Playbill Tony Poll: Which Performers Should Win? -- Part 2

Tony Awards   Playbill Tony Poll: Which Performers Should Win? -- Part 2
 
The 1998 Tony Awards will be given June 7. Here is a recap of the nominees in the eight performance categories. Please share your opinion on who should win, and why. Simple lists will not be posted; we want you to tell your reasons for your choices. Also: make sure to state which category you're writing about.

The 1998 Tony Awards will be given June 7. Here is a recap of the nominees in the eight performance categories. Please share your opinion on who should win, and why. Simple lists will not be posted; we want you to tell your reasons for your choices. Also: make sure to state which category you're writing about.

Send responses to Managing Editor Robert Viagas.

As a reminder, here are the nominees:

BEST PERFORMANCE BY A LEADING ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL:
Betty Buckley in Triumph of Love,
Marin Mazzie in Ragtime
Natasha Richardson in Cabaret
Alice Ripley and Emily Skinner in Side Show

BEST PERFORMANCE BY A LEADING ACTOR IN A MUSICAL
Alan Cumming in Cabaret
Peter Friedman for Ragtime
Brian Stokes Mitchell Ragtime
Douglas Sills in The Scarlet Pimpernel BEST PERFORMANCE BY A LEADING ACTOR IN A PLAY
Richard Briers in The Chairs
Anthony LaPaglia for A View From the Bridge
John Leguizamo for Freak
Alfred Molina for Art

BEST PERFORMANCE BY A LEADING ACTRESS IN A PLAY
Jane Alexander in Honour
Allison Janney in A View From the Bridge
Geraldine McEwan in The Chairs
Marie Mullen in The Beauty Queen of Leenane

BEST PERFORMANCE BY A FEATURED ACTOR IN A PLAY
Tom Murphy in The Beauty Queen of Leenane
Brian F. O'Byrne in The Beauty Queen of Leenane
Sam Trammell in Ah, Wilderness!
Max Wright in Ivanov

BEST PEFORMANCE BY A FEATURED ACTRESS IN A PLAY
Enid Graham in Honour
Linda Lavin in The Diary of Anne Frank
Anna Manahan in The Beauty Queen of Leenane
Julyana Soelistyo in The Golden Child

BEST PERFORMANCE BY A FEATURED ACTOR IN A MUSICAL
Gregg Edelman, 1776
John McMartin, High Society
Ron Rifkin, Cabaret
Samuel E. Wright, The Lion King

BEST PERFORMANCE BY A FEATURED ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL
Anna Kendrick, High Society
Tsidii Le Loka, The Lion King
Audra McDonald, Ragtime
Mary Louise Wilson, Cabaret

Polls for the other categories are listed separately.


Owing to the great volume of responses to this section of the poll, we have posted this second file of results. Playbill On-Line thanks all who took the time to write.

From R Stack 1:
Now that I have actually seen all 32 nominated performances, I can make a comparative selection:
Actor Musical: Alan Cumming. Vibrant, sexy, funny, sizzling and oh, so sleazy.
Just perfect and when you think Joel Grey used to own this role. Wow! (Runner up: Have to say that Brian Stokes Mitchell was the only sparkle -- and a considerable one -- in a show I thought was plain bad.)
Actress Musical: Natasha Richardson. For the most part, the best Sally Bowles I have ever seen. It's a difficult role and I think she got under the skin of that character. (Runner-up: Those twins were awfully good and I'd be tempted to vote for them, but Natasha brought off a tougher assignment.) Featured Actor Musical: Greg Edelman. Strong characterization, very focused and commanding when he sang. I think of the 8 acting categories, this one's the weakest this year.
Featured Actress Musical: Tsidii Le Loka. She was the very soul of this musical. Pretty riveting performance.
Actor Play: Anthony LaPaglie. He not only slowly built this character until the performance boiled, he was possessed with this role. (Here's a case where I think all other 3 nominees deserve an award too.)
Actress Play: Marie Mullen. Lovely, subtle acting. Seamless in difficult transitions required by the plot.
Featured Actor Play: Sam Trammell. A totally delightful capturing of 18-year- old youth. When he was on stage, a so-so production became special. Featured Actress Play: Anna Manahan. Just brilliant acting. The evil and yet protective mother was brought off to chilling effect.


