72nd annual Tony Awards
For theatergoers, the Tony Awards ceremony is far more entertaining than either Hollywood’s Oscars or television’s Emmy Awards.
Those tuning into the CBS telecast on Sunday will be treated to excerpts from the contenders for Best Play and, more importantly, have a front row seat for production numbers from the Best Musical and Best Revival of a Musical nominees.
Past Tony nominees Josh Groban and Sara Bareilles co-host the 72nd Tony Awards show from the legendary Radio City Music Hall.
And although I haven’t seen all of the nominees in the acting or production categories — but who has — I’m not deterred after gazing into my foggy crystal ball, to predict (with tongue firmly planted in cheek) who should win and who will likely win the coveted Tony Awards.
My twin granddaughters are far too young to understand the Tony’s voting process, but if they were a bit older, they would be dismayed at the lack of nominations for their all-time favorite “Frozen.” Walt Disney’s big, splashy musical got nominated as Best Musical, but “Frozen” has not melted everyone’s heart, including Tony voters.
Should win: “The Band’s Visit.” With 11 nominations, the longest running “Best Musical” nominee is a feel-good show that doesn’t get overshadowed in entertainment value by the bigger, more colorful musicals like “Mean Girls” or “SpongeBob Square Pants.” This silly, weak excuse of a nominee could more appropriately be dubbed “Tourist Trap” for those planning on spending big bucks to see this crass cartoon musical this summer.
Will win: “The Band’s Visit”
Best Revival of a Musical
The Best Revival of a Musical promises to be a dogfight. Any of the three nominees (“My Fair Lady,” “Carousel” or Once Upon This Island”) might win.
Should win: “Carousel.”
With its “nautical” dancing, and opera star Renee Fleming’s singing of “You’ll Never Walk Alone” probably more than cancels out the rich score, gorgeous sets and sparkling costumes featured in “My Fair Lady.”
Will win: “Once Upon This Island.”
In the “Best Play” category, there appears to be little competition.
Should win: “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” — After a lengthy London debut, the two part production is a hot ticket and artistic success on the Great White Way.
Will win: “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.”
Best Revival of a Play
In the Best Revival of a Play category, another two parter is a deservedly heavy favorite. Although “Three Tall Women” is a worthy nominee, Edward Albee’s drama will not win the as Best Revival of a Play.
Should win: “Angels in America” — A powerful recreation of Tony Kushner’s award winning drama of the AIDS explosion in America during the Reagan era.
Will win: “Angels in America.” And a special shout-out to my favorite performer Nathan Lane, who deserves the Best Featured Actor in a Play Tony Award.
Best Leading Actor
in a Play
In the Best Leading Actor in a Play category, there is a standout (among many) in “Angels In America” who deserve the Tony as Best Actor.
Should win: Andrew Garfield
Will win: Andrew Garfield
Best Leading Actress
in a Play
As Best Leading Actress in a Play — a couple of notable performances can’t top the standout in the trio of “Three Tall Women.”
Should win: Glenda Jackson
Will win: Glenda Jackson
Best Actor in a Musical
In the “Best Actor in a Musical” category — the leads in “My Fair Lady” (Henry Hadden-Paton) and “Carousel” (Joshua Henry) are the favorites, but I’m predicting an upset with Tony Shalhoub winning for “The Band’s Visit.”
Should win: Henry Hadden-Paton or Joshua Henry
Will win: Tony Shalhoub
Best Actress in a Musical
I can envision Jessie Mueller (whom I saw in “Waitress” two years ago) as Julie Jordan in “Carousel” edging out Lauren Ambrose’s Eliza Doolittle in “My Fair Lady.” But unfortunately, voters are more likely to be swayed to vote for Hailey Kilgore for her colorful role in “Once Upon This Island.”
Should win: Jessie Mueller
Will win: Hailey Kilgore
Best Featured Actor
in a Musical
Norbert Leo Butz (last seen by me in “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels” nearly 20 years ago) is jovial as Alfred Doolittle and should win for “My Fair Lady.”
Should win: Norbert Leo Butz
Will win: Norbert Leo Butz
Best Featured Actress
in a Musical
Either Renee Fleming making her Broadway debut in “Carousel” or the grand old dame Diana Rigg (as Higgins’ mother) will and should win.
Should win: Renee Fleming or Diana Riggs
Will win: Renee Fleming or Diana Riggs
These “predictions” are of course far from scientific, so don’t bet your life savings on any of my projected winners. But there is absolutely one safe bet: “Hamilton” will not win a single Tony Award this year!