Around The Town

My 2017 TONY PREDICTIONS

Who will win the 71th Annual Tony Awards, and my choices.

By Patrick Christiano

The Tony Awards, properly known as The American Theatre Antoinette Perry “Tony” Awards®, will be presented this year in a ceremony hosted by Tony and Academy Award-winning actor Kevin Spacey broadcast live from the Radio City Music Hall on CBS, Sunday, June 11th, 2017 from 8:00 – 11:00 p.m. The evening commemorating 71 years of excellence on Broadway is being presented by The Broadway League and the American Theatre Wing.

Who will win the 71th Annual Tony Awards, and my choices.

By Patrick Christiano

The Tony Awards, properly known as The American Theatre Antoinette Perry “Tony” Awards®, will be presented this year in a ceremony hosted by Tony and Academy Award-winning actor Kevin Spacey broadcast live from the Radio City Music Hall on CBS, Sunday, June 11th, 2017 from 8:00 – 11:00 p.m. The evening commemorating 71 years of excellence on Broadway is being presented by The Broadway League and the American Theatre Wing.

The details out of the way, for the moment, you, now know everything you need to know about tomorrow’s “Tony Awards,’ named after Antoinette Perry for the nickname she was known by her friends and colleagues, who established the annual awards to honor her and The American Theater Wing, which she founded during World War II. The Wing operated the Stage Door canteens to entertainment American servicemen in several cities. Given annually for distinguished achievement in theater, the Tony Award is probably the theater world’s most coveted honor.

I wait till the midnight hour to make my forecasts, because prior we are so inundated with predictions in the media, who would notice mine. You might catch my predictions early in the morning or the afternoon, the day of the Tony show. Or more likely, you are reading this after the awards to see how I did. I will too.

No production like Hamilton, last year’s winner of 11 Tony Awards, is poised to sweep the evening the way that megahit musical, a cultural phenomenon, did in 2016. Still with no clear-cut show set to dominate the ceremony, there are three or four certain winners.

Hello Dolly starring Bette Midler will take Best Revival of a Musical, and Bette will take home her fist Tony Best Actress in a Musical for her charismatic comic performance as Dolly Levi in Scot Rudin’s ravishing Production. In addition, Kevin Kline, giving an impeccable performance as the aging World-Renowned Thespian based on Oscar Wilde in the playwright’s comedy about himself and his friends, will win the actor his third Tony.

Bette Midler in “Hello Dolly!” Photo: Julieta Cervantes

Here go my Tony predictions. The winner is highlighted in bold in the list of nominations for each category, along with my choices.

2017 TONY AWARD PREDICTIONS

Best Play
A Doll’s House, Part 2
 by Lucas Hnath
Indecent by Paula Vogel
Oslo by J.T. Rogers
Sweat by Lynn Nottage
This is an interesting contest. My choice would be the Pulitzer Prize Winner Sweat, however Oslo, the story of the 1993 middle east peace talks from a “in the background” perspective, is the front runner, especially after having nabbed the Drama Desk award last Sunday.  A Dolly’s House, Part 2, a brass satirical sequel to Ibsen’s original, has a strong following. Could Sweat upset, possibly, yet more likely Oslo will win

Best Musical
Come From Away –  MY CHOICE WILL WIN
Dear Evan Hansen
Groundhog Day the Musical
Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812
A bit of “out-an-out-on-a-limb” gut choice and preference, Come From Away, with a euphorically rousing message, will edge out the season’s artistically acclaimed and moving musical Dear Evan Hansen.    

Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics) Written for the Theatre
Come From Away  Music & Lyrics: Irene Sankoff & David Hein – MY CHOICE
Dear Evan Hansen  –Music & Lyrics: Benj Pasek & Justin Paul – WILL  WIN
Groundhog Day The Musical –Music & Lyrics: Tim Minchin
Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812  – Music & Lyrics: Dave Malloy
A tossup either could win.

Best Book of a Musical

Come From Away by Irene Sankoff and David Hein –MY CHOICE WILL WIN
Dear Evan Hansen by Steven Levenson
Groundhog Day The Musical by Danny Rubin
Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812 by Dave Malloy
A hunch, if not Dear Evan Hansen, which is equally fresh and memorable could win.

Best Revival of a Play
Jitney  –  WILL WIN

The Little Foxes
Present Laughter – 
MY CHOICE
Six Degrees of Separation
August Wilson takes the day, a deserved winner despite my quibbles. All were outstanding for different reasons.

Best Revival of a Musical
Falsettos
Hello, Dolly!
  – MY CHOICE WILL WIN
Miss Saigon
Hello Dolly
is perfection and in a league of its own. The original won 10 Tonys.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play
Denis Arndt, Heisenberg
Chris Cooper A Doll’s House, Part 2
Corey Hawkins Six Degrees of Separation
Kevin Kline Present Laughter MY CHOICE WILL WIN
Jefferson Mays, Oslo
Pretty much a text book lesson in, style, skill, and physical comic timing with the actor and the role merging into one beautifully nuanced character. He was sublime while, the merely very good, especially the heartwarming Denis Arndt.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play
Cate Blanchett, The Present
Jennifer Ehle, Oslo
Sally Field, The Glass Menagerie
Laura Linney, Lillian Hellman’s The Little Foxes MY CHOICE
Laurie Metcalf, A Doll’s House, Part 2  – WILL WIN
A close one with Metcalf, a popular TV star and Broadway darling, poised to win for her acerbic work as Nora over my choice Linney for her poignant and strong Regina,

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical
Christian Borle, Falsettos
Josh Groban, Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812
Andy Karl, Groundhog Day The Musical
David Hyde Pierce, Hello, Dolly!
Ben Platt, Dear Evan Hansen – WILL WIN AND MY CHOICE, I GUESS.
I really loved Andy Karl and his performance is equally deserving, however there is something uniquely endearing about Ben Platt. A tie would be lovely!

