Tony Awards 2014: Who will win?

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Image Credit: Joan Marcus

Will Neil Patrick Harris claim his first Tony Award this Sunday for his gender-bending turn in the musical revival of Hedwig and the Angry Inch? Probably. Will fellow multiple-Emmy winner Bryan Cranston win for playing Lyndon B. Johnson in the biodrama All the Way? Count on it. But will it be the Carole King biomusical Beautiful or the murderously funny A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder that earns top honors as the Best New Musical of the Broadway season?

On that point, as on many other tight races in this year’s Tony contest, EW critics Melissa Rose Bernardo and Thom Geier are divided. Here, we offer our predictions of who will be step-step-kicking to the podium at Radio City Music Hall this Sunday. (By the way, we’ll also be live-blogging the ceremony, hosted for the fourth time by Hugh Jackman.) Disagree with our picks? Please let us know who you think will win — or should win — in the comments section.

Best Play
Act One
**All The Way
(Melissa, Thom)
Casa Valentina

Mothers and Sons
Outside Mullingar

In a relatively weak year for new dramas, the standout is Robert Schenkkan’s nearly three-hour historical drama about LBJ. The only possible upset: another biodrama, about playwright Moss Hart, Act One.

Best Musical
After Midnight
Aladdin
*Beautiful – The Carole King Musical (Melissa)
*A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder (Thom)

It’s a tight race between two shows. A Gentleman’s Guide is the rare star-free musical comedy that has won over audiences since the fall, while Beautiful is a jukebox musical that may have broader name-brand appeal with the regional-tour producers who make up a big chunk of the Tony voting pool.

Best Revival of a Play
The Cripple of Inishmaan
*The Glass Menagerie
(Thom)
A Raisin in the Sun
*Twelfth Night
(Melissa)

In a superb year for revivals, any one of these productions could win. The Globe’s imported period-perfect production of Twelfth Night (played in repertory with Richard III) may have the edge, though John Tiffany’s exquisite revival of The Glass Menagerie could be a sentimental favorite, since the Tennessee Williams classic has never won a Tony Award.

Best Revival of a Musical
**Hedwig and the Angry Inch (Melissa, Thom)
Les Misérables
Violet

A 5-inch stiletto shoe-in.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play
Samuel Barnett, Twelfth Night
**Bryan Cranston, All The Way
 (Melissa, Thom)
Chris O’Dowd, Of Mice and Men
Mark Rylance, Richard III
Tony Shalhoub, Act One

The Breaking Bad star is a safe bet to win for his Broadway debut.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play
Tyne Daly, Mothers and Sons
LaTanya Richardson Jackson, A Raisin in the Sun
Cherry Jones, The Glass Menagerie
**Audra McDonald, Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill
 (Melissa, Thom)
Estelle Parsons, The Velocity of Autumn

Cherry Jones could pull an upset, but look for Audra McDonald to win her record-breaking sixth Tony Award (and the first to win in all four acting categories).

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical
**Neil Patrick Harris, Hedwig and the Angry Inch
 (Melissa, Thom)
Ramin Karimloo, Les Misérables
Andy Karl, Rocky
Jefferson Mays, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder
Bryce Pinkham, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder

Jefferson Mays, who plays eight roles in Gentleman’s Guide, has his fans. But look for Neil Patrick Harris to win — in part to recognize all his contributions to Broadway and the Tony Awards over the last decade.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical
Mary Bridget Davies, A Night With Janis Joplin
Sutton Foster, Violet
Idina Menzel, If/Then
**Jessie Mueller, Beautiful – The Carole King Musical
 (Melissa, Thom)
Kelli O’Hara, The Bridges of Madison County

Five-time nominee Kelli O’Hara is certainly deserving, but Jessie Mueller’s soulful impression of Carole King is poised for victory.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play
Reed Birney, Casa Valentina
Paul Chahidi, Twelfth Night
Stephen Fry, Twelfth Night
**
Mark Rylance, Twelfth Night (Melissa, Thom)
Brian J. Smith, The Glass Menagerie

Expect another bizarro Louis Jenkins poem when Mark Rylance accepts his third Tony for donning a period frock as Olivia in Twelfth Night. 

Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play
Sarah Greene, The Cripple of Inishmaan
**
Celia Keenan-Bolger, The Glass Menagerie (Melissa, Thom)
Sophie Okonedo, A Raisin in the Sun
Anika Noni Rose, A Raisin in the Sun
Mare Winningham, Casa Valentina

This race is tighter than our pick suggests. The two women in Raisin may cancel each other out, but don’t be surprised if Mare Winningham pulls it out as the long-suffering wife of a cross-dressing man in 1960s New York.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical
Danny Burstein, Cabaret
Nick Cordero, Bullets Over Broadway
Joshua Henry, Violet
**
James Monroe Iglehart, Aladdin (Melissa, Thom)
Jarrod Spector, Beautiful – The Carole King Musical

The genie has this one in the bottle.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical
Linda Emond, Cabaret
**
Lena Hall, Hedwig and the Angry Inch (Melissa, Thom)
Anika Larsen, Beautiful – The Carole King Musical
Adriane Lenox, After Midnight
Lauren Worsham, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder

Another tight race. Linda Emond won raves for a rare singing role; Lauren Worsham and scene-stealer Anika Larsen just won the Drama Desk Award (in a tie). But Lena Hall, in a gender-bending turn as sideburned Yitzak in Hedwig, is ahead by a hair extension.