From William G Hodgson:
Again, hands down, Ripley & Skinner in Side Show! What an amazing performance! (Singular) Yet, they were two truly different characters. Even though the show has closed, their work is captured pretty well on the CD. Anyone out there who hasn't heard this, LISTEN UP! This is the "She Loves Me" of our time: ignored then, recognized as a classic now. If you can listen to this album and not be completely enthralled, you have a tin ear. As for Ms. Richardson, Hello! The award is for a musical performance, and SHE CAN'T SING! Ms. Buckley - well it wasn't exactly a leading role. And, as far as Ragtime goes, the whole shebang is over rated. (But what a lot of advertising can do.)


From Simeramide:
Best Performance of an Actress in a Musical Should be Alice Ripley and Emily Skinner in Side Show Their heartbreaking yet inspiring portrayal of Daisy & Violet was incredible. By the end of the performance not only did I believe that they were conjoined twins, but I also understood that they were "just like everyone else ...".


From clgri:
I have seen all the plays in this category and Marie Mullen is my choice for best performance by an actress in a play for the purity of her work in the play.


From Kathy Wagner:
Marin Mazzie should be the hands down winner for Ragtime. Her eloquent portrayal of mother was a triumph in the form of flawless singing and a characterization that was so endearing it needed no gimmicks.
And when was the last time we have seen a performer of such compelling talent as Brian Stokes Mitchell!! Come On, no question!! He can sing with the best of them, is a top notch actor, a wonderful dancer and a first rate pianist. He so completely fulfilled that role with his skills and then offered it to the audience with joy and energy. How could the committee not award such a highly skilled, thoroughly trained artist? What an honor to see such an artist and performance.


From Molly Davis:
I haven't seen all the shows as yet, but Natasha Richardson and Alan Cumming definitely get my vote...Joel who? Liza who?...not only newly defined, but newly owned roles. Greg Edelman was a thunder bolt (prior to this mounting of 1776 I never liked the show, but thought this 1776 great). Jane Alexander and Anthony LaPagila - all drama students should see their performances (pity audiences have been so small for "Honor").


From Brdwystar:
Is there any question??? Alice Ripley and Emily Skinner all the way. Both of them were phenomenal in Side Show. Sure, Betty was good, but more like "Featured Actress" good. No question in my mind - Skinner and Ripley should bring home the Tony (or would that be "Tonys?").


From Pippin9:
Musical lead actor - Doug Sills- what a tribute to Doug to "top" the emotion, the humor, and most of the soaring, delicious, voice, of BS Mitchell ! At my matinee of TSP -- Doug stopped the show so many times I cant count -- his humor has the orchestra rolling in the aisles -- literally. {That doesn't happen on 42nd } And listen to his range of singing/acting---he portrays new love,unrequited love, fear, braveness, valor, and every other range all better than BS Mitchell .
Musical Lead Actresses - Alice Ripley and twin! - They truly deserve a Best musical actress -- for guts,coordination,and darn it -- ACTING -- not just singing -- which as we know is first rate!!! What a role written for two lovely ladies -- could just anyone pull it off as lovely as they did?


From Sassteins:
This award should be given to Doug Sills in Scarlet Pimpernel. He is a true master of the musical comedy. He can sing, make us laugh, make us feel, and his has great comic timing. What a Broadway debut!


From Joanbox (Joanbox@aol.com):
The terribly underrated show High Society has so much going for it and part of that it is Uncle Willy and Dinah.Please do something right by this wonderfully entertaining show and award the Tony to these two exceptional performers.


From Skimblekit:
For Lead Actor in a Musical: I would love to see Douglas Sills from "The Scarlet Pimpernel" win. I have seen him perform the role of Percy Blakeney twice and so respect his talent. He has the ability to bring this character to life and light up the stage with his very presence. Mr. Sills' ability to make Sir Percy's range of emotions felt by all in the theatre is most deserving of this award. His talent in combining drama, comedy and incredible singing make him my top choice.
For Lead Actress in a Musical: Betty Buckley in "Triumph of Love" is my choice. Ms. Buckley transforms herself into a character like few actors can. Along with this talent, her heavenly voice alone is deserving of the award.


