(edit: these were wrong, wrong, wrong. guess the Tony voters love hype a little bit more than I expected. – Will)
This Sunday (11th June 2017), theatre fans around the world will be staying up late, waking up early, and even sleeping at a normal time. Why? Because, it’s the 71st annual Tony Awards of course – the night when brilliant shows are commemorated with a medallion, and slightly less brilliant shows are recognised with a smile. The nominations have already claimed their first ‘casualty’, Amélie, which starred Philippa Soo in the title role and closed last month after receiving mixed to negative reviews and not a single Tony nomination. However, this has been a busy season for new shows, so competition has been extremely tough, which is why the atmosphere is going to be no less than tense this Sunday. In the spirit of good fun, a bunch of us admins have made our own predictions as to what will win what. And who knows, perhaps the closest guesser will win their own A1A2 ‘Best Predictor’ Tony?
Will (UK, Founder)
Who will win: Dave Malloy for Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812
Who I want to win: Dave Malloy for Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812
Comment: When I saw this show back in April, it was certainly an experience, but the orchestrations were the one thing that stood out more than anything else. TGC has a huge ensemble who each play a huge variety of instruments, and Dave Malloy deserves a nod for his impressive writing.
Who will win: Andy Blankenbuehler for Bandstand
Who I want to win: Sam Pinkleton for Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812
Comment: Bandstand is a very dance-focused show, so I wouldn’t be surprised if it wins a Tony for that. However, TGC is revolutionary, and while the choreography is very dependent on the extravagant staging, watching a random woman do pushups three inches from your face is a game-changer.
Who will win: Michael Greif for Dear Evan Hansen
Who I want to win: Michael Greif for Dear Evan Hansen
Comment: DEH is exquisitely directed, with a real craft and simple, welcoming stage atmosphere which works flawlessly with the plot and music. Thus, I would be very surprised if Michael Greif does not win.
Best Lighting Design of a Musical
Who will win: Bradley King for Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812
Who I want to win: Bradley King for Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812
Comment: Everybody is predicting that TGC will win all the technical awards, and rightly so. The lighting in particular is outstanding, from the captivating orange glow that simulates the Russian club, to the delicate chill-inducing comet of the final scene.
Best Costume Design of a Musical
Who will win: Catherine Zuber for War Paint
Who I want to win: Paloma Young for Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812
Comment: For a musical about the fashion and modelling industry, you can expect the costumes to be beautiful, and with production pictures alone, one can see so for themselves. However, costumes in TGC really are charming, and there are so many tiny details that are magical to spot: seeing someone sport a Mickey Mouse jacket with Nike shoes was purely delightful.
Best Scenic Design of a Musical
Who will win: Mimi Lien for Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812
Who I want to win: Rob Howell for Groundhog Day The Musical
Comment: Even though the set is almost entirely stationary in TGC, Mimi Lien is almost a guaranteed win for this award, which is a shame because Rob Howell tackles five revolves and complicated scene changes perfectly whilst still capturing the down-to-earth essence of small town community and architecture.
Best Original Score Written for the Theatre
Best Book of a Musical
Who will win: Danny Rubin for Groundhog Day The Musical
Who I want to win: Danny Rubin for Groundhog Day The Musical
Comment: Groundhog Day is hilarious, touching, and powerful, and should be a strong win for Danny Rubin, who also co-wrote the original movie. The only competition in this category is DEH, the only ‘original’ nominee in this category, but the ending is disappointing and there are some verging-on-unbelievable moments during the show.
Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical
Who will win: Stephanie J. Block for Falsettos
Who I want to win: Jenn Colella for Come From Away
Comment: This category is tough, tough, tough, and each nominee deserves it as much as the next. That said, SJB was fantastic in Falsettos, and without a doubt worthy of a win. However, I adore Jenn Colella’s performance in CFA too, so whatever happens in this category I’m sure to be delighted with the outcome.
Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical
Who will win: Mike Faist for Dear Evan Hansen
Who I want to win: Lucas Steele for Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812
Comment: Both of the above names are first-time nominees, and while Lucas Steele gives an admirable and entrancing performance as Anatole, I suspect the subtleties and intricacies of Mike Faist’s Connor will earn in the award.
Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical
Who will win: Bette Midler for Hello, Dolly!
Who I want to win: Bette Midler for Hello, Dolly!
Comment: Bette Midler is a legend, and her performance in HD is the talk of the town, with tickets selling for ridiculous prices and the sole selling point being her name. I am so sure that she’ll win this Tony that, in the unlikely event that she doesn’t, I will personally learn and perform the entirety of HD, role by role, and upload it to YouTube.
Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical
Who will win: Andy Karl for Groundhog Day The Musical
Who I want to win: Andy Karl for Groundhog Day The Musical
Comment: Besides ‘Best Musical’, this is the most hotly contested category. Ben Platt is certainly giving an astonishing and draining performance in DEH, but the terms of the category must take into account acting ability too, and this is where BP may fall down a little, even though his singing is far superior to the other nominees. Andy Karl, however, is in a career-defining performance, and having won the Olivier for his portrayal of Phil Connors already, his off-beat charm and love-to-hate-him stage presence should earn him this Tony. After all, it is his third nomination!
Best Revival of a Musical
Who will win: Hello, Dolly!
Who I want to win: Falsettos
Comment: Falsettos was such a sweet and charming production, with a magnificent cast, so to see them win this would be amazing. However, again HD appears to be the favourite, but the recital promise doesn’t count if it doesn’t win!
Who will win: Come From Away
Who I really, really, really want to win: Groundhog Day The Musical
Comment: Anyone who knows me also knows that GhD is my favourite musical. That’s why it pains me to not put it in the ‘who will win’ area, and I pray to Punxsutawney Phil that I haven’t jinxed the situation. Groundhog Day is visually adorable, quirky, and magical, the music is creative, hilarious, and captivating, and the book is laugh-out-loud, delightful, and sweet. And I haven’t even mentioned the wonderful cast or any other technical elements that make the show so fantastic. However, CFA has been winning ‘Best Musical’ left, right, and centre, and it’s showing no signs of slowing down too. The story is a real feel-good New York tale, and if that doesn’t persuade the Tony committee, I would be surprised. Theatre fans themselves may be surprised as well at the omission of Dear Evan Hansen, but the best thing about it is the music, for which (if my predictions turn out to be true) it has already been awarded a Tony, and taking another one away from either of these beautiful shows is tough. But it is a tough year, and all four nominees are great in their own ways and each has an almost equal chance of winning, so we’ll just have to wait and see.