2007-08 Tony Award Predictions, Part 1

New Musicals:
A Catered Affair
In the Heights
The Little Mermaid
Passing Strange
Young Frankenstein
Ineligible - Glory Days

Here’s hoping on a transfer to the Great White Way for Adding Machine, probably the best new musical of the 2007-2008 season.

From left - Joe Farrell, Joel Hatch and Amy Warren in ADDING MACHINE.Sara Krulwich/The New York Times
The best new musical of the season, Adding Machine, a darkly satirical examination of the abuses of capitalism in the early 20th century.

8 new musicals, 0 new classics. Big names, no blowouts. What a shame. It’s not a great year for new musicals on Broadway . Ok so, the only new musical from last year to ignite much excitement was Spring Awakening. However, that show was actually great and has proven to be a genuine hit. And gave Broadway lovers a new show to be proud of and love. The Broadway community is sorely lacking a front contender of such strength this year.

The closest to Duncan Sheik and Stephen Slater’s rock-musical is Passing Strange. However, that show greatly stretches the format of a book musical to its most free association and has its detractors. Plus, it’s lacking the genuine youth culture-backing that made shows like Spring and Legally Blonde hits at the box office. But critics loved it. And critics didn’t like very many new musicals this year.

The leader of the pack here (if by no other means than by default) is undeniably In the Heights. It’s a fresh, energetic straight-forward book musical with just enough new sound to make the nominating committee affably agree; plus, the show was well-received with critics and audiences alike. Hard to dismiss a show that has plenty of heart and wears its dedicated passion on its sleeve.

Filling in this year’s artsy-fartsy slot is A Catered Affair. Not very well received, decidedly-mixed reviews and a definite lack of interest should make this a no-brainer of a dud. But the Tony nominating committee appreciates these shows every year and likes to reward them by nominating them, even if the show really isn’t truly ‘artsy-fartsy’ (or good, for that matter). Consider it the Grey Gardens of this year, but without Christine Ebersole. Or a genuinely intriguing score. Or an immersive book... or a spark of energy. So closer to Love/Musik. But without Donna Murphy, Michael Cerveris, Harold Prince, and the songs of Kurt Weill. But still, expect a nom.

Then there’s the fourth slot. And it’s either going to Xanadu or Young Frankenstein. I predict Xanadu will get the nom – it’s the one show this year that everyone (pundits, critics, peers, audiences) admitted to having the best time attending. Even if it was a bit of a fluff show, it was appreciated for its self-awareness and lack of pretension. It is what it is and doesn’t apologize for it either. Yes, a bit of a guilty pleasure. But most everyone is too bitter about Young Frankenstein – so much money, so much hype; so little to show for it. The only saving grace was its (un-even) supporting cast and director Susan Stroman’s staging for “Putting on the Ritz.” Not enough for a nom, but the name ‘Mel Books’ is enough. And so is the name ‘Young Frankenstein.’ But my hope (and prediction) is that most nominee voters will see past the ‘ritz’ and award Xanadu.

Too bad The Little Mermaid and Cry-Baby blow. And not too mention the poor saps of Glory Days. Not only does it blow, but it DID blow. The Tony nominating committee bitch slapped it, too, by ruling it in-eligible for any awards after closing in one night. You play with the big boys and suck at it, expect to get spanked. Hard and ugly. Here’s to growing up.

Final Predictions:
In the Heights
Passing Strange
A Catered Affair
Dark Horse – Young Frankenstein

What I would like to see is A Catered Affair passed over for the (forced)excitement of Young Frankenstein. The Tony awards telecast already is struggling to keep me awake, the least they can do is offer me some big production numbers from big shows to stimulate me and not lull me to sleep with crappy recitative.



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