Flavorwire Predicts This Year’s Tony Winners

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This year’s Tony nominations were surprisingly movie star-free, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be some major Hollywood-level moments when the awards are handed out live on Sunday night. With Neil Patrick Harris hosting for the fourth time, it’s an event that will hopefully grab the attention of those who would be surprised to find themselves in a Broadway theater. With an excellent crop of musical performances in store, this year’s ceremony will provide a terrific selection of what Broadway has to offer for those outside of New York. Click through to see what shows, artists, and performers are most likely to pick up Tonys this Sunday.

Photo credit: Carol Rosegg

Best Play: Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike

With three strong contenders and one dud (Colm Toibin’s The Testament of Mary announced an early closing date the same day it received just one Tony nomination), it seems like this could be a tight race. While esteemed theatre vets Richard Greenberg and Christopher Durang (authors of The Assembled Parties and Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, respectively) are going head-to-head (and possibly splitting the serious voters), it wouldn’t be shocking to see a posthumous award going to Nora Ephron’s Lucky Guy. That is, if it were really Tony-winner material. I’m betting that Durang’s Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, the only uproariously funny and entertaining show of the season, will win the hearts of Tony voters.

Photo credit: Joan Marcus

Best Musical: Matilda The Musical

Forget about A Christmas Story and Bring It On — both were closed for months before the Tony nominations were announced. The much-hyped and critically beloved Royal Shakespeare Company production of Matilda is the strongest contender, and it’s doubtful that the big, splashy, fun musical comedy Kinky Boots has the power to topple Matilda’s charms.

Photo credit: Michael Brosilow

Best Revival of a Play: Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

The oft-revived Edward Albee classic returned last year by way of Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theatre Company, bringing with it Chicago theatre titans Tracy Letts (winner of both the Tony and the Pulitzer Prize for his play August: Osage County) and Amy Morton. While it didn’t offer much of a fresh look at this rather tired story, it did manage to run for six months — an impressive feat for a revived play without any movie stars attached. It will definitely trump its competition on Sunday evening.

Photo credit: Joan Marcus

Best Revival of a Musical: Pippin

There’s no question that the crowd-pleasing Pippin, with its trapeze artists, contortionists, and gymnastics, will grab plenty of awards on Sunday night, especially this top honor.

Photo credit: Sara Krulwich

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play: Tracy Letts, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

In a surprising category, only one big Hollywood name is nominated alongside four performers known more for their stage work. While Tom Hanks made his Broadway debut in Lucky Guy, I’m betting that Tracy Letts will pick up his second Tony — this time for acting — for Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf.

Photo credit: Joan Marcus

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play: Cicely Tyson, The Trip to Bountiful

While Amy Morton and Laurie Metcalf received early praise for their performances in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and The Other Place, respectively, they’ve been overshadowed by their three competitors. Holland Taylor is probably not a shoo-in for her turn as Texas governor Ann Richards, although she commanded the stage commendably in the only nominated solo show of the season (it’s worth noting that Bette Midler, Fiona Shaw, and Alan Cumming were snubbed this year for their solo shows). It’s down to Kristine Neilson for Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike and Cicely Tyson for The Trip to Bountiful. While Nielson got the most laughs, hers is much more of a supporting role. It’s likely Tyson’s long and acclaimed career will work in her favor.

Photo credit: Joan Marcus

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical: Bertie Carvel, Matilda the Musical

The two frontrunners in this category are both cross-dressing roles: Bertie Carvel as the sinister Miss Trunchbull in Matilda and Billy Porter as drag queen Lola in Kinky Boots. While Porter’s performance is possibly more worthy of the award, I guarantee Carvel will pick it up for his fresh approach to drag performance (not to mention the overwhelming love for the show itself).

Photo credit: Joan Marcus

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical: Patina Miller, Pippin

There’s hardly any question that Miller, nominated two years ago in the same category for her performance in Sister Act, will nab the Tony for her role as the Leading Player.

Photo credit: Joan Marcus

Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Play: Richard Kind, The Big Knife

Richard Kind was the most surprising actor in this bunch, revealing his dark, sinister side as a crooked and evil Hollywood producer in the revival of The Big Knife. A possible contender is the young and hunky Billy Magnussen for the uproarious Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike; he did, after all, incorporate his muscles more so than any other actor this season.

Photo credit: Joan Marcus

Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Play: Judith Light, The Assembled Parties

Judith Light is known best for her Emmy-winning stint on Who’s the Boss, but in the last three years straight she’s picked up Tony nominations for her stage work, all in this category (she won for last year’s Other Desert Cities). That doesn’t mean she’s winning this year, but it looks pretty likely considering the heft (or lack thereof) of her fellow nominees.

Photo credit: Joan Marcus

Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical: Gabriel Ebert, Matilda The Musical

Man, what a weird, boring collection of actors and roles in this category. With no real frontrunner in this race, I’m just going to give it to the guy from Matilda. It’ll probably win everything else anyway.

Photo credit: Joan Marcus

Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical: Andrea Martin, Pippin

It really is a shame that Analeigh Ashford, who brought so much nuance and quirkiness to her thankless role in Kinky Boots, has been completely overshadowed by the flash and gimmickry of Pippin’s Andrea Martin, whose one musical number displays less of her own abilities and more of her director’s talents. Martin is a lock for this one, but it would be a welcome upset to Ashford take the award.

Photo credit: Matthew Murphy

Best Book of a Musical: Dennis Kelly, Matilda the Musical Best Original Score: Cyndi Lauper, Kinky Boots

While Matilda and Kinky Boots are the two musicals battling for Best Musical, it’s likely both will not win Best Book and Best Score. Matilda’s script is clever and smart, whereas Kinky Boots’ is rather by-the-book and predictable; Best Book will likely go to the latter. There’s no denying that Cyndi Lauper’s score for Kinky Boots, however, is brilliant; it has a perfect and unpretentious pop-music feel, and is the closest to the musical scores of years past that remain in an audience member’s head hours after leaving the theater.

Photo credit: Michael J. Lutch

Best Direction of a Play: Pam MacKinnon, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Best Direction of a Musical: Diane Paulus, Pippin

Pam MacKinnon’s beloved production of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? might earn the director her first Tony (she was nominated last year for the Tony and Pulitzer-winning Clybourne Park). Nicholas Martin and George C. Wolfe also have shots at grabbing the trophy for their direction of Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike and Lucky Guy, respectively. In the musical category, however, there’s absolutely no question that Diane Paulus will receive the award for her high-flying revival of Pippin.