2017 Tony Awards: Who Will Win, Who Should Win

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My absolute favorite day of the year is upon us once again!

The 71st Tony Awards are this Sunday June 11th at 8PM on CBS. The ceremony—hosted by Kevin Spacey for some reason—looks to be far more unpredictable than last year’s show where Hamilton gobbled up almost every trophy like a Hungry Hungry Hippo.

This season saw 28 productions premiere! Some were more successful than others, but they all solidified theatre’s lead on film when it comes to diversity and innovation. For those reasons, I’m so excited to share my predictions for who I think will take home those adorable spinning statuettes.

Comment below and let me know if you disagree with my choices or if you agree that War Paint was horribly overlooked.

PLAYS

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Play- Oslo
Revival- Jitney
Direction-
Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Jitney
Leading Actress-
Laurie Metcalf, A Doll’s House, Part 2
Leading Actor-
Kevin Kline, Present Laughter
Featured Actress-
Cynthia Nixon, The Little Foxes
Featured Actor-
Danny DeVito, I love your work! The Price
Scenic Design- 
Nigel Hook, The Play That Goes Wrong
Costume Design-
Jane Greenwood, The Little Foxes
Lighting Design-
Christopher Akerlind, Indecent

MUSICALS

come-from-away-2

Musical
Will Win: Dear Evan Hansen
Should Win: Come From Away

To start, let’s all admit that Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812 and Groundhog Day are pretty much out of the running here. Groundhog Day never materialized as a serious contender thanks to all the technical difficulties plaguing that production. Great Comet doesn’t have the social or political relevance people are craving in their award winning art nowadays. That leaves Come From Away and Dear Evan Hansen. As usual, predicting the winner here is predicting the message that the Tony voters want to communicate about the current cultural moment. It’s rare that both front runners have important messages and neither cash in on a well-known song catalog or source material. I will probably change my mind by Sunday, but, gun to my head, I’m going to give the victory to Dear Evan Hansen. Everything about it—from its subject matter to specific members of its creative team—is reminiscent of past big winners like Rent, Next to Normal, Spring Awakening, and HamiltonNext to Normal did not win Best Musical, but Come From Away is definitely no Billy Elliot. This is going to be a real nail biter and, while it’ll suck for the producers of those shows, it’ll be amazing for us viewers.

Revival
Will Win: Hello, Dolly!
Should Win: Falsettos

If this award was given for the show with the highest premium ticket prices that no normal people could ever dream of affording, I would understand why Hello, Dolly! is the presumed winner. Since that is not the case and this revival of Falsettos was one of the finest pieces of musical theatre I’ve ever experienced, I’m at a loss for why this category is not going to turn out the way I want it to. Director/co-librettist James Lapine assembled the best acting ensemble of the season and allowed them to play the show’s comedy and pathos to their greater limits. The whole thing was devastating, life-affirming, and absolutely hysterical. But sure! Let’s give it to Dolly!

Direction
Will Win: Rachel Chavkin, Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812
Should Win: Rachel Chavkin, Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812

Patty Jenkins isn’t the only female director working today doing the seemingly impossible. Rachel Chavkin, like recent winner Sam Gold (Fun Home), has had to re-stage Great Comet every time the show moved to a space with a different configuration. Each outing of the musical has garnered raves and that is undoubtedly due to Chavkin’s unparalleled creativity and strong leadership.

Original Score
Will Win: Benj Pasek & Justin Paul, Dear Evan Hansen
Should Win: Benj Pasek & Justin Paul, Dear Evan Hansen

One small step for Dear Evan Hansen, one huge leap for recent La La Land Academy Award winners Pasek and Paul’s journey to EGOT.

Book
Will Win: Irene Sankhoff & David Hein, Come From Away
Should Win: Irene Sankhoff & David Hein, Come From Away

This husband and wife team widdled down hundreds of interviews of various Come From Aways and natives of Gander, Newfoundland into a poignant, uplifting one-act, 12-actor musical that honors the sacrifice and heroism demonstrated by everyone affected by the 9/11 terrorist attacks. With the threat of a DEH sweep looming, this category might be Come From Away‘s best chance to receive the recognition it deserves.

