Well, it is that time of year again. The 76th Tony Awards will recognize theatrical achievements on Broadway for the 2022-23 season. Who will win? Below are Show Showdown's guesses.
Best Book of a Musical
Liz: Kimberly Akimbo
Wendy: Wow, one I’d finally bet on: Kimberly Akimbo, David Lindsay-Abaire.
Sandra: Ditto (I
submitted my predictions last … so you might see this a few times).
Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics) Written for the Theatre
Liz: Kimberly Akimbo
Wendy: Kimberly Akimbo, Music: Jeanine Tesori, Lyrics: David Lindsay-Abaire
Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play
Liz: Wendell Pierce, Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman. Pierce was revelatory as Willy Loman and richly deserving of the award. I thought Stephen McKinley Henderson was also brilliant in Between Riverside and Crazy, and I’d be delighted if he took this, but I suspect it’ll go to Pierce.
Wendy: Tough, tough, tough category to guess. I guess this is kinda cheating, but I predict the two men from Topdog/Underdog. I just hope that Sean Hayes doesn’t win; his winning would seem just too #TonysTooWhite
Sandra: The fate of Willy
Loman and his family is always wrenching, but particularly so in this version …
and Wendell Pierce’s take on the iconic role ups the ante.
Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play
Liz: Jodie Comer, Prima Facie. I confess I’ve seen none of these, so this is a shot in the dark, but Comer apparently gives a mesmerizing, scenery-chewing, shape-shifting, mountain-moving, buckets-of-sweat-spill-your-guts-out performance, which is just total Tony bait.
Wendy: This category should have five nominees! That being said, I think Jodie Comer, Prima Facie, has got it. Her performance is astonishing, and the role is full of the dramatic opportunities that nab trophies. If Comer wasn’t in the list, I think Jessica Chastain, A Doll's House, would have been the winner. Truly, this category sums up the weirdness of awards: four nominees instead of five for no real reason, and comparing apples, oranges, kumquats and motorcycles.
Sandra: Let’s make this
lucky number seven for Audra McDonald.
Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical
Liz: J. Harrison Ghee, Some Like It Hot. Ghee’s performance as a trans jazz musician who discovers their true self as Daphne was by equal turns hilarious, graceful, beautiful to watch, and deeply moving.
Wendy: Everyone but Borle would be a legit winner here (I thought he was miscast and not all that interesting). I predict J. Harrison Ghee, Some Like It Hot, because their performance is lovely and something new.
Sandra: J. Harrison Ghee, Some Like It Hot. This was my favorite show of the season and part of that is because of Ghee who brings joy to this role and glorious tapping.
Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical
Liz: Victoria Clark, Kimberly Akimbo. Diamond could take this instead, but she never quite nails the southern accent; Clark makes what could have been a cliché of a character into a deeply nuanced, believable, lovable one.
Wendy: Victoria Clark, Kimberly Akimbo, is a shoo-in.
Sandra: Ditto. I have
adored Victoria Clark since The Light in
the Piazza and my admiration for her intensified after reading this New York Times article: https://www.nytimes.com/2023/05/10/theater/kimberly-akimbo-victoria-clark.html
Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play
Liz: Brandon Uranowitz, Leopoldstadt. Uranowitz was memorable in a very crowded cast of characters. That said, I’d be pleased if any of the nominees ended up winning this category.
Wendy: I’m going with Jordan E. Cooper, Ain't No Mo'. Fabulous performances!
Sandra: David Zayas, Cost of Living. I just loved this show … and he was wonderful — steadfast and moving.
by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play
Liz: Katy Sullivan, Cost of Living. This is total wishful thinking, but in both the original production and the Broadway one, Sullivan was funny and raw in the role of a paraplegic woman struggling to adjust to her new disabilities, and a life without her ex-husband.
Wendy: Katy Sullivan, Cost of Living. Though, once again, how can anyone possibly compare these performances?
Sandra: Katy Sullivan, Cost of Living. Who didn’t gasp during
that bathtub scene? What a compelling and brave moment.
Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical
Liz: Alex Newell, Shucked. Newell stopped the show mid-act when I saw it, and apparently continues to do so every damn time with her barn-raiser of a solo number.
Wendy: Kevin Del Aguila, Some Like It Hot, is a total crowd pleaser.
Sandra: Gotta go with
Wendy on this one. You have to love Osgood Fielding III … if only Elon Musk was so open-minded and jovial.
Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical
Liz: Bonnie Milligan, Kimberly Akimbo
Wendy: Bonnie Milligan, Kimberly Akimbo, is a crowd pleaser.
