The Tony Awards this year will be extremely interesting, as most fields are more wide open than they have been in years – the good shows this season have been an embarrassment of riches.

I will analyze all the Musical categories for the 2014 Tony Awards; I am not well-versed enough in the plays to properly predict victors. Full disclosure: I have seen all the musicals with multiple nominations this season except Beautiful and After Midnight (lack of interest), and Hedwig and the Angry Inch (lack of opportunity).

Note that predicting the Tonys is not as much of a science as the Oscars. The only preceding theater awards are the Drama Desks and Outer Critics Circle (OCC) Awards (and to a minor extent, the Drama League Awards) – all of which honor off-Broadway shows as well so the results are skewed. I have looked at these preceding awards, spoken to lots of theater-goers, and will do my best to predict who will win, along with giving my two cents about who should win.

This season has been unique in that a lot of very good shows opened, but none that appear to be the all-consuming blockbusters of years past. This has led to much more egregious snubbing by the Tonys than usual – If/Then did not get a Best Musical nomination and got snubbed all around (notably for its set and its book), Steven Pasquale was overlooked for Best Actor, and so forth. A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder (henceforth, “A Gentleman’s Guide”) leads the pack with ten nominations, with Hedwig and the Angry Inch in second place with eight nominations. However, this is no guarantee of triumph on Tony Night – Scottsboro Boys had twelve nominations three years ago, and walked away empty-handed. So, let’s dive in, category by category.

Best Musical
– After Midnight
– Aladdin
– Beautiful
– A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder

This is the big prize, the one that every show hopes to win. All four of the nominated shows have at least four other nominations, so it’s clear why voters like them (unlike Bring It On last year, whose nomination is still the most inexplicable thing in recent Tony history).

After Midnight just seems to be a complete nonentity – it’s a glorified revue that no one’s heard anything about. Audiences certainly aren’t having it – this past week, After Midnight’s miniscule theater was only 71% full; the other three shows had more expensive tickets yet still filled their larger theaters to 100% capacity. The Tonys rarely reward shows that aren’t crowdpleasers, so I cannot see After Midnight walking away as the Best Musical.

Past that, things get murky. The Broadway community can only agree on one thing: their collective hatred for jukebox musicals. Jukebox musicals’ relentless success only increases this vitriol, as Rock of Ages has become the go-to punchline upon Spiderman’s demise. However, the community seems to be wholeheartedly embracing Beautiful, the jukebox musical for Carole King songs. The only other jukebox musical to win Best Musical in the last twenty years is Jersey Boys. As flummoxed as I am by this, Beautiful stands a decent chance come June 8th.

The Broadway community also does not seem to think much of Disney’s musicals – the only one to win Best Musical was Lion King. However, Aladdin is their best offering since the one that started it all, Beauty and the Beast. Audience response to the show has been rapturous, with standing ovations reported in the middle of the show. Unlike most of this season’s shows, which feel like they still need quite a bit of work, Disney did not bring Aladdin to Broadway until it was perfected. It would most certainly be my pick for Best Musical; it was the one I enjoyed most this past season.

That leaves A Gentleman’s Guide. The show came out of nowhere and has kept gaining steam as the season went on: it leads in Tony nominations, and it won the Drama Desk, Drama League, and OCC Award for Best Musical. With this much momentum, it may be impossible to stop it. To be frank, I don’t get the hype – it was a perfectly lovely musical, but not of Best Musical caliber. Still, I seem to be in the minority here. Certainly, of the four nominees, this one feels the freshest (compared to a revue, a jukebox musical, and a musical film adaptation). Expect A Gentleman’s Guide to complete its awards sweep come June 8th.

Will Win: A Gentleman’s Guide
Might Win: Beautiful
Should Win: Aladdin

Best Revival
– Hedwig and the Angry Inch
– Les Miserables
– Violet

This race is the closest to being locked out of all the categories; there is absolutely no way Hedwig and the Angry Inch does not win. Hedwig won the Drama Desk, Drama League, and OCC awards in this category, and it’s all anyone is talking about. The show is pretty much sold out for the remainder of its run, and about 200 people attempt the ticket lottery every day. Since I’ve not seen Hedwig, I’ll be rooting for Les Miserables, but I know that’s futile. Since Hedwig has never played Broadway before, this is its first chance to win a Tony for a Best Show category, and it most assuredly will.

