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Tony Awards 2015This year Broadway had a plethora of riches that graced the stages all across the great white way. This morning the 69th Annual Tony Award nominations were announced.

It was also revealed that Tony winners Alan Cumming and Kristin Chenoweth will host the Tony Awards on June 7. There was a lot of pushing for Tony Award winner James Corden to host (He took over for Craig Ferguson on CBS’s The Late Late Show). Past Tony hosts Neil Patrick Harris and Hugh Jackman both said no on the offer. It will be interesting how these two will handle hosting duties.



As the Editor/Founder/Senior Chief Theater Critic for THE COLUMN, & Executive Director/Producer/
Founder of THE COLUMN Awards, that I have great personal joy and excitement invested in a trio of nominations:


Chita Rivera*My idol, inspiration, and the very reason why I am an actor, Broadway legend Chita Rivera earned her 10th Tony Award nomination for THE VISIT. I am blessed to call her my friend and we actually had conversations about THE VISIT before in past interviews and in her dressing room each time I saw her. She told me how much she hoped (this was almost 9 years ago!) this musical would go to Broadway-and it did! She was our COLUMN Awards guest star/ co-host four years ago which made my dreams come true! That was one of the greatest nights for the COLUMN Awards. At 82 she is the one of the greatest stars of Broadway that is still with us and performing. It has been announced this is Chita’s final stage performance in a musical.



Max Von Essen* I first met Max Von Essen when I appeared in a cameo role in the national tour of XANADU (he portrayed Sonny) when it played at Dallas Summer Musicals. During rehearsal on the Music Hall stage we clicked immediately as friends. A year later he came to Dallas to be our Co-host/ guest star for THE COLUMN Awards. He was just so incredible as our co-host/guest star and the gala audience adored him! He (along with co-host Tyler Maynard) brought the house down with their duets, earning standing ovations. Since then we have remained good friends.



Michael Jenkins* Michael Jenkins serves as the President & Managing Director of Dallas Summer Musicals. He is someone who I have such high esteemed respect and admiration for, and consider him one of the greatest supporters of not only the art of musical theater, but local theater as well. He has given me great advice on a myriad of topics, but also has given me such supportive comments on my reviews and THE COLUMN Awards. I am very honored to call him a friend. Mr. Jenkins is one of the co-producers of the mega hit Broadway musical AN AMERICAN IN PARIS, which earned a bounty of Tony Award nominations with 12!








There were some shoo-ins for sure, but a couple of surprises and a couple of glaring omissions. Let’s recap on who got nominated, who didn’t, and discuss. For the last several weeks I have read everything regarding the Tony Awards, the predictions, the articles from various New York publications and columnists on the Tony predictions, on who and why or why not they would or would not get nominated. So grab your morning coffee or diet coke and let’s chat!


Best Musical
An American in Paris
Fun Home
Something Rotten!
The Visit

NOT NOMINATED: Finding Neverland, Honeymoon in Vegas, The Last Ship, Doctor Zhivago, Holler If Ya Hear Me, It Shoulda Been You.

JOHN’S COMMENTS: Some felt the Tupac auto biographical musical (Holler If Ya Hear Me) didn’t reach Tony voters, and did not have a long run. The Last Ship got mixed reviews and struggled to find an audience, even when Sting stepped into the show. Honeymoon in Vegas got favorable reviews, but alas just could not get the audiences in. Star Tony Danza did everything he could to promote the show. Doctor Zhivago was met with brutal reviews (the New York Times just slaughtered it in its review). Sadly I think it won’t last much longer on Broadway now that it received no major Tony nods. Finding Neverland was met with a blood bath of critical response, but word of mouth is building up as audiences are loving it. What most feel what hurt the show and with the Tony voters were producer Harvey Weinstein’s actions behind the curtain. He fired the original publicists of the show, and during its tryout demanded that original star Jeremy Jordan be replaced with Matthew Morrison. Ouch.


