2014 Tony Award predictions

Betting on what will win Broadway’s highest honor this Sunday night? Our 2014 Tony Award predictions are pure gold.

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As we noted five weeks ago, when the 2014 Tony Award nominations were announced, some of the races were made less interesting than they could have been. For example, The Bridges of Madison County ought to be in contention for Best Musical, as should Rocky. The nominating committee hated Will Eno's The Realistic Joneses so much it denied the experimental oddity even the honor of a nomination. Still, the races that are left have plenty of thrills. We can already call a couple in advance: Two male TV stars are going to go home with the gold Sunday night. And while we're fairly sure A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder will squeak out a win for Best Musical, there's been murmuring among pundits that Beautiful is poised for an upset. One contest that should be very interesting is Best Actress in a Play, which is coming down to a fight between Cherry Jones (The Glass Menagerie) and Audra McDonald (Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill). So we invite you to use our predictions for your Tony betting pool; you can also follow our live tweeting of the Tony telecast on Sunday night: @TimeOutNewYork.

All the Way

All the Way Photograph: Evgenia Eliseeva

Best Play

Act One
All the Way
Casa Valentina
Mothers and Sons
Outside Mullingar

Who will win: The race is crowded with five nominees instead of the usual four, thanks to a baroque new change to the Tony rules. But look for Robert Schenkkan’s LBJ bioplay All the Way to go the distance; it’s a long work on serious themes, with the wind at its back from winning other awards.

A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder

A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder Photograph: Joan Marcus

Best Musical

After Midnight
Aladdin
Beautiful—The Carole King Musical
A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder

Who will win: The four nominees vary widely in style and content, but the well-crafted A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murderthe only one with a fully original score—has a slight edge. But don’t count out Beautiful; a box-office hit with tourist appeal and touring potential, the Carole King biograpy might well nab the crown.

Twelfth Night

Twelfth Night Photograph: Joan Marcus

Best Revival of a Play

The Cripple of Inishmaan
The Glass Menagerie
A Raisin in the Sun
Twelfth Night

Who will win: Although many audiences and critics found The Glass Menagerie shattering, the theater-people hit of the year was the magical Shakespeare’s Globe production of Twelfth Night, whose “original practices” approach (including period instruments and an all-male cast) gave the production a rare sense of wonder and event.

Hedwig and the Angry Inch

Hedwig and the Angry Inch Photograph: Joan Marcus

Best Revival of a Musical

Hedwig and the Angry Inch
Les Misérables 
Violet

Who will win: The same rule change that triggered the expansion of the Best Play category also caused Best Musical to contract to three slots instead of four this year. With Cabaret thus out of the mix, Hedwig and the Angry Inch has an even clearer path to victory.

All the Way

All the Way Photograph: Evgenia Eliseeva

Best Actor in a Play

Samuel Barnett, Twelfth Night
Bryan Cranston, All the Way
Chris O'Dowd, Of Mice and Men
Mark Rylance, Richard III
Tony Shalhoub, Act One

Who will win: Though all five contenders did excellent work, this one barely counts as a race at all. Absent a bad break of massive proportions, Bryan Cranston is a lock for his commanding portrayal of Lyndon Johnson in All the Way. More analysis here.

Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill

Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill Photograph: Evgenia Eliseeva

Best Actress in a Play

Tyne Daly, Mothers and Sons
LaTanya Richardson Jackson, A Raisin in the Sun
Cherry Jones, The Glass Menagerie
Audra McDonald, Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill
Estelle Parsons, The Velocity of Autumn

Who will win: Tempting though it is to pick Cherry Jones for her revelatory turn in The Glass Menagerie, Audra McDonald is on track to pick up a record-breaking sixth Tony for her Billie Holiday trip in Lady Day. As in one of her previous wins (for Master Class in 1996), McDonald benefits from getting to show off her prodigious musical skills in what is technically a straight play. Interview extra: Diva deathmatch!

Hedwig and the Angry Inch

Hedwig and the Angry Inch Photograph: Joan Marcus

Best Actor in a Musical

Neil Patrick Harris, Hedwig and the Angry Inch
Ramin Karimloo, Les Misérables
Andy Karl, Rocky
Jefferson Mays, A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder
Bryce Pinkham, A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder

Who will win: In another year, Jefferson Mays’s virtuosic performance as multiple English twits in A Gentleman’s Guide would practically guarantee him the win. But Neil Patrick Harris is a thrilling jolt of pure star energy in Hedwig and the Angry Inch. He won’t be hosting the Tonys this year, but he’ll be at the winner’s podium. More analysis here.

