2008 Tony Awards: Old pros and new voices
A preview of the surprisingly hot competition for most of Broadway's coveted awards.
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Best Revival of a MusicalSkip to next paragraph
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Will Win: "South Pacific"
Should Win: "Gypsy"
This year's biggest Tony showdown pits the first Broadway revival of "South Pacific" (since the original won best musical in 1950) against what many theater fans consider possibly the greatest musical ever written, "Gyspy." Based on Patti LuPone's heartwrenching performance in the twin climaxes of "Gypsy" – "Everything's Coming Up Roses" and "Rose's Turn" – the show should be the hands-down favorite. But critics and audiences have been drooling over the sterling revival of Rodgers and Hammerstein's postwar classic thanks to its expert direction by Bartlett Sher, breathtaking set design, and sublime score, featuring landmark tunes such as "Some Enchanted Evening" and "There's Nothing Like a Dame." While "South Pacific" may have been pioneering for 1949, its simplistic, soft-shoed, and self-congratulatory treatment of racial intolerance feels a bit tacked on and pales in comparison to the brutal self-delusions and savage irony that made "Gypsy" a modern classic.
Best Revival of a Play
Will Win: "Macbeth"
Should Win: "Les Liaisons Dangereuses"
Also nominated: "Boeing-Boeing," "The Homecoming"
The bloody and bloodcurdling, modernist production of "Macbeth," starring Patrick Stewart, seemed to divide theatergoers, as did Harold Pinter's provocative masterpiece "The Homecoming." So my vote goes to "Les Liaisons Dangereuses." The stylish revival has been unfairly maligned by some critics, but in Rufus Norris's hands, the play shifts effortlessly between farce and tragedy and serves as a damning indictment of the plight of women in a male-dominated society. The entrancing pas de deux of deception, manipulation, and betrayal between Laura Linney's calculating Marquise and Ben Daniels's seductive Valmont is a pleasure to watch.
Best Performance By a Leading Actor in a Musical
Will Win: Lin-Manuel Miranda
Should Win: Stew, "Passing Strange"
Mr. Szot boasts a pitch-perfect tenor, not to mention palpable chemistry with co-star Kelli O'Hara, but his performance as Emile de Becque felt a little stiff. Look for this award to go to one of the fresh-faced Broadway newbies. Stew will probably garner the nods for Best Book and/or Best Original Score, so we guess Mr. Miranda will bring home the gold for his rapping skills and ebullient performance as a barrio-dwelling bodega owner.