5. A Chorus Line, "I Hope I Get It" (1976)
A Chorus Line was widely expected to win the Tony for Best Musical in 1976, so much so that the producers for the Tonys actually allowed the show to perform twice on the telecast- first and last. The first is the opening number to the show, and while it does clock in at just over seven minutes in length, it’s shot brilliantly, effectively capturing the essence of the stressful audition world. This timeless number being placed at the start of the Tony Awards is metaphorical for the life cycle of a performer, in a way; starting out at the audition and putting oneself out there for judgment, only to find themselves taking home the big prize at the end of the night.
4. The Will Rogers Follies, "Will-a-Mania"/"Our Favorite Son" (1991)
It is time for me to bite the bullet and confess something about The Will Rogers Follies. That confession is that the show, and in particular, these two numbers, are BRILLIANT. Because of the nature of the show being essentially a Ziegfeld-revue, the show’s creators could really go all-out with the showmanship. That’s exactly what they did. Placed between a group of chorus girls decked out in stars and stripes, Keith Carradine leads the row in a masterclass of precision dancing and syncopated movement reminiscent of a Rockettes show, while SEATED. I am floored and I am glad to know this music.
3. Grand Hotel, "We'll Take a Glass Together" (1990)
There aren’t many greater joys than drunken romps. Maury Yeston’s Grand Hotel, a lesser-known show among casual theatergoers, features this exuberant number where a terminally-ill accountant poised on having a good time, is egged on by a shady baron into indulging in some drinks and other revelry.
My question is: does Michael Jeter have bones? Watch as he seems to turn into human liquid, bending, twisting, and flailing about in a ridiculous show of control.
Not surprisingly, Jeter won a Tony for Best Featured Actor in a musical.
2. The Lion King, "Circle of Life" (1998)
Admit it, you got chills when that blare from Tsidii Le Loko hit at the beginning of “Circle of Life.” While a Disney show, Julie Taymor’s reimagining showed us that this was not your children’s version of the Lion King. A dazzling menagerie of brilliantly-created puppetry transformed Radio City into the plains of the Serengeti, complete with antelopes, birds, jungle cats, giraffes, an elephant and a rhino. There’s nothing like this Tony performance, and it’s a testament as to why Lion King has been able to survive for so long.
1. Dreamgirls, "It's All Over"/"And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going" (1982)
There is nothing but awe for this one. Just watch it. It’s the best. There is no competition. Jennifer Holliday is a queen.
What are your favorite Tony performances? Leave a comment down below.
The 72nd Tony Awards are tonight, Sunday, June 10th on CBS.
72nd Tony Awards Predictions, Act 2: The Chosen Ones
Update June 7, 2018
Tony nominees Josh Groban and Sara Bareilles will host the 72nd Tony Awards.
As I went back and edited my “Way-Too-Early Tony Predictions” sheet from the end of April, considering all the nominations for the ceremony on Sunday have come out, my initial thought is what it always is: Award shows are stupid.
Maybe it’s because you can’t and shouldn’t really compare art. Maybe it’s because I went to college to study acting, and the Tony Awards are the one ceremony out of the four that are blatantly geared toward the casual and non-theatre-goer, and void of much of the artistic integrity and heart that most shows are built upon. And that bothers me.
Or, maybe it’s because I should be really good at predicting this particular field of awards and I’m just straight up NOT.
"Harry Potter and the Cursed Child," "Spongebob Squarepants," "Mean Girls," and "The Band's Visit" are just four of the blockbusters that graced Broadway this season. (Chicago Tribune)
I guess the American Theatre Wing really loved Carousel this year. I didn’t care for it. And yet, here sits the Rodgers and Hammerstein “classic,” with 11 nominations in the bag, the most for any musical revival this year.
Jessie Mueller (left) and Joshua Henry (right) in Rodgers and Hammerstein's "Carousel." (Sara Krulwich/The New York Times)
There was no love shown for a lot of shows this year, both deserved and undeservedly so.I mean, it may be because the season was dominated by a handful of powerhouse shows, not leaving much room for others, but I’m really disappointed that shows like Farinelli and the King weren’t shown as much respect for its Broadway counterparts this year.
"Angels in America" has 11 Tony nominations this year, making it the most Tony-nominated play in history. (Playbill.com)
I’ll get into my problems with each category as we go, but my point through all this blabbering is that I have no idea what was happening this year for the Wing to come up with THIS slew of nominees.