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical
Denée Benton, Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812 Christine Ebersole, War Paint
Patti LuPone, War Paint
Bette Midler, Hello, Dolly! – MY CHOICE WILL WIN  
Eva Noblezada, Miss Saigon
Bette Midler’s star turn in a role she was born to play. A vibrant display of impeccable comic timing and radiant star quality.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play
Michael Aronov, Oslo
Danny DeVito, Arthur Miller’s The Price  – MY CHOICE WILL WIN
Nathan Lane, The Front Page
Richard Thomas, Lillian Hellman’s The Little Foxes
John Douglas Thompson, August Wilson’s Jitney
A popular film and television star for his dynamic work in Miller’s well regarded drama.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play
Johanna Day, Sweat
Jayne Houdyshell, A Doll’s House, Part 2
Cynthia Nixon, Lillian Hellman’s The Little Foxes –  MY CHOICE WILL WIN
Condola Rashad, A Doll’s House, Part 2
Michelle Wilson, Sweat
Nixon is a revelation with a brilliant cathartic moment in the second act.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical
Gavin Creel, Hello, Dolly!  – MY CHOICE WILL WIN
Mike Faist, Dear Evan Hansen
Andrew Rannells, Falsettos
Lucas Steele, Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812 Brandon Uranowitz, Falsetto
Creel is winning everything! He is terrific in a fabulous musical, and he is so nice.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical
Kate Baldwin, Hello, Dolly!
Stephanie J. Block, Falsettos
Jenn Colella, Come From Away – MY CHOICE WILL WIN
Rachel Bay Jones, Dear Evan Hansen
Mary Beth Peil, Anastasia
I think Colella;s unique work will upset the favorite Jones.

Best Scenic Design of a Play
David Gallo, August Wilson’s Jitney
Nigel Hook, The Play That Goes Wrong – MY CHOICE WILL WIN
Douglas W. Schmidt, The Front Page
Michael Yeargan, Oslo
Masterful set designed to miraculously fall apart.

Best Scenic Design of a Musical
Rob Howell, Groundhog Day The Musical
David Korins, War Paint
Mimi Lien, Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812 MY CHOICE WILL WIN
Santo Loquasto, Hello, Dolly!
Magical transformation of the theater into an intimate cosmic world.

Best Costume Design of a Play
Jane Greenwood, Lillian Hellman’s The Little Foxes – WILL WIN
Susan Hilferty, Present Laughter MY CHOICE
Toni-Leslie James, August Wilson’s Jitney
David Zinn, A Doll’s House, Part 2
All are wonderful. I have a slight preference for Present Laughter.

Best Costume Design of a Musical
Linda Cho, Anastasia
Santo Loquasto, Hello, Dolly! – MY CHOICE WILL WIN
Paloma Young, Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812
Catherine Zuber, War Paint
Santo Loquasto’s vibrant period costumes, by an edge over 6 time Tony winner Zuber.

Best Lighting Design of a Play
Christopher Akerlind, Indecent  – MY CHOICE WILL WIN
Jane Cox, August Wilson’s Jitney
Donald Holder, Oslo
Jennifer Tipton, A Doll’s House, Part 2
Indecent
 is haunting and so is so lighting.

Best Lighting Design of a Musical
Howell Binkley, Come From Away
Natasha Katz Hello, Dolly!
Bradley King, Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812 –  MY CHOICE WILL WIN
Japhy Weideman, Dear Evan Hansen
His complex design overcomes many obstacles and succeeds with a beautiful transformation.

Best Direction of a Play
Sam Gold, A Doll’s House, Part 2
Ruben Santiago-Hudson, August Wilson’s Jitney – WILL WIN
Bartlett Sher, Oslo
Daniel Sullivan, Lillian Hellman’s The Little Foxes
Rebecca Taichman, Indecent – MY CHOICE
Jitney is a beautifully shaded production with diverse characters, while there is something luminous and haunting emanating from Taichman’s blend of elements.

Best Direction of a Musical
Christopher Ashley, Come From AwayMY CHOICE
Rachel Chavkin, Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812  –  WILL WIN
Michael Greif, Dear Evan Hansen
Matthew Warchus, Groundhog Day The Musical
Jerry Zaks, Hello, Dolly!
I felt like abstaining, each is terrific for different reasons and each show spectacular. Comet of 1812’s spectacular display of elements is standing on higher ground.

Best Choreography
Andy Blankenbuehler, BandstandMY CHOICE   WILL WIN
Peter Darling and Ellen Kane, Groundhog Day The Musical
Kelly Devine, Come From Away
Denis Jones, Holiday Inn, The New Irving Berlin Musical
Sam Pinkleton, Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812
Bandstand is dynamic!

Best Orchestrations
Bill Elliott and Greg Anthony Rassen, Bandstand
Larry Hochman, Hello, Dolly! – MY CHOICE WILL WIN
Alex Lacamoire, Dear Evan Hansen
Dave Malloy, Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812
They are all sensational, I mean this is the best of Broadway musicals. I loved them all, 2nd choice would be Bandstand.