Some Tony nom oversights
LINDA ARMSTRONG Special to the AmNews | 5/9/2012, 5:53 p.m.
Last week, the Tony nominations were announced, and it was wonderful to see that "The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess" had 10 nominations: Best Revival of a Musical; Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical--the incomparable Norm Lewis; Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical--the phenomenal Audra McDonald; Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical--Phillip Boykin, who delivered an amazing performance as Crown, and David Alan Grier, who danced and sang as Sportin' Life; Best Direction of a Musical--Diane Paulus; Best Orchestration--William David Brohn and Christopher Jahnke; Best Sound Design of a Musical--Acme Sound Partners; Best Costume Design of a Musical--Esosa; and Best Lighting Design--Christopher Akerlind.
Da'Vine Joy Randolph received a well-deserved nomination for "Ghost the Musical" for her role as the funny Ode Mae, the psychic who helps Sam, a murdered banker, communicate with his girlfriend who is in danger. Randolph's voice is tremendous and she does a great job as the comic relief.
Veteran actor James Earl Jones is currently on Broadway starring in "Gore Vidal's The Best Man," a revival production, and he is nominated in the Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play category. Anyone who has seen Jones' work knows that he wraps himself around whatever role he's in. However, when I saw this category, I wondered, where is the nomination for Blair Underwood, for his stunning performance as Stanley in "A Streetcar Named Desire"? When Underwood steps on that stage, he captures the brutish yet vulnerable side of Stanley. Also, did the committee forget that Samuel L. Jackson was on the Broadway stage in "The Mountaintop" and delivered a riveting performance as Dr. King?
In the category of Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play, I truly was disappointed and baffled as to how Nicole Ari Parker was not nominated for her performance as Blanche in "A Streetcar Named Desire." When she comes on that stage, she is Blanche. She completely captures the essence of this character and takes the audience through all the tragedies she has suffered. You feel Blanche's depression, desperation, her jealousy, her great need to be loved and cared for. How does a performance like this go unrecognized?
Also, Angela Bassett took the stage in "The Mountaintop" and gave an electrifying performance--where is her name on the list? She handled that role with such unbelievable energy and gave a magnificent, flawless
performance--how in the world is her name not mentioned?
In the category of Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play, I was thrilled to see that Condola Rashad was nominated for her marvelous performance in "Stick Fly." Yet I wondered where the nomination was for Daphne Rubin-Vega, who gives a splendid performance as Stella in "A Streetcar Named Desire." She brilliantly delivers a performance that complements her co-stars'. Rubin-Vega makes Stella a very understandable and caring character who is torn between her husband and her allegiance to her sister.