From Patron:
Best Actress in a Musical: Alice Ripley and Emily Skinner! Those girls were amazing. Their rendition of "I Will Never Leave You" was probably one of the most beautiful things I have heard on the stage for a long time. Plus, Alice is from the Cleveland area, so I have to root for the "hometown" girl.
Best Actor in a Musical: While I thought Peter Friedman was fantastic, Brian Stokes Mitchell just stole the show. I could feel all the pain, frustration, anger, and every other emotion he was sending forth, that's how powerful he was.b Featured Actor in a Musical: Even though I'm not a big fan of Disney on stage, I have to go with Samuel Wright. He brought a sense of power and depth to his role and he should be honored for it.
Featured Actress in a Musical: I definitely feel it should go to Audra McDonald. Her Sarah was another of the theatrical moments I will always remember. My heart ached with hers during "Your Daddy's Son." She was able to take that song (which is far from the best song in Ragtime) and turn it into one of the most touching scenes of the evening.


From DavidG:
Actress Musical: Natasha Richardson. Skinner and Ripley did turn in an interesting performance, but they won't beat Natasha, sorry Side Show fans.
Actor Musical: Alan Cumming. It was a toss up between Cumming and Brian Stokes Mitchell. In any other year, I would say Brian Stokes Mitchell, but this will be the year of Alan Cumming.
Featured Actress Musical: Tsidii Le Loka. Broadway debut, no spoken dialogue in English, she's going home with the Tony. Featured Actor Musical: Greg Edelman or Samuel E. Wright. I really have no idea.
Actor Play: Anthony LaPaglia
Actress Play: Marie Mullen. I go to the theatre quite a bit, and this was the best performance I saw all season. If she doesn't win, it will be a real shame, because she deserves it.
Featured actor play: Tom Murphy.
Featured actress play: Anna Manahan will probably win, but I loved Julyana Soelistyo.


From MrTartuffe:
BEST PERFORMANCE BY A LEADING ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL: Natasha Richardson in Cabaret, because she is fabulous. This is a tough category, but she breathes life into a role we all thought we knew already.
BEST PERFORMANCE BY A LEADING ACTOR IN A MUSICAL: Alan Cumming in Cabaret, because I no longer think that Joel Grey owns this part. Cumming is the best of all the nominated actors in all the categories. And he will win, because the Ragtime boys will cancel each other out.
BEST PERFORMANCE BY A LEADING ACTOR IN A PLAY: John Leguizamo for Freak, because no other actor this year has shown such versatility and such range and demonstrated so much energy.
BEST PERFORMANCE BY A LEADING ACTRESS IN A PLAY: No comment, since I need to see two of the nominees.
BEST PERFORMANCE BY A FEATURED ACTOR IN A PLAY: Tom Murphy in The Beauty Queen of Leenane Brian F. O'Byrne in The Beauty Queen of Leenane I have not seen Beauty Queen yet, but I am going to assume that one of those two men deserve this award, as Trammell and Wright, though good, were not great.
BEST PERFORMANCE BY A FEATURED ACTRESS IN A PLAY: I hear Manahan is fab, but I loved Julyana Soelistyo in the Golden Child, and hers is a remarkable performance.
BEST PERFORMANCE BY A FEATURED ACTOR IN A MUSICAL: Gregg Edelman, 1776 No contest! The delegate from South Carolina gets the floor! Molasses to Rum to the Tony!
BEST PERFORMANCE BY A FEATURED ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL: Audra McDonald, Ragtime. Yes, she gets a third Tony! Too bad Lea Delaria is not eligible for this...Mary Louise Wilson is a great actress, but this performance is not all that. And that Lion King monkey business is so over the top...are they really going to give HER the Tony? No comment on the Anna Paquin nomination of the year either.


