Nominations for Tonys Rewarding but Sad for Three Top Actors

By Kennedy, Mark | St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO), June 2, 2013 | Go to article overview

Nominations for Tonys Rewarding but Sad for Three Top Actors


Kennedy, Mark, St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)


NEW YORK * For three actors, the Tony Award nomination announcement last month was somewhat bittersweet.

Sweet, because they'd each gotten a prestigious nod. Bitter, because their shows were long gone.

"It's frustrating to all of us," said Keith Carradine, nominated for best performance by an actor in a featured role in a musical for "Hands on a Hardbody."

His show, based on a cult documentary about an endurance contest at a Texas car dealership, had a book by Pulitzer Prize-winner Doug Wright and songs by Phish lead singer Trey Anastasio and stage veteran Amanda Green.

But despite that exciting pedigree, the musical lasted only 56 performances, although it earned three Tony nominations, including one for best original score.

"The bottom line is: We had the life that we had. It was an exquisite, bright, brief existence," Carradine said. "I felt as though we did everything right creatively. It's just the marketplace is so unfathomable."

Carolee Carmello can commiserate. Her show about an American evangelical leader, "Scandalous: The Life and Trials of Aimee Semple McPherson," lasted only four more shows than "Hands on a Hardbody," becoming a victim of dreadful reviews and poor ticket sales.

But the 24-member Tony nominating committee made up of theater professionals didn't forget her heroic attempt to make it work despite bad songs and a bombastic story by TV host Kathie Lee Gifford.

"It's so really nice to be remembered. I'm really so flattered," said Carmello, who earned a best leading actress in a musical Tony nomination, the show's solitary nod.

"It was a role of a lifetime. How often do you get that kind of stuff to sink your teeth into? So I'm grateful for that," she said. "Underneath that layer of gratitude is frustration because I wanted to be able to do it a little longer."

Robert McClure played the Little Tramp in "Chaplin," the first new show of the Broadway season. Critics thought McClure made a terrific Charlie Chaplin, even if they thought the story was terribly cliched. …

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