Happy Tony Sunday! Before we get into the predictions of the day, we wanted to take just a moment to echo a sentiment shared earlier this week. As lifelong fans of the theater, we’ve heard more than a few people express, in a variety of ways, the belief that once you see a Broadway show, other theater feels smaller.
While there’s definitely something special about a Broadway show, Tony Sunday feels like a good day to remember, the Great White Way does not have a monopoly on excellent theater. Great theater is closer than you think, so get out there and see a show!
That being said, it’s Tony Sunday which means today is all about Broadway. So, without further ado here are our picks for this year’s Tony Awards.
Zer: “Oslo” By J. T. Rogers — You know it’s a good year for plays, when you’re not sure the Pulitzer winner (“Sweat”) will win. I had a hard time choosing, but my gut tells me this show is going to win.
Stephanie: “Oslo” By J. T. Rogers — “Sweat” is a close contender in this category (as are all of the nominees to be fair), but this epic production has proven its relevance and power and will likely win.
Best Revival of a Play:
Zer: “Jitney” By August Wilson — It’s been a long road to Broadway for this eigth installment in Wilson’s “Pittsburgh Cycle.” It’s played Off-Broadway and all around the world, and finally found its way home in this production. Wilson is a beloved American treasure who was taken too soon, and while there’s some strong competition in this category, I can’t see “Jitney” losing.
Stephanie: “Jitney” By August Wilson — The power of August Wilson is strong (and with good reason) and it’s hard to imagine any other show topping this category.
Best Actor in a Leading Role in a Play:
Zer: Kevin Kline “Present Laughter” — It’s been a long time since Kevin Kline has graced a Broadway stage, and boy has he been missed. It also helps that “Present Laughter,” allows Kline to shine and show off his comedic chops.
Stephanie: Kevin Kline “Present Laughter” — Everyone loves Kevin Kline and I can’t say I blame them, he is absolutely charming and hilarious in this, his long-awaited return to Broadway.
Best Actress in a Leading Role in a Play:
Zer: Laura Linney “The Little Foxes” — More than the lead, Ms. Linney helped conceive the shared lead concept of the show. While she may share the lead with Cynthia Nixon, she deserves 100 percent of this award. Although, I won’t be surprised if the equally deserving Laurie Metcalf’s name is called either.
Stephanie: Laurie Metcalf “A Doll’s House, Part 2” — This category is full of incredible actresses who gave us equally astonishing performances and I hate that I have to pick, but in conclusion, I’m picking Laurie Metcalf who is a beloved star who has yet to win this top honor.
Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play:
Zer: John Douglas Thompson “Jitney” — Mr. Thompson stands out in this category for obvious reasons, but I think his performance makes him stand out more.
Stephanie: Danny DeVito “The Price” — Again, I find myself having to choose between five excellent performances, so I’m relying on the awards season up until now (yes, there are other theater awards) for this one.
Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play:
Zer: Cynthia Nixon “The Little Foxes” — Sharing the lead and supporting role with Ms. Linney, it would be hard to give the award to one and not the other.
Stephanie: Cynthia Nixon “The Little Foxes” — It makes zero sense that one of these ladies would win and the other wouldn’t, but even less sense that neither of them would. So, I’m seeing this as a win for both, because one would not excel without the other.
Best Revival of a Musical:
Zer: “Hello, Dolly!” — Part of me hopes that “Falsettos” or “Miss Saigon” pull a huge upset in this category, but I don’t see that happening. I love this Jerry Herman musical. I think Dolly is one of the greatest leading ladies of the Great White Way. I also love Bette Midler and David Hyde Pierce, and I love that this show is bringing new people to the theater. That being said, as someone who would have seen this production no matter who was playing Dolly Levi, the sheer spectacle of star casting kills my theater-loving soul just a little bit. Still, it’s a stellar cast with a depth of talent that deserves the success this show has seen.
Stephanie: “Hello, Dolly!” — But my spirit vote is going towards “Falsettos.” As I said on Friday, I LOVE “Hello, Dolly!” I hate when productions rely on casting a star. Still, I find it hard to believe that there will be an upset in this category, and that is the power of “Dolly.”
Zer: “Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812” — This was a tough category to pick this year. Honestly, I can make a case for any of the nominated shows. They truly all deserve to be here. I’m copping out just a little and saying I think “Groundhog Day” has a really good chance at an “upset.” It’s a year where people just want to feel happy, and “Groundhog Day” is the happiest in this group. However, Great Comet provides a spectacle and groundbreaking theatrical experience that could put it over the top. That being said, “Dear Evan Hansen” has won the public’s overwhelming favor…so, we’ll see.