Leading Actress
Will Win: Bette Midler, Hello, Dolly!
Should Win: Christine Ebersole, War Paint

Bette is unstoppable. I’m miffed that she’s allegedly not performing at the Tony’s, but I live for a diva star vehicle so I’m willing to get over it. Speaking of diva star vehicles, I’m aware that it’s a sin to choose between War Paint‘s dynamic duo. I wouldn’t have been able to until I heard a little song called “Pink”. Christine’s performance is a masterclass in musical theatre acting and rivals some of her best moments in Grey Gardens. She won’t win, but a gay can dream can’t he?

Leading Actor
Will Win: Ben Platt, Dear Evan Hansen
Should Win: Ben Platt, Dear Evan Hansen

Andy Karl may have almost lost a leg bringing Groundhog Day to Broadway, but Ben Platt gave up gluten, dairy, and I’m assuming the chance to return for Pitch Perfect 3 to provide people suffering with anxiety with a flawed, human role model. He rides the emotional rollercoaster of DEH in the front seat with his hands in the air screaming to the tune of the show’s winning score. Platt is a slam dunk.

Featured Actress
Will Win: Rachel Bay Jones, Dear Evan Hansen
Should Win: Stephanie J. Block, Falsettos

Remember what I said about Christine Ebersole’s “Pink”? Block and Jones could certainly join her with their unforgettable respective renditions of “I’m Breaking Down” and “So Big/So Small”. Sadly for us Falsettos fans, the edge goes to Jones simply because her show is open.

Featured Actor
Will Win: Gavin Creel, Hello, Dolly!
Should Win: Andrew Rannells, Falsettos

There’s been a lot made about the fact that Creel’s co-star David Hyde Pierce campaigned to be considered for Leading Actor to give Creel a better shot at being nominated here. Luckily, Creel has turned in yet another phenomenally-sung performance to justify the thoughtful gesture. As unlikely as it is, I’m also hoping for Andrew Rannells or Brandon Uranowitz to sneak in for a Falsettos upset.

Choreography
Will Win: Andy Blankenbeuhler, Bandstand
Should Win: Denis Jones, Holiday Inn

Blankenbeuhler won this exact award last year for Hamilton and, while normally I think that would put him at a disadvantage, I don’t feel any particular excitement around this category. Even though there’s even less excitement around Bandstand, Blankenbeuhler’s name is the most recognizable. My vote would be for Denis Jones for realizing some incredible dance numbers for an actor that deserved them (Corbin Bleu) and for a show that didn’t (Holiday Inn).

Orchestrations
Will Win: Larry Hochman, Hello, Dolly!
Should Win: Larry Hochman, Hello, Dolly!

Splashy revivals with cherished music tend to be the only kryptonite for hot new shows that win Best Original Score. Stream the new recording of Dolly and try not to swoon over the gorgeous strings and horns playing on standout tracks like “Ribbons Down My Back” and “Put on Your Sunday Clothes”.

Scenic Design
Will Win: Mimi Lien, Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812
Should Win: Mimi Lien, Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812

This may be the surest bet of the night. Mimi Lien has completely transformed the Imperial Theatre with a brilliant design that is both immersive and transportative. I want to go to there.

Costume Design
Will Win: Catherine Zuber, War Paint
Should Win: Catherine Zuber, War Paint

It’s likely that Great Comet will sweep the design awards, but it would be absolutely criminal to deny Catherine Zuber recognition for the exquisite ensembles on display in my beloved War Paint. Zuber’s next gig is designing Patti LuPone’s dress for the Tony red carpet. What better endorsement of a person’s talent is there than Patti’s blessing? Eh, Madonna?

Lighting Design
Will Win: Bradley King, Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812
Should Win: Bradley King, Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812

I REALLY want those amazing lights that look like exploding stars to be sold a Target so that I can buy them and decorate my house. If furniture becomes the new frontier for Broadway merch, I am so on board!

Want more Tony talk? Follow me @PopCultInformed this Sunday as I tipsily live tweet the Tony Awards ceremony! If you don’t watch, allow the following Kevin Spacey GIF to illustrate my enormous disappointment in you.

Until then, friends!

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