In my predictions for the nominations Tony is about to make, http://wp.me/p5jq0w-OI, I left out some of this year’s Broadway starts. School of Rock was not mentioned, and truly, despite its spunk, I doubt it stands a chance in this contest. Nor will American Psycho overturn Hamilton in its run to the top.
May 3rd, noon, Looks like the Tonys left out a contender, too: Audra McDonald was not nominated for the Best leading actress in a musical.
Here’s where the oversight is more serious: From the list (entitled The Chanteuse) below, I have left out Laura Benanti, a soprano to be contended with, often on the short list for many an Award, and Tony winner (for “Gypsy”). Benanti stars beautifully in a wondrous revival of She Loves Me, the musical descendent of a personal favorite among Magyar tales–Little Shop Around the Corner. (In view of this oversight, no ice scream for me.) Laura Benanti is as I said always on the nominees list, and we loved her in the underrated Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown.
The contest for Best among musicals leading ladies is always one that excites, and this year is no exception.
Audra McDonald is a powerhouse performer with 6 Tonys to her credit. Jessie Mueller is a Tony winning actor whose charm shines in every role she takes. Her portrayal of Jenna in Waitress is no exception, of course, even if the pop style is not strictly in her wheelhouse. These two are the likely contenders for the 2016 Best Lead Actress in a Musical, with Bright Star‘s Carmen Cusack giving them a long-shot’s run for the gold.
If Shuffle Along… prevails in its plea to be considered a revival, it will be in the contest with The Color Purple, and the aforementioned She Loves Me.
There are no guarantees, but in such a case, despite the star power and sincerity of Shuffle Along…, it might have a struggle beating out the brilliantly cast, effervescent She Loves Me. The latter is as bouyant as the shlag in your coffee, with a lovely if familiar romantic story to tell. We have yet to see Audra McDonald, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Billy Porter etc etc in the George C. Wolfe helmed Shuffle Along…. Chances are we’ll be blown away by the cast and Savion Glover’s choreography, so we’ll keep you posted.