Image Credit: Johan Persson; Moniqure CarboniHere’s the easiest prediction to make about this year’s Tony Awards, which will be presented June 13 at NYC’s Radio City Music Hall: Host Sean Hayes will almost certainly make some reference to the hullabaloo about being too gay to play a straight man in the musical Promises, Promises. The CBS broadcast will also have an excuse to present a production number from his show even though it didn’t snag a nomination for Best Revival of a Musical. (There’s talk that the show will open with a medley of “pop songs you might not know are on Broadway.”) As for the major awards categories, the choices are not quite as easy to predict. Red (pictured at left, top) is clearly the front-runner in the new play category, but the new musical race is a highly competitive one: Fela! (pictured, bottom), American Idiot, Memphis, and Million Dollar Quartet each have a legitimate shot at the trophy. Fellow EW critic Melissa Rose Bernardo and I are daring to head out center stage to offer our predictions in all the Tony categories (you’ll see our names after each of our picks). Disagree? Please let us know who you think will win — or should win — in the comments section. (For more Stage coverage, go to EW.com’s Stage hub.)
In the Next Room or the vibrator play, by Sarah Ruhl
Next Fall, by Geoffrey Nauffts
Red, by John Logan (Melissa, Thom)
Time Stands Still, by Donald Margulies
John Logan’s two-man show about artist Mark Rothko is the clear favorite.
My favorite of this bunch is American Idiot, but the critical reception (and the box office) have been decidedly muted. In recent weeks, Fela! producer Jay-Z has been pulling out all the stops to woo votes — including bringing Beyoncé to some events — and that may be enough to garner a win over the stolid early-rock-era musical Memphis.
Best Revival of a Play
Fences (Melissa, Thom)
The best-reviewed revival of the year is an absolute lock here.
Best Revival of a Musical
La Cage aux Folles (Melissa, Thom)
Another sure thing.
Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Play
Jude Law, Hamlet
Alfred Molina, Red (Melissa)
Liev Schreiber, A View From the Bridge
Christopher Walken, A Behanding in Spokane
Denzel Washington, Fences (Thom)
It’s been a really strong year for leading men. Denzel Washington has gotten raves for his performance in Fences and would be a deserved winner — though Alfred Molina has been gathering some momentum for his mesmerizing turn as Mark Rothko in Red.
Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play
Viola Davis, Fences (Melissa, Thom)
Valerie Harper, Looped
Linda Lavin, Collected Stories
Laura Linney, Time Stands Still
Jan Maxwell, The Royal Family
Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical
Kelsey Grammer, La Cage aux Folles
Sean Hayes, Promises, Promises
Douglas Hodge, La Cage aux Folles (Melissa, Thom)
Chad Kimball, Memphis
Sahr Ngaujah, Fela!
Brit actor Douglas Hodge gives a show-stopping turn in a very showy role.
Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical
Kate Baldwin, Finian’s Rainbow
Montego Glover, Memphis (Thom)
Christiane Noll, Ragtime
Sherie Rene Scott, Everyday Rapture
Catherine Zeta-Jones, A Little Night Music (Melissa)
It’s a battle between the celeb and the newcomer, and I give the slight edge to the ingenue.
Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Play
David Alan Grier, Race
Stephen McKinley Henderson, Fences (Melissa)
Jon Michael Hill, Superior Donuts
Stephen Kunken, Enron
Eddie Redmayne, Red (Thom)
Eddie Redmayne won the Olivier Award earlier this year for his supporting role in Red; he should repeat here — unless the remarkable Stephen McKinley Henderson sneaks in for his turn as the colleague/buddy in Fences.
Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Play
Maria Dizzia, In the Next Room or the vibrator play
Rosemary Harris, The Royal Family
Jessica Hecht, A View From the Bridge
Scarlett Johansson, A View From the Bridge
Jan Maxwell, Lend Me a Tenor (Melissa, Thom)
Yes, Jan Maxwell also garnered a lead-actress nomination for the long-closed comedy revival Royal Family. She steals the show in Lend Me a Tenor as the daffy, possessive wife of an Italian tenor, and she’ll steal the Tony too.
Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical
Kevin Chamberlin, The Addams Family
Robin De Jesús, La Cage aux Folles (Thom)
Christopher Fitzgerald, Finian’s Rainbow
Levi Kreis, Million Dollar Quartet (Melissa)
Bobby Steggert, Ragtime
It’s a battle of the scene-stealers: Robin De Jesús as a very fey butler/maid vs. Levi Kreis as Jerry Lee Lewis.
Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical
Barbara Cook, Sondheim on Sondheim
Katie Finneran, Promises, Promises (Melissa, Thom)
Angela Lansbury, A Little Night Music
Karine Plantadit, Come Fly Away
Lillias White, Fela!
I suspect the two beloved theater icons — Angela Lansbury and Barbara Cook — may cancel each other out, allowing the mesmerizing Katie Finneran to emerge victorious.
Best Direction of a Play
Michael Grandage, Red
Sheryl Kaller, Next Fall
Kenny Leon, Fences (Melissa, Thom)
Gregory Mosher, A View from the Bridge
Best Direction of a Musical
Christopher Ashley, Memphis
Marcia Milgrom Dodge, Ragtime
Terry Johnson, La Cage aux Folles (Thom)
Bill T. Jones, Fela! (Melissa)
Best Scenic Design of a Play
John Lee Beatty, The Royal Family
Alexander Dodge, Present Laughter
Santo Loquasto, Fences
Christopher Oram, Red (Melissa, Thom)
If you manage to re-create masterpiece paintings, you deserve the Tony.
Best Scenic Design of a Musical
Marina Draghici, Fela!
Christine Jones, American Idiot (Melissa, Thom)
Derek McLane, Ragtime
Tim Shortall, La Cage aux Folles
Best Costume Design of a Play
Martin Pakledinaz, Lend Me a Tenor
Constanza Romero, Fences
David Zinn, In the Next Room or the vibrator play (Melissa, Thom)
Catherine Zuber, The Royal Family
Best Costume Design of a Musical
Marina Draghici, Fela!
Paul Tazewell, Memphis
Matthew Wright, La Cage aux Folles (Melissa, Thom)
Santo Loquasto’s costumes for the Ragtime revival were declared ineligible after he picked up a nomination; he had designed the costumes for the original production.
Best Lighting Design of a Play
Neil Austin, Hamlet
Neil Austin, Red (Melissa, Thom)
Mark Henderson, Enron
Brian MacDevitt, Fences
Neil Austin’s work was remarkable in both Hamlet and Red, but the lighting for the latter even makes a pointed contribution to the story itself. (At one point, we see what Rothko’s paintings would look like under institutional fluorescent lighting — and the magic of them dissipates before our eyes.)
Best Lighting Design of a Musical
Kevin Adams, American Idiot (Melissa)
Donald Holder, Ragtime
Nick Richings, La Cage aux Folles
Robert Wierzel, Fela! (Thom)
Best Sound Design of a Play
Acme Sound Partners, Fences (Melissa)
Adam Cork, Enron
Adam Cork, Red (Thom)
Scott Lehrer, A View from the Bridge
The sound design in the short-lived Enron is impressive, but no one saw it. And while Branford Marsalis’ score is used to great effect in Fences, I opt for Red and its clever use of a record player — and a memorable scene involving a blank canvas, paint, two brushes, and a Gluck aria.
Best Sound Design of a Musical
Jonathan Deans, La Cage aux Folles
Robert Kaplowitz, Fela! (Thom)
Dan Moses Schreier and Gareth Owen, A Little Night Music
Dan Moses Schreier, Sondheim on Sondheim (Melissa)
Best Book of a Musical
Everyday Rapture (Melissa)
Million Dollar Quartet
Memphis has the only traditional book of the bunch, though Sherie Rene Scott’s extended monologue in Everyday Rapture is utterly charming.
Best Original Score
The Addams Family
In a season dominated by jukebox musicals, this is a decidedly weak category. Witness that two non-musicals snagged nominations. In fact, I give the edge to Branford Marsalis’ jazzy score for the August Wilson revival Fences, though Memphis is a clear favorite.
Rob Ashford, Promises, Promises
Bill T. Jones, Fela!
Lynne Page, La Cage aux Folles (Melissa)
Twyla Tharp, Come Fly Away (Thom)
Jason Carr, La Cage aux Folles
Aaron Johnson, Fela! (Melissa)
Jonathan Tunick, Promises, Promises
Daryl Waters & David Bryan, Memphis (Thom)