By: Patrick Christiano
The annual Tony Awards show is shaping up to be a suspenseful evening with a majority of the categories being too close to call. With only two days before the awards will be telecast live from Radio City Music Hall on ABC-TV Sunday at 9pm, there are only a few sure winners like Pippin for Best Musical Revival, Andrea Martin in Pippin, and Christopher Durang’s Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike for best play. Most of the races are very close and anyone in the field for Best Featured Actor in a play could go home with the Tony.
When the nominees were announced five weeks ago Kinky Boots and Matilda were the top winners with 13 and 12 nominations respectively, followed by Pippin with 10. These three shows will most likely be the big winners Sunday with Kinky Boots and Matilda going head to head in several categories. Here are my predictions to win in the major categories.
Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike by Christopher Durang
The Assembled Parties by Richard Greenberg
Lucky Guy by Nora Ephron
The Testament of Mary by Colm Toíbín
Prediction: Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike – One of the evening’s few sure things Durang’s witty take on Chekov is a head above the rest of the field and has already won the NY Drama Critics Circle, The Drama Desk, The Outer Critics Circle and the Drama League awards.
Bring It On: The Musical
A Christmas Story, The Musical
Matilda The Musical
Prediction: Kinky Boots in a race too close to call, however my choice would be the beautifully crafted Cyndi Lauper & Harvey Fierstein musical over the British import Matilda. Both are great musicals with knock out messages, but Kinky Boots is a crowd pleaser with momentum after winning Best Musical from both the Drama League and the Outer Critics Circle. In addition Lauper, a hometown girl, is a pop icon, which ought to help cinch the prize.
Best Revival of a Play
Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
The Trip to Bountiful
Prediction: Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Albee’s play is a classic and the outstanding production with 5 nominations is a contender in each of those categories, and yet Trip to Bountiful and Golden Boy has strong support.
Best Revival of a Musical
The Mystery of Edwin Drood
Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella
Prediction: Pippin, a sure thing! A remarkable theatrical spectacle and bravo to everyone involved.
Best Book of a Musical
A Christmas Story, The Musical by Joseph Robinette
Kinky Boots by Harvey Fierstein
Matilda The Musical by
Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella by Douglas Carter Beane
Prediction: Matilda The Musical – A shrewd captivating adaptation of the Ronald Dahl classic children’s story is the best, but will have to field off tough competition from Kinky Boots.
Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics) Written for the Theatre
A Christmas Story, The Musical Music and Lyrics: Benj Pasek and Justin Paul
Hands on a Hardbody Music: Trey Anastasio and Amanda Green Lyrics: Amanda Green
Kinky Boots Music & Lyrics: Cyndi Lauper
Matilda The Musical Music & Lyrics: Tim Minchin
Prediction: Cyndi Lauper Kinky Boots – come on its Cyndi Lauper and she has a natural gift for Broadway as well as being a hometown pop icon.
Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play
Tom Hanks, Lucky Guy
Nathan Lane, The Nance
Tracy Letts, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
David Hyde Pierce, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
Tom Sturridge, Orphans
Prediction: Tom Hanks in Lucky Guy. He’s a big movie star and a regular guy, who has been embraced by the community.
Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play
Laurie Metcalf, The Other Place
Amy Morton, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Kristine Nielsen, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
Holland Taylor, Ann
Cicely Tyson, The Trip to Bountiful
Prediction: Cicely Tyson in a heartbeat over Kristine Nielsen. Tyson has won most of the major awards and is an aging legend, although Nielsen, a popular actress, brought fantastic dichotomy to her performance as the lonely Sonia.
Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical
Bertie Carvel, Matilda The Musical
Santino Fontana, Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella
Rob McClure, Chaplin
Billy Porter, Kinky Boots
Stark Sands, Kinky Boots
Prediction: Billy Porter, a popular community actor who has been toiling in the trenches for 23 years, in a part he was born to play, will best Bertie Carvel’s memorable turn as the evil Miss Trunchbull . Carvel belongs in the featured category where he won the Drama Desk. Porter, however, delivers heart and soul as the sassy star at the center of Kinky Boots.
Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical
Stephanie J. Block, The Mystery of Edwin Drood
Carolee Carmello, Scandalous
Valisia LeKae, Motown The Musical
Patina Miller, Pippin
Laura Osnes, Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella
Prediction: Laura Osnes over Patina Miller in a tight race. Laura was wonderful in Cinderella and won the Drama Desk, but Patina could get caught up in the Pippin momentum and take the Tony.
Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play
Danny Burstein, Golden Boy
Richard Kind, The Big Knife
Billy Magnussen, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
Tony Shalhoub, Golden Boy
Courtney B. Vance, Lucky Guy
Prediction: Richard Kind for his blustery attorney in The Big Knife in a category that anyone could win. I like Tony Shalhoub from Golden Boy, but Kind took the Drama Desk and has solid support.
Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play
Carrie Coon, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Shalita Grant, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
Judith Ivey, The Heiress
Judith Light, The Assembled Parties
Condola Rashad, The Trip to Bountiful
Prediction: Judith Light, who is popular with the community and won in this category for Other Desert Cities last year. Richard Greenberg has given her some witty dialogue that she delivers with panache, however, Condala Rashad’s beautifully understated performance opposite Cicely Tyson was a revelation and their scenes together were magical
Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical
Charl Brown,Motown The Musical
Keith Carradine, Hands on a Hardbody
Will Chase, The Mystery of Edwin Drood
Gabriel Ebert, Matilda The Musical
Terrence Mann, Pippin
Prediction: Gabriel Ebert for his physically hysterical Green Man, an unforgettable presence, however Terrance Mann has been around forever and that fact along with the Pippin madness could win him the Tony
Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical
Annaleigh Ashford, Kinky Boots
Victoria Clark, Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella
Andrea Martin, Pippin
Keala Settle, Hands on a Hardbody Lauren Ward, Matilda The Musical
Prediction: Andrea Martin stops the show in Pippin. A sure thing!
Best Direction of a Play
Pam MacKinnon, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Nicholas Martin, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
Bartlett Sher, Golden Boy|
George C. Wolfe, Lucky Guy
Prediction: George C. Wolfe, who turned Lucky Guy into a dramatic saga.
Best Direction of a Musical
Scott Ellis, The Mystery of Edwin Drood
Jerry Mitchell, Kinky Boots
Diane Paulus, Pippin
Matthew Warchus, Matilda The Musical
Prediction: Diane Paulus re-conceived the Bob Fosse musical while maintaining his signature style. The evening is a three ring theatrical spectacle under a circus tent. Bravo to everyone involved.
Andy Blankenbuehler, Bring It On: The Musical
Peter Darling, Matilda The Musical
Jerry Mitchell, Kinky Boots
Chet Walker, Pippin
Prediction: Chet Walker for Pippin – his work is wildly imaginative, while Peter Darling and Jerry Mitchell are just fantastically wonderful.
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