Best Direction of a Play
**Tim Carroll, Twelfth Night (Melissa, Thom)
Michael Grandage, The Cripple of Inishmaan
Kenny Leon, A Raisin in the Sun
John Tiffany, The Glass Menagerie

Tim Carroll made two Bard classics seem fresh (and surprising box office hits) by going back to the source: Elizabethan costumes, music, lighting, and performance styles.

Best Direction of a Musical
Warren Carlyle, After Midnight
*
Michael Mayer, Hedwig and the Angry Inch (Melissa)
Leigh Silverman, Violet
*
Darko Tresnjak, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder (Thom)

A tight race between an inventive new musical in a throwback style and a downtown show transformed into a rockin’ Broadway-ready spectacle.

Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics) Written for the Theatre
Alan Menken, Howard Ashman, Tim Rice, and Chad Beguelin, Aladdin
**Jason Robert Brown, The Bridges of Madison County (Melissa, Thom)
Steven Lutvak and Robert L. Freedman, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder
Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey, If/Then

Brown has won praise for his lush, romantic composition for Bridges, though Gentleman’s Guide could pull an upset if it starts sweeping categories.

Best Book of a Musical
Chad Beguelin, Aladdin
Douglas McGrath, Beautiful – The Carole King Musical
Woody Allen, Bullets Over Broadway
**Robert L. Freedman, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder (Melissa, Thom)

Interestingly, Douglas McGrath (nominated for the biomusical Beautiful) co-wrote the screenplay for Bullets Over Broadway (for which Woody Allen handled solo duties as book writer for the stage version). But the front-runner here is the cleverly constructed comedy of Gentleman’s Guide.

Best Choreography
**Warren Carlyle, After Midnight
 (Melissa, Thom)
Steven Hoggett & Kelly Devine, Rocky
Casey Nicholaw, Aladdin
Susan Stroman, Bullets Over Broadway

Carlyle wins for his spectacular dance-heavy show.

Best Orchestrations
Doug Besterman, Bullets Over Broadway
**
Jason Robert Brown, The Bridges of Madison County (Melissa, Thom)
Steve Sidwell, Beautiful – The Carole King Musical
Jonathan Tunick, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder

Expect this one to follow best original score.


Best Scenic Design of a Play
**Beowulf Boritt, Act One (Melissa, Thom)
Bob Crowley, The Glass Menagerie
Es Devlin, Machinal
Christopher Oram, The Cripple of Inishmaan

Es Devlin’s high-tech cube for Machinal is inventive, and Bob Crowley’s design for The Glass Menagerie is spare and evocative. But Beowulf Boritt creates a three-level turntable set that spins to reveal multiple locations throughout the decade-spanning drama Act One.

Best Scenic Design of a Musical
**Christopher Barreca, Rocky (Melissa, Thom)
Julian Crouch, Hedwig and the Angry Inch
Alexander Dodge, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder
Santo Loquasto, Bullets Over Broadway

It’s hard not to be wowed by that giant boxing ring that spins and rotates and rolls out over the first rows of seats for the finale.

Best Costume Design of a Play
Jane Greenwood, Act One
Michael Krass, Machinal
Rita Ryack, Casa Valentina
**
Jenny Tiramani, Twelfth Night

Period-perfect costumes get their due.

Best Costume Design of a Musical
*Linda Cho, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder (Thom)
William Ivey Long, Bullets Over Broadway
Arianne Phillips, Hedwig and the Angry Inch
*
Isabel Toledo, After Midnight (Melissa)

A toss-up.

Best Lighting Design of a Play
Paule Constable, The Cripple of Inishmaan
Jane Cox, Machinal
**
Natasha Katz, The Glass Menagerie (Melissa, Thom)
Japhy Weideman, Of Mice and Men

Best Lighting Design of a Musical
**Kevin Adams, Hedwig and the Angry Inch (Melissa, Thom)
Christopher Akerlind, Rocky
Howell Binkley, After Midnight
Donald Holder, The Bridges of Madison County

Best Sound Design of a Play
Alex Baranowski, The Cripple of Inishmaan
**
Steve Canyon Kennedy, Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill (Melissa, Thom)
Dan Moses Schreier, Act One
Matt Tierney, Machinal

Best Sound Design of a Musical
Peter Hylenski, After Midnight
*
Tim O’Heir, Hedwig and the Angry Inch (Thom)
Mick Potter, Les Misérables
*
Brian Ronan, Beautiful – The Carole King Musical (Melissa)


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