Friday, April 30, 2010

The 2009 - 2010 Season: By the Numbers


 Well, here we finally are.  After a crazy fall and winter, and an even busier spring than usual, the 2009 - 2010 season was officially as of yesterday.  Which makes today the first day of the 2010 - 2011 season.

But before we get too far ahead of ourselves, let's take a look back at the season, not by hits and misses, favorites and shows we loathed, but by the shear numbers.

The Tony Awards Committee recognizes that 39 productions opened on Broadway this season, starting with Burn the Floor on August 2, 2009, and ending with Everyday Rapture on April 29, 2010.

I have categorized each show into one of five categories: Play, Musical, Play Revival, Musical Revival, and Special Event.  The Tony Awards will no longer recognize Special Theatrical Events, but such shows will be eligible to compete in appropriate categories.  To that end, after each Special, I put what type of show it would most likely copete as.  It breaks down as follows:

Special Productions (3):
Burn the Floor (musical categories such as Outstanding Choreography)
Wishful Drinking (play categories such as Outstanding Direction)
All About Me (musical categories such as Outstanding Choreography)

New Plays (10):
A Steady Rain
Superior Donuts
In the Next Room, or the Vibrator Play
Time Stands Still
A Behanding in Spokane
Next Fall

Play Revivals (11):
The Royal Family
After Miss Julie
Brighton Beach Memoirs*
Present Laughter
A View from the Bridge
The Miracle Worker
Lend Me a Tenor
Collected Stories

New Musicals (8):
Come Fly Away
The Addams Family
Million Dollar Quartet
American Idiot
Sondheim on Sondheim
Everyday Rapture

Musical Revivals (7):
Bye Bye Birdie
Finian's Rainbow
Irving Berlin's White Christmas
A Little Night Music
La Cage aux Folles
Promises, Promises

* - Brighton Beach Memoirs was ruled inelligible for awards consideration due to its short run.

With today's committee decisions, it is pretty clear that they did not want to eliminate the Best Score category, with the rare inclusion of a play's music, in this case Enron by Adam Cork and Lucy Pebble.  I had been hearing rumors that the category might be eliminated because there were so few choices and such tepid critical response to the ones there are.  This is not a first, however.  Back in 1993, The Song of Jacob Zulu was nominated for best score, which caused a bit of a scandal, as an actual musical, The Goodbye Girl, by Tony and Pultizer Prize winner Marvin Hamlisch ( A Chorus Line) and Tony winner David Zippel (City of Angels) was snubbed in that category.  I will assume, though I could be wrong, that since the committee did not specify, that Branford Marsalis' music for Fences is NOT eligible in this category.
* Later editions of the Tony Committee Meeting rulings in fact say that Enron, Fences and The Royal Family are all eligible in the Best Score category.  Will The Addams Family get a Goodbye Girl snub?  My money is still on Memphis  to win, but we shall see. (So much for not commenting!)  And Fela! is NOT eligible.  Was that ever unclear?

So the possibilities for Best Book are all of this season's new musicals!  I laughed out loud at this one: Come Fly Away is eligible for Best Book!  I loved the show, but since no one talks (save for a brief tirade in Spanish)... Best Book!?  It makes American Idiot seem downright chatty!  Still, I think this does officially recognize for all of those, um, idiots, that the show does, in fact, have a plot and multiple storylines at that!

And with Barbara Cook eligible in the Best Featured Actress in a Musical category, it could be a battle of the titans: Cook vs. Lansbury, though I don't think Cook even deserves a nod, freat though she may be, career-wise.  And Katie Finneran could make the whole thing a moot point, anyway.

Like my opinion matters

I haven't seen enough of the plays this season to offer an opinion on any of those categories, though I will be rooting for Next Fall, which I loved, and Lend Me a Tenor, which I will be seeing at the end of May.  And until I see Everyday Rapture, The Addams Family and Promises, Promises, I will offer no opinion on those shows for the musical categories, either.  In other words, don't expect a concrete list of predictions before the nominations come out, or a list of predicted winners until right before the Tonys.

That said, here is a list of shows and performers that I hope make it on the list, based on what I've seen so far.  These performances/contributions really stick out in my memory: 
  • Catherine Zeta-Jones in A Little Night Music (Lead Actress in a Musical)
  • Angela Lansbury in A Little Night Music (Featured Actress in a Musical)
  • John Gallagher, Jr. in American Idiot (Lead Actor in a Musical)
  • Stark Sands in American Idiot (Featured Actor in a Musical)
  • Tom Kitt for American Idiot (Orchestrations)
  • Kevin Adams for American Idiot (Lighting)
  • Twyla Tharp for Come Fly Away (Choreography)
  • Jim Norton in Finian's Rainbow (Lead Actor in a Musical)
  • Kate Baldwin in Finian's Rainbow (Lead Actress in a Musical)
  • Euan Morton in Sondheim on Sondheim (Featured Actor in a Musical)
  • Vanessa Williams in Sondheim on Sondheim (Featured Actress in a Musical)
  • Chad Kimball in Memphis (Lead Actor in a Musical)
  • Montego Glover in Memphis (Lead Actress in a Musical)
  • Sergio Trujillo for Memphis (Choreography)
  • Levi Kreis in Million Dollar Quartet (Featured Actor in a Musical)
  • Elizabeth Stanley in Million Dollar Quartet (Featured Actress in a Musical)
  • Kelsey Grammer in La Cage aux Folles (Lead Actor in a Musical)
  • Next Fall for Best Play

Photos: "Two guys in a show" (top to botttom): Next Fall, Lend Me a Tenor, American Idiot and La Cage aux Folles.

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