Saturday, February 27, 2010

More Leading Ladies

This year is a great one for leading ladies in the musical theater, with a large number of showy roles for women and many great pairings of character and actress.  As far as I can tell at the moment, there are at least nine potential nominees in this category to be whittled down to five by May 4th and, as things sit right now, all but two will still be running at that time, giving the field some good competition.  The one hitch in my system is that four of the musicals in which I think there is good potential for a leading actress nomination have yet to open on Broadway and, therefor, I can't yet tell how well they compete against what I already know.  That being the case, I (as always) would like to give the caveat that these predictions are subject to change once the remaining shows of the season open and more information becomes available.  The list of women whom I believe to have the potential for nomination are:

Holley Farmer, Come Fly Away
Vanessa Williams or Barbara Cook, Sondheim on Sondheim
Kristen Chenoweth, Promises, Promises
Bebe Neuwirth, The Addams Family
Catherine Zeta-Jones, A Little Night Music
Kate Baldwin, Finian's Rainbow
Christiane Noll, Ragtime
Montego Glover, Memphis

The first five women on this list are in shows that have yet to open, while the last four appeared in shows that HAVE opened.  Of this list, Catherine Zeta-Jones receiving a nomination is as sure a thing as can be found in this category.  A major Hollywood star in her Broadway debut giving a highly praised performance in the first Broadway revival of a Sondheim classic in a role whose original star won the Tony in the first Broadway incarnation of the show -- sounds like a nomination to me!  The other performance that I can only imagine to be a sure thing is Bebe Neuwirth as Morticia Addams.  A two time Tony winner and a beloved performer, Ms. Neuwirth certainly has the talent, and is such a stellar match for the part of Morticia Addams that I can't imagine her not being nominated, even though her show hasn't opened.  Montego Glover is getting my third nod because she made one heck of a Broadway debut in a major musical and held her own opposite other stellar performances in the show.

The other two nominations are a bit up for grabs.  Kate Baldwin was terrific in Finian's Rainbow, but could easily be trumped by Barbara Cook or Kristen Chenoweth.  Christiane Noll was highly praised by the critics and audiences alike (at least the audience in attendance when I saw the show) in her role as Mother in Ragtime, but will the fact that the show has closed work against her?  We all know that Vanessa Williams and has talent, but will it be enough to get her a nomination?  While Barbara Cook is one of our most beloved gems, will the nominators want to pass the torch to the younger generation of stars?  And, lastly, can lightning strike twice for Twyla Tharp's dancers in getting Tony nominations as actors?  Time will have to tell once the rest of the season opens, but for the moment, I am filling the remaining two slots with actresses in shows that have opened -- Christiane Noll and Kate Baldwin, knowing full well that these will be the first to go if any of the others turn out to be better than they.

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