The 69th annual Tony Awards ceremony (airing this Sunday on CBS at 8pm EST) looks to be a fairly unpredictable one—the 2015 contenders should be genuflecting to the theater gods that Hamilton decided to wait to hit Broadway until next season, where the evening is likely to be a foregone conclusion. But this year? Not so easy. Could the beloved Kelli O’Hara end her Susan Lucci-like Tonys course and defeat cohost Kristin Chenoweth? Will the dramatic acting categories be completely overtaken by Brits? Will Special Tony Award recipient John Cameron Mitchell accept as Hedwig and lick someone’s eyeglasses, like Neil Patrick Harris did last year? Will Harvey Weinstein have a trick up his sleeve to get his neglected, zero-nominated Finding Neverland more airtime than the nominees?
EW offers its own Broadway crystal ball with commentary for all 24 categories (which should really be 26—bring back those damn Sound Design categories!). Let us know whom you think will win/should win in the comments section as we all prepare to see how many jokes about K-Chen’s Lilliputian height Alan Cumming can make on Sunday evening.
**The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (Jason, Marc)
Hand to God
Wolf Hall Parts One & Two
Curious is a mild word for how critics and audiences have responded to the visually dazzling adaptation of Mark Haddon’s acclaimed novel. It doesn’t take a math genius to know this one’s taking the big prize.
*An American in Paris (Jason)
*Fun Home (Marc)
It’ll be a photo finish, depending on whether voters are going for the feels (the moving Fun Home) or the squeals (dreamy Robert Fairchild and the gorgeous environs of Paris). The latter’s tour appeal, however, might help nab it by a toe shoe.
Best Revival of a Play
The Elephant Man
*Skylight (Jason, Marc)
This Is Our Youth
You Can’t Take It with You
When in doubt, always go with the one still running, and the fact that it just recouped only helps Skylight‘s case.
Best Revival of a Musical
**The King and I (Jason, Marc)
On the Town
On the Twentieth Century
Century can certainly spoil, but Lincoln Center’s eye-popping revival will be getting to know Tony.
Best Book of a Musical
Craig Lucas, An American in Paris
Lisa Kron, Fun Home
**Karey Kirkpatrick and John O’Farrell, Something Rotten! (Jason, Marc)
Terrence McNally, The Visit
Given that Something Rotten! has an uphill climb on Sunday night in other categories, we’re betting that theater mavens won’t ignore this tuner’s cheeky maelstrom of inside-Broadway delight. Plus, funny shows tend to do well in this category (Avenue Q, The Book of Mormon, last year’s A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder).
Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics) Written for the Theatre
**Jeanine Tesori and Lisa Kron, Fun Home (Jason, Marc)
Sting, The Last Ship
Wayne Kirkpatrick and Karey Kirkpatrick, Something Rotten!
John Kander and Fred Ebb, The Visit
We firmly believe that Tony balloters will be changing their major to Joan…or, at least, Jeanine and Lisa.
Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play
Steven Boyer, Hand to God
Bradley Cooper, The Elephant Man
Ben Miles, Wolf Hall Parts One & Two
Bill Nighy, Skylight
**Alex Sharp, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (Jason, Marc)
Lots of showy, superb work to be savored this year here, but the just-graduated, 25-year-old Juilliard wunderkind Sharp has been primed to take this since last fall. Prepare to witness the youngest-ever winner of this particular award to date this weekend.
Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play
Geneva Carr, Hand to God
**Helen Mirren, The Audience (Jason, Marc)
Elisabeth Moss, The Heidi Chronicles
Carey Mulligan, Skylight
Ruth Wilson, Constellations
The Queen will reign supreme. Hold the crumpets.
Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical
Michael Cerveris, Fun Home
**Robert Fairchild, An American in Paris (Jason, Marc)
Brian d’Arcy James, Something Rotten!
Ken Watanabe, The King and I
Tony Yazbeck, On the Town
Fairchild has breezed through the season’s best actor wins as easily as he glides across the stage of the Palace, so count him among the small group of recent actors to win for their Broadway debuts (John Lloyd Young, Paulo Szot, the Billy Elliot boys).
Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical
**Kristin Chenoweth, On the Twentieth Century (Jason, Marc)
Leanne Cope, An American in Paris
Beth Malone, Fun Home
Kelli O’Hara, The King and I
Chita Rivera, The Visit
As they say in Vegas, the house always wins. And—sorry, Kelli—it’s Kristin’s house this year.
Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play
Matthew Beard, Skylight
K. Todd Freeman, Airline Highway
*Richard McCabe, The Audience (Marc)
Alessandro Nivola, The Elephant Man
*Nathaniel Parker, Wolf Hall Parts One & Two (Jason)
Micah Stock, It’s Only a Play
The toughest acting category of the night, and not just because it’s the only category that went to six this year. A case can be made for all of them but we’re splitting our bet evenly between two recent Olivier winners: McCabe, an utter delight as the Queen’s fave PM in The Audience, and Parker, the lusty, conflicted King Henry VIII in Wolf Hall.
Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play
**Annaleigh Ashford, You Can’t Take It with You (Jason, Marc)
Patricia Clarkson, The Elephant Man
Lydia Leonard, Wolf Hall Parts One & Two
Sarah Stiles, Hand to God
Julie White, Airline Highway
Pirouetting her way to victory, Ashford can and will take a Tony with her.
Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical
Christian Borle, Something Rotten!
*Andy Karl, On the Twentieth Century (Jason)
Brad Oscar, Something Rotten!
Brandon Uranowitz, An American in Paris
*Max von Essen, An American in Paris (Marc)
Another tough one, but both Karl and von Essen have journeyman longevity in the industry that will net them plenty of votes. The latter’s the one with the genuine showstopper, though, so he has a definite edge here.
Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical
Victoria Clark, Gigi
Judy Kuhn, Fun Home
**Sydney Lucas, Fun Home (Jason, Marc)
Ruthie Ann Miles, The King and I
Emily Skeggs, Fun Home
The Fun Home three-way split could pave the way for Miles’ marvelous Lady Thiang, but are voters really going to resist giving a Tony to an 11-year-old, and a spectacularly assured one at that? The big question mark is whether four-time nominee Judy Kuhn will finally find her moment after days and days of treading the boards.
Best Scenic Design of a Play
*Bunny Christie and Finn Ross, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (Jason)
Bob Crowley, Skylight
Christopher Oram, Wolf Hall Parts One & Two
*David Rockwell, You Can’t Take It with You (Marc)
Take boasted a glorious, multi-level home set that actually enhanced its comic mileage, but Curious had all that projection pow and likely the most inventive use of drawers to be seen in a Broadway show.
Best Scenic Design of a Musical
Bob Crowley and 59 Productions, An American in Paris
David Rockwell, On the Twentieth Century
**Michael Yeargan, The King and I (Jason, Marc)
David Zinn, Fun Home
Yeargan’s always a safe bet whenever he’s nominated, and King looked and felt fit for, well…you know.
Best Costume Design of a Play
*Bob Crowley, The Audience (Jason)
Jane Greenwood, You Can’t Take It with You
*Christopher Oram, Wolf Hall Parts One & Two (Marc)
David Zinn, Airline Highway
Another head-scratcher, as The Audience actually makes the costumes as vital as any of the actors (Helen Mirren’s costume changes inspire gasps), but Wolf Hall had to create dozens of robes, gowns and bodices to be worn by actors over two plays performed in repertory over six hours of playing time.
Best Costume Design of a Musical
Gregg Barnes, Something Rotten!
Bob Crowley, An American in Paris
William Ivey Long, On the Twentieth Century
**Catherine Zuber, The King and I (Jason, Marc)
Like Yeargan, Zuber’s always a stealth contender, and the sheer volume of her daunting task (all those kids!) makes her triumph even more impressive.
Best Lighting Design of a Play
**Paule Constable, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (Jason, Marc)
Paule Constable and David Plater, Wolf Hall Parts One & Two
Natasha Katz, Skylight
Japhy Weideman, Airline Highway
Those visualscapes aided immeasurably to the Curious mood.
Best Lighting Design of a Musical
**Donald Holder, The King and I (Jason, Marc)
Natasha Katz, An American in Paris
Ben Stanton, Fun Home
Japhy Weideman, The Visit
Considerable competition, but Holder’s moody compositions in Lincoln Center’s tricky thrust space will likely take him to the podium.
Best Direction of a Play
Stephen Daldry, Skylight
**Marianne Elliott, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (Jason, Marc)
Scott Ellis, You Can’t Take It with You
Jeremy Herrin, Wolf Hall Parts One & Two
Moritz von Stuelpnagel, Hand to God
This Dog‘s got legs, so expect Elliott to win her second Tony for directing.
Best Direction of a Musical
**Sam Gold, Fun Home (Jason, Marc)
Casey Nicholaw, Something Rotten!
John Rando, On the Town
Bartlett Sher, The King and I
Christopher Wheeldon, An American in Paris
Wheeldon has the Choreography Tony in the bag (or would it be baguette?), so in the interest of spreading the wealth, we think Gold’s considerable challenge of restaging Fun Home in the round and making it seem even more intimate on Broadway versus downtown might merit him a win.
Joshua Bergasse, On the Town
Christopher Gattelli, The King and I
Scott Graham & Steven Hoggett for Frantic Assembly, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
Casey Nicholaw, Something Rotten!
**Christopher Wheeldon, An American in Paris (Jason, Marc)
**Christopher Austin, Don Sebesky, Bill Elliott, An American in Paris (Jason, Marc)
John Clancy, Fun Home
Larry Hochman, Something Rotten!
Rob Mathes, The Last Ship
Those Gershwin melodies sounded like a dream, so Paris will be the final destination here.