Sandra: I feel like Sweeney deserves some acknowledgment this season and Ruthie Ann Miles is its best shot, bringing a seething fury and sadness to the beggar woman.
Best Scenic Design of a Play
Liz: I had some other guess here, but I totally just changed it because I too think Wendy had the better guess. What she says:
Wendy: Tim Hatley & Andrzej Goulding, Life of Pi
Sandra: I’m with Wendy. Look what they did with a boat …
Design of a Musical
Liz: Beowulf Boritt, New York, New York. New York, New York is not as genuinely terrible as most of the reviews imply…but then, the scenic design really did stand out as a particular strength.
Wendy: Beowulf Boritt, New York, New York
Sandra: Beowulf Boritt, New York, New York. I loved the subtle sketching of a city neighborhood that no longer exists —
with its balconies overlooking everyone’s business.
Best Costume Design of a Play
Liz: Emilio Sosa, Ain't No Mo'. For Peaches’ glorious getups alone….
Wendy: Emilio Sosa, Ain't No Mo'
Best Costume Design of a Musical
Liz: Gregg Barnes, Some Like It Hot. I would happily wear the same pair of jeans and ratty t-shirt every day of my life if I could, and yet I coveted every damn outfit worn in this show.
Wendy: Gregg Barnes, Some Like It Hot
Best Lighting Design of a Play
Liz: Bradley King, Fat Ham
Wendy: Jon Clark, A Doll's House
Sandra: Tim Lutkin, Life of Pi
Best Lighting Design of a Musical
Liz: Natasha Katz. No idea who will win, so I’m guessing Katz because she’s nominated twice. For which show? Dunno.
Wendy: Ken Billington, New York, New York
Sandra: Natasha Katz, Some Like It Hot
Best Sound Design of a Play
Liz: Ben & Max Ringham. See "lighting design" above.
Wendy: Ben & Max Ringham, A Doll's House. Rarely has sound design had such a significant role in the ambience, meaning, and success of a play.
Sandra: Carolyn Downing, Life of Pi
Best Sound Design of a Musical
Liz: Gareth Owen, & Juliet
Wendy: Scott Lehrer & Alex Neumann, Into the Woods
Sandra: I’m with Wendy with this one.
Best Direction of a Play
Liz: Saheem Ali, Fat Ham
Wendy: Aargh! How to
choose? I’m going with Stevie Walker-Webb, Ain't
No Mo', for his breathtakingly energetic, theatrical directing.
Best Direction of a Musical
Liz: Lear deBessonet, Into the Woods. I was never a huge fan of this particular show, but deBessonet’s bubbly, joyous production was thoroughly delightful.
Wendy: Lear deBessonet, Into the Woods.
Sandra: Casey Nicholaw, Some Like It Hot. That chase scene alone deserves a Tony.
Liz: Casey Nicholaw, Some Like It Hot. Call me a sucker for an old-fashioned tap-heavy musical, but come on, now.
Wendy: Another tough category. Casey Nicholaw, Some Like It Hot.
Sandra: Casey Nicholaw, Some Like It Hot. I haven’t seen such exciting tap since 42nd Street--and did I mention that chase scene?
Liz: No clue, truly. May the best orchestrator win.
Wendy: Jason Howland, Shucked. Total guess!
Sandra: Bill Sherman and Dominic Fallacaro, & Juliet. Because I just want them to win something.
Liz: Leopoldstadt. Stoppard’s legacy and the fact that this show keeps getting described as “probably his very last” will result, I think, in a symbolic win. That’ll be fine with me, but then, so would it be if any other show nominated wins for best play instead.
Wendy: I adore Stoppard, and I think he's going to win, but I'd love it to be Fat Ham.
Sandra: What Liz said.
Liz: Some Like It Hot. Big, splashy, sweetly subversive, lotsa tap dance.
Wendy: I predict Kimberly Akimbo.
Sandra: Some Like It Hot. Really fun, exuberant, well-staged musical.
Best Revival of a Play
Liz: The Sign in Sidney Brustein's Window. I really loved this production and this play, even as I suspect I’m wrong and it won’t win.
Wendy: Topdog/Underdog, but I wouldn't bet a lot of money on it.
Sandra: The Piano Lesson
Best Revival of a Musical
Liz: Parade. I’m really not a big fan of this show, even as I recognize that the production is solid. I would be delighted if Into the Woods upset the cart, but that’s no longer running and Parade is.
Wendy: Into the Woods. I have more faith in people's memories, but, hey, I could be wrong.Sandra: Parade. A moving production that offers context about the true story