Ah. Tony nomination morning is almost as exciting as Oscar nomination morning. Okay, maybe not. Perhaps he excitement level is equivalent to that of maybe the Golden Globes' nomination announcement, which is a fitting comparison considering how both are notorious for favoring big names to the point when they snub them (a la Julia Roberts), it's bigger news than the folks that actually got nominations.
But guess what, the Tony committee resisted the urge to draw in audience by giving every big name with a mediocre performance a free pass this year. No Nathan Lane, no Hugh Jackman, no Daniel Craig, no Kristin Chenoweth, no Bebe Neuwirth and no Vanessa Williams. Not even theatre favorites Cheyenne Jackson and John Gallagher Jr. broke through. They even favored shows that closed months ago (Ragtime, Finian's Rainbow) as opposed to ones that are brand spankin' new (Promises, Promises).
Granted, the leading actor in a play category reads like a who's who of Hollywood "actor-dom", but the word of mouth on these performances were strong from the get-go and supposedly well deserved.
The biggest shocker for me this morning was how American Idiot mustered up only three nominations, none for their actors or even director Michael Mayer, but somehow still managed to get the golden Best Musical nod- a prerequisite if you want to perform during the Tony telecast. Were the committee not convinced it's not a modern incarnation of the recent heralded Spring Awakening? Well, at least The Addams Family failed to get in on the fun, making this the first time in six years that a musical based on a film is not nominated in the category. Another amusing bit is that Jay-Z is now a Tony nominee for producing 11-time nominated Fela!.
A quick look at the rest of the nominees indicates Fela! is undoubtedly the frontrunner, though I'll be routing for Memphis myself, while Red and Fences are leading things on the play side. Watch out for my predictions later this month, but for now check out the full list of nominees here.