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2012 Tony Award Predictions

June 7th, 2012

Steve Kazee & Cristin Milioti in "Once". Photo by Joan Marcus.

Get out your crystal ball and start laying odds, the Tony Awards are this Sunday night and, for once (and for Once) it’s a real nail-biter in many categories.  Which is my way of saying…don’t blame me if my predictions are off. Nevertheless, I’m diving into the fray for the first time and giving my picks for the winner (in violet) and possible spoiler (in red) in each of the marquee categories; the tech awards are just as important but I leave those to more knowledgeable experts.

And, of course, check back in here on Monday morning for a wrap up of all the Tony surprises, snubs and snafus. Let the game’s begin…


Best Play

Clybourne Park 

Other Desert Cities 

Peter and the Starcatcher 

Venus in Fur

[One of the toughest categories of the night with all four shows having legitimate claims to the prize. The snub for Mantello’s direction of Desert Cities slightly tips this in favor of Pulitzer-winner Clybourne.]


Best Musical

Leap of Faith


Nice Work If You Can Get It 


[It’s a two show race though between the low key, artsy show and the Disney crowd-pleaser. I may be being swayed by my love for the music in Once on this one but a tour announcement and growing box office for the show tells me this is the little musical that could. But, again, this one is razor thin…]

Andrew Garfield & Finn Wittrock in "Death of a Salesman". Photo by Brigitte Lacombe.


Best Revival of a Play

Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman

Don’t Dress for Dinner

Gore Vidal’s The Best Man

Master Class


[Um…yeah…there are other choices here?]


Best Revival of a Musical



The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess

Jesus Christ Superstar

[Follies is hurt by not being open in New York anymore but the rapturous reviews and the Sondheim aura should propel it over the impressive but more controversial Porgy.]


Best Actor in a Leading Role, Play

James Corden – One Man, Two Guvnors

Philip Seymour Hoffman – Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman

James Earl Jones – Gore Vidal’s The Best Man

Frank Langella – Man and Boy

John Lithgow – The Columnist

[I wish I had the courage of my convictions to predict Corden as I want to but it’s hard to imagine the voters ignoring the movie star allure and the “import” of Hoffman’s role.]


Tracie Bennett in "End of the Rainbow". Photo by Carol Rosegg.

Best Actress in a Leading Role, Play

Nina Arianda – Venus in Fur

Tracie Bennett – End of the Rainbow

Stockard Channing – Other Desert Cities

Linda Lavin – The Lyons

Cynthia Nixon – Wit

[Goodness, this year is hard to predict with many viable candidates in each category. Arianda would have this sewn up given her meteoric rise and her second nod in two years. But Bennett is a wonder and doing more work than anyone out there…sometimes more acting wins. I’ve switched my choice on this ten times so…flip a coin.]

Best Actor in a Leading Role, Musical

Danny Burstein – Follies

Jeremy Jordan – Newsies

Steve Kazee – Once

Norm Lewis – The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess

Ron Raines – Follies

[Kazee is the true center of his show and has a personal story (long road to success, family tragedy, etc.) that make him a Cinderella candidate that is hard to beat. I know people are mentioning Jordan as a spoiler but I think the good will for Broadway regular Burstein and his stealing the show from starrier colleagues makes him the stealth candidate.]


Best Actress in a Leading Role, Musical

Jan Maxwell – Follies

Audra McDonald – The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess

Cristin Milioti – Once

Kelli O’Hara – Nice Work If You Can Get It

Laura Osnes – Bonnie & Clyde

[Audra continues her untouchable track record with another win; she’ll need a separate home to house these. Maxwell’s work, though, lingers in the mind.]


Best Actor in a Featured Role, Play

Tom Sedden, One Man, Two Guvnors

Andrew GarfieldDeath of a Salesman

Christian BorlePeter and the Starcatcher

Michael Cumpsty, End of the Rainbow

Jeremy Shamos, Clybourne Park

[As I said on nomination day, count on publicity for Smash next season to be able to trumpet “Tony Winner Christian Borle”. The rumbles of a miscast Garfield might be enough to keep his movie star aura from taking the day.)


Judith Light in "Other Desert Cities". Photo by Joan Marcus.

Best Actress in a Featured Role, Play

Linda EmondDeath of a Salesman

Spencer Kayden, Don’t Dress For Dinner

Celia Keenan Bolger, Peter and the Starcatcher

Judith LightOther Desert Cities

Condola Rashad, Stick Fly

[She’s the boss…and absolutely deserving. I don’t see anyone else winning this unless Salesman is a juggernaut.]


Best Actor in a Featured Role, Musical

Philip Boykin, Porgy and Bess

Michael CerverisEvita

David Alan Grier, Porgy and Bess

Michael McGrathNice Work…

Paul Young, Jesus Christ Superstar

[This one is killing me. Boykin would be my choice but cases could be made for everyone else and I have NO idea where the voters are on this one. Drama Desk went with McGrath, buzz says Cerveris or Young. My picks are purely random, so don’t blame me when you lose your bet.]


Best Actress in a Featured Role, Musical

Elizabeth A. Davis, Once

Jane HoudyshellFollies

Judy KayeNice Work

Jessie Mueller, On a Clear Day

Da’Vine Joy Randolph, Ghost

[Beloved, stretching herself and having a blast, Kaye is unbeatable.]


Best Original Score

Frank Wildhorn & Don Black, Bonnie & Clyde

Alan Menken & Jack FeldmanNewsies

Grant Olding, One Man, Two Guvnors

Wayne Barker & Rick Elice, Peter and the Starcatcher

[As I said in my nominee post and only feel it more now, “Menken can finally add that Tony to his shelf…and we should all say a little prayer to Howard Ashman, who should be there by his side.”]


Best Book of a Musical

Douglas Carter Beane, Lysistrata Jones

Harvey FiersteinNewsies

Nice Work If You Can Get ItJoe DiPeitro

Enda Walsh, Once

[Yikes, each on here has a strike against it. Some find Once too slight, Nice Work too haphazard, Newsies too Newsies and Jones too closed.]


Aaron J. Albano & Jess LeProtto in "Newsies". Photo by Deen van Meer.

Best Choreography

Rob Ashford, Evita

Christopher GattelliNewsies

Steven Hoggett, Once

Kathleen Marshall, Nice Work If You Can Get It

[No contest; Gattelli is taking home the Tony.]


Best Director, Play

Nicholas Hytner, One Man, Two Guvnors

Pam MacKinnon, Clybourne Park

Mike NicholsDeath of a Salesman

Roger Rees & Alex TimbersPeter and the Starcatcher

[Nichols is a legend taking on a legend…but they sure did give Peter a lot of nominations.]


Best Director, Musical

Jeff CalhounNewies

Kathleen Marshall, Nice Work If You Can Get It

Diane Paulus, Porgy and Bess

John TiffanyOnce

[Tiffany takes it for bringing his independent sensibilities to Broadway and not losing his way.]

What do you think I have wrong? Who do you hope surprises with a win? Let me know in the comments!

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