Saturday, February 13, 2010

Continuing the Series

To continue my series on how I arrived at my decisions for who I think will be nominated in each Tony category, I am going to write today about the play revival category.

There are eleven productions scheduled this season (of which seven have already opened) that are eligible in this category.  Based on the reviews of shows already opened, "A View from the Bridge" and "Present Laughter" are almost guaranteed nominations come May 4th.  These two productions were so universally praised that it would be a great surprise if they were not nominated.

Of the remaining shows that have opened in this category ("Hamlet", "The Royal Family", "Brighton Beach Memoirs", "Oleanna", and "After Miss Julie"), the first three are all strong contenders, having received relatively strong reviews, but not strong enough to guarantee nominations.  Coupled with the fact that all of these productions have already closed, the reviews may not be enough if the nominators don't remember the shows themselves.  "After Miss Julie" and "Oleanna", both of which also closed long ago, are likely also to fall prey to not being remembered, but that won't matter for these two.  They were so poorly reviewed that those who saw the shows will basically remember them as bad and those who didn't see them will have heard about how bad they are.

The play revivals remaining to open are "Miracle Worker", "Collected Stories", "Lend Me A Tenor" and "Fences".  "Collected Stories" and "Lend Me a Tenor" are not likely to be nominated as they seem to me right now to be too insubstantial to be serious contenders.  Depending on reviews, though, "Miracle Worker" and "Fences" stand decent shots.  For the two slots that won't be filled by "Present Laughter" and "A View From the Bridge", I am forecasting "The Royal Family" and "Miracle Worker".  I have chosen "Family" because it was a really well done production of a classic play from the golden age with star performances by some of Broadway's brightest stars.

"Miracle Worker" gets my fourth slot based on a number of factors.  First, it brings to the stage in her Broadway debut one Abigail Breslin, one of Hollywood's most beloved young stars (with an Oscar nomination to her credit) in one of Broadway's most challenging roles.  (By the way, there is a great article in the New York Times Sunday arts section this week talking about this fact in more detail.)  Second, this is the first Broadway revival in 50 years of a classic Broadway play by William Gibson.  Third, and most importantly, the production will be performed in the round -- an innovative way to do any play not written with that concept in mind, but particularly for a show which depends so heavily on communication without spoken language, thus requiring the emotional and physical connections to be more concrete and yet being able to convey all that to an audience on 4 sides.

If any of "Hamlet", "Brighton Beach Memoirs", and "Fences" were to make it into the mix, it would probably take the place of "Miracle Worker" and would most likely be as a result of that show not living up to the quality standards I am anticipating.

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