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We predict 2012 Tony Award winners

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Newsies 3
Deen van Meer

Now is the time for Newsies fans and theater geeks everywhere to seize the day! It’s Tony time! This Sunday, Neil Patrick Harris will be donning his tux once again to host the annual celebration of Broadway’s finest moments (and we’ll be live-blogging the Tony Award ceremony, so please watch with us!). In a repeat from last year’s NPH-led event, expect another rash of jokes at the expense of Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark. Fellow EW critic Melissa Rose Bernardo and I here 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.)

Best Play

Clybourne Park (Thom)

Other Desert Cities (Melissa)

Peter and the Starcatcher

Venus in Fur

It’s one of the strongest years in recent memory for new American plays. While Jon Robin Baitz’s Other Desert Cities won wide acclaim when it opened last year, I give the edge to Pulitzer winner Clybourne Park.

Best Musical

Leap of Faith

Newsies (Melissa, Thom)

Nice Work If You Can Get It

Once

This is a two-way race between movie-based hits that each have an underdog story: Once and Newsies. The former is charming but relatively small-scale. And since a sizable number of Tony voters handle Broadway tours throughout the country, a more traditional, broader-based hit like Newsies is likely to win out.

Best Revival of a Play

Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman (Thom, Melissa)

Gore Vidal’s The Best Man

Master Class

Wit

One of the most acclaimed revivals in years will get its due.

Best Revival of a Musical

Evita

Follies (Melissa)

The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess (Thom)

Jesus Christ Superstar

Most prognosticators, including Melissa, are picking director Eric Schaeffer’s acclaimed revival of the problematic Stephen Sondheim musical. While the show is now playing in Los Angeles with virtually its entire cast intact, it’s been off Broadway since January—and Schaeffer himself didn’t get a directing nomination. Not so directing nominee Diane Paulus, who’s overcome a storm of Sondheim-led controversy about her reinterpretation of Porgy and Bess and emerged (mostly) triumphant.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play

James Corden – One Man, Two Guvnors

Philip Seymour Hoffman – Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman (Melissa, Thom)

James Earl Jones – Gore Vidal’s The Best Man

Frank Langella – Man and Boy

John Lithgow – The Columnist

This race isn’t even close. Attention will be paid.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play

Nina Arianda – Venus in Fur (Thom)

Tracie Bennett – End of the Rainbow (Melissa)

Stockard Channing – Other Desert Cities

Linda Lavin – The Lyons

Cynthia Nixon – Wit

In a three-way race, I’m picking the ingenue Nina Arianda for her star-making turn in Venus in Fur. But British actress Tracie Bennett also delivers a singular and bravura turn as Judy Garland in End of the Rainbow. And you can’t completely rule out Stockard Channing’s delightfully frosty performance as a Republican doyenne in Other Desert Cities.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical

Danny Burstein – Follies

Jeremy Jordan – Newsies (Melissa)

Steve Kazee – Once (Thom)

Norm Lewis – The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess

Ron Raines – Follies

This is essentially a two-way race between this season’s rookie of the year, Jeremy Jordan (who also starred in this season’s short-lived Bonnie and Clyde), and the journeyman actor in his first major starring role, Steve Kazee.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical

Jan Maxwell – Follies

Audra McDonald – The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess (Melissa, Thom)

Cristin Milioti – Once

Kelli O’Hara – Nice Work If You Can Get It

Laura Osnes – Bonnie & Clyde

I expect Audra McDonald will pick up her fifth Tony Award for another stellar performance in a challenging role.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play

Christian Borle, Peter and the Starcatcher

Michael Cumpsty, End of the Rainbow

Tom Edden, One Man, Two Guvnors

Andrew Garfield, Death of a Salesman (Melissa, Thom)

Jeremy Shamos, Clybourne Park

Smash star Christian Borle may peel off some votes, but it’s hard to imagine his campy turn as a malaprop-spouting pirate would upset Andrew Garfield’s heartfelt performance as Biff in a dramatic classic.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play

Linda Emond, Death of a Salesman

Spencer Kayden, Don’t Dress for Dinner

Cella Keenan-Bolger, Peter and the Starcatcher

Judith Light, Other Desert Cities (Melissa, Thom)

Condola Rashad, Stick Fly

A nominee in this category last year for Lombardi, the former star of Who’s the Boss? will finally claim the prize.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical

Phillip Boykin, The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess

Michael Cerveris, Evita (Thom)

David Alan Grier, The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess (Melissa)

Michael McGrath, Nice Work If You Can Get It

Josh Young, Jesus Christ Superstar

The two Porgy and Bess stars are both deserving (and David Alan Grier’s is the flashier of the two), but I fear they may cancel each other out. That leaves Michael Cerveris, a Tony winner in this category for 2004’s Assassins and the strongest element of the new Evita revival.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical

Elizabeth A. Davis, Once

Jayne Houdyshell, Follies

Judy Kaye, Nice Work If You Can Get It (Melissa, Thom)

Jesse Mueller, On a Clear Day You Can See Forever

Da’Vine Joy Randolph, Ghost

This category is a face-off between two veterans: Jayne Houdyshell, the Broadway baby of Follies, and Judy Kaye, who literally swings from a chandelier in Nice Work If You Can Get It. Swing for the chandelier!

