With Broadway’s lights shining a bit brighter tomorrow for the 66th annual Tony awards, here are some predictions on who will take home theatre’s highest honors from the show queen at NewNowNext:
* Clybourne Park – While Other Desert Cities has tons of star power, this 2011 Pulitzer Prize winner for drama leads the pack with its fresh, frank and even funny conversations about race in America. Spanning pre-civil rights to the present, this is a Tony award winner for all times.
Other Desert Cities
Peter and the StarCatcher
Venus in Fur
Leap of Faith
Nice Work if You Can Get It
* Once – With the most nominations of any show, this sweet and heart-wrenching piece based on the 2006 film of the same title is filled with superb acting and a score of Irish indi-folk music. It is sure to take the prize!
Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play:
* Nina Arianda, Venus in Fur – Though Tracy Bennett gave an uncanny Judy Garland, this NYU trained actress has been buzzed about since her Tony nominated turn in last year’s clunky revival of Born Yesterday. Her mind-blowing performance as the off-kilter actress, Vanda, elevated a pretty good play to a masterpiece.
Tracie Bennett, End of the Rainbow
Stockard Channing, Other Desert Cities
Linda Lavin, The Lyons
Cynthia Nixon, Wit
Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play:
* James Corden, One Man, Two Guvnors – though some might favor the Hollywood heft of Mr. Hoffman, I’d like to make a case for this spectacular comic powerhouse. In a laugh-out-loud British import, Cordon (last seen on Broadway in The History Boys, 2006) shines as the funniest of all.
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
Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical:
Jan Maxwell, Follies
* Audra McDonald, The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess – With four past awards, this Tony Royal can do it all! And she does – as the heroine addicted prostitute, Bess, singing high opera in what is sure to be her 5th award winning role.
Cristin Milioti, Once
Kelli O’Hara, Nice Work if You Can Get It
Laura Osnes, Bonnie & Clyde
Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical:
Danny Burstein, Follies
* Jeremy Jordan, Newsies – This is a toss-up for me. While the dreamy Steve Kazee gives an outstanding performance in Once, the relentlessly charming and talented Mr. Jordan rounds out the year with his second leading Broadway role and makes Newsies newsworthy.
Steve Kazee, Once
Norm Lewis, The Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess
Ron Raines, Follies
Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play:
Linda Emond, Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman
Spencer Kayden, Don’t Dress for Dinner
Celia Keenan-Bolger, Peter and the Starcatcher
* Judith Light, Other Desert Cities – In my opinion, Ms. Light should have won this category last year for her portrayal of a no-nonsense sports wife in Lombardi. She will win this year for her devastatingly honest and painfully raw interpretation of a washed up Texas socialite in the family drama of the year.
Condola Rashad, Stick Fly
Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play:
* Christian Borle, Peter and the Starcatcher – This Broadway vet turned TV star (Smash) will take top honors for his swishy and dense portrayal of Captain Hook Before He Was Captain Hook. If for nothing else, he should win for an 11 o’clock, show-stopping take that still has me laughing.
Michael Cumpsty – End of the Rainbow
Tom Edden – One Man, Two Guvnors
Andrew Garfield – Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman
Jeremy Shamos – Clybourne Park
Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical:
Elizabeth A. Davis, Once
* Jayne Houdyshell, Follies – I cannot tell a lie. I missed all the performances in the category. However my money is on Ms. Houdyshell. This Off-Broadway theatre broad has been giving consistently brilliant performances for years. Someone give this lady a Tony. PLEASE!
Judy Kaye, Nice Work if You Can Get It
Jessie Mueller, On a Clear Day You Can See Forever
Da’Vine Joy Randolph, Ghost the Musical
Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical:
Phillip Boykin, The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess
* Michael Cerveris, Evita –This is another close call for me. While Grier did surprisingly good work and Josh Young was hailed by critics, ultimately it will go to Cerveris who – though I don’t get it – is a darling of the Broadway community.
David Alan Grier, The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess
Michael McGrath, Nice Work if You Can Get It
Josh Young, Jesus Christ Superstar