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 before 12:01 AM June 5.
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 third file of results. Playbill On-Line thanks all who took the time to write.
From Matt H.:
Because I was only able to see the musical performers nominated, I will only comment on them.
Leading Actor in a Musical: Douglas Sills has no chance because of the overall quality of the show he performed in, Peter Friedman is ruled out because his performance is not as highly regarded as his castmate Brian Stokes Mitchell. That leaves us with two: Alan Cumming and Stokes. Until Cabaret premiered, Stokes had a complete lock on this award and still seems the likeliest to take home the Tony. Alan Cumming may be brilliant and bringing home all of the critics awards, but Stokes is an old-fashioned musical hero with big songs and dramatic moments. I think that the Tony voters will reward this traditional performance even though both men are deserving of the prize.
Leading Actress in a Musical: Probably the most interesting of the performing races with a true three-way race. I have to disqualify Betty Buckley because she had a featured role and the show was short lived. Marin Mazzie was simply beautiful in Ragtime and Natasha Richardson was disturbingly brilliant in Cabaret, but I have to give this prize to the Side Show ladies. Alice Ripley and Emily Skinner gave brave performances that helped to make their show remembered with a Best Musical nomination. Plus, Ragtime and Cabaret will be honored in other categories and this is the one place the Tony voters can acknowledge the originality and freshness of Side Show.
Featured Actor in a Musical: I don't care that much about this category so give it to Greg Edelman and honor 1776.
Featured Actress in a Musical: This is a two woman race between Tsidii le Loka and Audra McDonald. Anna Kendrick and Mary Louise Parker are already forgotten. I really want Audra McDonald to win but I am afraid that Tsidii is going to win. Audra McDonald is, in my mind, the greatest performer to grace the Broadway stage in recent memory and she deserves to be honored again. Plus, if she wins this year that means that her streak of winning every other year will not be broken. (1994-Carousel and 1996-Master Class) Tsidii le Loka has won all of the critics award, but the emotional depth required in The Lion King and Ragtime couldn't be more different. I will be biting my fingernails at this award come June 7.
The best actor category is going to be the closest race of the night, I'm sure, but there's only one who deserves to take home the award. Douglas Sills of The Scarlet Pimpernel rises above the horrible reviews for a show he believes in to give the most stunning performance to grace the Broadway stage in decades. He is simply electric on stage. He has perfect comic timing, brilliant acting skills, and a voice like butter.After " Prayer" there wasn't a dry eye on 45th street. After "Into the Fire" there wasn't a soul in the audience not ready to go fight the French themselves. After " She Was There" there wasn't a woman in the audience who wasn't succumbing to swoons. No performer has ever been able to draw you in and make you feel like the one person in the world he is performing for like Mr.Sills. A truly charming, talented and down to earth person who has finally come into his own and deserves to be rewarded for his spectacular skill.
AUDRA MCDONALD SHOULD WIN FOR BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS Audra Kicks all the competition in the pants There is no comparison to her if she doesn't win there will be a lot of pissed off people here in buffalo where her fan club has its home base. Thank you! Emily Skinner and Alice Ripley should also win their portrayal of the Hilton sisters was spell binding and it is a tragedy that it closed too soon!
From Denis Coussement:
I'm from Belgium, and although I did not see all of the Broadway shows (only a couple while visiting NYC), I was completely taken by the following accomplishments.
TSIDII LE LOKA played a remarkable Rafiki in "The Lion King". Her performance was stunning. It really helped the simple story evolve. As an actress, she stood out. She's my choice as "Best performance by a featured actress in a musical".
Let's face it: THE LION KING also simply had both best COSTUME and SCENIC designs. It blew my socks off. I adored the music too, but because it is just a re-doing of the movie and spin-off soundtracks, I don't consider it a good choice as best score, more as BEST ORCHESTRATIONS. For costume, Santo Loquasto's work on Ragtime isn't a bad choice either.
That's it. Looking forward to read new Playbills in October/November.
From Barbvara Ann Klein:
Best Performer in a Musical should be a tie between Brian Stokes Mitchell and Peter Friedman. Both have been around for sometime and have finally been given a chance to "show what they're made of." Mitchell did a fine job as well replacing Anthony Crivello in "Spider Woman." In "Ragtime," both have to go through numerous emotional moments from sheer ecstasy to profound pain, and both do it to perfection. The characters, however, are so diverse from each other that to choose one performance over the other would be impossible. While I loved Alan Cummings, I feel that the character, M.C., in "Cabaret" is one-dimensional and I would prefer to see him win as a result of a more complex role.
From Daniel Janal:
Alice Ripley and Emily Skiner for Sideshow. They had one of the most difficult and challenging roles imaginable: they had to sing, walk and dance in complete unison to convey the idea they really were Siamese twins. If you've ever tried to walk in a three-legged race at the county fair, you know this is not an easy task.
From raul diaz:
Alan Cummings should win Best Actor for Cabaret. He took a role which for years was identified with Joel Grey and has re-invented the role. His M.C. is a scary character who's also charming and sexy. Although I admire Brian Stokes Mitchell greatly, I think he'll be hurt by having another fellow "Ragtime" performer in the same category (Peter Friedman, who should have been nominated for featured actor). Douglas Sills is wonderful in a so-so show.
