Sunday, March 7, 2010
The Featured Actresses, Part II
Tonight's entry is going to be about the featured actresses in musicals. This category seems, on some level, rather pointless to discuss at the moment because, as of right now, Angela Lansbury looks as though she is so far ahead of the pack that anyone else at least seems a bit irrelevant. That being said, there is also a relatively small number of potential nominees this year as far as I can tell -- six by my best count. The six lucky ladies that I can imagine being considered here, of which only five will be nominated. They are:
Lillias White, Fela!
Terri White, Finian’s Rainbow
Jackie Hoffman, Addams Family
Cass Morgan, Memphis
Angela Lansbury, A Little Night Music
Carolee Carmello, Addams Family
As of right now, all of the above shows have opened except for The Addams Family and each of these performances has something to be said for them. Lillias White, best known for her outstanding performance in The Life years ago, is a Broadway favorite whose appearances are few and far between enough that she is often missed. She also gives a much talked about performance in Fela! that has been garnering buzz since the show opened. The same can be said of Angela Lansbury, actually, who will for certain be getting her 7th Tony nomination come May. The buzz around this performance has been so strong that, so far, I think she's the frontrunner in the category. the only thing that may stop her (from winning, anyhow) is that she has already won 5 Tony's over her lengthy career.
Terri White has one of the greatest riches to rags to riches stories of the year. Ms. White was a Broadway performer for a number of years, performing frequently with Liza Minelli and acting in the Broadway companies of Ain't Misbehaving, Barnum, and Bubbling Brown Sugar, among other shows. Then, in 2008, she became homeless, only to be recognized by a police officer in Greenwich Village who helped her find a place to live before she was cast in the recent revival of Finian's Rainbow. In addition to the fact that she gave a scene stealing performance, this story should give her plenty of certainty that she will wake up a Tony nominee on May 4th.
Cass Morgan, a greatly under-appreciated character actress who has been working steadily in the business for 30 years, has found herself a great role in a popular, awards worthy musical. She clearly is the wild card in this category, but I think she may just eek ahead of her competition.
The two ladies from The Addams Family are two Broadway vets who are loved within the community. Carolee Carmello has long been one of the great leading ladies of the broadway stage, with two previous Tony nominations to her credit, though this performance is clearly a wild card in the category. Jackie Hoffman is quickly becoming Broadway's go-to character actress for quirky, comedic bit parts, and the part of Grandmama is perfectly suited to Ms. Hoffman's talents. I think she is sure to get a nomination for the part.
Of the two wild cards I have identified (Carmello and Morgan), I'm putting my money on Morgan because her part is much flashier than I think Carmello's will be and Carmello is more likely to get better roles and more nominations in the future.