Beautiful—The Carole King Musical

Beautiful—The Carole King Musical Photograph: Joan Marcus

Best Actress in a Musical

Mary Bridget Davies, A Night with Janis Joplin
Sutton Foster, Violet
Idina Menzel, If/Then
Jessie Mueller, Beautiful—The Carole King Musical
Kelli O'Hara, The Bridges of Madison County

Who will win: The Best Actress field is arguably the strongest of any Tony category this year. If The Bridges of Madison County were still playing, Kelli O’Hara might have a shot at her first Tony (out of five nominations). But fast-rising star Jessie Mueller is the heart of Beautiful—it’s almost impossible to imagine the show without her—and the buzz is on her side. More analysis here.

Twelfth Night

Twelfth Night Photograph: Joan Marcus

Best Director of a Play

Tim Carroll, Twelfth Night
Michael Grandage, The Cripple of Inishmaan
Kenny Leon, A Raisin in the Sun
John Tiffany, The Glass Menagerie

Who will win: In what is essentially an extension of this year’s race for Best Revival of a Play, Tim Carroll—who directed not only Twelfth Night but also its repertory companion, Richard III—will probably be rewarded for his productions’ surprising mixture of old fashion and fresh vision.

A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder

A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder Photograph: Joan Marcus

Best Director of a Musical

Warren Carlyle, After Midnight
Michael Mayer, Hedwig and the Angry Inch
Leigh Silverman, Violet
Darko Tresnjak, A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder

Who will win: As the director of the only original musical in the category, Darko Tresnjak has the edge here. But don’t rule out Michael Mayer’s top-notch work in expanding Hedwig and the Angry Inch from its intimate Off Broadway origins to a full-on Broadway spectacle.

A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder

A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder Photograph: Joan Marcus

Best Book of a Musical

Aladdin (Chad Beguelin)
Beautiful—The Carole King Musical (Douglas McGrath)
Bullets Over Broadway (Woody Allen)
A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder (Robert L. Freedman)

Who will win: In a field populated with screen-to-stage adaptations and biographical material, Robert L. Freedman’s witty, inventive book stands out for its originality and structural cleverness. It too was based on another source—a largely forgotten 1907 novel—but Freedman made it his own killer comic creation.

The Bridges of Madison County

The Bridges of Madison County Photograph: Joan Marcus

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

Aladdin
Music: Alan Menken 
Lyrics: Howard Ashman, Tim Rice and Chad Beguelin
The Bridges of Madison County
Music and lyrics: Jason Robert Brown
A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder
Music: Steven Lutvak 
Lyrics: Robert L. Freedman and Steven Lutvak
If/Then
Music: Tom Kitt 
Lyrics: Brian Yorkey

Who will win: Voters won’t get a chance to choose The Bridges of Madison County for Best Musical, but the show’s soaring, old-fashioned score should earn Jason Robert Brown his second win in this category—though one can’t count out Gentleman’s Guide, which has support from both those who admire the show’s cleverness and those who will vote for Beautiful and think of Best Score as a consolation prize.

Act One

Act One Photograph: Joan Marcus

Best Scenic Design of a Play

Beowulf Boritt, Act One
Bob Crowley, The Glass Menagerie
Es Devlin, Machinal
Christopher Oram, The Cripple of Inishmaan

Who will win: There’s a great deal of story in Act One, writer-director James Lapine’s lovingly capacious adaptation of Moss Hart’s rags-to-riches showbiz memoir. And Beowulf Boritt’s three-tier rotating set does a lot of heavy lifting to tell that story. Es Devlin’s also-turning, more abstract set for Machinal was no less impressive (and certainly more artful), but Boritt’s show is still running and hits more nostalgia pleasure centers.

Rocky

Rocky Photograph: Matthew Murphy

Best Scenic Design of a Musical

Christopher Barreca, Rocky
Julian Crouch, Hedwig and the Angry Inch
Alexander Dodge, A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder
Santo Loquasto, Bullets Over Broadway

Who will win: Memorable work all around makes this category a toughie. Despite the theater community’s divided opinion of Rocky, there is no disagreement about Christopher Barreca’s spectacular set, which includes a climactic coup de théâtre whose like has not been seen since Miss Saigon’s era-defining helicopter.

Twelfth Night

Twelfth Night Photograph: Joan Marcus

Best Costume Design of a Play

Jane Greenwood, Act One
Michael Krass, Machinal
Rita Ryack, Casa Valentina
Jenny Tiramani, Twelfth Night

Who will win: Although the outfits in Casa Valentina do their work beautifully, Jenny Tiramani’s dresses in Twelfth Night took period drag to a different, new level with a meticulous re-creation of Elizabethan costumery that used only fabrics available at that time. Since the original-practices style of the production was a major part of its appeal, Tiramani (who also designed the sets) deserves to reap the reward.