I’m honestly dumbfounded. Last year there were four nominees in every category, and when there was word getting around that a (gasp) fifth nominee would be added to the mix, there was a big deal made about it. Now, every category varies, ranging from four, to five, to (in some cases) SIX nominees. I’m shook.
But, this is the Tony Awards. And, like in theatre, “the show must go on,” as they say (I say, gagging).
Sam Crane (left) and Mark Rylance (right) in Clair van Kampen's new play, "Farinelli and the King." (NY Daily News)
Nominees aside, your predicted winners remain largely unchanged. And I could be wrong because I’ve been home in Boston for the last two months and the number of shows I have seen remains the same. But I also really think I saw a lot of the good ones this year, and my intuition will serve me well on the rest.
But I’ve been wrong before. I mean, look at last year. I’ve been VERY wrong before.
Tony Shalhoub and Katrina Lenk in "The Band's Visit." (Playbill.com)
The Band’s Visit
Considering there was never much competition aside from Escape To Margaritaville, which is scheduled to close in three weeks, this is your solidly user-friendly group of Best Musical nominees. Mean Girlsand Frozen continue to be the fan favorites, but Spongebob Squarepants, and especially The Band’s Visit have ruled the news columns. Band’s Visitwas the first musical of the four to open, meaning it has the tendency to lose steam among voters. But I think we get another case of the Dear Evan Hansens this year, and The Band’s Visit makes a wire-to-wire trip to the top.
Will win: The Band’s Visit Should win: Spongebob Squarepants Could win: Mean Girls
Jon Leguizamo's one-man show, "Latin History for Morons" was a surprise nominee this season. (Playbill.com/Joan Marcus)
Farinelli and the King
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
Latin History for Morons
The Children? Wait, like, really?
Maybe I missed something with that show.
Anyway, there’s one clear winner, and the rest aren’t even close. Harry Pottermay have some other battles to fight with Angels in America, but it’s had the Best Play category in the bag since the West End show went up two years ago.
Will and should win: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Could win: Farinelli and the King
Best Revival of a Musical
Lauren Ambrose takes on the role of Eliza Doolittle in Lincoln Center Theatre's revival of "My Fair Lady." (Variety)
Rodgers and Hammerstein's Carousel
My Fair Lady
Once On This Island
If Once On This Island doesn’t win, I’m gonna be rip shit on someone, because this “little-revival-that-could” DESERVES. TO. WIN. Given, no, I haven’t seen My Fair Lady yet. But I’m tired of all these Bart Sher- directed Lincoln Center productions winning Best Revival prizes. Give it to another show, for goodness sake.
Will and should win:Once On This Island Could win: My Fair Lady
Best Revival of a Play
"Three Tall Women" stars Alison Pill (left), Glenda Jackson (center) and Laurie Metcalf (right). (Broadway.com)
Angels in America
Eugene O'Neill's The Iceman Cometh
Edward Albee's Three Tall Women
Lobby Hero technically does qualify as a revival since it premiered in New York Off-Broadway in 2001, but I thought it was new enough (and since Kenneth Lonergan did just win an Oscar for writing Manchester by the Sea), and that its playwright was relevant enough to garner a Best Play nomination. Not that it would win in either category as both are dominated by huge productions that are both locks to win, but I thought it was interesting. Angels in America is the front runner in the category and will probably win. Three Tall Women does make a great case, due to the success of its leading and supporting actresses in Glenda Jackson and Laurie Metcalf. The other one I’m throwing in is Travesties, because why not? It got great reviews in London, Patrick Marber is a genius, and because the American Theatre Wing will probably try to mess with us.
Will and should win:Angels in America Could win: Three Tall Women or Travesties
Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical
Ethan Slater stars as the titular not-so-simple sponge in "Spongebob Squarepants." (New York Times)
Henry Hadden-Paton, My Fair Lady
Joshua Henry, Carousel
Tony Shalhoub, The Band’s Visit
Ethan Slater, Spongebob Squarepants
Apparently, when a category is shortened to feature only four nominees, that means the competition is light. That doesn’t change my pick to win the category, as the talk surrounding Ethan Slater as the titular sponge has been in full force since the show was in Chicago. These are four great roles, but I think Slater’s job as Spongebob is the most difficult, as he attempts not only physical and vocal feats of absurdity, but also succeed at the most difficult task: transferring one of the most recognizable cartoon characters of the 21st century to the stage in a non-caricaturistic way. This is not to discredit Tony Shalhoub, or Henry Hadden-Paton, or Joshua Henry (I actually quite liked Mr. Henry’s performance in Carousel), it's just that Slater's role is more demanding, and the fact that he far exceeds those expectations makes him my favorite to win.
