Naveen Kumar | New York | News | Theatre

Place Your Bets: 2013 Tony Awards Predictions



The 67th annual Tony Awards will be handed out at Radio City Music Hall this Sunday, for a season in which Hollywood names didn’t necessarily lead to big box office, nor big box office to attention from Tony voters (unless you happen to be Tom Hanks). Acting awards look likely to be spread among stage and screen veterans (with a rising star or two thrown in along the way), while other major categories will see spectacle win out over subtlety, and extraordinary children over ballsy drag queens.

Matilda_JoanMarcus.jpg.644x603_q100In the major musical categories, the two horse race for Best Musical remains close approaching the finish line, with both Matilda and Kinky Boots playing to packed houses and consistently grossing over $1 million each week. But, given its ecstatic critical reception and proven success in London, wise bets are riding on Matilda for the big win, with Cyndi Lauper taking home Best Original Score for Kinky Boots while Dennis Kelly takes home Best Book of a Musical for Matilda.

In the Best Revival of a Musical category, expectations are flying high for Diane Paulus’ production of Pippin, a favorite to take home the prize, with Ms. Paulus also likely to be recognized for Best Director of a Musical. Previously nominated for two musical revivals that went on to win the Tony in recent years (Hair and The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess), the third time should be the charm.

Pippin2Perhaps the most surefire win of the evening is Pippin’s Andrea Martin for Best Featured Actress in a Musical—though she performs just one number, it’s a doozy. Giving original cast member Ben Vereen a run for his money (in heels) Patina Miller (nominated previously for Sister Act) seems likely to win for Best Leading Actress in a Musical as Pippin’s Leading Player.

Two of the contenders for Best Leading Actor in a Musical are nominated for dressing as women, but Bertie Carvel’s Miss Trunchbull in Matilda—which won him the Olivier Award in London—will likely win him a Tony to go with it for his Broadway debut.

Another Broadway debut is likely to take home Best Leading Actor in a Play, with Lucky Guy Tom Hanks drawing crowds for his performance as Mike McAlary and winning hearts on the campaign trail. Courtney B. Vance is a good bet to follow Tom to the podium for Best Featured Actor as McAlery’s editor Hap Hairston. Vance has been nominated in this category twice before, for his roles in the original productions of Fences and Six Degrees of Separation.

LG3Best Play comes down to a tight race between two well-loved writers: the late Nora Ephron for her Broadway debut Lucky Guy and Christopher Durang, whose play Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike marks his first Tony Award nomination for Best Play after over three decades as a Broadway playwright. Though Richard Greenberg’s The Assembled Parties surpasses both in craft, at this point it's the dark horse.

For her performance in Greenberg’s drama, Judith Light may walk away with her second Tony in two years for Best Featured Actress (she won last year for Other Desert Cities). Though for that reason, voters may choose to spread the love and look to Shalita Grant’s scene-stealing performance in Vanya and Sonia, etc. or critical darling Condola Rashad in The Trip to Bountiful.

Trip88-year-old stage and screen vet Cicely Tyson is the favorite for Best Leading Actress, making her return to Broadway after thirty years in director Michael Wilson’s revival of Horton Foote’s The Trip to Bountiful. This category nevertheless boasts stiff competition from Laurie Metcalf (The Other Place), Amy Morton (Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?), and frequent Durang collaborator Kristine Nielsen (Vanya and Sonia, etc).

Though Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? just recently took home a Tony for Best Revival of a Play in 2005, Pam MacKinnon’s Steppenwolf transfer was a hit most voters are likely to remember (and reward). Bartlett Sher’s production of Clifford Odets’ Golden Boy was superb, but a short subscription run at Lincoln Center Theatre means many voters are likely to have missed it.

If Pam MacKinnon’s direction is also recognized, two women could be taking home Tonys for Best Direction (including Ms. Paulus)—though George C. Wolfe (Lucky Guy) and Nicholas Martin (Vanya and Sonia, etc.) in the play category are both well-regarded vets.

Recent theatre features...
 A Closer Look at the Chosen and the Snubbed in This Year's Tony Award Nominations
 'Pippin’ Revival Opens On Broadway: REVIEW
Bette Midler Opens On Broadway In ‘I’ll Eat You Last:’ REVIEW
'Orphans,' Starring Alec Baldwin Opens On Broadway: REVIEW
Richard Greenberg’s ‘The Assembled Parties’ Opens on Broadway: REVIEW

Follow Naveen Kumar on Twitter: @Mr_NaveenKumar (photos: joan marcus, carol rosegg)


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  1. It's an annus mirabilis for Broadway.

    Kinky Boots and Matilda are two bloody exceptional shows that, had they not been competing against each other, would likely sweep the awards.

    It's a toss-up for Best Score - Kinky Boots has incredibly catchy songs with melodies that you'll love having stuck in your head.

    And Matilda's score is a challenging, layered masterpiece with lyrics that will break your heart.

    either way, they're both winners.

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Jun 4, 2013 11:33:57 AM

  2. Odd, I found Kinky Boots mediocre at best.
    Billy Porter's voice is gone.
    He had now breadth to his voice and everyone I saw the show with was waiting for him to let out some big, black, diva voice - it never came.

    Pippin - much better show.

    Posted by: Truthiness | Jun 4, 2013 11:38:35 AM

  3. Odd, I found Kinky Boots mediocre at best.
    Billy Porter's voice is gone.
    He had now breadth to his voice and everyone I saw the show with was waiting for him to let out some big, black, diva voice - it never came.

    Pippin - much better show.

