The excitement is building for tonight’s 66th Annual Tony Awards. Hosted by Neil Patrick Harris, live from the Beacon Theatre, this year’s Tony Awards will include big name stars such as Ricky Martin, Matthew Broderick, and Audra McDonald, and lots of spectacular performances from Broadway’s top shows. Nominated musicals such as “Newsies,” ”Nice Work If You Can Get It,” ”Once” and “Leap of Faith,” are set to perform, as well as revivals such as “Follies,” ”Evita,” ”The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess” and “Jesus Christ Superstar.” The show will even have performances from several plays, including “End of the Rainbow,” ”Peter and the Starcatcher” and “One Man, Two Guvnors.” An interesting addition to the show will be from the cruise line Royal Caribbean International, which has partnered with the Tony Awards to include a live broadcast from the middle of the Caribbean Sea, where the line’s Oasis of the Seas’ cast of “Hairspray” will perform.
Who will win, who will lose? Your guess may be as good as mine. Just in case you’re wagering a bit of money in a Tony pool, maybe this will help. Let’s get down to business.
The following are the projected winners for the Shows, Creative categories, and Lead and Feature Acting performances. We left out the Design categories.
Many critics are picking “Newsies” to take home the Tony, but they could not be more wrong. “Newsies” is based on the Newsboys Strike of 1899 in New York City. While it is a nice show, and it is from Disney, it doesn’t compare to the tiny musical with a powerful voice that is “Once.” Hopefully, Tony will do the right thing and choose “Once” as the best musical of 2012. It would be a crime to do otherwise.
The originality and the fierceness of “Venis in Fur” is hard to match. The show was intoxicating and its performers a turn on, however, it has major competition from two other plays. “Clybourne Park” won the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, and “Other Desert Cities” won the 2012 Drama League Award. A very close call, but the bold choice would be “Other Desert Cities.”
WINNER: “Other Desert Cities”
Best Revival of a Musical
All of these four shows opened to mixed reviews, “Follies,” perhaps the least criticized. “Jesus Christ Superstar” and “Evita” are big and flashy, while “The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess” has been completely revamped, with the idea of having it suit contemporary audiences. “Follies” would definitely be a sentimental favorite. If Tony is feeling nostalgic, then “Follies” is your winner.
Best Revival of a Play
Brilliantly directed by Mike Nichols and superbly acted, Arthur Miller’s “Death of a Salesman” is a definite win. If any show has the slightest chance in the running, it would be “Gore Vidal’s The Best Man.”
WINNER: “Death of a Salesman”
Best Book of a Musical
Enda Walsh, who turned “Once” into a rare, magical piece of poetry should win. His words are carefully chosen, and entwined with a bit of humor. He gave the piece a swagger that the movie did not. Douglas Carter Beane showed originality and would be an interesting choice for the very peppy “Lysistrata Jones.” Then, there is Harvey Fierstein, whom everyone knows and adores, for “Newsies.” If it is about popularity, then Harvey wins, but hopefully it is about both originality and pure talent.
WINNER: Enda Walsh for “Once”
Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical
This may be the trickiest category of all. There are two possible choices here; Jeremy Jordan for “Newsies,” or Steve Kazee for “Once.” Jeremy Jordan is definitely a little powerhouse with that voice of his, but Steve Kazee is truly haunting in “Once.” Kazee keeps it simple, and not in a bad way. He is just so natural in this role, it is as if the role were made just for him. Kazee so convincingly plays the heartbroken Irishman Guy, that you actually feel his ache.
WINNER: Steve Kazee for “Once”
Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical
What can you say about Audra McDonald except that she is a phenomenon and talented beyond your wildest imagination. “Is there any real competition in this category?” The answer is “No.” Audra McDonald will take home the Tony.
WINNER: Audra McDonald for “The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess”
Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play
James Earl Jones, John Lithgow, James Corden, Frank Langella, and Phillip Seymour Hoffman. This category has some amazing actors which makes it hard to choose. A difficult choice, but the Tony will go to Phillip Seymour Hoffman for his superb performance in “Death of a Salesman.” James Corden gives an equally fine performance in “One Man, Two Guvnors,” however, drama tends to win over comedy in award shows.
WINNER: Philip Seymour Hoffman for “Death of a Salesman”
Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play
There are three fierce competitors here, Linda Lavin, Nina Arianda, and Tracie Bennett, who are all truly amazing. Linda Lavin is a favorite and also won the 2012 Obie Award, but Tracie Bennett gives a kick ass performance as Judy Garland in “End of the Rainbow.” Nina Arianda’s electrifying performance in “Venus in Fur” is also very Tony worthy. It will be a tight race, but Nina Arianda will be the surprise win for “Venus in Fur.”
WINNER: Nina Arianda for “Venus in Fur”
Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical
Michael Cerveris should win the Tony for “Evita.” He delivers an absolutely impeccable performance as Juan Peron, capturing the true essence of the man. Phillip Boykin who plays the villainous Crown in “The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess” may have a good shot as well. He is powerful and intimidating onstage, which is only magnified by his rich baritone voice.
WINNER: Michael Cerveris for “Evita”
Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical
All the nominees are good here, however, Judy Kaye seems to be all the talk for her performance in “Nice Work if You Can Get It.” Based on that alone, her chances seem pretty good.
WINNER: Judy Kaye for “Nice Work if You Can Get It”
Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play
A very tight race with two actors edging out the rest of the competition. Andrew Garfield for “Death of a Salesman” and Christian Borle for “Peter and the Starcatcher.” It really is anyone’s guess for this one.
WINNER: Andrew Garfield for “Death of a Salesman”
Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play
Judith Light’s portrayal of Silda in “Other Desert Cities” is very moving. A bit sassy, a bit witty, and a bit pathetic, Light effortlessly weaves the layers of this character nicely together. A favorite in the race, Light has received high praise for this role, which may be all she needs to take home the Tony.
WINNER: Judith Light for “Other Desert Cities”
Best Original Score Written for the Theatre
Now here is a category for which “Newsies” can take home the Tony. Songwriters Alan Menken and Jack Feldman will win this for their delightful new score. It is Disney after all, and they are best known for their catchy tunes and tend to win almost everything, especially in musical categories.
WINNER: Alan Menken and Jack Feldman for “Newsies”
Best Direction of a Musical
John Tiffany for “Once” should win. He pulled off a brilliantly intimate and poetic love story that is less on flash and more on substance. The best part is the open bar pre-show and during intermission. Brilliant.
WINNER: John Tiffany for “Once”
Best Direction of a Play
One thing Mike Nichols is very good at is seducing an audience. He knows exactly what to give them. His direction of “Death of a Salesman” is no different. Loved by many for his body of work, he is a definite favorite to win.
WINNER: Mike Nichols for “Death of a Salesman”
Although this is his first Broadway show, Christopher Gattelli of “Newsies” has a very good shot at winning. The emphasis of this musical is its energetic, dancing newspaper boys who seem to surge all over the three-level set.
WINNER: Christopher Gattelli for “Newsies”
The Gershwins and Broadway were made for each other. When you think of the name Gershwin, you think of Broadway. They are synonymous. I’m not sure there is anything else to say.
WINNER: William David Brohn and Christopher Jahnke for “The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess”