By Karen Isaacs
Sunday is Tony Night and while some awards seem a sure thing, others are up-for-grabs.
One question is will the Tony voters follow the lead of the Outer Critics Circle and Drama Desk voters? Of course, these two programs have slightly different rules: they include off-Broadway productions and may exclude Broadway offerings that moved from an off-Broadway productions in a prior season. This year, Dear Evan Hanse and Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812 were impacted.
Bette Midler will win the Tony for outstanding female performer in a musical AND Hello, Dolly! will win the Best Revival of a Musical Tony. Even with Midler not doing eight performances a week (Donna Murphy fills in) and despite the rumor that she will take off additional performances in the future, she seems a certainty.
Some voters may be annoyed that she is apparently NOT performing on the Tony show; the rumor is that she demanded that the performance be at the Shubert Theater in a cut away, not actually at the awards ceremony.
Both groups agreed that Oslo was the Outstanding New Play and Come from Away the Outstanding New Musical. They also agreed on all the major acting awards: Kevin Kline (Present Laughter) and Laura Linney (The Little Foxes) for leading roles in plays with Danny DeVito (The Price) and Cynthia Nixon (The Little Foxes) for featured actor in a play. Bette Midler and Andy Karl (Groundhog Day) won for musicals with Gavin Creel (Hello, Dolly!) and Jenn Colella (Come from Away) for featured actor in a musical.
They also agreed on the best revivals: Hello, Dolly! and Jitney.
Where were the differences? The Outer Critics gave the direction of a play award to Rebecca Taichman for Indecent and the Drama Desk to Reuben Santiago-Hudson for Jitney. Similarly for direction of a musical the Drama Desk award went to Rachel Chavkin for The Great Comet while the OCC gave it to Warren Carlyle for Come from Away.
It could be the year of Dear Evan Hansen with the show winning best musical and Ben Platt beating out Andy Karl for the leading actor award. Yet the outstanding musical category is tough with three terrific shows: Hansen, Come from Away and Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812.
Oslo should win the Tony but A Doll House Part 2 has been getting a lot of buzz. Its leading lady, Laurie Metcalf might give Laura Linney a run for the top acting award.
The revials? Hello, Dolly! because most of the other musical revivals were weak and Jitney.
Kevin Kline should take home another Tony though Jefferson May (Oslo) deserves strong consideration.
For musicals: Gavin Creel will probably join Bette Midler in receiving Tonys. The featured actor in a play category is super competitive. Danny DeVito’s been picking all the wins but I preferred the performances of Richard Thomas (The Little Foxes), Michael Aronov (Oslo) and John Douglas Thompson (Jitney).
Deciding among the actress in a featured role category will be tough; Cynthia Nixon could easily win but I really liked Johanna Day in Sweat. I hope Jenn Colella takes home the featured role in a musical Tony but certainly Rachel Bay Jones (Dear Evan Hansen) and Stephanie J. Block (Falsettos) are strong contenders.
Directorial award categories are jammed with great productions. I’d like Rebecca Taichman for Indecent and Rachel Chavkin for The Great Comet to win. But all of the nominees are very worth.
So let’s see how I do