2017 Tony Award Predictions: Who Will Win?

2017 Tony Award Predictions: Who Will Win?
June 7, 2017

Bette Midler in 'Hello, Dolly!' Photo Credit: Julieta Cervantes

Julieta Cervantes

Bette Midler in ‘Hello, Dolly!‘ Photo Credit: Julieta Cervantes

This Sunday June 11, the Tony Awards will return to Radio City Music HallPast winner and self-described “15th choice” Kevin Spacey will host the night, and while there’s nothing like Hamilton this season to goose viewership, producers are packing the show with celebs to entice the masses. Expect appearances from starry names like Mark Hamill, Whoopi Goldberg, Sara Bareilles, and John Legend.

Below are my predictions for the evening’s winners, based on what I know of the voters’ tastes, past trends, box office performance, critical reception, and word on the street from producers and other industry insiders.

Best Musical: Dear Evan Hansen

It’s as close as we’ll get to a Hamilton this season. With great reviews, tremendous industry goodwill, and months of record-shattering sales, this is a pretty safe bet.

Best PlayOslo

A Doll’s House, Part 2 is campaigning like mad, but I don’t think it’s going to be enough. Oslo‘s got too much momentum, and it only feels more relevant with each passing news cycle. But honestly, I’d be happy with any of the nominees – it’s an incredibly strong quartet of new American plays.

Best Revival Of A Musical: Hello, Dolly!

Are the other shows even campaigning?

Best Revival Of A Play: Jitney

Has picked up every major award for Best Revival so far, and deserves all of them. In a biz that struggles mightily with racial equity – this season in particular – voters won’t pass up the chance to honor one of the few powerful black voices we have (though they seem to be avoiding Lynn Nottage’s Sweat, which merits a different conversation about parity…)

Best Actress In A Musical:  Bette Midler (Hello, Dolly!)

She’s essentially Broadway’s terminator: unstoppable and ridiculously entertaining.

Best Actor In A Musical: Ben Platt (Dear Evan Hansen)

Andy Karl is great in Groundhog Day, but you’d be bonkers to bet against Ben Platt. Karl is Broadway’s quintessential leading man: charismatic, handsome, and capable. As Evan Hansen, Platt is something much more.

Laurie Metcalf and Jane Houdyshell in 'A Doll's House, Part 2'

Brigitte Lacombe

Laurie Metcalf and Jane Houdyshell in ‘A Doll’s House, Part 2’

Best Actress In A Play: Laurie Metcalf (A Doll’s House, Part 2)

Her performance has been the biggest draw for the little show that could – and rightly so. Voters will want to honor her even if they vote for Oslo overall.

Best Actor In A Play: Kevin Kline (Present Laughter)

Like Metcalf in her show, Kline is the chief draw for this delightful production, and the reason it’s been the highest-grossing play every week this spring. Voters are eating up his ham, even if they’ll opt for the heartier meal of Jitney overall.

Best Featured Actress In A Musical: Jenn Colella (Come From Away)

With Hansen likely to sweep almost everything else, voters seem to be congregating around Come From Away‘s only real standout role. However, this is by far the toughest prediction. Rachel Bay Jones deserves this, too. Heck, my fav featured role of the season (Brittain Ashford in The Great Comet) wasn’t even nominated, so what do I know?

Best Featured Actor In A Musical: Gavin Creel (Hello, Dolly!)

Creel does an amazing job of tempering the show’s innate misogyny with his goofy lack of machismo, and he’s been a fan favorite for years. Though Lucas Steele (and his cheekbones) are right behind.

Best Featured Actress In a Play: Cynthia Nixon (The Little Foxes)

Ben Brantley and I, for once, agree: this should go to Condola Rashad in A Doll’s House, Part 2. But since Metcalf is taking Best Actress there, Nixon will pick this up for her half of the stunt casting in Foxes, where she and Laura Linney swap roles each night.

Best Featured Actor In A Play: Danny Devito (The Price)

In his Broadway debut at the tender age of 72, DeVito gave a masterclass on how to eat an egg onstage in the most captivating way possible. (The rest of his performance was also pretty stellar). But Michael Aronov is the heart of Oslo, and could sneak in here for an upset.

Best Original Score: Benj Pasek & Justin Paul (Dear Evan Hansen)

While Come From Away‘s Celtic flavor is far more of a standout this season, I don’t think there’s any stopping the juggernaut duo of Pasek And Paul. They’re going to EGOT so fast.

Best Book Of A Musical: Steven Levenson (Dear Evan Hansen)

Given last year’s debate about how voters (and most of the industry) don’t know what “Book” means, there’s a chance The Great Comet could win this simply because it’s based on a big novel (War and Peace). But Levenson is more deserving for his terrific script.

Best Direction Of A Musical: Michael Greif (Dear Evan Hansen)

Rachel Chavkin should win this hands-down for the incredible way she wrangled The Great Comet into something remotely follow-able, but Greif has been snubbed for two landmark shows in the past (RENT, Next To Normal) and I think third time’s the charm.

Best Direction Of A Play: Bartlett Sher (Oslo)

Wrangling a three-hour play is no mean feat, let alone one about secret Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. Sher’s decades of experience are on full display with this epic show – though I wish more voters knew how integral Rebecca Taichman was in co-creating the achingly beautiful Indecent.

Best Orchestrations: Larry Hochman (Hello, Dolly!)

Dave Malloy’s work on The Great Comet is a staggering feat, given the array of musical styles that show encompasses. But voters (especially the older ones) are eating up the classic, brassy sound of Hochman’s Dolly.

Best Choreography: Sam Pinkleton (Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet Of 1812)

Andy Blankenbuehler could upset this, hot off his win from Hamilton last season. But the spectacle of 30 burlesque dancers kick-lining in 360 degrees around you really can’t be beat this season.

Brittain Ashford and Denee Benton as Sonya and Natasha in 'The Great Comet'.

Photo: Chad Bakta

Brittain Ashford and Denee Benton as Sonya and Natasha in ‘The Great Comet’.

Best Scenic Design In A Musical: Mimi Lien (Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812)

After extensive renovations, the entire Imperial Theater functions as The Great Comet’s velvet-draped set. The scale alone is almost worth the price of admission.

Best Scenic Design In A Play: Nigel Hook (The Play That Goes Wrong)

The British comedy should have been recognized for so much more, but there’s no denying the wow factor of a set that self-destructs each night with flawless precision. The question is: have enough voters seen the show to know how well it falls apart?

Best Costume Design In A Play: Jane Greenwood (The Little Foxes)

Fab period dresses separate Greenwood’s work from the crowd this season.

Best Costume Design In A Musical: Santo Loquasto (Hello, Dolly!)

The New York Times did a full feature on this season’s hats, and there’s no escaping the decadence of Bette’s feathers among the throng. The rest of show looks terrific, too.

Best Lighting Design In A Play: Christopher Akerlind (Indecent)

Rarely is a play’s lighting so central to both the aesthetic and storytelling. Indecent should be getting so much more, but this will likely be the only award it picks up, so voters will go for it.

Best Lighting Design In A Musical: Bradley King (Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812)

There’s really no competition here. Dear Evan Hansen’s projection are neat, but King’s work on The Great Comet is so rich as to be almost tactile.

Best Sound Design: No One

Ha, jokes. At least Gareth Fry and Pete Malkin picked up a special Tony already for their work on the criminally underseen The Encounter.

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