Best Play
Disgraced by Ayad Akhtar
Hand to God by Robert Askins
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Simon Stephens
Wolf Hall Parts One & Two by Hilary Mantel and Mike Poulton

NOT NOMINATED: Airline Highway, The Audience, Constellations, The Country House, Fish in the Dark, Living in Love, The River.

JOHN’S COMMENTS: The River sold out its entire run thanks to star Hugh Jackman, but did not get huge praise from the critics. Many felt the glaring omissions here were Airline Highway, The Audience, and Constellations. The biggest hit box office wise (other than The River) was Larry David’s comedy Fish in the Dark was also left out.


Best Revival of A Play:
The Elephant Man
This is Our Youth
You Can’t Take it With you

NOT NOMINATED: The Heidi Chronicles, A Delicate Balance, The Real Thing, Love Letters.

JOHN’s COMMENTS: The major glaring omission here is The Heidi Chronicles. It got really great reviews, but suffered at the box office, causing it to close on May 3.


Best Revival of a Musical:
The King and I
On The Town
On the Twentieth Century

NOT NOMINATED: Gigi, Side Show.

JOHN’S COMMENTS: Gigi’s reviews were all over the map. The New York Times gave it a so-so review (he did not like star Vanessa Hudgens), but then Entertainment Weekly gave it an A- and praised Hudgens’s work in particular. The SHOCKER here is Side show. Sure, the revival closed early, but it did get very good to excellent critical praise. According to Tony rules, they vote on 3, and a fourth nominee can only get in if it received three votes or less than the third nominee.


Best Leading Actor in a Play
Steven Boyer, Hand to God
Bradley Cooper, The Elephant Man
Ben Miles, Wolf Hall Parts One & Two
Bill Nighy, Skylight
Alex Sharp, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

NOT NOMINATED: Jake Gyllenhaal (Constellations), Hugh Jackman (The River), Nathan Lane (It’s Only A Play), Hari Dhillon (Disgraced), Michael Cera (This Is Our Youth), Kieran Culkin (This Is Our Youth), Larry David (Fish in the Dark), Brian Dennehy (Love Letters), John Lithgow (A Delicate Balance), Ewan McGregor (The Real Thing), Douglas Sills (Living on Love).

JOHN’S COMMENTS: There is a lot of talk that Gyllenhall, Lane, and Cera were robbed this morning. In fact, Lane left It’s Only A Play to do another show (Martin Short took over the role), but then Lane returned to the show during Tony voting time.


Best Leading Actress in a Play
Geneva Carr, Hand to God
Helen Mirren, The Audience
Elisabeth Moss, The Heidi Chronicles
Carey Mulligan, Skylight
Ruth Wilson, Constellations

NOT NOMINATED: Glenn Close (A Delicate Balance), Maggie Gyllenhaal (The Real Thing), Blythe Danner (The Country House), Lindsay Duncan (A Delicate Balance), Mia Farrow (Love Letters), Renee Fleming (Living on Love) Gretchen Mol (Disgraced).

JOHN’S COMMENTS: Glenn Close had the biggest push to get nominated, but failed to get a nod. Opera star Renee Fleming was also looked over.


Best Leading Actor in a Musical
Michael Cerveris, Fun Home
Robert Fairchild, An American in Paris
Brian d’Arcy James, Something Rotten!
Ken Watanabe, The King and I
Tony Yazbeck, On the Town

NOT NOMINATED: Matthew Morrison (Finding Neverland), John Cariani (Something Rotten!), Peter Gallagher (On the Twentieth Century), Roger Rees (The Visit), Michael Esper (The Last Ship), Corey Cott (Gigi), Rob McClure (Honeymoon in Vegas), Tam Mutu (Doctor Zhivago), Saul Williams (Holler if Ya Hear me).

JOHN’S COMMENTS: The shocker here is Ken Watanabe. In previews there was talk of how no one could not understand what Watanabe was saying due to his natural accent, both the cast and audiences. Kelli O’Hara’s powerful performance is what everyone is talking about, not his. So a lot of head scratching is going on here. The biggest glaring snubs here are Morrison, Cariani, and Rees. Several New York critics stated today that due to Weinstein’s actions of replacing beloved actor Jeremy Jordan with Morrison hurt him getting a Best Actor nod. Some feel Wantanbe took the nod away from McClure, Rees, and Cariani.


Best Leading Actress in a Musical
Kristin Chenoweth, On the Twentieth Century
Leanne Cope, An American in Paris
Beth Malone, Fun Home
Kelli O’Hara, The King and I
Chita Rivera, The Visit

NOT NOMINATED: Vanessa Hudgens (Gigi), Laura Michelle Kelly (Finding Neverland), Erin Davie & Emily Padgett (Side Show), Lisa Howard (It Shoulda Been You), Kelli Barrett (Doctor Zhivago), Brynn O’ Malley (Honeymoon in Vegas), Rachel Tucker (The Last Ship).

JOHN’S COMMENTS: The biggest snub here is the glorious work by Davie & Padgett in Side Show. When it originally ran on Broadway Emily Skinner & Alice Ripley both shared a nomination. This is the toughest category with a three way battle between Rivera, O’Hara, and Chenoweth. It does make me nervous that Chenoweth is co-hosting, and every co-host that is nominated that same year wins (Jackman hosted and won for Boy from Oz, Lane hosted twice and won for Forum and Producers, Harris hosted, won for Hedwig).


Best Featured Actor in a Play
Matthew Beard, Skylight
K. Todd Freeman, Airline Highway
Richard McCabe, The Audience
Alessandro Nivola, The Elephant Man
Nathaniel Parker, Wolf Hall Parts One & Two
Micah Stock, It’s Only a Play

NOT NOMINATED: James Earl Jones (You Can’t Take It With You), Bryce Pinkham (The Heidi Chronicles), Ian Barford (The Curious…Night-Time), Joe Tippett (Airline Highway), F. Murray Abraham (It's Only a Play), Dylan Baker (The Audience), Bob Balaban (A Delicate Balance), Matthew Beard (Skylight), Jason Biggs (The Heidi Chronicles), Matthew Broderick (It's Only a Play), K. Todd Freeman (Airline Highway), Marc Kudisch (Hand to God), Josh Radnor(Disgraced), Jerry O'Connell (Living on Love), Ben Shenkman (Fish in the Dark).

JOHN’S COMMENTS: Several critics felt Jones and Kudisch were robbed of nods. The big major surprise is Micah Stock. The only unknown actor in the comedy It’s Only A play, he was surrounded by Oscar, Emmy, and Tony award winners/past nominees. Yet he is the sole actor to get an acting nod. But he did get great reviews for his performance.


Best Featured Actor in a Musical
Christian Borle, Something Rotten!
Andy Karl, On the Twentieth Century
Brad Oscar, Something Rotten!
Brandon Uranowitz, An American in Paris
Max von Essen, An American in Paris

NOT NOMINATED: Tony Danza (Honeymoon in Vegas), John Grisetti (It Shoulda Been You), Brooks Ashmanskas (Something Rotten!), Clyde Alves (On the Town), Jason Danieley (The Visit), Kelsey Grammer (Finding Neverland), Tom Hewitt (Doctor Zhivago), Matthew Hydzik (Side Show), Jay Armstrong Johnson (On the Town), Howard McGillin (Gigi), Paul Alexander Nolan (Doctor Zhivago), Conrad Ricamora (The King and I), Ryan Silverman (Side Show), David St. Louis (Side Show).