Natasha Richardson is riveting in Cabaret. Granted, she's an average singer, but her Sally Bowles is someone you really feel for. Where you sensed Liza would bounce back, Richardson's Bowles has been knocked out for the last time. You sense that from now on she's on automatic. Alice Ripley and Emily Skinner were wonderful but they were two distinct performances. Marin Mazzie is lovely in Ragtime and Betty Buckley was terrific in "Triumph" but I think Richardson's performance is the one to beat.
Best Actor in a play should go to Anthony LaPaglia who breathed a whole new life into the role of Eddie Carbone. What an incredible performance, funny, warm, devastating and touching.
Best Actress in a play should be awarded to Marie Mullen for Beauty Queen who was absolutely brilliant. Allison Janney could also sneak in here for her portrayal of the wife who at first denies than comes to accept her husband's weaknesses.
ACTOR-MUSICAL: ALAN CUMMING, there is absolutely no doubt. He is brilliant and appears in the ENTIRE show. He is a complex character of mixed emotions and feelings and your never quite sure what you are looking at. He gives the most shocking but heart-breaking finale of the season.
ACTRESS-MUSICAL: Natasha Richardson is absolutely charming in Cabaret. You feel for her and cry with her. Its truly amazing that a non-singer could deliver such a caliber of a performance.
From Linda Toppo:
FEATURED ACTOR IN A PLAY - Without a doubt, Max Wright. His performance was, quite simply, BRILLIANT!!!!
Best Actor: tough choice, but Brian Stokes Mitchell gave an incredible performance, with Alan Cumming a wonderfully sleazy second Best Actress: Hands down, Marin Mazzie-Back to Before had me in tears and chills, she is beautiful!
Supporting Actor: Gregg Edelman, although the truly best is Stephen Sutcliffe as Mother's younger brother- Ron Rifkin(and Mary Louise Wilson) was worst thing about the show Cabaret.
Featured Actress: The woman from the Lion King is awesome, but my heart goes with Audra McDonald.
LEADING ACTOR - MUSICAL: Douglas Sills, Scarlet Pimpernel (I haven't seen Cabaret yet, so I can't really comment on Alan Cumming, although I've heard from everyone that he's fabulous). Doug Sills stood out in a very mediocre show. His voice is definitely the strongest of all the nominees, and he is a consummate actor. He showed tremendous range in this role (very witty, daring, sexy, etc.) and should be recognized for really carrying the show. Brian Stokes Mitchell, although a triple-threat to be reckoned with, is highly over-rated, his performance was nowhere as dynamic as Sills's.
LEADING ACTRESS - MUSICAL: Marin Mazzie, Ragtime. Although Marin's voice is extremely powerful, she never resorts to screaming (THANK YOU FOR THAT!!) as do so many other musical theatre singers. Her acting and singing technique are in top form, and are showcased beautifully in this role. Her heart really shone through in a nearly over-produced show. Betty Buckley was fantastic (at the performance I saw, someone's cell phone rang, in the front row, right before her song with F. Murry Abraham at the top of the Act II. Her handling of the situation was truly the funniest five minutes I've ever experienced in the theatre). Unfortunately, Betty's role was supporting, not leading. I disagree with those who feel that Susan Egan should have been nominated. Technically, Susan has a solid singing voice, but she does not have a strong presence, command, or depth. I don't know if that's something that can be improved upon, unfortunately. As for the twins - I'm one of the only people who is APPALLED at the double-nomination. This concept totally contradicts one of the central themes of the show: THESE ARE TWO UNIQUE
PEOPLE/TWO UNIQUE PERFORMANCES - NOT ONE!!! Although Alice Ripley has a strong belt voice (sometimes screaming to get the point across), Emily Skinner stands out as the stronger performer. Emily's acting was so grounded and truthful, and her beautiful voice just added to that.
SUPPORTING ACTOR - MUSICAL: Greg Edelman, 1776. Greg was the best thing about 1776. I am not a big fan of this show to begin with, and I have a hard time understanding why it was revived, but Greg's performance made the evening worthwhile. Most of the actors have their moment to shine in this show, but Greg was the only one who really monopolized on the opportunity.
SUPPORTING ACTRESS - MUSICAL: Tsidii Le Loka, Lion King. Someone needs to tell Audra McDonald to tone it down a bit. Her lovely voice is a given, but she breathes so heavily between phrases, she sounds like she's having an asthma attack. I found this totally distracting. It was like the lyrics and the emotion behind them were not enough, so she had to compensate by constantly gasping for air to show how hard she was working. This is an obvious crutch that one does not expect from an actor with her experience and stature. I don't buy this kind of performing, and she's much too talented for directors to let her get away with it. If she's able to get this under control, she'll really be someone to watch.
From Lindsay Ribar:
Since I haven't seen all of the shows this year, I really don't have too much to say in most of the categories... but I have to say, it'll be interesting to watch the Best Leading Actor category on Sunday! And I'll be rooting for Doug Sills all the way! From the minute he walks out onto that stage, he holds the entire audience in the palm of his hand and doesn't let go until... well, actually he *still* hasn't let me go! I've seen his performance as Sir Percy Blakeney three times, and each time he manages to light the stage up in a whole new way, whether it be with a new delivery of a line, an ad-lib (and he certainly does plenty of those!), or one of those funny facial expressions. I can't see how he *couldn't* win the Tony!
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 George Spayd:
Brian Stokes Mitchell. He does it by acting and talent, not gimmicks.