Will and should win: Ethan Slater, Spongebob Squarepants Could win: Joshua Henry, Carousel
Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical
Taylor Louderman (center) leads the Plastics as Regina George in "Mean Girls."
Lauren Ambrose,My Fair Lady
Hailey Kilgore, Once On This Island
LaChanze, Summer: The Donna Summer Musical
Katrina Lenk, The Band’s Visit
Taylor Louderman, Mean Girls
Jessie Mueller, Carousel
The first thing I was surprised at was that there were six nominees in the category. The second thing was that there are six women nominated in this category and not one of them was a Disney princess- not that you are under any obligation to nominate a Disney princess, I’m just saying. There’s something for everyone in this group, from classic Broadway characters in Lauren Ambrose’s Eliza Doolittle, to some veteran winners in Jessie Mueller and LaChanze (Donna Summer? Really?), to a veteran nominee in Katrina Lenk, to a long-time-first-time nominee in Taylor Louderman, to Hailey Kilgore, the greenhorn who may very well win herself a Tony. Katrina Lenk has had lots of head way for much of the year, but who knows? This is live theatre. Anything could happen.
Will win: Katrina Lenk, The Band’s Visit Should win: Hailey Kilgore, Once On This Island Could win: Lauren Ambrose, My Fair Lady
Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Play
Our Lord and savior Denzel Washington returns to Broadway in Eugene O'Neill's "The Iceman Cometh." (Playbill/Julieta Cervantes)
Andrew Garfield, Angels in America
Tom Hollander, Travesties
Jamie Parker, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
Mark Rylance, Farinelli and the King
Denzel Washington, The Iceman Cometh
This category is stacked and I’m not mad about it. Originally I had thought Nathan Lane would be included in this mix, but his eligibility falling to the Featured Actor in a Play category has opened the door for Tom Hollander for his performance in Travesties. Along with Andrew Garfield and Tom Hollard are Denzel Washington and Mark Rylance, two former Tony winners who both turn in upper-echelon performances this season in Farinelli and the Kingand The Iceman Cometh. Flying somewhat under the radar is Jamie Parker, who plays everyone’s favorite Boy Who Lived in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. I’m not sure he’ll win over Andrew Garfield’s glorious (and perhaps, dare I say, over the top?) portrayal of Prior Walter, but I think Parker does more than enough to carry and make good on a play that is essentially just bad fan fiction with mind-numbing special effects.
Will win: Andrew Garfield, Angels in America Should win: Jamie Parker, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Could win: Anyone. And I'm not mad about it.
Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play
That's right, kids. Uma's here. She stars alongside Josh Lucas in "The Parisian Woman." (The New York Times)
Glenda Jackson, Three Tall Women
Condola Rashad, Saint Joan
Lauren Ridloff, Children of a Lesser God
Amy Schumer, Meteor Shower
Uma Thurman was so bad in The Parisian Woman that they literally removed a nomination slot from the category. And so, we’re left with four, which, while the roles are all stellar, means that the competition is limited. Glenda Jackson is a two-time Oscar winner seeking her first Tony Award in her long and illustrious career, and she’s already won both the Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards for her performance in the Pulitzer-winning play Three Tall Women. She’s my pick. Will and should win: Glenda Jackson, Three Tall Women Could win: Condola Rashad, Saint Joan
Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical
Two-time Tony winner Norbert Leo Butz plays Alfred P. Doolittle in "My Fair Lady." (The New York Times).
Norbert Leo Butz, My Fair Lady
Alexander Gemignani, Carousel
Gary Hensen, Mean Girls
Gavin Lee, Spongebob Squarepants
Ari’el Sachtel, The Band’s Visit
This category is pretty grey. And I mean that in the way that there is no cut-and-dry winner, at least in my eyes. But I could also be color blind. Two-time Tony winner Norbert Leo Butz sticks out the most on this list, but maybe The Band’s Visit could bolster its chances to win Best Musical if Ari’el Satchel steals a win here. Gavin Lee and Alexander Gemignani are both stellar with potential show-stealing performances. As for Gary Hensen… Mean Girls is definitely first on my list when I get back to the city.