JOHN’S COMMENTS: This is Uranowitz and Von Essen’s first nominations. Karl was nominated last season for Rocky. Borle has been nominated and won last year for Peter and the Star Catcher. Oscar was nominated for the Producers. Dallas audiences may remember Oscar who was here in Dallas last season in the revamped and lavish musical Phantom of the Opera at the Winspear. Had Honeymoon in Vegas stayed open, Danza could have snagged a nod. Many critics today felt that Danieley, Ashmanskas, and McGillin were robbed of a nomination. But as stated before just THRILLED to death that Von Essen was nominated. He got the triple crown of New York Theater Award nominations (Outer Critics, Drama Desk, and now a Tony nod).


Best Featured Actress in a Musical
Victoria Clark, Gigi
Judy Kuhn, Fun Home
Sydney Lucas, Fun Home
Ruthie Ann Miles, The King and I
Emily Skeggs, Fun Home

NOT NOMINATED: Sierra Boggess (It Shoulda Been You), Alusha Umphress (On The Town), Tyne Daly (It Shoulda Been You), Heidi Blickenstaff (Something Rotten!), Carolee Camello (Finding Neverland), Mary Louise Wilson (On the Twentieth Century), Veanne Cox (An American in Paris), Megan Fairchild (On the Town), Lora Lee Gayer (Doctor Zhivago), Harriet Harris (It Shoulda Been You), Jackie Hoffman (On the Town), Dee Hoty (Gigi), Kate Reinders (Something Rotten!), Nancy Opel (Honeymoon in Vegas), Jill Paice (An American in Paris), Ashley Park (The King and I), Mary Beth Piel (The Visit),Tonya Pinkins ( Holler If Ya Hear Me), Elizabeth Stanley (On the Town).

JOHN’S COMMENTS: The major shock here is Tyne Daly’s no nod this morning. Many felt she was a shoo-in for the bridal musical It Shoulda Been You. Other major omissions that New York press has said this morning are Boggess, Umphress, and Blickenstaff.


Best Featured Actress in a Play
Annaleigh Ashford, You Can’t Take It With You
Patricia Clarkson, The Elephant Man
Lydia Leonard, Wolf Hall Parts One & Two
Sarah Stiles, Hand to God
Julie White, Airline Highway

NOT NOMINATED: Stockard Channing (It’s Only A Play), Enid Graham (The Curious Incident…), Julie Halston (You Can’t Take It With you), Judith Ivey (The Audience), Francesca Faridany (The Curious Incident..), Elizabeth Ashley (You Can't Take It with You), Lucy Briers (Wolf Hall), Rose Byrne (You Can't Take It with You), Geneva Carr (Hand to God), Tavi Gevinson (This Is Our Youth), Clare Higgins (A Delicate Balance), Jayne Houdyshell (Fish in the Dark), Megan Mullally (It's Only a Play), Caroline Neff (Airline Highway), Kristine Nielsen (You Can't Take It with You), Cynthia Nixon (The Real Thing), Karen Pittman (Disgraced), Sarah Stiles(Hand to God), Rita Wilson(Fish in the Dark).

JOHN’S COMMENTS: The one that deserved a nomination here was Julie Halston for You Can’t Take It With You. She earned Outer Critics and Drama Desk nods. Such a shame she did not get the Tony nod as well.


Best Director of a Musical
Sam Gold, Fun Home
Casey Nicholaw, Something Rotten!
John Rando, On the Town
Bartlett Sher, The King and I
Christopher Wheeldon, An American in Paris

NOT NOMINATED: John Doyle (The Visit), Bill Condon (Side Show), Scott Ellis (On the Twentieth Century), Gary Griffin (Honeymoon in Vegas), Kenny Leon (Hollar if Ya Hear Me), Joe Mantello (The Last Ship), Des McAnuff (Doctor Zhivago), David Hyde Pierce (It Shoulda Been You), Eric Schaefer (Gigi).

JOHN’S COMMENTS: The biggest glaring omission is John Doyle. He completely reworked the various versions of The Visit and finely tuned this last musical by Kander and Ebb.

