My Tony Award Predictions, BAM!

Here they are ladies and gentleladies...I filled out my predictions and ballots after weeks of endless research and preparations. As one does. Tonight's the big night and I will be live-tweeting the Tonys like people are actually interested in what I have to say. Thank God opinions are free; otherwise, I'd be broke and unable to afford Broadway fares.

Best Play
The Assembled Parties
Lucky Guy
The Testament of Mary
Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike

Should Win: Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
Will Win: Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike

Hmmm, I am going to have to think long and hard about this one. Yeah, no...not even a little bit. Featuring some of the best performances this season - so much so, four of its six-person cast were acknowledged - and matched with Christopher Durang's smart and wacky story, VSMS should just come down and collect their prize already (they show already won best play at the Outer Critics Circle and the Drama Desk awards). The one potential upset would be Lucky Guy for...what, honoring Nora Ephron's final play (or at least her 85% of it) despite its mixed reviews and its utter blahness. And can someone explain why The Assembled Parties is barely even a contender? Apparently, being one of the most well-received shows of the season doesn't matter unless Tom Hanks is in your show.

Best Musical
Bring It On: The Musical
A Christmas Story, The Musical
Kinky Boots
Matilda The Musical

Should Win: Matilda The Musical
Will Win: I legitimately have no idea.

Matilda is the clear winner for me and I knew that about 30 minutes into the show. I have nothing against the fun, energetic, crowd-pleasers, but can we just cut the crap and stop acting like Kinky Boots is THAT amazing? It is good, definitely better then other productions in its genre. But that show is the beneficiary of low expectations and its 13 nominations was mostly a result of every other new musical, less Matilda, outright sucking or is long gone (or both). I am going to need some serious convincing that it even has the chance to beat out a more modern and ambitious show.

Best Revival of a Play
Golden Boy
The Trip to Bountiful
Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

Should Win: Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Will Win: Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

No amount of Tony submission malpractice is going to distract from the fact that, even with an October opening and it shuttering out by March, Pam Mackinnon's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? was just that superb. The second-place and potential upset would be Golden Boy in my book, but I've heard next to nothing regarding that idea and it is also a victim of CSS (Closed Show Syndrome). The Trip to Bountiful, while not as great, is still running so that makes it a contender by default. But I think the Tony Voters will opt to highlight Cicely Tyson's performance and forgo rewarding the show in this regard.

Best Revival of a Musical
The Mystery of Edwin Drood
Rodgers + Hammerstein's Cinderella

Should Win: Pippin
Will Win: Pippin

I am not Pippin's biggest fan and even I believe it should (and will) take down the prize. I like my Tony winning revivals to be balls-to-the-walls ambitious and/or well-rendered in a directional sense...and those two descriptors could not be more applicable to Diane Paulus' PippinThe Mystery of Edwin Drood was great, but more of a creative achievement then one of entertainment (also, CSS). And as much as I love Cinderella, it is a little too classic and just-so to even stand a chance.

Best Performance By An Actor in a Leading Role in a Play
Tom Hanks, Lucky Guy
Nathan Lane, The Nance
Tracy Letts, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
David Hyde Pierce, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
Tom Sturridge, Orphans

Should Win: Tracy Letts, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Will Win: Tom Hanks, Lucky Guy

We have a problem here. Actually, two problems. It goes like this...Tracy Letts and Tom Sturridge are easily my one and two for this category. However, as if CSS wasn't enough of a kiss of death, the former has even more working against him. The Tony voters will not keep rewarding the same characters and both Arthur Hill and Bill Irwin, the Georges of the 1963 production and its 2005 revival, already have won Lead Actor in a Play honors. I think Lett's scenery-chewing George is far-and-away the greatest performance, but Tony politics...they are not on his side.

That leaves...uh-oh. I love David Hyde Pierce and his solid performance, but it is a little too low-key (final monologue aside) and he, through no fault of his own, didn't have the opportunity to carry the show on his shoulders. That leaves the two actors in bad shows, albeit, both were the undoubted bright spots. And Tom Hanks is the movie star making his Broadway debut...so that makes him an automatic choice over the "already has won twice" Nathan Lane. Harumph on all counts...I await disappointment.

Best Performance By An Actress in a Leading Role in a Play
Laurie Metcalf, The Other Place
Amy Morton, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Kristine Nielsen, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
Holland Taylor, Ann
Cicely Tyson, The Trip to Bountiful

Should Win: Kristine Nielsen, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
Will Win: Cicely Tyson, The Trip to Bountiful

I know, I KNOW...Laurie Metcalf was fantastic in The Other Place, but her cheering section doesn't have that much gusto. And at a point, Neilsen just walks away with VSMS with her dead-on Maggie Smith impersonation and the famous phone-call scene. But past voting patterns suggest that this is Cicely Tyson's to lose. To be fair to her, she was the most transcendent aspect of The Trip To Bountiful and every bit the crowd-pleaser that Neilsen is. But VSMS has Best Play locked up and time and time again, the Tony voters look to spread the big-name awards around, especially when the shows in question are running. Tyson is Bountiful's greatest shot at a Tony, plain and simple. I would stomp my feet that she will win out by a narrow margin, but the fact that this matchup is the closest thing to a tie is a credit to both actresses.