Will and should win: Norbert Leo Butz, My Fair Lady Could win: Ari'el Satchel, The Band's Visit
Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical
The cast of "Mean Girls." (NY Stage Review- Joan Marcus)
Ariana DeBose, Summer: The Donna Summer Musical
Renee Fleming, Carousel
Lindsay Mendez, Carousel
Ashley Park, Mean Girls
Diana Rigg, My Fair Lady
I saw Carousel and was not impressed with Renee Fleming. I have been told to stay away from Donna Summer. Lindsay Mendez was great! But I like Ashley Park in this one. Diana Rigg might be a close second, just because she’s a former Tony winner herself. Make that ONE for Gretchen Wieners! You go, Gretchen Wieners!
Will and should win: Ashley Park, Mean Girls Could win: Lindsay Mendez or Diana Rigg
Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Play
Nathan Lane as Roy Cohn (left) and Nathan James Stewart as Belize (right) in "Angels in America." (Playbill.com)
Anthony Boyle, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
Michael Cera, Lobby Hero
Brian Tyree Henry, Lobby Hero
Nathan Lane, Angels in America
David Morse, The Iceman Cometh
Like I said before, having Nathan Lane placed in the Featured Actor in a Play category certainly shakes things up. My former frontrunner, Anthony Boyle, no longer seems like a lock for the category (although, he would win if it were up to me). Nathan Lane seems like a safe choice for this award, just because he’s a two-time Tony winner. Yes, his portrayal of Roy Cohn in Angels in America is weighty and scary. But there’s an equal amount of depth (and maybe even more so) in Anthony Boyle’s performance as Scorpius Malfoy in Cursed Child. Both characters are shrouded in mystery, integral to their respective plays, and more than deserving of this award. We’ll see who wins the dogfight on Sunday.
Will win: Nathan Lane, Angels in America Should win: Anthony Boyle, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Could win: Michael Cera, Lobby Hero
Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Play
Laurie Metcalf returns fresh off a Tony win last year to the Golden Theatre in Edward Albee's "Three Tall Women." (Brigitte Lacombe)
Susan Brown, Angels in America
Noma Dumezweni, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
Deborah Findlay, The Children
Denise Gough, Angels in America
Laurie Metcalf, Three Tall Women
This is another loaded category. I would say Denise Gough’s performance is the most impactful to her respective show, though I really do appreciate Noma Dumezweni and Laurie Metcalf. While there was no initial ruling on Three Tall Women made by the eligibility committee, the consideration of Glenda Jackson as leading and Laurie Metcalf as featured may have cleared the way for Ms. Gough and her performance as Harper Pitt in Angels in America.
Will and should win: Denise Gough, Angels in America Could win: Noma Dumezweni or Laurie Metcalf
Best Book of a Musical
Tina Fey, Mean Girls
Kyle Jarrow, Spongebob Squarepants
Jennifer Lee, Frozen
Itamar Moses, The Band’s Visit
Four musicals. Four based on existing source material. Since The Band’s Visitis probably the most serious of the four books, not to mention I’m sure not too many people knew it was based on a film, I like Itamar Moses for The Band’s Visit to win this category. I do appreciate a good episode of Spongebob though (however preachy that book may be), if I’m being fully honest.
Will and should win: Itamar Moses, The Band's Visit Could win: Kyle Jarrow, Spongebob Squarepants
Best Original Score
Adrian Sutton, Angels in America
David Yazbek, The Band’s Visit
Robert Lopez & Kristen Anderson-Lopez, Frozen
Jeff Richmond & Nell Benjamin, Mean Girls
Everyone and their mother, Spongebob Squarepants
This has to be a record for most people nominated (other than producers) for a single award. Let me just rattle off the people nominated who wrote the score for Spongbob Squarepants:
Jonathan Coulton, David Bowie & Brian Eno, the Plain White T’s, T.I., Panic at the Disco, Alex Ebert, Cyndie Lauper, Yolanda Adams, The Flaming Lips, Sara Bareilles, Steven Tyler & Joe Perry, Lady Antebellum, John Legend, They Might Be Giants, Andy Paley, Tom Kenny, Derek Drymon, Mark Harrison, Stephen Hillenburg & Blaise Smith (those last six all having a hand in creating the show Spongebob Squarepants).
Just out of curiosity, are all those people invited to the Tony Awards? And if Spongebob were to win, are they all invited up on stage? Things to think about.
Or David Yazbek could win for The Band’s Visit and my thinking would be all for naught. Oh well. They’ll show it on TV if all those famous people end up winning.