Will Win: Hedwig and the Angry Inch

Best Direction

– Warren Carlyle (After Midnight) – also nominated for Best Choreography
– Michael Mayer (Hedwig and the Angry Inch) – previously won for Spring Awakening; previously nominated for Thoroughly Modern Millie and You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown; previously nominated for the play A View From the Bridge
– Leigh Silverman (Violet)
– Darko Tresnjak (A Gentleman’s Guide)

This category is a difficult one to predict, and will end up being a toss-up between Mayer for Hedwig and Tresnjak for A Gentleman’s Guide. Silverman does not stand a chance with Violet, since the show is one big squandering of potential. Carlyle is also nominated for his choreography for After Midnight, and might receive that as a consolation prize, but I cannot see him winning for Direction.

So it comes down to Mayer and Tresnjak. Mayer has the experience, and has a Tony already, whereas Tresnjak is making his Broadway debut. The Drama Desks and OCC Awards both gave awards to Tresnjak (who is the only director to be nominated for all three awards this season). Both Gentleman’s Guide and Hedwig have built up a lot of momentum going into the Tonys, and it’s really too close to call. I’ll pick Gentleman’s Guide to win, just because I’ve seen it and know the direction was excellent, but it’s essentially a coin flip at this point.

Will Win: Darko Tresnjak (A Gentleman’s Guide)
Might Win: Michael Mayer (Hedwig and the Angry Inch)

Best Actor
– Neil Patrick Harris (Hedwig)
– Ramin Karimloo (Les Miserables)
– Andy Karl (Rocky)
– Jefferson Mays (A Gentleman’s Guide) – previously won for I Am My Own Wife
– Bryce Pinkham (A Gentleman’s Guide)

This season has the most extraordinary Best Actor field in recent memory – even the actors who were snubbed (Steven Pasquale and Norbert Leo Butz, among others) would have walked away with the Tony in most other years. Of the five nominees, it is astounding that there has only been one previous nomination, considering the level of talent.

Bryce Pinkham has the least chance of winning, just because all the Gentleman’s Guide support will go towards Jefferson Mays. He is in the same position as Stark Sands was last year – playing the straight man to a showstopper like Billy Porter. It’s great that he was recognized with a Tony nomination, but he won’t get the award – probably won’t even factor in enough to split the Gentleman’s Guide vote. On the upside, this should cement Pinkham as a leading man on Broadway – previously, he’s only had a small role in Ghost the Musical, and was an understudy in Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson.

I do not know how Ramin Karimloo is as Valjean, since I saw an understudy in the role. However, everyone who has seen him spoke rapturously about his performance. Although this is Karimloo’s Broadway debut, he has been an awards magnet in other cities for his work in musical theater. Unfortunately, the lack of other nominations for Les Miserables (only two others, in Best Sound Design and Best Revival) bodes poorly for Ramin’s chances – there just seems to be a feeling that Les Miserables was not away long enough to necessitate a revival.

The same problem applies to Andy Karl, who is stupendous as the eponymous Rocky. Andy Karl has been working steadily on Broadway for a decade, including small parts in Legally Blonde and 9 to 5, a stint as Fiyero in Wicked, and a fantastic turn as Neville Landless in last year’s Mystery of Edwin Drood. He is long overdue for some Tony recognition, and he essentially carries Rocky the Musical on his shoulders. But Rocky only got three other nominations (Lighting, Set, and Choreography), and is generally being derided by the Broadway community. To some extent I agree – there is just a feeling that Rocky never needed to be a musical. However, Andy Karl’s performance elevates the whole production, and I wish he’d get the Tony.

That leaves the two frontrunners: Neil Patrick Harris and Jefferson Mays. Once again, the two shows with the most momentum. I thought NPH would have this in the bag, since there has been some criticism levied at Mays for rehashing the same trick from his one-man play I Am My Own Wife, where he plays seven different characters. But Mays is getting a last-minute swell of support. Mays won the OCC Award in this category. NPH won the Drama League’s Distinguished Performance Award denoting the best theatrical performance of the season (and when considering other categories in addition to this one, that’s saying something!). Further confusing the race, Mays and NPH tied at the Drama Desks! Ties are exceedingly rare at the Tonys, but there could be one here.

In the end, I give Harris a very slight edge, because his performance is legen-wait for it-dary (couldn’t resist). I wish I could see it. But in a year like this, it really is an honor just to be nominated.