Stephanie: “Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812” — Everyone and their cousin is picking “Dear Evan Hansen” in this category, but I am going on the record to say that I think they are very, very wrong. I also think the only thing keeping “Groundhog Day” down is Broadway’s aversion to movies turned into musicals, but its inclusion in this category shows you how strong of a show it is. So, if it wasn’t clear, my actual choice is “Comet” or “Groundhog Day.”
Best Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical:
Zer: Andy Karl “Groundhog Day” — A lot of people are picking Ben Platt for “Dear Evan Hansen” in this category. While I can respect that choice, I think there’s something to be said for consistency. Andy Karl has been nominated three times and is a respected and established member of the Broadway community. And on top of all that, he tore his freaking ACL and still performed on opening night. If that doesn’t deserve a Tony, I don’t know what does.
Stephanie: Andy Karl “Groundhog Day” — The “experts” can explain the transcendent quality of Ben Platt’s performance in “Dear Evan Hanson” until they are blue in the face. I am telling you, Mr. Karl is taking home the trophy tonight. He literally broke his leg (ACL) pre-opening and still continues to rock out eight shows a week. Putting that aside, he is fantastic in this part, an iconic movie role, that he has made entirely his own. And seeing as he is following in the footsteps of Bill Murray, that was no small task.
Best Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical:
Zer: Denée Benton “Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812” — I know. I know. She’s up against Bette Midler and two of Broadway’s finest divas in Patti Lupone and Christine Ebersole, but hear me out. Beloved divas have a tendency to divide loyalties, and seeing as 3/5’s of this category is dominated by them, Denée has a pretty good shot. That being said, I fully acknowledge that Bette Midler is very likely to win this category, but let me dream.
Stephanie: Denée Benton “Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812” — This is a should win pick on my part. In all likelihood, Ms. Midler’s name will be called, but it shouldn’t.
Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical:
Zer: Gavin Creel “Hello, Dolly!” — Third nomination + no previous wins + amazing role in a beloved Broadway classic = a Tony Award win.
Stephanie: Gavin Creel “Hello, Dolly!” — Ditto. But I wouldn’t be crushed if Lucas Steele, who is incredible in “Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812” went home with the Tony.
Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical:
Zer: Kate Baldwin “Hello, Dolly!” — This category is hard, but I’m going with who I want to win. There’s a good chance Jenn Colella steals this category, and don’t underestimate the power of “Dear Evan Hansen,” but I think this one is Ms. Baldwin’s to lose.
Stephanie: Jenn Collella “Come From Away” — Seriously, this year’s featured role categories are breaking my heart, because they’re all wonderful. Seriously, Ms. Baldwin’s performance of “Ribbons Down My Back” is etched into my own personal musical theater history, so this hurts. But I think this will be “Come From Away”‘s moment.
Best Direction of a Musical:
Zer: Rachel Chavkin “Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812” — Chavkin has everything going for her in this category. She’s been with this show from the very beginning, and as the only woman in the category she stands out amongst the competition. We didn’t include scenic design in our picks, but I’m predicting a similar outcome for the sole lady in scenic design, Mimi Lein.
Stephanie: Rachel Chavkin “Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812” — Even the countless critics who are picking “Dear Evan Hansen” for best musical are sticking with Chavkin here, and they’re completely right (on the director, not the show).
Best Book of a Musical:
Zer: Danny Rubin “Groundhog Day” — It’s not easy to successfully rework your own masterpiece, and Danny Rubin did it flawlessly…but I’m still picking Dave Malloy for “Comet” as a possible upset.
Stephanie: Danny Rubin “Groundhog Day” — The man basically finished the movie and then started writing the musical, but I allow that “Comet” or “Come From Away” may take this one.
Best Original Score
Zer: Dave Malloy “Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812” or Tim Minchin “Groundhog Day” — I’m sorry, I just can’t pick one for this category. They both should win, and I think one of them will. I also know that everyone is picking “Dear Evan Hansen,” for this and every other award, but I’m predicting a lot of “upsets.”
Stephanie: Dave Malloy “Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812” or Tim Minchin “Groundhog Day” — Yep, I’m copping out too. And I have to give a shout out to “Come From Away” here too because Irene Sankoff and David Hein wrote the book and music and lyrics for show and that is incredible. So, in conclusion, it’s anyone’s to win or lose.
Because it really, truly is an honor just to be nominated.