Best Director of a Play
Stephen Daldry, Skylight
Marianne Elliott, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
Scott Ellis, You Can’t Take It With You
Jeremy Herrin, Wolf Hall Parts One & Two
Moritz von Stuelpnagel, Hand to God


Best Choreography
Joshua Bergasse, On the Town
Christopher Gattelli, The King and I
Scott Graham & Steven Hoggett, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
Casey Nicholaw, Something Rotten!
Christopher Wheeldon, An American in Paris

NOT NOMINATED: Warren Carlyle (On the Twentieth Century), Graciela Daniele (The Visit), Mia Michaels (Finding Neverland), Steve Hoggett (The Last Ship), Joshua Bergasse (Gigi), Wayne Cilento (Holler If Ya Hear Me), Kelly Devine (Doctor Zhivago), Denis Jones(Honeymoon in Vegas), Danny Mefford (Fun Home), Josh Rhodes (It Shoulda Been You), Anthony Van Laast (Side Show).

JOHN’S COMMENTS: Many felt Denis Jones, Warren Carlyle, and Graciela Daniele were snubbed here. All three got glowing reviews for their choreography. And yes, that’s Mia Michaels from Fox’s So You Think You Can Dance who choreographed Finding Neverland.


Best Book of a Musical
Karey Kirkpatrick and John O’Farrell, Something Rotten!
Lisa Kron, Fun Home
Craig Lucas, An American in Paris
Terrence McNally, The Visit

NOT NOMINATED: Todd Kreidler (Holler if Ya Hear Me), James Graham (Finding Neverland), John Logan & Brian Yorkey (The Last Ship)


Best Score
John Kander and Fred Ebb, The Visit
Wayne Kirkpatrick and Karey Kirkpatrick, Something Rotten!
Sting, The Last Ship
Jeanine Tesori and Lisa Kron, Fun Home

NOT NOMINATED: Finding Neverland, Honeymoon in Vegas, Doctor Zhivago, It Shoulda Been You


Best Scenic Design of a Play
Bunny Christie & Finn Ross, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
Bob Crowley, Skylight
Christopher Oram, Wolf Hall Parts One & Two
David Rockwell, You Can’t Take It With You


Best Costume Design of a Musical
Gregg Barnes, Something Rotten!
Bob Crowley, An American in Paris
William Ivey Long, On the Twentieth Century
Catherine Zuber, The King and I


Best Lighting Design of a Musical
Donald Holder, The King and I
Natasha Katz, An American in Paris
Ben Stanton, Fun Home
Japhy Weideman, The Visit


Best Scenic Design of a Musical
Bob Crowley and 59 Productions, An American in Paris
David Rockwell, On the Twentieth Century
Michael Yeargan, The King and I
David Zinn, Fun Home


Best Orchestrations
Christopher Austin, Don Sebesky and Bill Elliott, An American in Paris
John Clancy, Fun Home
Larry Hochman, Something Rotten!
Rob Mathes, The Last Ship


Best Costume Design of a Play
Bob Crowley, The Audience
Jane Greenwood, You Can’t Take It With You
Christopher Oram, Wolf Hall Parts One & Two
David Zinn, Airline Highway


Best Lighting Design of a Play
Paule Constable, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
Paule Constable and David Plater, Wolf Hall Parts One & Two
Natasha Katz, Skylight
Japhy Weideman, Airline Highway


Tony Nominations by Production
An American in Paris - 12
Fun Home - 12
Something Rotten! - 10
The King and I - 9
Wolf Hall Parts One & Two - 8
Skylight - 7
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time - 6
Hand to God - 5
On the Twentieth Century - 5
The Visit - 5
You Can’t Take It with You - 5
Airline Highway - 4
The Elephant Man - 4
On the Town - 4
The Audience - 3
The Last Ship - 2
Constellations - 1
Disgraced - 1
Gigi - 1
The Heidi Chronicles - 1
It’s Only a Play - 1
This Is Our Youth - 1