73rd Annual Tony Award Predictions

This Sunday, the 73rd Annual Tony Awards will be presenting an entire slew of new plays and musicals awards, inviting them to join the pantheon of great shows like Hamilton, Spring Awakening, The Music Man, and Les Misérables. So as we count down the hours before we see the gowns, the costumes, the speeches, and the performances, I thought I’d offer up my predictions as to who and what will be in contention, pull off the upsets, and be the scourge of high school choir concerts for the next decade.

As always, let’s start things off by looking at the Plays category. If you remember correctly, things are interesting here because the most nominated shows – Aaron Sorkin’s To Kill A Mockingbird (yes, he put his own name above Harper Lee’s) and Network – both failed to earn nominations in Best Play. While the two shows should have success below the line – look for Network in Lighting Design and Scenic Design – it is pretty much now a lock that The Ferryman, Jez Butterworth and Sam Mendes’ Irish family dramedy surrounding the IRA-ridden 80s, will win Best Play. However, while the show is also in contention for Best Featured Actress, Best Actor, and most technical categories, I do think it will only manage to bring in two awards on top of its top prize – Best Director for perennial favorite Sam Mendes and Best Sound Design. As for the acting categories, things look a bit more interesting. Perennial Tony Bridesmaid Celia Keenan-Bolger looks like a lock for her performance as Scout in Mockingbird, but the other categories all seem like bloodbaths. Your best bet for Best Featured Actor is most likely Bertie Carvel, considering Ink is a Best Play nominee, he won the British Olivier Award for the show, and because the Tonys tend to be more political than most shows and he’s playing Rupert Murdoch. That being said, look for Benjamin Walker, an industry favorite, to pull off the upset. As for the top prizes, both Actor and Actress break down into three groups: The Favorite, The Two Challengers, and The Other Two. For Best Actress, I would be shocked if comedy legend Elaine May didn’t win the Tony for her performance as an Alzheimer’s-ridden matriarch in The Waverly Gallery, but keep your eyes peeled: Annette Bening is also missing a Tony Award, and Laurie Metcalf has won the Tony the last two years, and is looking to make it a third for a character named (*checks notes*) Hillary Clinton. At the very least, look for Bening’s All My Sons to pull off the upset and beat The Waverly Gallery in Best Play Revival. As for Best Actor, all five actors seem to have an equal chance. Paddy Considine’s The Ferryman is the Best Play favorite, Adam Driver is the talk of the town for Burn This, Jeremy Pope is one of the first (if not the first) double nominees in Tony history, and Cranston and Daniels are Tony powerhouses (Daniels has a couple nominations, while Cranston has won before). While most industry prognosticators would wager it’s Cranston’s to lose for his portrayal of the infamous Howard Beale (“I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take it anymore!”), I’m giving the edge to Daniels. He’s never won, Atticus Finch is a meatier part, he’s reading Aaron Sorkin’s words, and Mockingbird has the most play nominations. Look for Daniels to make some money moves. Best Costume Design will end up going to Gary: A Sequel To Titus Andronicus.

Now that we’ve taken a look at the play side of things, let’s move on over to the big dogs: the musicals. While each show in these categories tends to have ardent supporters, the Tonys tend to have a system when voting for the musical prizes: whatever the winners of Best Musial and Best Musical Revival are, pick them in almost every technical category. And considering Hadestown and Oklahoma are about to win Best Musical and Revival in a cakewalk (seriously, it is unlikely that they have any competition), you can easily go through and pick them for every below-the-line category. Hadestown will win Best Musical Score, Best Musical Book, and Best Sound Design, while Oklahoma will win Best Orchestrations for its simplistic, country-western interpretations of the classic songs. Best Director will likely come down to the two shows dueling it out for the award, but I give the edge to Hadestown’s Rachel Chavkin: not only does the prize tend to favor new musicals, but Chavkin would become only the fourth female winner of the award in the show’s history (Jesus Christ). Best Choreography tends to favor the more traditional shows, which means Kiss Me, Kate SHOULD be the favorite, but I doubt it will have the edge over Ain’t Too Proud’s classic Temptations stylings. And considering Scenic and Lighting Design usually favor the more avant-garde shows, look for a battle between Beetlejuice and Hadestown for both categories – I’m predicting the Ghost With The Most to keep things interesting. As for the acting categories, things tend to be a little more chalk than the play side. Ali Stroker will absolutely win Best Featured Actress for her portrayal of Ado Annie, becoming the first Ado Annie to win the prize and the first wheelchair-bound performer to ever win a Tony. Meanwhile, despite competition from The Prom’s Beth Leavel, expect beloved performer Stephanie J. Block to finally win a Tony for her performance as “Star,” aka Diva Cher, in the aptly named The Cher Show. And while Brooks Ashmanskas and Alex Brightman can each make a case for Best Actor, expect beloved star of stage and screen Santino Fontana to win the Tony for his deft handling of the lead role in Tootsie. The only category with any sense of drama is Best Featured Actor, and even that should be a cakewalk. While Jeremy Pope and Andre De Shields can each make a case for winning the Tony, it’s hard to argue that Patrick Page won’t win the award for his portrayal of Hades in Hadestown. Page has been in the industry for decades, tackled several challenging roles with his gruff baritone, is adored by all, gives Hades a complicated yet understanding undertone, and gets to sing the 2010 ballad that became eerily prescient when the show came to Broadway, “Why We Build The Wall.” Yeah, I’d say Page has this one in the bag.