Best Performance By An Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical
Bertie Carvel, Matilda The Musical
Santino Fontana, Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella
Rob McClure, Chaplin
Billy Porter, Kinky Boots
Stark Sands, Kinky Boots

Should Win: Bertie Carvel, Matilda The Musical
Will Win: Bertie Carvel, Matilda The Musical

As much as I loved both Rob McClure's and Stark Sands' performances, the former hasn't been on stage in months and the latter is overshadowed by Porter's attention hungry, pandering performance as Lola (for reasons I don't agree with). But the race is down to Porter and Carvel's menacing, way-too-on-point performance as Ms. Trunchbull. I'm inclined to believe that Sands surprise turn-up in the category may just split the vote enough for Carvel and while I believe the latter should win outright anyways, I'll take it anyway that I can get it.

Best Performance By An Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical
Stephanie J. Block, The Mystery of Edwin Drood
Carolee Carmello, Scandalous
Valisia LeKae, Motown The Musical
Patina Miller, Pippin
Laura Osnes, Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella

Should Win: Laura Osnes, Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella
Will Win: Laura Osnes, Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella

First things first, I never really shared in the Patina love largely because the performance I saw her, she was way off her game. But I'll believe the general consensus that she's churning it out otherwise. This showdown between my girl Laura and Patina comes down to...well, which do you edge out: the unequivocal best part of a nice, classic, accessible show or the performer who's performance is one of many great things about a great production? As I mentioned in my long diatribe, the Tonys won't reward the same production with Best Revival, Best Director, Best Featured Actor, Actress AND Lead Actress when an alternative does exist. Moreso then the other categories, there is a suitable alternative for lead actress and as evidenced by her Drama Desk win, Osnes has a better chance then we all originally thought and girl has really been working that publicity pole dance.

Best Performance By An Actor in a Featured Role in a Play
Danny Burstein, Golden Boy
Richard Kind, The Big Knife
Billy Magnussen, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
Tony Shalhoub, Golden Boy
Courtney B. Vance, Lucky Guy

Should Win: Tony Shalhoub, Golden Boy
Will Win: Richard Kind, The Big Knife

I didn't realize how much of a toss-up this category was until now - you can make the case for any of the nominees. Magnussen's performance was risky and fun despite his character's annoying tendencies. Vance was really charismatic in a show where most people only seem to remember Tom Hanks. Burstein and Shalhoub were pitch-perfect in their roles in Golden Boy, the latter conveying utter devastation so well, something I sensed even from my balcony seat. Shaloub would be my choice, but Golden Boy was more of a directorial, set and costume design masterpiece. Not to mention, the poor guy is splitting the vote with Burstein. That leaves Richard Kind to win by default...hey, it pays to be the best part of a disaster show and Kind held up his end wonderfully amidst the production falling apart around him.

Best Performance By An Actress in a Feature Role in a Play
Carrie Coon, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Shalita Grant, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
Judith Ivey, The Heiress
Judith Light, The Assembled Parties
Condola Rashad, The Trip to Bountiful

Should Win: Shalita Grant, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
Will Win: Judith Light, The Assembled Parties

I loved most of the performances in this category, girl power y'all! I loved how Judith Ivey's Aunt Lavinia upstaged the entire production of The Heiress around her (although it wasn't that hard of a task). Condola Rashad is so beautiful and lovely and I want to have tea with her. She impeccably performed her scenes on the bus and at the bus station alongside Cicely Tyson...unfortunately for her, Bountiful is "The Cicely Tyson Show." Next to Kristine Neilsen, Shalita Grants' wise-cracking, psychic Cassandra is my favorite performance in the show and girl has a load of buzz going into tonight's ceremony, so maybe an upset is in the calling? The way I see it though, Judith Light, despite winning a Tony last year for a similar character in Other Desert Cities, is The Assembled Parties greatest chance at winning anything and more then any other actress in this category, she is the largest presence in her show.

Best Performance By An Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical
Charl Brown, Motown The Musical
Keith Carradine, Hands on a Hardbody
Will Chase, The Mystery of Edwin Drood
Gabriel Ebert, Matilda The Musical
Terrence Mann, Pippin

Should Win: Gabriel Ebert, Matilda The Musical
Will Win: Terrence Mann, Pippin

In one of the night's weaker categories, it is down to two top-notch performances: Ebert's perfectly zany Mr. Wormwood and Mann's totally boss Charlemagne. I loved Ebert slightly more for his perfectly realized character and his commitment to such an over-the-top performance, but Mann was also fantastic and with this being his third nomination and for being such a theater mainstay over the last three decades, bitch is long overdue.

Best Performance By An Actress in a Feature Role in a Musical
Annaleigh Ashford, Kinky Boots
Victoria Clark, Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella
Andrea Martin, Pippin
Keala Settle, Hands on a Hardbody
Lauren Ward, Matilda The Musical

Should Win: Annaleigh Ashford, Kinky Boots
Will Win: Andrea Martin, Pippin

Loved Victoria Clark and Lauren Ward's performances, but Annaleigh Ashford, in my mind, took what could have been a throwaway character and song and turned it into a corky, charismatic portrayal. Her "The History of Wrong Guys" is Kinky Boots best number and also the perfect combination of hilarious and heartbreaking. Unpopular opinion, I know - and I do love me some Andrea Martin - but she benefited from Diane Paulus having the vision to haul her ass up on a trapeze stunt during one of Pippin's weakest numbers (sorry, but I really don't like "No Time At All"). I am of the mind that anyone performing Berthe like that will be honored with a mid-show standing ovation, just my two cents. Rest assured, this category is as good of a lock for her then anything and I am totes okay with that...but in any other year, Ashford and maybe Ward would be much more serious contenders.

Photo Credit: TonyAwards.com

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