A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder

A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder Photograph: Joan Marcus

Best Costume Design of a Musical

Linda Cho, A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder
William Ivey Long, Bullets Over Broadway
Arianne Phillips, Hedwig and the Angry Inch
Isabel Toledo, After Midnight

Who will win: William Ivey Long made the gangsters sleek and the chorus girls luscious; Arianne Phillips transformed Neil Patrick Harris beyond recognition; and Isabel Toledo’s zoot suits and flapper frocks set Harlem ablaze. But Linda Cho’s wardrobe for Jefferson Mays’s eight doomed aristocrats is a technical miracle. Mays must be flipped and zipped into costumes in mere seconds, and those Edwardian silhouettes are simply to die for.

The Glass Menagerie

The Glass Menagerie Photograph: Michael J. Lutch

Best Lighting Design of a Play

Paule Constable, The Cripple of Inishmaan
Jane Cox, Machinal
Natasha Katz, The Glass Menagerie
Japhy Weideman, Of Mice and Men

Who will win: Natasha Katz doesn’t need another Tony (she already has three, out of ten nominations), but The Glass Menagerie’s haunting atmosphere owed a great deal to her shadings. Even more deserving, perhaps, was Jane Cox’s work in the underappreciated Machinal, but voters may not remember that.

Hedwig and the Angry Inch

Hedwig and the Angry Inch Photograph: Joan Marcus

Best Lighting Design of a Musical

Kevin Adams, Hedwig and the Angry Inch
Christopher Akerlind, Rocky
Howell Binkley, After Midnight
Donald Holder, The Bridges of Madison County

Who will win: Although his main job is to make Hedwig look like a plausible rock concert, Kevin Adams does more than that. He takes us inside that mixed-up Hedwig head, using subtle effects to guide us from an ad-hoc concert on the stage of a fake Broadway flop to a meta-theatrical climax, complete with a glorious, transformative light show.

Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill

Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill Photograph: Evgenia Eliseeva

Best Sound Design of a Play

Alex Baranowski, The Cripple of Inishmaan
Steve Canyon Kennedy, Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill
Dan Moses Schreier, Act One
Matt Tierney, Machinal

Who will win: Here’s another case where Machinal deserves a win that it probably won’t get. Expect instead to see Steve Canyon Kennedy honored for miking Lady Day, and for helping shape the space when Audra McDonald’s Billie Holiday is not “onstage” within the show. (It helps that Lady Day is basically a musical, just as that helps McDonald in her Best Actress race.)

Hedwig and the Angry Inch

Hedwig and the Angry Inch Photograph: Joan Marcus

Best Sound Design of a Musical

Peter Hylenski, After Midnight
Tim O'Heir, Hedwig and the Angry Inch
Mick Potter, Les Misérables
Brian Ronan, Beautiful—The Carole King Musical 

Who will win: Hedwig doesn’t just take place on the stage; a crucial part of its action is happening behind the building, where Tommy Gnosis is playing an outdoor concert. So designer Tim O’Heir has to isolate and blend different regions on the stage—as well as keep the levels high enough to get us rocking out in our chairs. Sometimes the flashiest job gets the prize.

After Midnight

After Midnight Photograph: Matthew Murphy

Best Choreography

Warren Carlyle, After Midnight
Steven Hoggett and Kelly Devine, Rocky
Casey Nicholaw, Aladdin
Susan Stroman, Bullets Over Broadway

Who will win: While there’s fantastic footwork from all the nominees—not to mention a unique hybrid of stage combat and dance created by Steven Hoggett and Kelly Devine for RockyWarren Carlyle pirouettes away with the gold. For After Midnight’s amazing hoofers he prepared a movable feast of jazz tap, proto-breakdancing and modern ballet. Jazz Age Harlem comees alive and cuts a rug.

The Bridges of Madison County

The Bridges of Madison County Photograph: Joan Marcus

Best Orchestrations

Doug Besterman, Bullets Over Broadway
Jason Robert Brown, The Bridges of Madison County
Steve Sidwell, Beautiful—The Carole King Musical
Jonathan Tunick, A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder

Who will win: In a difficult category for general-interest voters to evaluate, Jason Robert Brown gets prestige points for having orchestrated his own score—which also happens to be the lushest and most orchestral-sounding of the bunch.




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