As the Broadway world pants its way toward the seasonal finish line of the Tony Awards on Sunday night, it’s clear that a lot of photo finishes are in store. Among longtime Tony obsessives observers, there's a feeling that the 2015 race is the hardest to call in recent memory; there are no clear front-runners in multiple categories. Knuckles will be whitened, nails will be bitten, and fingers will be flying across smart-phone keyboards as we live-tweet our reactions on the Time Out New York Twitter account.
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We’ve already published our full predictions, but here's a quick final guide to the (nondesign) races in terms of sheer suspense.
These are the ones you can bet your children’s lives on.
Best Play: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, by Simon Stephens
Best Actress in a Play: Helen Mirren, The Audience
Best Book: Lisa Kron, Fun Home
Best Score: Jeanine Tesori and Lisa Kron, Fun Home
Best Choreography: Christopher Wheeldon, An American in Paris
Best Orchestrations: Christopher Austin, Don Sebesky and Bill Elliott, An American in Paris
If any of these lose, it will be considered a major upset.
Best Revival of a Musical: The King and I
Best Actor in a Play: Alex Sharp, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
Best Featured Actress in a Play: Annaleigh Ashford, You Can’t Take It With You
Best Director of a Play: Marianne Elliott, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
You guessed it: This is likely.
Best Revival of a Play: Skylight, in part because it’s the only one still playing. But don’t rule out The Elephant Man or sentimental favorite You Can’t Take It with You.
Here's where things get interesting.
Best Actor in a Musical: It looks like the race is between Robert Fairchild (An American in Paris) and Michael Cerveris (Fun Home). But support for neither one is very deep, so a surprise win by Brian d’Arcy James (Something Rotten!) or Tony Yazbeck (On the Town) is possible.
Best Featured Actor in a Play: Nobody can predict this one. Nathaniel Parker (Wolf Hall) and Micah Stock (It’s Only a Play) are regarded as slight front-runners, but everyone else—except Matthew Beard, a surprise nominee for his tiny role in Skylight—has a credible shot.
Best Featured Actor in a Musical: Too close to call. We lean toward the delightful Brad Oscar, which would give voters a way to award something in Something Rotten! But his costar Christian Borle can’t be ruled out, and Andy Karl of On the Twentieth Century has strong support as well (plus residual affection for his performance in Rocky last year).
NECK AND NECK:
And here is where things get really interesting.
Best Featured Actress in a Musical: A showdown between two stars of Fun Home: musical-theater veteran and four-time Tony nominee Judy Kuhn and 11-year-old Sydney Lucas, who'll be performing her solo number, “Ring of Keys,” on the Tony telecast. We think Kuhn will eke out a victory, but Lucas has a very strong shot.
Best Director of a Musical: If Wheeldon wins this for An American in Paris, it'll be a strong omen that his show will win Best Musical. If Sam Gold wins for Fun Home, ditto, though not quite as strong (since Wheeldon will already be winning for Best Choreography, and voters may want to spread the wealth). If Bartlett Sher wins for The King and I, that’s probably a good sign for American in Paris.
Best Musical: The final and biggest prize of the night. There is a definite passion gap here: If An American in Paris wins, fans of Fun Home will be crestfallen; if Fun Home wins, fans of An American in Paris will mostly shrug. But passion doesn’t always translate to votes. If Wheeldon doesn’t win Best Director, this race will have Broadway fans on the edge of their seats right up to the end of the Tonys telecast.
Best Actress in a Musical: This is the really big one: the dueling-divas race that has inspired the most excitement. It’s between Kristin Chenoweth and Kelli O’Hara. Both have ardent supporters. Unless there’s a tie (hey, it’s happened!), there will likely be a standing ovation at Radio City Music Hall for whoever wins—and there will definitely be chaos in divided living rooms and bars across the nation.
The Tony Awards will be broadcast live on Sunday at 8pm on CBS. Brace yourselves! And to really get in the Tony spirit, check out one of our most popular features ever: our ranked list of the 25 best Tony Awards performances of all time.