Best Play Nominees: In The Next Room/The Vibrator Play, Red, Next Fall, Time Stands Still
My Pick: Red-- this play about iconic painter Mark Rothko is one of the most innovative subjects explored on Broadway in a long time. It is the complete package with its two actors also favored in their categories as well as several of its designers.
Best Musical Nominees: Fela, Memphis, American Idiot, Million Dollar Quartet
My Pick: Memphis-- this is certainly one of the most contested categories this year, but Memphis is perhaps the most commercially stable that has the best touring future, which is often a factor for TONY voters. It is also the most similar to recent best musical winners of the decade, from Thoroughly Modern Millie and The Producers to Hairspray and Billy Elliot. Fela is certainly innovative, but perhaps too progressive for the TONY awards. And American Idiot is so similar to 2007 winner Spring Awakening--is Broadway really ready to reward another teen angst rock musical? And poor Million Dollar Quartet doesn't have a shot.
Best Revival of a Play: Lend Me A Tenor, Fences, A View From The Bridge, The Royal Family
My Pick: August Wilson's Fences--this seems to be a no-brainer as it has the starpower of Denzel Washington and is a box office smash, not to mention it is superbly written.
Best Revival of a Musical: La Cage aux Folles, Finian's Rainbow, Ragtime, A Little Night Music
My Pick: La Cage aux Folles-- this also seems like an easy pick as it opened to critical acclaim and the viewers seem to love it. It also won the Drama Desk which is often a strong predictor.
Best Direction of a Play: Michael Grandage, Red, Sheryl Kaller, Next Fall, Kenny Leon, Fences, Gregory Mosher, A View From The Bridge
My Pick: Michael Grandage, Red-- this play really is the complete package and that reflects well on the director.
Best Direction of a Musical: Christopher Ashley, Memphis, Marcia Milgrom Dodge, Ragtime, Bill T Jones, Fela, Terry Johnson, La Cage aux Folles
My Pick: Bill T Jones, Fela-- the blocking and choreography blend perfectly in the night club atmosphere of this production and it is clear that Jones has done his research on the life and legacy of Fela Kuti.
Best Book of a Musical: Dick Scanlan and Sherie Renee Scott, Everyday Rapture, Jim Lewis and Bill T Jones, Fela, Joe DiPietro, Memphis, Colin Escott and Floyd Mutrux, Million Dollar Quartet
My Pick: Dick Scanlan and Sherie Renee Scott, Everyday Rapture-- this show burst onto the scene last minute and its quirky blend of Scott's real life story with a comedic twist make it one of the most poignant works of the season. I call it more of a play with music than an actual musical, which truly speaks to the strength of its book.
Best Score: Andrew Lippa, The Adams Family, Branford Marsalis, Fences, Adam Cork and Lucy Prebble, Enron, David Bryan and Joe DiPietro, Memphis
My Pick: Branford Marsalis for Fences-- this is perhaps the weakest category this year in a season filled with jukebox musicals, so out of disgust at the lack of originality amongst the new musicals, I have to give it to a play.
Best Choreography: Rob Ashford, Promises, Promises, Twyla Tharp, Come Fly Away, Lynne Page, La Cage aux Folles, Bill T Jones, Fela
My Pick: Bill T Jones, Fela-- this is the moment of truth for me, choreography is my forte so this has to be right. Normally Tharp is a front runner every time she works on Broadway, but Come Fly Away lacks the originality of her smash hit Movin' Out and this topic has already been explored choreographically in the Sinatra Suite she has been developing over the past few decades. Jones has worked on the Great White Way before, but nothing else has been nearly as explosive, innovative, or electric as his work this year in Fela.