Tony Awards 2019 - Editor's Predictions
A guide to our predicted winners of all the competitive categories at The 73rd Annual Tony Awards...
The biggest night of the Broadway calendar is almost upon us, as this Sunday, Tony and 7-time Emmy Award winner James Corden is set to reprise his role as host of The Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall in the heart of New York City. As per usual, the 73rd annual edition of the ceremony will be broadcast live on CBS, beginning at 8pm (ET), but before we get there, it's time to give you my predicted winners for all those coveted Tonys!
Unlike recent Broadway seasons where musicals the likes of Hamilton or The Band's Visit or plays such as Harry Potter and the Cursed Child have made a clean sweep, I have a feeling that this season will see the Tonys spread out a little more evenly between competing productions.
So, without any further ado, here are my educated tips for this Sunday's mammoth event...
Choir Boy - Author: Tarell Alvin McCraney
The Ferryman - Author: Jez Butterworth - PREDICTED WINNER...
Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus - Author: Taylor Mac
Ink - Author: James Graham
What the Constitution Means to Me - Author: Heidi Schreck
The Ferryman has been pretty much unstoppable this Awards Season and I'd be surprised to see it not go all the way this Sunday. Despite the timing of its opening back in fall 2018 and its slightly dwindling box office numbers this spring, the critical acclaim of this London import should be enough to carry it to Tonys success. The dark horse in the race that may cause the upset, however, is Heidi Schreck's American original What the Constitution Means to Me, which could not have hit Broadway at a more socially and politically urgent time and could sway the voters due to its fierce and timely content.
Hadestown stole the headlines as the most Tony-nominated production of the 2018-2019 season with a grand total of 14 nods and I would put money on it taking home the coveted "Best Musical" award this Sunday. It is the most original and innovative offering amongst this year's nominees and is as beloved amongst its ever-growing fanbase as it is with the critics.
BEST REVIVAL OF A PLAY
I feel this category may be one of the tightest races at this year's ceremony and any one of these five nominees would be deserving of the prize. Although I wouldn't be surprised to see the excellent revivals of Burn This or The Waverly Gallery be crowned the winner on Sunday, I feel that the sentimental favorite might be the star-studded 50th Anniversary production of Mart Crowley's The Boys in the Band, which featured an entire cast of openly gay actors, as we celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Stonewall this Pride Month. But did enough Tony voters actually get to see it last summer?
BEST REVIVAL OF A MUSICAL
This is another category I see as neck-and-neck and it really could go either way but I have a sneaky feeling that the Tony voters will decide to reward Oklahoma! for its re-invented take on a 1943 classic and for its bold directorial and staging choices over the more traditionally nostalgic production of Kiss Me, Kate at Roundabout Theatre Company.
BEST BOOK OF A MUSICAL
Ain't Too Proud - The Life and Times of the Temptations - Dominique Morisseau
Beetlejuice - Scott Brown & Anthony King
Hadestown - Anaïs Mitchell
The Prom - Bob Martin & Chad Beguelin
Tootsie - Robert Horn - PREDICTED WINNER...
My gut tells me that Hadestown might not grab the award for "Best Book of a Musical" despite coming out as the overall "Best Musical" winner. I think Anaïs Mitchell might just get pipped at the post by Robert Horn's hilarious, crowd-pleasing book for Tootsie, which wisely transposed the 1982 film's TV soap opera setting to a Broadway musical itself, allowing theatrical in-jokes galore!
BEST ORIGINAL SCORE (MUSIC AND/OR LYRICS) WRITTEN FOR THE THEATRE
Be More Chill - Music & Lyrics: Joe Iconis
Beetlejuice - Music & Lyrics: Eddie Perfect
Hadestown - Music & Lyrics: Anaïs Mitchell - PREDICTED WINNER...
The Prom - Music: Matthew Sklar, Lyrics: Chad Beguelin
To Kill a Mockingbird - Music: Adam Guettel
Tootsie - Music & Lyrics: David Yazbek
In contrast to the "Best Book of a Musical" category, I believe Hadestown's Anaïs Mitchell will be rewarded with the Tony for "Best Original Score" this Sunday for her beautifully eclectic music and lyrics that fuse together modern American Folk with New Orleans-style Blues and Jazz in the most emotionally appealing of ways. And her musical number "Wait For Me" is the cherry on the cake.
BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE IN A PLAY
Even though Adam Driver gave a jaw-dropping performance as Pale in Burn This and Jeremy Pope outdid everyone with an all-singing, all-dancing and emotionally wrought performance in Choir Boy, I think there's just no stopping the tour-de-force that is Bryan Cranston in Network for this one. And it will probably be the only prize this smash hit, best-selling Broadway production takes home with it this Sunday.
BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE IN A PLAY
Annette Bening, Arthur Miller's All My Sons
Laura Donnelly, The Ferryman
Elaine May, The Waverly Gallery - PREDICTED WINNER...
Janet McTeer, Bernhardt/Hamlet
Laurie Metcalf, Hillary and Clinton
Heidi Schreck, What the Constitution Means to Me
I think that the legend that is Elaine May is the strong favorite for "Best Actress in a Leading Role in a Play" this Sunday and her portrayal of Gladys Green, a woman slowly deteriorating due to her Alzheimer's disease, was as impressive as it was utterly heartbreaking. Again, I feel that the dark horse in the race would be Heidi Schreck, depending on whether the Tony voters wish to make a political and social statement.
BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE IN A MUSICAL
Brooks Ashmanskas, The Prom
Derrick Baskin, Ain't Too Proud - The Life and Times of the Temptations
Alex Brightman, Beetlejuice
Damon Daunno, Rodgers & Hammerstein's Oklahoma!
Santino Fontana, Tootsie - PREDICTED WINNER...
Another very tight race, this could go to any of the five talented nominees, but I think the frontrunners might well be Brooks Ashmanskas and Santino Fontana. Due to the fact that Santino's role calls for a little more versatility, playing both Michael Dorsey and his female alter ego of Dorothy Michaels, I think he may well grab the coveted prize come Sunday.
BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE IN A MUSICAL
Although I loved Beth Leavel's performance as Broadway diva Dee Dee Allen in The Prom, I have a feeling this is finally going to be Stephanie J. Block's year. She has a much more demanding role as the leading lady of The Cher Show, even though she has amazing support from Teal Wicks and Micaela Diamond, and it's about time people stopped turning their noses up at the acting talent it takes to pull off credible impersonations!
BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A FEATURED ROLE IN A PLAY
Bertie Carvel won an Olivier Award for this fine portrayal of a young Rupert Murdoch and come Sunday, I think he'll be able to add a Tony Award to his collection as well. However, this is yet another completely open category and it wouldn't surprise me either if the likes of Benjamin Walker or Brandon Uranowitz nabbed the prize on the night.
BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A FEATURED ROLE IN A PLAY
Fionnula Flanagan, The Ferryman
Celia Keenan-Bolger, To Kill a Mockingbird - PREDICTED WINNER...
Kristine Nielsen, Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus
Julie White, Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus
Ruth Wilson, King Lear
All five of these ladies gave absolutely stunning performances, but I feel the Tony voters are going to go with Broadway favorite Celia Keenan-Bolger, who not only pulls off a highly convincing portrayal of the young child, Scout Finch, but also guides the audience effortlessly in one of the narrator functions of To Kill a Mockingbird.
BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A FEATURED ROLE IN A MUSICAL
André De Shields, Hadestown - PREDICTED WINNER...
Andy Grotelueschen, Tootsie
Patrick Page, Hadestown
Jeremy Pope, Ain't Too Proud - The Life and Times of the Temptations
Ephraim Sykes, Ain't Too Proud - The Life and Times of the Temptations
André De Shields is absolutely mesmerizing as Hermes in Hadestown and I can't imagine any other actor putting his own personal stamp on the role quite like Mr. De Shields. Like Celia Keenan-Bolger, he also sevres well as the narrator for the production and I can't see anyone toppling him on Sunday.
BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A FEATURED ROLE IN A MUSICAL
Five more amazing performances from five uber-talented ladies and I have a feeling it's going to come down to two Broadway favorites, who, in my humble opinion, were easily the best thing about the Broadway revial of Oklahoma! It's a close call between Ali Stroker and Mary Testa, but I feel Ali's utterly adorable turn as Ado Annie might just pip Mary's assertive performance as Aunt Eller at the post.
