Tonys with a Golden Tinge

by Philip Berk June 3, 2019
Annette Benning, Bryan Cranston, Janet McTeer and Sam Mendes, Golden Globe wiinners and Tony 2019 nominees

Annette Benning, Bryan Cranston, Janet McTeer and Sam Mendes, Golden Globe winners and Tony 2019 nominees.

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The roster of Golden Globe winners at next weekend’s Tony awards boggles the mind.

Sam Mendes, who won the Best Director Golden Globe for American Beauty, is a nominee for directing The Ferryman, nominated for nine Tonys including best play. The Ferryman should follow the tradition of London transfers winning best play. Previous winners were the Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night, Clybourne Park, War Horse, Red, and God of Carnage. The Ferryman, set during the Troubles in Northern Ireland, is the story of the family of a former IRA activist, living in their farmhouse in rural County Armagh, in 1981. In the course of the play, the family enjoys a huge meal partaken by 17 cast members. The play runs three and a quarter hours. It boasts 21 speaking parts including those for seven children ages nine months to 16. It offers a song and a dance interlude, and a live goose on stage.

Try and top that!

Tootsie, which won the 1982 Best Motion Picture Musical/ Comedy Golden Globe is up for best musical. The much-loved film also won Golden Globes for best actor, best supporting actress, best director, and best screenplay, a rare feat. The musical, however, faces stiff competition from Hadestown, a surprise last-minute entry which received twelve nominations.

Kenneth Lonergan, a three-time Golden Globe nominee (for Manchester by the Sea and You Can Count on Me) is the author of best revival nominee The Waverly Gallery. Even though he is a playwright he has achieved more success in film. If his play wins, this will be his first theater award.

Four-time Golden Globe nominee Jeff Daniels and last year’s nominee Adam Driver are up for the best actor Tony, competing with six-time Golden Globe nominee and 2014 winner (for Breaking Bad) Bryan Cranston. Cranston’s Tony nomination is for playing Howard Beale in the stage version of the multi-Golden Globe award winning Network. (“I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore” might refresh your memory.)

Golden Globe winners Annette Bening and Janet McTeer and Golden Globe nominees Elaine May and Laurie Metcalf are all vying for best actress Tonys. Elaine May, considered a legend, is making her Broadway return at 87 in this play, after a 60-year absence. She, of course, is best remembered for writing, directing, and starring opposite Walter Matthau in A New Leaf, and for her signature work with Mike Nichols and (later) Warren Beatty.

To Kill a Mockingbird, which, on film, won Golden Globes for Gregory Peck ( best actor) and Elmer Bernstein (musical score), is up for nine Tonys but none for playwright Aaron Sorkin, who has three Golden Globe nominations and two wins (for The Social Network and Steve Jobs) to his credit.

Because the Tony committee determined that both To Kill a Mockingbird and Network are adaptations they were denied best play consideration, a decision disputed by just almost every critic. Their consensus: Mockingbird was indeed an original work that has Sorkin’s fingerprints all over it.

Finally, Golden Globe winner Ruth Wilson is up for the Best Supporting Actress Tony for playing the fool to Glenda Jackson's King Lear. Jackson was a surprise omission. She had conceived the idea of a female-centric King Lear, a role she played in London to unanimous raves. Her consolation: she won the Tony last year.

Most of our honorees are odds on favorites to win. We’ll know Sunday.