I’ve made it clear that I have no credibility to talk about theater except for the fact that I just read a lot about it online and genuinely find it interesting. Over the last few years, the Tonys have become my favorite awards show, mostly because of the performances and because, compared to the stars at film and TV award shows, these nominees are not always accustomed to the glamour and excitement that a day of recognition provides and seem truly genuine.
This year’s Tony nominations came out today, and it’s already a record-breaking year – Hamilton has gathered 16 nominations, more than any other Broadway musical in the past. Once again, I haven’t seen the show and I consider myself a newer fan, but just listening to the cast album (it’s quickly become my background music for when I’m writing essays) and watching Lin-Manuel Miranda interviews proves that this record is well-deserved. While one show and its actors sweeping so many of the slots almost takes away the suspense of who will win, it does make it even more exciting for both the winner and the audience if someone from another show does win. As of now, I’m predicting at least one non-Hamilton actor win in the musical categories – find it below!
Today, I thought I’d go through the nominated musicals and musical actors and provide some thoughts and my favorites for the win!
School of Rock – The Musical
Shuffle Along, Or the Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed
This one is a no-brainer – Hamilton is going to be the Best Musical winner this year.
However, I’ve been pretty fascinated by the story Bright Star tells. From what I understand, it tells a woman’s story first when she is a teenager in the American South in the 1920s, and then alternates with her life as an adult in the 1940s. Showing a character at different ages, exploring different eras – this story would be exactly my thing if it was a novel. Plus, the music I’ve heard from it is pretty catchy.
I really haven’t heard anything about Shuffle Along apart from that it was debatable whether it would be considered a musical revival or not. I read somewhere that, if anything, the Best Musical category would be between Hamilton and Shuffle Along. But what’s this – Audra McDonald in a musical and not getting nominated?
I predict…Hamilton will win.
I want to see…honestly, any of them except for School of Rock.
Best Revival of a Musical
The Color Purple
Fiddler on the Roof
She Loves Me
I feel like this may be going to She Loves Me. I’ve heard great things and the show’s run was even extended because of how popular it became. I also adore all of its movie adaptations (The Shop Around the Corner, In the Good Old Summertime, and You’ve Got Mail). The Color Purple and Spring Awakening were both revivals of relatively recent musicals (I think they were the first revivals of musicals originating in the twenty-first century?), so even if they are brilliant, I feel that it may not be their time. As for Fiddler, I feel that it’s just one of those classic shows that is revived so many times that nominations are old news (although this revival did have some non-traditional approaches, and the show is still one of my favorite musicals).
I predict…She Loves Me will win.
I want to see…Fiddler on the Roof. It’s just a longtime favorite that I absolutely love. I’d definitely be interested in seeing She Loves Me, though.
Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical
Alex Brightman, School of Rock – The Musical
Danny Burstein, Fiddler on the Roof
Zachary Levi, She Loves Me
Lin-Manuel Miranda, Hamilton
Leslie Odom, Jr., Hamilton
I feel that I’ve read about praise for Leslie Odom, Jr. in this role dating back to Hamilton’s off-Broadway days. I love his vocals on the album, and he definitely captures a lot of emotion in these songs. If there is a steal, I feel that it would be Lin, but he has Best Book and Best Score down for himself.
I predict…Leslie Odom, Jr. will win.
Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical
Laura Benanti, She Loves Me
Carmen Cusack, Bright Star
Cynthia Erivo, The Color Purple
Jessie Mueller, Waitress
Phillipa Soo, Hamilton
Although Phillipa Soo could definitely win, I feel that this category is the greatest chance of an actress from another show winning. I can see Laura Benanti or Carmen Cusack easily winning, and would probably be a little surprised if Jessie Mueller (who I love) or Cynthia Erivo won. I feel like Carmen Cusack might have a slight lead because, although this was her Broadway debut, she has had immense experience in other forums of theater, and this role seems to be incredibly personal for her.
I predict…Carmen Cusack will win, but she could be defeated by Laura Benanti or Phillipa Soo.
Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical
Daveed Diggs, Hamilton
Brandon Victor Dixon, Shuffle Along, Or the Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed
Christopher Fitzgerald, Waitress
Jonathan Groff, Hamilton
Christopher Jackson, Hamilton
My overwhelming favorite of this category is Daveed Diggs. I’m obsessed with his vocals for both Lafayette and Thomas Jefferson, and I’ve seen a few of his interviews, in which he comes across as incredibly grateful for this experience and very well-spoken. Props for playing dual roles and managing to separate the characters in such a seamless way that even those just listening to the album are easily able to differentiate. If I had to pick an upset win, it would probably be Jonathan Groff.
I predict…Daveed Diggs will win.
Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical
Danielle Brooks, The Color Purple
Renee Elise Goldsberry, Hamilton
Jane Krakowski, She Loves Me
Jennifer Simard, Disaster!
Adrienne Warren, Shuffle Along, Or the Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed
This category is between Renee Elise Goldsberry and Jane Krakowski. Although I will say that I wouldn’t be surprised if Jane won, I’ll say that this is Renee Elise Goldsberry’s Tony.
I predict…Renee Elise Goldsberry will win.
Check out the full list of nominees here. What are some of your predictions?