Best Direction of a Play

Nicholas Hytner, One Man, Two Guvnors

Pam MacKinnon, Clybourne Park

Mike Nichols, Death of a Salesman (Melissa, Thom)

Roger Rees and Alex Timbers, Peter and the Starcatcher

Expect Nichols to accept his ninth Tony.

Best Direction of a Musical

Jeff Calhoun, Newsies (Thom)

Kathleen Marshall, Nice Work If You Can Get It

Diane Paulus, The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess

John Tiffany, Once (Melissa)

It’s the Newsies vs. Once fight all over again.

Best Book of a Musical

Lysistrata Jones

Newsies (Melissa, Thom)

Nice Work If You Can Get It

Once

Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics) Written for the Theatre

Bonnie & Clyde

Newsies (Melissa, Thom)

One Man, Two Guvnors

Peter and the Starcatcher

Yes, the last two nominees are non-musicals. Best Musical nominees Once and Nice Work If You Can Get It were ineligible since their scores were made up of pre-existing material. And the nominators really, really didn’t like Ghost and Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark. That should mean a win for composer Alan Menken and lyricist Jack Feldman, who wrote a bunch of news songs to supplement their tunes from the 1992 movie Newsies.

Best Choreography

Rob Ashford, Evita

Christopher Gattelli, Newsies (Melissa, Thom)

Steven Hoggett, Once

Kathleen Marshall, Nice Work If You Can Get It

Newsies boasts some of the most energetic and athletic hoofing seen on stage in years.

Best Scenic Design of a Play

John Lee Beatty, Other Desert Cities

Daniel Ostling, Clybourne Park (Melissa, Thom)

Mark Thompson, One Man, Two Guvnors

Donyale Werle, Peter and the Starcatcher

Donyale Werle’s set for Peter and the Starcatcher is charmingly clever, but Daniel Ostling’s design for Clybourne Park is virtually another character. In the first act, we see a 1959 home in a solid middle-class neighborhood; in act 2, that same home is a graffiti-strewn shell of its former self fifty years later.

Best Scenic Design of a Musical

Bob Crowley, Once

Rob Howell and Jon Driscoll, Ghost the Musical

Tobin Ost and Sven Ortel, Newsies (Melissa)

George Tsypin, Spider-Man Turn Off The Dark (Thom)

Say what you will about this $72 million production, there’s no denying the genius of George Tsypin’s sets.

Best Costume Design of a Play

William Ivey Long, Don’t Dress for Dinner

Paul Tazewell, A Streetcar Named Desire

Mark Thompson, One Man, Two Guvnors

Paloma Young, Peter and the Starcatcher (Melissa, Thom)

For her homespun mermaid outfits alone, Paloma Young deserves the prize.

Best Costume Design of a Musical

Gregg Barnes, Follies (Melissa, Thom)

ESosa, The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess

Eiko Ishioka, Spider-Man Turn Off The Dark

Martin Pakledinaz, Nice Work If You Can Get It

Best Lighting Design of a Play

Jeff Croiter, Peter and the Starcatcher (Thom)

Peter Kaczorowski, The Road to Mecca

Brian MacDevitt, Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman (Melissa)

Kenneth Posner, Other Desert Cities

Death of a Salesman is the classy, artful choice. But Jeff Croiter’s work for Peter and the Starcatcher is showier and more innovative.

Best Lighting Design of a Musical

Christopher Akerlind, The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess

Natasha Katz, Follies

Natasha Katz, Once

Hugh Vanstone, Ghost: the Musical (Melissa, Thom)

Though there’s not much love for Ghost overall, Hugh Vanstone is the most deserving for keeping star Richard Fleeshman in a ghostly bluish light throughout the show — even when Fleeshman is dueting with costar Caissie Levy.

Best Sound Design of a Play

Paul Arditti, One Man, Two Guvnors

Scott Lehrer, Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman

Gareth Owen, End of the Rainbow (Thom)

Darron L. West, Peter and the Starcatcher (Melissa)

Best Sound Design of a Musical

Acme Sound Partners, The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess

Clive Goodwin, Once (Melissa, Thom)

Kai Harada, Follies

Brian Ronan, Nice Work If You Can Get It

Best Orchestrations

William David Brohn and Christopher Jahnke, The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess (Melissa)

Bill Elliott, Nice Work If You Can Get It

Martin Lowe, Once (Thom)

Danny Troob, Newsies

Read more:

Neil Patrick Harris promotes the Tony Awards in a big way

Tony Awards: ‘Once,’ ‘Nice Work…’ lead nominations — read the full list here!

Tony Award nominations react: Big surprises, shocking snubs

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