The sequined-covered gloves are off.
Voting began last week for the 2022 Tony Awards, honoring the perfect of Broadway on June 12 on CBS.
The race — capping off a bizarre yr — is closer and meaner than it looks.
The battle that’s tightened considerably is Best Musical, and without delay, it’s the late Michael Jackson vs. the composer Michael R. Jackson.
“A Strange Loop,” R. Jackson’s meta-musical a few young, gay, black musical theater author who creates the very show audiences are watching, has been within the lead for weeks — buoyed by strong reviews in late April.
But sources said the race is now neck and neck between “Loop” and “MJ,” the musical in regards to the King of Pop, Michael Jackson.
Some voters The Post spoke to aren’t as enamored with “Loop” because the critics were. Said one: “I feel ‘MJ’ is a greater musical than ‘Strange Loop,’ which is so very talented, but small.”
“Six: The Musical” is nominated for the Best Musical Tony Award. Joan Marcus ©
“Six: The Musical,” the royal pop concert from Britain, can’t be counted out, either, although as that very same voter observed, “It is likely to be this yr’s ‘Wicked’ [a famous Best Musical Tony loser] and make essentially the most money.”
Participation is the dilemma du jour. The all the time slim pool of about 846 voters — including everyone from theater landlords to actors, directors, producers and critics — has been decimated due to a reluctance to return to the theater, especially through the fall and winter Omicron surge.
Because everybody must prove they saw every nominee in a category to vote, a source estimated that there are only 500 eligible people to choose the musical winners (possibly even less for revival) and a meager 200 for the plays. That’s two-thirds of a dinner service at Sardi’s.
“This yr, every vote counts,” the source said.
And so do the tactics to get ’em.
Jaquel Spivey, star of “A Strange Loop,” is nominated for Best Actor in a Musical. Marc J. Franklin
Productions, which until moments ago had been hesitant to host traditional opening-night parties, threw boozy bashes this month when the 100 out-of-town, so-called “road voters” got here to Latest York to see the nominees and be feted.
“Six” hosted them for a bash at Sony Hall; “A Strange Loop” brought the fun to Margaritaville in Times Square; “Company” premiered a documentary about its creation on the SVA Theatre and had a soiree at a close-by art gallery, where nominees Patti LuPone and Matt Doyle held court. “MJ,” meanwhile, secured Tavern on the Green and had Andrew Lloyd Webber play DJ. (Although I’d relatively hear him sing “Smooth Criminal.”)
“If there are only 500 voters for musicals, does it make road votes more necessary? I bet it does,” said one producer. “That bodes badly for ‘A Strange Loop.’ Good for ‘MJ.’ ” As one other source put it: ” ‘A Strange Loop’ makes ‘Fun Home’ appear like ‘The Sound of Music.’”
Not everyone seems to be convinced of the facility of “MJ.” “The show could take it if it weren’t for its terrified producer and cautious estate,” a source said, adding they’ve been tip-toeing because of Jackson’s controversies.
Myles Frost and the forged of “MJ: The Musical.” Matthew Murphy
Best Actor in a Musical is one other fun fight. Myles Frost, the charismatic 22-year-old actor who’s been a breakout star as Jackson, won’t stop till he gets a Tony, a source said. “He’s unbelievably ambitious.”
Frost is duking it out with one other celebrated newcomer, Jaquel Spivey, 23, the wonderful lead in “A Strange Loop,” who has been out sick the past several days, forcing producers to beg voters to reschedule. (The deadline to submit ballots is June 10.) And, after all, there’s Hugh Jackman, whose “The Music Man” is the one musical hit of the season, and who opened the road conference with an enthralling speech. One swooning visitor said Jackson and co-star Sutton Foster were “delightful” speakers.
Hugh Jackman and Sutton Foster, of “The Music Man,” opened the road conference with a well-received speech.Photo by Bruce Glikas/Getty Images
While LuPone was once a shoo-in for Best Featured Actress in “Company,” there’s now momentum around L Morgan Lee of “A Strange Loop.” LuPone, sources say, is not going to drink to that.
The actress, who desires to take a 3rd Tony home to her house in Connecticut, has been in every single place, including singing “The Ladies Who Lunch” on “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert” Tuesday night. She’s not kissing babies though — she’s demanding adults wear their f – – king masks.
Patti LuPone appeared on “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert” Tuesday night.Scott Kowalchyk/CBS
“Company” will win Best Musical Revival, as Stephen Sondheim died mere months ago. And if anyone has forgotten that sad fact, the late composer’s face is currently on all their free commemorative Playbills.
The rare spot of stability is Best Play — a lock for “The Lehman Trilogy.” But that isn’t stopping its competition from airing their grievances.
Jeffrey Richards, producer of Best Play nominee “The Minutes,” sent out an email Wednesday to voters ripping the Latest York Times for its scant coverage of Tracy Letts’ dramedy — and boasting that his show managed to open despite the Armie Hammer sex scandal.
“We were surprised (but not astonished) that within the all necessary Tony issue of the Arts and Leisure section of the Latest York Times, we were the one Tony nominee within the Best Play category to not receive a single mention within the three major articles involving (1) a review of the season (2) a have a look at the most important ensembles of the season and (3) a discussion from the most important critics in regards to the necessary works of the yr,” Richards said.
Frankly the omissions not that each one necessary. Last yr’s Best Play winner, “The Inheritance,” wasn’t even a Times Critic’s Pick. A Broadway pundit agreed. “A Tony issue that’s only read on Ninth Avenue and forty fifth Street,” they said.
On Hammer, whose part was taken over by Noah Reid from “Schitt’s Creek”: “We overcame the obstacles of . . . [having] to exchange a significant artist who had been involved in a scandal that led to his decision to depart the production.”
Sorry about Arts & Leisure, Jeffrey. But you’re all the time welcome to complain to The Post!