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BEST PERFORMANCE BY A LEADING ACTOR IN A MUSICAL

Harvey Fierstein, Hairspray (Stage - 2002)
Image credit: Hairspray: Paul Kolnik

Who'll win a Tony for best actor in a musical?

What do you know -- a category that's actually pretty tough to call! First, apologies to Gets, Mitchell, and Selya: Gets is a terrific musical actor, but most of us have wiped ''Amour'' from our memories; likewise, everyone loves ''Stokes,'' but hardly anyone loves ''Man of La Mancha''; and Selya proves a strong leading dancer in ''Movin' Out,'' but that's not enough this year. It's down to Banderas and Fierstein (pictured above). ''Nine'' -- based on the Federico Fellini film ''8 1/2'' -- is intricate and gorgeous, but it's not warm or particularly lovable. Still, Banderas is -- and he sings like a dream. Meanwhile, Fierstein endured a full-body wax to take on Edna Turnblad. (That deserves a separate award.) He's the heart of ''Hairspray,'' and a beloved Broadway figure. And even though Banderas would probably deliver a wonderful Roberto Benigni-like speech, it'll likely be Fierstein at the podium, accepting his fourth Tony.
Winner: Fierstein
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