I hope you all enjoyed these predictions, and I hope you enjoy the Tonys this year! I don’t have any concerts to attend this time around (last year I was at the Paul Simon concert), so I’ll be able to live blog it for you all. You can expect a write-up Sunday morning. See you then!

Best Play

  • Choir Boy
  • The Ferryman   *
  • Gary: A Sequel To Titus Andronicus
  • Ink
  • What The Constitution Means To Me

Best Musical

  • Ain’t Too Proud
  • Beetlejuice
  • Hadestown   *
  • The Prom
  • Tootsie

Best Revival of a Play

  • All My Sons   *
  • The Boys In The Band
  • Burn This
  • Torch Song
  • The Waverly Gallery

Best Revival of a Musical

  • Kiss Me, Kate
  • Oklahoma!   *

Best Actor in a Play

  • Paddy Considine-The Ferryman
  • Bryan Cranston-Network
  • Jeff Daniels-To Kill A Mockingbird *
  • Adam Driver-Burn This
  • Jeremy Pope-Choir Boy

Best Actress in a Play

  • Annette Bening-All My Sons
  • Laura Donnelly-The Ferryman
  • Elaine May-The Waverly Gallery *
  • Janet McTeer-Bernhardt/Hamlet
  • Laurie Metcalf-Hillary and Clinton
  • Heidi Schreck-What The Constitution Means To Me

Best Actor in a Musical

  • Brooks Ashmanskas-The Prom
  • Derrick Baskin-Ain’t Too Proud
  • Alex Brightman-Beetlejuice
  • Damon Daunno-Oklahoma!
  • Santino Fontana-Tootsie   *

Best Actress in a Musical

  • Stephanie J. Block-The Cher Show *
  • Caitlin Kinnunen-The Prom
  • Beth Leavel-The Prom
  • Eva Noblezada-Hadestown
  • Kelli O’Hara-Kiss Me, Kate

Best Supporting Actor in a Play

  • Bertie Carvel-Ink *
  • Robin de Jesús-The Boys in the Band
  • Gideon Glick-To Kill A Mockingbird
  • Brandon Uranowitz-Burn This
  • Benjamin Walker-All My Sons

Best Supporting Actress in a Play

  • Fionnula Flanagan-The Ferryman
  • Celia Keenan-Bolger-To Kill A Mockingbird *
  • Kristine Nielsen-Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus
  • Julie White-Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus
  • Ruth Wilson-King Lear

Best Supporting Actor in a Musical

  • André De Shields-Hadestown
  • Andy Grotelueschen-Tootsie
  • Patrick Page-Hadestown *
  • Jeremy Pope-Ain’t Too Proud
  • Ephraim Sykes-Ain’t Too Proud

Best Supporting Actress in a Musical

  • Lilli Cooper-Tootsie
  • Amber Gray-Hadestown
  • Sarah Stiles-Tootsie
  • Ali Stroker-Oklahoma! *
  • Mary Testa-Oklahoma!

Best Direction of a Play

  • Rupert Goold-Ink
  • Sam Mendes-The Ferryman *
  • Bartlett Sher-To Kill A Mockingbird
  • Ivo van Hove-Network
  • George C. Wolfe-Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus

Best Direction of a Musical

  • Rachel Chavkin-Hadestown *
  • Scott Ellis-Tootsie
  • Daniel Fish-Oklahoma!
  • Des McAnuff-Ain’t Too Proud
  • Casey Nicholaw-The Prom

Best Music and Lyrics

  • Be More Chill
  • Beetlejuice
  • Hadestown     *
  • The Prom
  • To Kill A Mockingbird
  • Tootsie

Best Book of a Musical

  • Ain’t Too Proud
  • Beetlejuice
  • Hadestown   *
  • The Prom
  • Tootsie

Best Scenic Design of a Play

  • The Ferryman
  • Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus
  • Ink
  • Network
  • To Kill a Mockingbird

Best Scenic Design of a Musical

  • Ain’t Too Proud
  • Beetlejuice     *
  • Hadestown
  • King Kong
  • Oklahoma!

Best Costume Design of a Play

  • Bernhardt/Hamlet
  • The Ferryman
  • Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus     *
  • To Kill a Mockingbird
  • Torch Song

Best Costume Design of a Musical

  • Ain’t Too Proud
  • Beetlejuice
  • The Cher Show     *
  • Hadestown
  • Tootsie

Best Sound Design of a Play

  • Choir Boy
  • The Ferryman   *
  • Ink
  • Network
  • To Kill A Mockingbird

Best Sound Design of a Musical

  • Ain’t Too Proud
  • Beetlejuice
  • King Kong
  • Hadestown     *
  • Oklahoma!

Best Lighting Design of a Play

  • The Ferryman
  • Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus
  • Ink
  • Network     *
  • To Kill A Mockingbird

Best Lighting Design of a Musical

  • Ain’t Too Proud
  • Beetlejuice     *
  • The Cher Show
  • Hadestown
  • King Kong

Best Choreography

  • Ain’t Too Proud     *
  • Choir Boy
  • Hadestown
  • Kiss Me, Kate
  • Tootsie

Best Orchestrations

  • Ain’t Too Proud
  • Hadestown
  • Kiss Me, Kate
  • Oklahoma!     *
  • Tootsie

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