The Tony Awards are a big night in my home. I love Broadway and try to see as many shows in New York every year as possible. We will have a Tony party with special food and lots of excitement. Below I’ve listed my 2015 Tony predictions for the major awards. Anywhere you see a link, please click on it and it will take you to my review of the show.
2015 Tony Predictions
BEST PLAY: The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Nighttime
Comment: This is an imaginative, sensory overload of a play. A national tour will take place in 2016 and I hope Chicago will be on the agenda. It has already swept all of the major Broadway critic awards and it is a shoo-in for this category.
BEST REVIVAL (PLAY): Skylight
Comment: A tough category. Skylight is a brilliant two-person show with one set, a taut script and two of the best acting performances you will ever see. Making this category tough to call is that two of the other revivals were also superb. You Can’t Take It with You, starring James Earl Jones, was a revelation. One of the most familiar American plays of all time seemed fresh and wonderful in this terrific production. I did not see the revival of The Elephant Man starring Bradley Cooper, but it was supposed to be excellent.
BEST MUSICAL: An American In Paris
Comment: You probably remember the famous MGM musical starring Gene Kelly. Interestingly, the movie was written directly for the screen; it had never appeared on stage until this beautiful Broadway production. It is the favorite to win this category, but I would not be at all surprised if Fun Home pulled off an upset. It is a critically acclaimed show that is unique and very special. These two musicals tied for the most Tony award nominations. Just behind them is a musical I love called Something Rotten. Of the three major musical nominees, it is by far the funniest. In any other year it might well be the favorite to win.
BEST REVIVAL (MUSICAL): The King And I
Comment: Lincoln Center produces the most glorious productions and this absolutely magnificent revival is no exception. Last year I raved about Act One which was produced on their stages. Like You Can’t Take It with You, this is an extremely familiar piece. But the production is absolutely gorgeous in its execution. Every performance was great, the costumes and sets were breathtaking and the music, of course, is timeless. However, there is serious competition in this category. Although it won’t win and has struggled to draw audiences, On the Town deserves much more recognition. It was a beautifully staged and very funny show. On the 20th Century was also very entertaining, but neither can touch The King and I.
BEST PERFORMANCE BY A LEADING ACTOR: Alex Sharp, The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Nighttime
Comment: A very tough category because Bill Nighy in Skylight was absolutely riveting. However, Alex Sharp plays a leading man with autism who speaks little and carries an entire show with his acting.
BEST PERFORMANCE BY A LEADING ACTRESS (PLAY): Helen Mirren, The Visit
Helen Mirren plays Queen Elizabeth. Enough said? The other actresses in this category were all very good but I cannot see anyone upsetting this amazing actress. In any other year I would put all of my money on Carey Mulligan in Skylight. She is on stage for the entire play and demonstrates an amazing range of emotions without resorting to histrionics or obvious acting tricks. She even cooks a meal of spaghetti Bolognese during every performance!
BEST PERFORMANCE BY A LEADING ACTOR (MUSICAL): Michael Cerveris, Fun Home
Honestly this choice has been made very scientifically by throwing a dart at a chart with the four nominees and choosing whichever one it hit. This category is blessed with four other spectacular performances, all very different. I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see Robert Fairchild win for An American in Paris. He is a Gene Kelly for a new generation. He is movie-star handsome, sings like a leading man and manages to look masculine while dancing ballet. Brian D’Arcy James brings down the house in Something Rotten and has been widely praised by critics and audiences. The other two nominees in the category were both just wonderful and absolutely deserving of great praise. Tony Yazbeck, also playing a Gene Kelly role, is perfect in On The Town. Ken Watanabe as the titular character in The King and I is a step behind the others, but that is not a criticism but, rather, a recognition of how wonderful all of the actors in this category are.
BEST PERFORMANCE BY A LEADING ACTRESS: Kristin Chenoweth, On The Twentieth Century
Okay, as they say, in the interest of full disclosure I am one of the biggest fans of Kristin Chenoweth in the world. I will admit to being prejudiced in her favor. But it’s not just me – she has won all the pre-Broadway awards possible in this category, playing the role that seems to have been written for her. Plus she’s hosting the ceremony and I’m presuming this is a lock. However, Kelli O’Hara in The King and I is every bit as good in a role that is less flashy and more nuanced. I imagine many Tony voters lost a lot of sleep trying to choose between these performances. The other actresses nominated in this category each bring something unforgettable to their shows. Leanne Cope in An American in Paris is vulnerable and sweet and leaves an audience breathless with her dancing. Imagine Audrey Hepburn crossed with Vera-Ellyn and you begin to get close to imagining how sensational she is. Beth Malone plays an emotionally complex character in Fun Home and her performance is mesmerizing. It would be logical to assume that the voting is between Kristin Chenoweth and Kelli O’Hara but don’t overlook the fifth nominee in this category. The timeless Chita Rivera returned to Broadway in what will be her last show. While neither The Visit nor her performance were particularly praised by critics, she is a long time favorite at the end of her amazing career.
I think you’re going to hear Fun Home mentioned a lot. For best supporting actress in a play, I predict Annaleigh Ashford will win for her charming, klutzy turn as the enthusiastic but talentless daughter in You Can’t Take It with You. Perhaps the hardest single category for me to choose would be best supporting actor in a musical. Two of the nominees were from Something Rotten and I couldn’t choose between them. Andy Karl in On the 20th Century was side splitting in every scene. The other two nominees were wonderful in An American in Paris. I saw each of the performances and honestly have no idea how I would vote!