Will Win: Neil Patrick Harris (Hedwig and the Angry Inch)
Might Win: Jefferson Mays (A Gentleman’s Guide)
Should Win: Andy Karl (Rocky)

Best Actress
– Mary Bridget Davies (A Night with Janis Joplin)
– Jessie Mueller (Beautiful) – previously nominated for On a Clear Day You Can See Forever
– Idina Menzel (If/Then) – previously won for Wicked; previously nominated for Rent
– Kelli O’Hara (Bridges of Madison County) – previously nominated for Nice Work If You Can Get It, South Pacific, The Pajama Game, and The Light in the Piazza
– Sutton Foster (Violet) – previously won for Thoroughly Modern Millie and Anything Goes; previously nominated for Little Women, The Drowsy Chaperone, and Shrek

In contrast to the Best Actor category, Best Actress includes some of the most decorated musical theater actresses working today – eleven previous Tony nominations, three of them wins. I’m sure Mary Bridget Davies was great as Janis Joplin – her nomination is the only one for any of the four shows that closed before nominations. But she is a nonentity in this race – from the get-go, it was a four-woman race between Jessie, Kelli, Idina, and Sutton. Each one has a stupendous starring role that got nominated for every major theater award… but only one can win.

The one that almost certainly won’t is Sutton Foster. Violet is a terrible showcase for her talent – there isn’t really any dancing, and the music could be sung by anyone with a decent voice. Besides, she already has two Tonys, one of which she won only two years ago.

Idina Menzel would be my choice, because she gives one of the most powerful performances I’ve ever seen, in one of the most demanding roles I’ve ever seen. She is almost never offstage during If/Then, and she has to portray two different characters. Everyone agrees that If/Then is essentially “Idina Menzel the Musical” – Idina carries the entire show. In fact, I’m very curious what will happen to the show when Idina leaves.

Despite all that, from what I can tell the frontrunners are Jessie Mueller and Kelli O’Hara. Mueller has been on stage almost constantly in the last few years, with roles in Mystery of Edwin Drood, Nice Work If You Can Get It (which she took over from Kelli O’Hara, ironically). Ever since she debuted as Carole King and elevated the show from a jukebox musical to a respected piece of theater, there has been Tony buzz for her. By all accounts, she is brilliant and carries the show, and she did win the Drama Desk Award. (The OCC Award went to Audra McDonald, who thankfully is not in this category at the Tonys.)

But then there is Kelli O’Hara. This is O’Hara’s fifth nomination, and she is really overdue for a win. If any role will get her a Tony, it should be this one. Bridges of Madison County was written specifically with her in mind as the lead, and then delayed until she could star in it. The role is one of the most challenging, with the score supremely difficult, and accent that has to be maintained, and a gamut of emotions that has to be conveyed. This could also be where Tony voters decide to reward the underappreciated Bridges of Madison County.

It’s incredibly close between O’Hara and Mueller, but I think in the end O’Hara will come out on top. Primarily because the common sentiment seems to be that she should really have a Tony by now, and this role is the best she’s ever performed in. Mueller will certainly have plenty of other opportunities to bring home a Tony. But this race is definitely one to watch.

Will Win: Kelli O’Hara (Bridges of Madison County)
Might Win: Jessie Mueller (Beautiful)
Should Win: Idina Menzel (If/Then)

Pages: 1 2 3

Jessica Jones introduced us to Marvel’s live-action Luke Cage (Mike Colter), who has his own show debuting on Friday. Here’s everything you need to know ahead of time.

The mythology of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is rich and complicated. Not only do you have to remember what’s happened from episode to episode and season to season, it’s also important to keep in mind what’s happened in other shows and movies.

But that’s why we’re here. Looking forward to Luke Cage premiering on September 30? Us too. Having a little trouble remembering what happened in Jessica Jones and not feeling up to rewatching the show from start to finish? No problem.

Read full article

Jessica Jones introduced us to Marvel’s live-action Luke Cage (Mike Colter), who has his own show debuting on Friday. Here’s everything you need to know ahead of time.

The mythology of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is rich and complicated. Not only do you have to remember what’s happened from episode to episode and season to season, it’s also important to keep in mind what’s happened in other shows and movies.

But that’s why we’re here. Looking forward to Luke Cage premiering on September 30? Us too. Having a little trouble remembering what happened in Jessica Jones and not feeling up to rewatching the show from start to finish? No problem.

Everything you need to know about ‘Luke Cage’

The man

luke cage premiere date

We first met Luke in the series premiere of Jessica Jones and he was in the majority of the episodes for the season. He owned a bar in Hell’s Kitchen and made it a priority to stay away from complications. Too bad Jessica Jones is the definition of complicated. Sweet Christmas.

With chemistry pretty much off the charts, it didn’t take long for Luke and Jessica to start hooking up. Unfortunately, between Kilgrave’s manipulations and Jessica’s lies, the situation came to a head and Luke found out it was Jessica who was responsible for his wife’s death way back when Kilgrave was livin’ large with Jessica at his side.