BEST DIRECTION OF A PLAY
I always think that the "Best Play" and "Best Direction of a Play" categories tend to go hand-in-hand. It's not always the case, but in this one, I think Sam Mendes is pretty deserving of the honor.
BEST DIRECTION OF A MUSICAL
Rachel Chavkin, Hadestown - PREDICTED WINNER...
Scott Ellis, Tootsie
Daniel Fish, Rodgers & Hammerstein's Oklahoma!
Des McAnuff, Ain't Too Proud - The Life and Times of the Temptations
Casey Nicholaw, The Prom
Similar argument to above, but in Rachel Chavkin's case, she has also co-developed this astonishing musical since its early stages and if she doesn't win on Sunday evening, it would be nothing short of a travesty.
Camille A. Brown, Choir Boy
Warren Carlyle, Kiss Me, Kate
Denis Jones, Tootsie
David Neumann, Hadestown
Sergio Trujillo, Ain't Too Proud - The Life and Times of the Temptations - PREDICTED WINNER...
I'm going to give a slightly risky prediction for the category of "Best Choreography". Even though Warren Carlyle may well be the favorite for Kiss Me, Kate, I just feel there may be a little upset victory on the cards here for Sergio Trujillo and I think it would be a shame for this insanely popular musical Ain't Too Proud to walk away empty-handed on Sunday.
And here's a quick run-down of my predictions for the rest of the competitive categories at The 73rd Annual Tony Awards...
Michael Chorney and Todd Sickafoose, Hadestown
Simon Hale, Tootsie
Larry Hochman, Kiss Me, Kate
Daniel Kluger, Rodgers & Hammerstein's Oklahoma! - PREDICTED WINNER...
Harold Wheeler, Ain't Too Proud - The Life and Times of the Temptations
BEST SCENIC DESIGN OF A PLAY
BEST SCENIC DESIGN OF A MUSICAL
Robert Brill and Peter Nigrini, Ain't Too Proud - The Life and Times of the Temptations
Peter England, King Kong
Rachel Hauck, Hadestown
Laura Jellinek, Rodgers & Hammerstein's Oklahoma!
David Korins, Beetlejuice - PREDICTED WINNER...
BEST COSTUME DESIGN OF A PLAY
BEST COSTUME DESIGN OF A MUSICAL
Michael Krass, Hadestown
William Ivey Long, Beetlejuice
William Ivey Long, Tootsie
Bob Mackie, The Cher Show - PREDICTED WINNER...
Paul Tazewell, Ain't Too Proud - The Life and Times of the Temptations
BEST LIGHTING DESIGN OF A PLAY
Neil Austin, Ink - PREDICTED WINNER...
Jules Fisher + Peggy Eisenhauer, Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus
Peter Mumford, The Ferryman
Jennifer Tipton, To Kill a Mockingbird
Jan Versweyveld and Tal Yarden, Network
BEST LIGHTING DESIGN OF A MUSICAL
Kevin Adams, The Cher Show
Howell Binkley, Ain't Too Proud - The Life and Times of the Temptations
Bradley King, Hadestown - PREDICTED WINNER...
Peter Mumford, King Kong
Kenneth Posner and Peter Nigrini, Beetlejuice
BEST SOUND DESIGN OF A PLAY
BEST SOUND DESIGN OF A MUSICAL
Peter Hylenski, Beetlejuice
Peter Hylenski, King Kong
Steve Canyon Kennedy, Ain't Too Proud - The Life and Times of the Temptations
Drew Levy, Rodgers & Hammerstein's Oklahoma!
Nevin Steinberg and Jessica Paz, Hadestown - PREDICTED WINNER...
And that wraps it up for all of my predictions for this year's Tony Awards, folks. How many would you agree with? How many would you strongly disagree with? It's certainly going to be a very interesting ceremony this Sunday with so many open categories, so be sure to tune in as all the lucky winners are revealed...
(Header photo by Jason Bell for CBS / Nominee photos by Tom Millward)