From JEANNIE JOHNSON:
In My Humble Opinion, the winner for Best Actor in a Musical can ONLY be DOUGLAS SILLS from THE SCARLET PIMPERNEL. He gives a consistently incredible performance and even though he does a lot of ad-libbing(which the audiences adore), he never detracts from the actual story. I have seen quite a few shows and I find DOUGLAS'S singing voice to be extraordinary and his acting is incomparable!!!


From Shawn Kirksville, MO.:
LEAD ACTOR: If the Tony doesn't belong to Brian Stokes Mitchell, something is wrong with the system. His performance exudes theatrical perfection. Wow! He is the focus of Ragtime and he broke my heart with a very remarkable performance.
LEAD ACTRESS: Should definitely go to Marin Mazzie of Ragtime. She displayed the conflicting feeling and values of Mother beautifully. She also has the voice of an angel. I could be seen sobbing at the end of "Back to Before"--She moved me so. The side show gang needs to get a life!This musical has perhaps the most boring score I've ever heard. "We Share Everything"--what a laugh.
FEATURED PERFORMERS: Samuel E. Wright and Tsidii LeLoka deserve their respective awards. Both provided the only two high points among the performances in the show. They were fabulous. In a perfect world, my main woman Audra McDonald would share the award with Le Loka. She is amazing!


From Todd Caporizzo:
BEST MUSICAL ACTOR - Brian Stokes Mitchell, hands down -- he's brilliant and really a pillar of strength in RAGTIME. Great Actor and Singer -- what a performance!
BEST MUSICAL ACTRESS - this is tough -- I adore Marin Mazzie -- she is so wonderful as Mother in RAGTIME -- However, the team to beat is Alice Ripley & Emily Skinner from SIDE SHOW, they truly are the best actresses in a musical this year. On stage, I thought they were always meant to be together -- unbelievable wonderful singers -- I call them "White" Dreamgirls!!!!! Bravo to the Tony Award Committee for nominating both of them together. Natasha Richardson is excellent -- but she's NOT a singer - sorry, this is a MUSICAL category, folks... Also, Susan Egan should at least been nominated for TRIUMPH OF LOVE --- she was the leading actress in that production not Betty "La Diva" Buckley".
BEST FEATURED MUSICAL ACTOR -- well I guess it will go to Gregg Edelmann. He's okay in the role even though I couldn't understand his singing during his "Molasses to Rum" song. And besides, his legs are so thin in those tights! The real best performances were given by people not even nominated -- Max Casella & Jason Raize in LION KING and Norm Lewis in SIDE SHOW. If I had my druthers -- Jason Raise from LION KING should have been nominated and received this award! Gregg is only receiving it because of his past "body of work" on the Bdwy Stage -- it's unfortunate that this happens -- but it's a make-up year for Mr. Edelmann
BEST FEATURED MUSICAL ACTRESS -- Tsidii La Loka from LION KING. A wonderful debut on Broadway -- she deserves it. Audra McDonald did nothing for me in RAGTIME.


From Anthony Dee:
Oh Please!!!! Douglas Sills just has to win for best Actor for his performance in The Scarlet Pimpernel!!!!! I don't care what happens to the rest of the categories, (and I've seen 6 Broadway musicals in the last month) but the best actor award should be Mr. Sills' for his amazing portrayal of Sir Percy. Bravo!


From Josh Schonauer:
Acting Categories: ACTOR in MUSICAL -- Stokes Mitchell is amazing, and I am not only rooting for him because I love "Ragtime", but because I actually cried listening to him, and I never cry! ACTRESS in MUSICAL-- Once again, a "Ragtime" actor. Marin Mazzie is so believable as Mother, and her voice is way above anyone else I can think of. She has a powerful "Back to Before" and "Our Children", and she is so cleverly witty in "Nothing Like the City". I love her to death! FEATURED ACTOR-- I loved Gregg Edelman, but this is a hard choice. Rifkin was good, as well. FEATURED ACTRESS-- Hmmm... let's see??? Could it be Audra McDonald? Yes, but only because she was so "Sarah". I couldn't imagine her to be any better in a strong character-role. However, I think Tsidii Le Loka was wonderful, and wouldn't be upset if she won. I have not seen any of these shows, so I am going clearly by soundtracks. Ohio isn't exactly theater capital of the world!