Will and should win: The composers of Spongebob Squarepants Could win: David Yazbek, The Band's Visit
The Band’s Visit- Jamshied Sharifi
Frozen- Dave Metzger
Once On This Island- AnnMarie Milazzo & Michael Starobin
Spongebob Squarepants- Tom Kitt
I really liked what AnnMarie Milazzo and Michael Starobin did with the orchestrations for Once On This Island: stripping down what used to be a full-fleshed pit with horns and other instruments, they replaced a lot of the extra flushes of sound with a cappella voices; a nice touch for a show that is about the essence of storytelling. You’ve also got The Band’s Visit, where much of the music is played live by the band on stage. And then there’s Spongebob, who’s got Tom Kitt in his back pocket, as well as Carousel, which has EGOT-winner Jonathan Tunick on its orchestrations.
Will and should win: Once On This Island- AnnMarie Milazzo & Michael Starobin Could win: The Band's Visit- Jamshied Sharifi
Best Direction of a Musical
The cast of "The Band's Visit." (Times Square Chronicles)
Michael Arden, Once On This Island
David Cromer, The Band’s Visit
Tina Landau, Spongebob Squarepants
Casey Nicholaw, Mean Girls
Bartlett Sher, My Fair Lady
The direction categories for the musicals and plays are my favorite because there’s so much to choose from, and the medium of live theatre breaks down that wall that the camera and screen of the film provide, making the differences in directional style much more varied and easier to recognize. There’s so much to love about both Spongebob and Once On This Island, each one with its own easter eggs from depending on where you look. I think Spongebob is a show built on concept, design, and execution. The show, despite being literally plucked from a cartoon, keeps all that fun energy around it, but feels so real at the same time. Once On This Island deserves some kind of recognition for its tropical atmosphere, use of lights, set, and found-props to create a magical story, but I feel like it may meet its match in Spongebob.
Will and should win: Tina Landau, Spongebob Squarepants Could win: Michael Arden or David Cromer
Best Direction of a Play
Sam Clemmett (left) and Jamie Parker (right) in "Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Parts I and II." (Playbill.com- Manuel Harlan)
Marianne Elliott, Angels in America
Joe Mantello, Three Tall Women
Patrick Marber, Travesties
John Tiffany, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
George C. Wolfe, The Iceman Cometh
Harry Potterand Angels in America are the two to watch. You knew they would be. Both epics make cases to win as well. Marianne Elliott’s brilliant Angels, much like the play, start rooted firmly in reality, but expand and blossom into a full-on heavenly acid trip, complete with neon lights, falling snow, and naked men. Harry Potter does the pretty much same in far less time (almost a full three hours shorter than its counterpart). As I’ve said before, Cursed Child reads more like bad fan fiction, but the effects are mind blowing (MIND. BLOWING.), and the acting is good enough to make even the most groan-inducing lines jump off the page and come off as serious enough. If, for some reason, the votes cancel out, Three Tall Women, directed by Joe Mantello, could swipe the prize.
Will and should win: John Tiffany, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Could win: Marianne Elliott, Angels in America
The cast of "Carousel" on Broadway. (Broadway Box)
Christopher Gattelli, My Fair Lady
Christopher Gattelli, Spongebob Squarepants
Steven Hoggett, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
Casey Nicholaw, Mean Girls
Justin Peck, Carousel
This award probably won’t be shown on TV (much like the other technical awards, because even though every theatre kid is taught that shows are nothing without the crew, the Tony Awards think crew is irrelevant and a travesty to show the winners on television- rant over), but you’ll probably get a taste of the choreography during the nominee performances. All you need to know is that Justin Peck’s choreography for Carousel is extensive and immaculate. My Fair Lady might be the only other show that has a prayer.
Will and should win: Justin Peck, Carousel Could win: Christopher Gattelli, My Fair Lady
Best Scenic Design of a Musical
Hailey Kilgore (left) and the company of "Once On This Island." (Sara Krulwich/The New York Times)
The Band’s Visit- Scott Pask
Mean Girls- Scott Pask, Finn Ross and Adam Young
My Fair Lady- Michael Yeargan
Once On This Island- Dane Laffrey
Spongebob Squarepants- David Zinn
Spongebob’s has a kinetic sculpture surrounding the proscenium, and the entire show explodes from the ground up with an explosion of colorful ferocity and joy.
Once On This Island is a literal beach, complete with sand, water, and a tractor trailer truck. Also, if livestock matters, there’s a live goat in the show.
Choose your weapon.