    Posted by: Truthiness | Jun 4, 2013 11:38:36 AM

  4. I would not be surprised if Billy Porter beat out Bertie Carvel for Lead Actor in a Musical; I have not seen Matilda, but I saw Kinky Boots with a friend who had recently seen the show and she seemed fairly torn. Plus, Porter's cross-dressing act is a heartfelt one whose central themes tug at the center of the show, as opposed to a turn which could have been played by a woman but perhaps comes across better or more thoughtful when played by a man.

    Posted by: Joe | Jun 4, 2013 11:53:11 AM

  5. I know Tom Hanks has the marquee value and he was very good in LUCKY GUY but Tracy Letts was unforgettable in WHO'S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF? As was Amy Morton as Martha to his George--such a complete departure from what most of us think as the definitive interpretations of the roles (Taylor and Burton in the film version). As much as I love the film version, the new way both roles were played was like hearing the play for the very first time. My favorite leading male performer in a musical this year was Billy Porter in KINKY BOOTS.

    Posted by: Kevin | Jun 4, 2013 11:58:46 AM

  6. Cyndi Lauper did a wonderful job writing songs for Kinky Boots, she should definitely win for Best Original Score !!
    You go, Cyndi !!

    Posted by: Madonna | Jun 4, 2013 12:03:01 PM

  7. Someone gave Christopher Durang a nomination? I have seen three of his shows (two at my husband's insistence because he was in them). The man is so sexist that I suspect he posts on here under the alias Rick. All of the women he writes are either neurotics or shrews. I always swore if I ever met him, I'd punch him and demand compensation for the six hours of my life he has wasted.

    Posted by: ChristopherM | Jun 4, 2013 12:28:09 PM

  8. Hardly anything but garbage on Broadway, any more, except the occasional revival--and most of those are disappointing.

    What a sad state of affairs.


    "The man is so sexist that I suspect he posts on here under the alias Rick."

    No, I'm just me.

    "All of the women he writes are either neurotics or shrews."

    Just a reflection of the real world.

    "I always swore if I ever met him, I'd punch him and demand compensation for the six hours of my life he has wasted."

    Nah, you wouldn't punch him. But I am glad to see you at least trying to think like a man......Maybe I have had an influence on you, after all......

    Posted by: Rick | Jun 4, 2013 12:35:08 PM

  9. And I'll say it was profound to see Cicely Tyson live on stage. She's INCREDIBLE. Living every moment with such truth.

    I teared up the moment she walked on stage. Miss Jane Pittman herself!!!

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Jun 4, 2013 12:44:34 PM

  10. I've seen all the shows and I'm with Kiwi, Ms. Tyson is not to be missed.

    Posted by: MARCUS BACHMANN | Jun 4, 2013 12:51:25 PM

  11. Interesting take on the Leading Actor in a Musical race. Billy Porter has won the Outer Critics Circle Award and Drama Desk over his competition. I'm thinking he'll take the Tony.

    Posted by: Randy | Jun 4, 2013 1:18:40 PM

  12. You pay attention to Broadway Rick? Why, how very masculine of you!

    Posted by: ChristopherM | Jun 4, 2013 1:20:22 PM

  13. Bombshell or GTFO

    Posted by: FakeName | Jun 4, 2013 1:46:14 PM

  14. Zero mention of Valisia Lekae as Diana Ross in "Motown The Musical"...Towerload never even reviewed the play!

    Posted by: Ryan | Jun 4, 2013 2:43:13 PM

  15. Neither Amy Morton nor Laurie Metcalf, worthy as both of them are, have a chance, so hardly are providing "stiff competition" to Tyson and Nielsen. Also, Lincoln Center Theater does not have subscribers (you don't subscribe to a full season; you become a member and buy only the shows you want).

    Posted by: keating | Jun 4, 2013 3:07:02 PM

  16. I love Tim Minchin as a lyricist so I'm crossing my fingers for Matilda. His "School Song" is very clever from the Musical. If you're not familiar with it, give it a listen.

    Posted by: JT | Jun 4, 2013 3:57:16 PM

  17. Having seen zero B'way shows this year, my prediction is that Neal Patrick Harris will do a bang-up job hosting, increase the ratings over what they would have been without him, and generally advance the cause of acceptance by creating cognitive dissonance within persons who think they dislike gays but really enjoy this gay person.

    Posted by: SC David | Jun 4, 2013 7:19:12 PM

  18. Go Cyndi Lauper!! I hope she wins!! She will be making history again!!! Ms. Lauper can really sing and she is a very gifted songwriter and would love for her to win. Going to watch the Tony's to see our Ally and Great Friend Cyndi Lauper win!!!

    Posted by: Josh | Jun 4, 2013 7:49:39 PM

  19. Saw Vanya and Sonya and Masha and Spike tonight. The crowd stopped the show after David Hyde Pierece's second act monologue. I've never seen that before. And when Sigourney Weaver and Billy Magnussen left the stage the show stopped again. Really remarkable. Who is claiming Durang is sexist? Humor often involves harsh realities made light. More complicated discussions often have to wait. In any event - whoever said they would punch Durang if they ever saw him - if you do - at least you'll be in jail where you'll be with others like yourself who don't understand yourselves or the world. I.e., where you belong.

    Posted by: Markt | Jun 5, 2013 12:10:48 AM

  20. After Sunday night, provided Cyndi does (and should) win for her score/lyrics (which, wouldn't she be the first woman to win this category?)... she'll only need an Oscar to be an EGOT winner. she can do it.

    ...and after Sunday's hopeful win - her summer tour will have that many more feathers in its cap.

    Posted by: Cliff | Jun 5, 2013 2:01:22 PM

  21. Cicely Tyson isn't 88. She was born in 1933.

    Posted by: Doug | Jun 6, 2013 9:04:45 AM

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