Luke left after that, but not before he ran into Kilgrave with the intention of killing the man. Instead, Kilgrave used his power of mind control to plant Luke back into Jessica’s life and keep an eye on her until it was time for Kilgrave to use his trump card. He even forced Luke to blow up his own bar.

In a final confrontation, where Kilgrave once again played with Jessica’s emotions, Luke said he didn’t forgive her for killing his wife and, under Kilgrave’s power, attacked her until she was forced to put a shotgun to his head and pull the trigger.

Thanks to Luke’s powers, he survived, but that didn’t mean there wasn’t some damage. Luke was unconscious, and Jessica was forced to bring him to the hospital where Claire used her position as a nurse to sneak him back to Jessica’s apartment and keep an eye on him.

By the end of the series, once Kilgrave was killed and Jessica was arrested, Luke recovered from his injuries and left Jessica’s apartment when Claire wasn’t looking.

The myth

luke cage mike colter

Luke Cage’s powers are not unlike Jessica’s, though where they both share a similar level of strength, Luke has the added benefit of unbreakable skin. The experiments he was subjected to didn’t make him completely impervious to injury, as seen when the shotgun blast rattled his brain so much it did some internal damage. Areas like his eyes are also open to injury, if Claire sticking that needle through the socket is any indication.

Luke is also just, you know, a big guy. Is intimidation a supernatural ability? Because if so, this guy has got it in spades. He’s a good fighter and obviously used to dealing with the seedier side of the city, so even without his powers, he’d be good to have in a fight.

Luke Cage from the comics isn’t much different, though his interactions with other superheroes have given him an additional leg up. For instance, Iron Fist has taught Luke Cage additional fighting techniques, but we haven’t seen that in the MCU since Iron Fist has yet to debut on Netflix and it’s uncertain what their interactions will be like.

Apparently Luke also has a sweet jacket that’s as impervious as his skin. Given all the clothes we see him go through in the trailers for the upcoming season, perhaps we’ll see him gain a useful item like this in the upcoming freshman run.

The legend

luke cage clip

Luke Cage is already making a name for himself by the end of Jessica Jones, and it’s clear that season 1 of his own show is only going to further his story as a legendary hero. If you want to avoid spoilers at all costs, skip this section. If you’d like to get familiar with some of the show’s upcoming new characters, read on.

In Luke Cage season 1, it’s clear that Cornell Stokes/Cottonmouth will be to Luke as Wilson Fisk/The Kingpin was to Matt Murdock’s Daredevil. This is the guy who wears the crown around Harlem (where Luke has recently moved following his interactions with Jessica), and it’s pretty clear Stokes took no time in pissing off Luke.

Mariah Dillard will be an enemy of a different variety, as she’s a powerful local politician who also happens to be Stokes’ cousin. From the trailers it looks like the two are in business together, but the relationship is contentious at best. Alvarez/Shades, an associate of Cottonmouth, is also going to cause some problems for Luke.

On the other side of the line you have Misty Knight, a police detective who has Luke Cage on her radar. She might also be causing some problems for our hero, but she’s definitely one of the good guys. Her partner is Rafael Scarfe.

Claire will also be returning, this time in a starring role, so the hope is we’ll be seeing plenty of the nurse who is heroic in her own way. She might not have supernatural abilities, but she heals who she can, despite their various complications. She’s also there to light a fire up under the asses of heroes who might be losing their way — and she’s very good at her job.

Everyone’s favorite crook, Turk, will also be showing up in Luke Cage, as will Claire’s mother, Soledad. You can also expect Willis Stryker/Diamondback to play a part this season. He’s tied up with Cottonmouth and Shades and definitely has something against Luke. In the comics, they go way back, and Stryker even had a thing for Luke’s wife, Reva.

Here’s the latest trailer for ‘Luke Cage’ season 1

‘Luke Cage’ season 1 will be exclusively available to stream on Netflix come September 30

Once Upon a Time season 6 will see Sean Maguire’s Robin Hood at least one more time! Come on, is anyone ever really gone for good on this show?

Remember when Hook died, but he really didn’t? Remember when Neal died, but we got see him again in limbo between reality and the Underworld? Well, Robin Hood is following a similar Once Upon a Time narrative arc as EW confirms that the outlaw will return in season 6.

Adam Horowitz and Eddie Kitsis confirmed the news saying, “We’re thrilled to have Sean back for this story arc and are excited for the audience to see what we have planned, which in the wake of his character’s heartbreaking demise, is something we hope is unexpected and surprising.”

Read full article

Once Upon a Time season 6 will see Sean Maguire’s Robin Hood at least one more time! Come on, is anyone ever really gone for good on this show?

