This past Sunday’s Tony Awards seemed more like a battle of the Westchester Broadway Theatre All-Stars. Two of the Hudson Valley dinner theater’s alums in particular went head-to-head: Susan Stroman and Kathleen Marshall. Stroman for the well-reviewed (but quickly shuttered) The Scottsboro Boys, and Marshall for Anything Goes, which opened in April. The two vied for awards in categories like “Direction of a Musical,” “Choreography,” “Lighting Design of a Musical,” “Sound Design of a Musical,” “Scenic Design of a Musical,” and “Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical.”
So which leading lady won more statues in these contests? Psych! The answer is actually The Book of Mormon; it scored first place in almost all of those categories (with the exception of “Choreography” and “Actor,” which went to Catch Me If You Can’s Norbert Leo Butz). But Marshall nabbed the “Choreography” award over Mormon and Stroman, giving her the decisive local victory.
In fact, The Scottsboro Boys didn’t win anything, even though it was nominated for 12 big ones (“Musical,“ “Book of a Musical,” “Original Score,” “Lead Actor in a Musical” [twice], “Actor Featured in a Musical,” “Scenic Design of a Musical,” and “Orchestrations,” in addition to the ones listed above). Out of its nine nominations, Anything Goes took home three (including “Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical” [Sutton Foster] and “Best Revival of a Musical”) — though How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying was the only other competitor, so it had a 50/50 shot.
Some other local names that popped up last night were a bunch of losers: Both Northern Westchester’s Alan Menken (Sister Act) and New City’s David Yazbek (Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown) lost the “Best Original Score” award to — you guessed it — The Book of Mormon. The same goes for Nanuet native Marc Shaiman (Catch Me If You Can), who fumbled the “Best Orchestrations” award, while Sarah Lawrence College grad David Lindsay-Abaire and his Good People lost “Best Play” to the equine puppets of War Horse. What can I say? We have a lot of talent here, but we just can’t compete with horses and Mormons.
If you tuned in, you might’ve also spotted White Plains native Jen Damiano sing a duet as the red-haired Mary Jane from Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark. But since the awards took place at the Beacon Theatre and Spider-Man’s biggest numbers are not so transportable — they’re problematic enough where they are — it wasn’t much to see. You were better off watching Neil Patrick Harris’ opening number about how Broadway is “not just for gays anymore.”
I haven’t seen Book of Mormon yet. Is it really that good? Let me know in the comments.