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BEST PERFORMANCE BY A LEADING ACTRESS IN A PLAY

Vanessa Redgrave, Long Day's Journey Into Night
Image credit: Long Days Journey into Night: Joan Marcus

Who'll win a Tony for best actress in a play?

The only actress here to have a prior Tony nomination, Atkinson (''The Rainmaker'') is an absolute delight as a repressed Englishwoman searching for excitement and wisteria in ''April.'' Still, the play's lack of heft works against her. Hamilton, who matches Izzard punch for punch in ''Joe Egg,'' will get some votes, as will Higgins, wrenching as a manic depressive in ''Vincent.'' And though it closed months ago, Shaw was so positively frightening in the title role of Medea that no theatergoer is likely to forget her anytime soon. Still, Redgrave (pictured above) absolutely owns ''Long Day's Journey.'' As the morphine-dependent matriarch, every twitch, restless move, and eye dart is mastery. And with its late April debut, it's a performance that's still fresh in voters' minds, which never hurts.
Winner: Redgrave
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