Remember when Hook died, but he really didn’t? Remember when Neal died, but we got see him again in limbo between reality and the Underworld? Well, Robin Hood is following a similar Once Upon a Time narrative arc as EW confirms that the outlaw will return in season 6.

Adam Horowitz and Eddie Kitsis confirmed the news saying, “We’re thrilled to have Sean back for this story arc and are excited for the audience to see what we have planned, which in the wake of his character’s heartbreaking demise, is something we hope is unexpected and surprising.”

Bringing back characters is one of the major reasons why characters on this show can never have closure. In the aftermath of season 5’s most remarkable death, Once Upon a Time took the necessary steps to give Regina closure. In Neal’s apartment (once again, reviving Neal’s presence for Emma), Regina began to process the reality of her life through a letter from Robin.

Once Upon a Time season 5 regina robin

Kitsis makes note that Regina’s course of action this season will deal with processing her grief. “I can tell you that a lot of this year is about Regina dealing with loss and moving on, because I think Regina has the most unfair luck of anybody, but that’s what makes her Regina,” says Kitsis.

We already caught some of that in the season 6 opener where Regina talks with Snow White about her character’s story and its various interpretations. If the feather floating away from Regina on the bench was a nod to her finding the strength to let go even a little bit, what will Robin’s return mean for her mentally? Regina needs all her faculties to face the most terrifying adversary this season– herself.

What will Robin’s return look like?

Maybe he will appear Jiminy Cricket style and remind her of her best qualities as she faces the Evil Queen. Or perhaps he will appear to save his daughter through some kind of intrinsic bond that exists between them? Maybe that feather actually means a bit more than we give it credit for!

Once Upon a Time season 5 episode 100 review regina robin henry

Kitsis and Horowitz note that Sean Maguire will have “an arc” meaning it is likely that he will appear in more than one episode.

What are some of your theories for Robin’s involvement in season 6? Let us know in comments!

Once Upon a Time season 6, episode 2, “A Bitter Draught,” airs Sunday, October 2 at 8:00 p.m. ET on ABC.

Netflix’s The Crown chronicles the early years of Queen Elizabeth II, starring Claire Foy and Matt Smith as the queen and consort. Watch a new trailer now!

We’ve already got Doctor Who companion Jenna Coleman playing Queen Victoria on ITV, and now the Eleventh Doctor, Matt Smith, is playing her great-great graddaughter’s husband. Wibbly wobbly, timey-wimey.

Netflix’s original drama series The Crown stars Claire Foy as a young Queen Elizabeth II, and tells the inside story of her early years as monarch. Watch the new trailer below:

Read full article

Netflix’s The Crown chronicles the early years of Queen Elizabeth II, starring Claire Foy and Matt Smith as the queen and consort. Watch a new trailer now!

We’ve already got Doctor Who companion Jenna Coleman playing Queen Victoria on ITV, and now the Eleventh Doctor, Matt Smith, is playing her great-great graddaughter’s husband. Wibbly wobbly, timey-wimey.

Netflix’s original drama series The Crown stars Claire Foy as a young Queen Elizabeth II, and tells the inside story of her early years as monarch. Watch the new trailer below:

The trailer offers an overview of the story we know — Elizabeth’s coronation, her wedding, her celebratory rides through joyous crowds — and reveals glimpses of the story we don’t.

The Crown claims to tell the inside story of Queen Elizabeth’s early reign, offering an intimate look into the fraught relationship between Elizabeth and Prince Philip.

Showrunner Peter Morgan previously wrote the script for The Queen, which starred Helen Mirren and explored the events surrounding Princess Diana’s death.

The series is based on the award-winning play The Audience, and also stars John Lithgow as Sir Winston Churchill, Victoria Hamilton as the Queen Mother, Jared Harris as King George VI, Vanessa Kirby as Princess Margaret and Dame Eileen Atkins as Queen Mary.

The official Netflix synopsis reads:

“A Netflix original series, The Crown focuses on Queen Elizabeth II as a 25-year-old newlywed faced with the daunting prospect of leading the world’s most famous monarchy while forging a relationship with legendary Prime Minister, Sir Winston Churchill. The British Empire is in decline, the political world is in disarray, and a young woman takes the throne….a new era is dawning. Peter Morgan’s masterfully researched scripts reveal the Queen’s private journey behind the public facade with daring frankness. Prepare to be welcomed into the coveted world of power and privilege and behind locked doors in Westminster and Buckingham Palace….the leaders of an empire await.”

‘The Crown’ lands on Netflix on Friday, November 4

Here are the poster and promotional images released for the series:

TheCrown_KeyArt_US

The Crown

The Crown

The Crown

The Crown

The Crown

The Crown