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by Michael Portantiere

The 2008 Phony Awards



    Most people seem to agree that the Tony Awards already have enough categories, so don't expect any major additions in the future. (Remember "Best Replacement Actor," or whatever the hell it was called? That one was announced but never happened.) But I do sometimes wish that the award categories were tailored more specifically to the shows and artists of each season. So I've come up with the first annual Phony Awards -- having borrowed the name from my friend and colleague Gerard Alessandrini, creator of Forbidden Broadway, with his blessing. Please understand that the following awards are "phony" in the sense that they don't actually exist and you're certainly not going to see them on TV, which doesn't mean they're undeserved!


    Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Badly Directed Revival:
    Patti LuPone, Gypsy

    Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Brilliantly Directed Revival:
    Kelli O'Hara in South Pacific

    Most Talented New Writer for the Musical Theater:
    Tie: Lin-Manuel Miranda, In the Heights; Stew, Passing Strange

    Most Hilarious Adaptation of an Indescribably Awful Movie:

    Most Brilliant Comic Performance of the Season, if Not the Decade:
    Mark Rylance in Boeing-Boeing

    Biggest Mistake of the Season, If Not the Century:
    Glory Days

    Most Beautiful Voice on Broadway:
    Paulo Szot, South Pacific

    Most Astonishing Vocal Performance by an Actor Whose Voice Hasn't Even Changed Yet:
    Brian D'Addario, The Little Mermaid

    Cutest Onstage Couple:
    Kerry Butler and Cheyenne Jackson, Xanadu

    Most Unnerving Depiction of a Dysfunctional Family:
    August: Osage County; runners-up: The Homecoming and Gypsy

    Most Disappointing Revival:
    Tie: Cyrano and The Country Girl

    Best Off-Broadway Musical:
    Adding Machine

    Special Award to an Off-Broadway Play That Should Have Been Produced on Broadway and Received a Tony Nomination:
    Grace, by Mick Gordon and AC Grayling, starring Lynn Redgrave

    Best Arguments for Color-Blind Casting:
    S. Epatha Merkerson, Come Back, Little Sheba; Terence Howard, Anika Noni Rose, James Earl Jones, and Phylicia Rashad, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.

    Worst Argument for Color-Blind Casting:
    Morgan Freeman, The Country Girl

    Best Performance by an Off-Stage Bird:
    The Turkey in November

    Best Performance in a Special Event:
    Angela Lansbury, momentarily but magically returning to the role of Mrs. Lovett in Sweeney Todd with her performance of "The Worst Pies in London" in The Ladies Who Sing Sondheim, a benefit for The Acting Company.

    The Julie Andrews Award for Most Egregious Omission from the Tony Nominees' Roster:
    Claire Danes, Pygmalion

    Most Overrated Show of the Season:
    Rock 'n' Roll

    Most Underrated Show of the Season:
    Young Frankenstein

    Published on Friday, June 13, 2008

    Michael Portantiere has more than 30 years' experience as an editor and writer for TheaterMania.com, InTHEATER magazine, and BACK STAGE. He has interviewed theater notables for NPR.org, PLAYBILL, STAGEBILL, and OPERA NEWS, and has written notes for several cast albums. Michael is co-author of FORBIDDEN BROADWAY: BEHIND THE MYLAR CURTAIN, published in 2008 by Hal Leonard/Applause. Additionally, he is a professional photographer whose pictures have been published by THE NEW YORK TIMES, the DAILY NEWS, and several major websites. (Visit www.followspotphoto.com for more information.) He can be reached at [email protected]

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