Will and should win:Spongebob Squarepants- David Zinn Could win: Once On This Island- Dane Laffrey
Best Scenic Design of a Play
The company of "Farinelli and the King." (The New York Times)
Angels in America- Ian MacNeil and Edward Pierce
Farinelli and the King- Jonathan Fensom
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child- Christine Jones
The Iceman Cometh- Santo Loquasto
Three Tall Women- Miriam Buether
Again (and probably from here on out), we have the fight between Angels in America and Harry Potter. Angels’ set design starts mundane enough, with three turntables pretty much throughout the whole of Millennium Approaches. In Perestroika, we get to see the space expand in a multitude of ways. Harry Potteris all about the magic- trapdoors, hidden slides, etc. Paired with some amazing lights and sounds, the set works wonders. My dark horse to win the category is Farinelli and the King. A simple set that brings about shades of Shakespeare’s Globe and sixteenth-century plays, it’s warm and intimate, much like the heart of the music weaving its way through the plot.
Andrew's early winner:Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Parts I and II- Christine Jones
Best Costume Design of a Musical
Gavin Lee as Squidward Tentacles in "Spongebob Squarepants." (The New York Times)
Carousel- Ann Roth
Mean Girls- Gregg Barnes
My Fair Lady- Catherine Zuber
Once On This Island- Clint Ramos
Spongebob Squarepants- David Zinn
Spongebob has the most outrageous costumes of the five, so I’m going with that one. I’m still shook at Gavin Creel’s Squidward costume. Will and should win:Spongebob Squarepants- David Zinn Could win: Once On This Island or Mean Girls
Best Costume Design of a Play
Mary Rylance (center) and the cast of "Farinelli and the King." (Playbill/Joan Marcus)
Angels in America- Nicky Gillibrand
Farinelli and the King- Jonathan Fensom
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child- Katrina Lindsay
The Iceman Cometh- Ann Roth
Three Tall Women- Ann Roth
I’m pretty sure Angels in America is here mostly because of the Angel herself. There are fantastic character disguises throughout the show, but that Angel costume is something else. Harry Potter will probably win, but my heart says Angels should.
Will win:Harry Potter and the Cursed Child- Katrina Lindsay Should win:Angels in America- Nicky Gillibrand Could win:Farinelli and the King- Jonathan Fensom
Best Lighting Design of a Musical
Merle Dandrige (Papa Ge) stands over Isaac Powell (Daniel) in "Once On This Island." (Broadway Box)
The Band’s Visit- Tyler Micoleau
Carousel- Jules Fisher
My Fair Lady- Jules Fisher
Once On This Island- Jules Fisher
Spongebob Squarepants- Kevin Adams
There’s lots of fun things happening here. I mean, the best lighting this season comes from Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, but if I were to pick a musical, I’d say Spongebob continues its roll through the technical categories.
Will and should win:Spongebob Squarepants- Kevin Adams Could win: Once On This Island- Jules Fisher
Best Lighting Design of a Play
Stephen Pasquale in Ayad Akhtar's "Junk." (The New York Times)
Angels in America- Paule Constable
Farinelli and the King- Paul Russell
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child- Neil Austin
Junk- Ben Stanton
The Iceman Cometh- Peggy Eisenhauer and Jules Fisher
Harry Potter. Harry Potter, Harry Potter, Harry Potter. Not even close. Not even remotely close.
Will and should win:Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Neil Austin Could win: LOL.
I mean Angels in America.
Best Sound Design of a Musical
The Band’s Visit- Kai Harada
Carousel- Scott Lehrer
Mean Girls- Brian Ronan
Once On This Island- Peter Hylenski
Spongebob Squarepants- Mike Dobson and Walter Trarbach
The Sound Design Tony Awards are back!!! Not that they’ll be shown on TV, but it’s good that sound designers are back to being deservedly recognized for their contributions to Broadway shows. I’m going with Spongebob here. Can’t go wrong with live foley artists doing all the work.
Will and should win:Spongebob Squarepants- Mike Dobson and Walter Trarbach Could win:Once On This Island- Peter Hylenski
Best Sound Design of a Play
1984- Tom Gibbons
Angels in America- Ian Dickinson
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Parts I and II*- Gareth Fry
The Iceman Cometh- Dan Moses Schreier
Travesties- Adam Cork
This is the one nomination that the previously-ineligible 1984 got this year; a well-deserved one for sound design. I’m not sure it has any chance of winning behind Harry Potter and Angels in America, but good for Tom Gibbons. The Party congratulates you on your success, comrade.
Will and should win:Harry Potter and the Cursed Child- Gareth Fry Could win:Angels in America or 1984
The awards are on Sunday. Who ya got? Leave a comment down below.
The 72 Tony Awards will be held on Sunday, June 10th on CBS.