Broadway Features and Reviews
Top 25 Tony Award Snubs
By Broadway Magazine Staff
There is no question that the Tony Awards this season represents the top of what has been a remarkably bold and innovative season on Broadway... or is there? While the list of nominees are all deserving of the distinction that comes with a Tony nomination, any list in such an extraordinary year no doubt will fall short of recognizing all those who merited recognition. This is no fault of the Tony Awards. The reality is that it is refreshing how well-deserving this seasons nominees are. That said, we've taken the step to recognize some of the others who might've merited a nomination for their work on Broadway as well. Here is our list of the top 25 Tony snubs for 2008, in no particular order.
- Allison Pill, Mauritius. Pill is one to watch. Her performance was solid, grounded, and rich with nuance.
- Annie Doson, Passing Strange, Best Direction of a Musical. There is little question that the satisfaction of "Passing Strange" is its collaborative experience. Stew is in the middle, but it is the staging and cross-generational joy of the show that makes it jump. Doson turns a rock concert into a Broadway theatrical experience.
- Claire Danes, Pygmalion. We liked her, we really liked her. Funny, poised, moment-to-moment, she brought breath and blood to the production, and showed Shaw's heroine as an eager pupil turned reluctant master. She would make an outstanding Nora in "A Doll's House."
- Cyrano de Bergerac, Best Revival of a Play. This was a tough category, and Cyrano kicked off a string of well-done, fully committed revivals that escaped a temptation to contemporize or impose modern interpretations. For offering what poet Marianne Moore describes as "a place for the genuine" this production was poetry, as were several revivals this season.
- Elizabeth Marvel, Top Girls. Not a comfortable character in an uncomfortable, Marvel's artistry is a quiet genius which allows her character to be thorny and unsympathetic. She doesn't ask the audience to like her, and that is brave indeed.
- Hank Azaria, The Farnsworth Invention. Azaria as David Sarnoff was both grounded and larger than life. He took what could've been a caricature of the barking and bullying ruthless tycoon and imbued Sarnoff with a credible balance of humane and inhuman qualities.
- Harvey Fierstein, A Catered Affair. While the risks of the production generated mixed critical rewards, Fierstein will always be Broadway royalty. As one loyalist argued, he should get a nomination every season whether he is involved in a production or not.
- James Earl Jones, Cat On A Hot Tin Roof. His foul-mouthed Big Daddy must be seen. Sadly his omission from the list of nominees feels like a true snub. Not sure what more there is to say.
- Jenny Powers, Grease. Though the production didn't get critical praise, this Broadway revival of Grease works on a number of fundamental levels. Most refreshing of all was Powers' take on Betty Rizzo, she brings the role dimension and a sexual energy that is more than distinguished. Powers truly charges this Grease.
- Jess Goldstein, Cymbeline, Best Costume Design of a Play. This Shakespeare revival may not have generated much attention, but Goldstein's costumes were both astonishing and dramatic.
- Jimmi Simpson, The Farnsworth Invention. Simpson's interpretation of the young and troubled genius Philo Farnsworth was certainly worth a Tony nomination. There was a spontaneity to his performance that humanized Farnsworth without cheapening his genius.
- Kathleen Marshall, Grease. The revival has been a bit maligned, but the raucous spirit of teen sexuality and rebellion is a fresh in her production as "Spring Awakening" (which offers the darker side of teen sexuality). Director Marshall may not have had all the right players in the right seats, but kinks have worked themselves out and this revival was better than the reception it received.
- Kevin Anderson, Come Back, Little Sheba. Anderson took on Doc with tenacity and truth. His impenitent interpretation was spellbinding. It takes bravery to be ugly on stage, and Anderson's performance was worthy of recognition.
- Kevin Kline, Cyrano de Bergerac. Kline's bold acting choice to ground Cyrano and take off some of the traditional panache associated with the role was a success. Kline's work was celebrated by critics and worthy of recognition. He brought a genuine truth to his character in a show that brought the romantic to Broadway.
- Marisa Tomei, Top Girls. Her Act I performance as the Scottish explorer is a delightful embodiment of her character's grotesque optimism. Funny and fascinating, she merited a nod for that. Overall Tomei is quite fascinating in Top Girls.
- Megan Mullally, Young Frankenstein. Again, like much of the cast of Young Frankenstein, she made her role her own. Who knew she could sing?
- Mel Brooks, Young Frankenstein. From out of town rumors and obsessions with ticket prices, Brooks seemed fated for a sophomore jinx before the curtain went up on this production. The bottom line is his talent is uniquely suited to Broadway, and perhaps lessons learned in this outing will benefit his next…which we hope will be sooner rather than later.
- Michael Yeargan, Cymbeline, Best Scenic Design of a Play. Yeargan could well win the Tony for "South Pacific", but his design for Cymbeline merited a nod as well.
- Norbert Leo Butz, Is He Dead? Always original and indisputably hilarious, Hurricane Norbert took a clunky play and made it feel just right. Imagine if he'd been in a authentically well-made classic comedy instead.
- Peter Gallagher, The Country Wife. Spark, snap, energy and style. A nod to Gallagher would not have been a surprise.
- Rosie Perez,The Ritz. Ask anyone who saw the production, and they'll rave on Rosie. She was funny, exceptionally funny, tremendously funny.
- Schuler Hensley, Young Frankenstein. Keeping a fresh take on the one number that everyone agreed was comic gold is not easy. Hensley has his Tony for Oklahoma, but the comic spin on the monosyllabic creature was quite well done. We were surprised that he wasn't grunted a nomination.
- Sherie Rene Scott, The Little Mermaid. What an Ursula. Scott is always dynamic, and her villainess is pitch perfect.
- Stew, Passing Strange. Yes, we know he got 4 nominations, but we don't think he can be nominated enough.
- Tony Roberts, Xanadu. Long deserving of a Tony Award, Roberts' performance is comic ballast in Beane's brilliant Broadway universe.