From MrTartuffe:
BEST PERFORMANCE BY A LEADING ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL -- Natasha Richardson in Cabaret, because she is fabulous. This is a tough category, but she breathes life into a role we all thought we knew already.
BEST PERFORMANCE BY A LEADING ACTOR IN A MUSICAL -- Alan Cumming in Cabaret, because I no longer think that Joel Grey owns this part. Cumming is the best of all the nominated actors in all the categories. And he will win, because the Ragtime boys will cancel each other out.
BEST PERFORMANCE BY A LEADING ACTOR IN A PLAY -- John Leguizamo for Freak, because no other actor this year has shown such versatility and such range and demonstrated so much energy.
BEST PERFORMANCE BY A LEADING ACTRESS IN A PLAY -- No comment, since I need to see two of the nominees.
BEST PERFORMANCE BY A FEATURED ACTOR IN A PLAY -- I have not seen Beauty Queen yet, but I am going to assume that one of those two men deserve this award, as Trammell and Wright, though good, were not great.
BEST PERFORMANCE BY A FEATURED ACTRESS IN A PLAY -- I hear Anna Manahan is fab, but I loved Julyana Soelistyo in the Golden Child, and hers is a remarkable performance.
BEST PERFORMANCE BY A FEATURED ACTOR IN A MUSICAL -- Gregg Edelman, 1776. No contest! The delegate from South Carolina gets the floor! Molasses to Rum to the Tony!
BEST PERFORMANCE BY A FEATURED ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL -- Audra McDonald, Ragtime. Yes, she gets a third Tony! Too bad Lea Delaria is not eligible for this...Mary Louise Wilson is a great actress, but this performance is not all that. And that Lion King monkey business is so over the top...are they really going to give HER the Tony? No comment on the Anna Paquin nomination of the year either.


From Josh Schonauer:
Acting Categories: ACTOR in MUSICAL -- Stokes Mitchell is amazing, and I am not only rooting for him because I love "Ragtime", but because I actually cried listening to him, and I never cry!
ACTRESS in MUSICAL-- Once again, a "Ragtime" actor. Marin Mazzie is so believable as Mother, and her voice is way above anyone else I can think of. She has a powerful "Back to Before" and "Our Children", and she is so cleverly witty in "Nothing Like the City". I love her to death!
FEATURED ACTOR-- I loved Gregg Edelman, but this is a hard choice. Rifkin was good, as well.
FEATURED ACTRESS-- Hmmm... let's see??? Could it be Audra McDonald? Yes, but only because she was so "Sarah". I couldn't imagine her to be any better in a strong character-role. However, I think Tsidii Le Loka was wonderful, and wouldn't be upset if she won.
I have not seen any of these shows, so I am going clearly by cast albums. Ohio isn't exactly theater capital of the world!


From Simeramide:
Best Performance of an Actress in a Musical Should be Alice Ripley and Emily Skinner in Side Show. Their heartbreaking yet inspiring portrayal of Daisy & Violet was incredible. By the end of the performance not only did I believe that they were conjoined twins, but I also understood that that they were "just like everyone else ...".


From DavidG:
Actress Musical: Natasha Richardson. Skinner and Ripley did turn in an interesting performance, but they won't beat Natasha, sorry Side Show fans.
Actor Musical: Alan Cumming. It was a toss up between Cumming and Brian Stokes Mitchell. In any other year, I would say Brian Stokes Mitchell, but this will be the year of Alan Cumming.
Featured Actress Musical: Tsidii Le Loka. Broadway debut, no spoken dialogue in English, she's going home with the Tony.
Featured Actor Musical: Greg Edelman or Samuel E. Wright. I really have no idea.
Actor Play: Anthony LaPaglia
Actress Play: Marie Mullen. I go to the theatre quite a bit, and this was the best performance I saw all season. If she doesn't win, it will be a real shame, because she deserves it.
Featured actor play: Tom Murphy.
Featured actress play: Anna Manahan will probably win, but I loved Julyana Soelistyo.


From clgri:
I have seen all the plays in this category and Marie Mullen is my choice for best performance by an actress in a play for the purity of her work in the play.

Read more responses to the Performer poll.

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