2013 Tony Nomination Highlights and Snubs From Theatre Critic Jim Taylor

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In this weekly feature, “30 Seconds With…,” WCBS culture critic Jim Taylor shares 30 seconds with the theatre stars and upstarts of NYC. From Broadway to Off-off, Jim tracks down the talent and gets them to spill just enough for our collectively shortened attention spans.

Today we’re talking Tonys: the 2013 Tony nominations. And for an incisive take on the recently announced nominees, we’re talking with theatre critic Jim Taylor. Yup, Jim is interviewing himself.

Jim Taylor, Flavorwire: So, Jim, first impressions?

Jim Taylor, critic: It’s a British invasion. The nominations are led by a couple of musicals with British roots: 13 for Kinky Boots, the Cyndi Lauper-Harvey Fierstein tale based on a true story of economic survival in a shoe factory. And 12 nominations for Matilda, based on the rather dark Roald Dahl book by the same name — the children’s story that isn’t a children’s story.

Three of the five Best Actor in a Musical nominations come from these shows: Bertie Carvel as the headmistress in Matilda and Billy Porter and the wonderfully named Stark Sands in Kinky Boots. The other two nominated new musicals: A Christmas Story, The Musical, and an embarrassment: Bring It On, The Musical.

JTF: What do you think is the strongest category this year?

JTC: Best Actor in a Play. There you have Tom Hanks in Lucky Guy; Nathan Lane as good as he’s ever been in The Nance; Tracy Letts, who turns Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? into George’s play; and David Hyde Pierce in Christopher Durang’s Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike. The Best Actress nominations are also intriguing. Laurie Metcalf, so perfectly screwed up in The Other Place; the always delightful Kristine Nielsen in the Durang play; and beautiful-to-behold Cicely Tyson in The Trip to Bountiful.

JTF: Any snubs stand out?

JTC: I really liked Jim Parsons in Harvey. I hear Bette Midler’s great in I’ll Eat You Last. And all four of the girls who play Matilda; they each took home an Olivier Award in London, but were ruled ineligible by the Tonys.

The Tonys will be awarded June 9th on CBS.