Spotlight: My Big Fat Nomination Evaluation

Hi friends! Some of you may have noticed that I recently posted a poll on Puccini’s Chronicles. I think I’ll be doing this every month. Why? Just so I know what my readers/visitors like! And, of course, to generate discussion. P.S. This is the first entry I’m writing from my brand-new laptop.

So, what better way to break in a new laptop than to write a long discourse about some non-Hamilton-locked Tony Award categories? Okay, so that’s not 100% true. Half of the prizes I break down WILL involve actors from Hamilton. How could they not? That said, the awards for Best Musical, Score, and Book aren’t even a contest this year. But the show may very well win 3/4 acting categories as well…especially considering they are represented by multiple nominees. But we’ll get to that.

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~LEADING ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL

Who will probably win: Cynthia Erivo as Celie in The Color Purple (pictured).

  • Erivo’s Broadway debut as the triumphant literary heroine has been lauded by critics and fans alike as nothing short of revelatory. Should she win, Celie will be one of the few roles in history to earn a Tony Award twice (the first was from LaChanze in the original Broadway production).

Potential upset: Carmen Cusack as Alice in Bright Star

  • Ironically ALSO making her Broadway debut, I think Cusack is the only nominee who will give Erivo competition. Although this show is getting mixed reviews, her performance is being universally acclaimed. Point of contention- if Bright Star were to close before the ceremony, the award is Erivo’s to lose.

~REVIVAL OF A MUSICAL

What will probably win: She Loves Me

  • If recent victories for The King and I and Pippin are any indication, this category has a tendency to favor “classic” musicals. That, combined with this production’s good writeups and devoted fanbase, could give it the edge.

Potential upset: The Color Purple

  • On the flip side, what John Doyle did for this show is super fresh, and his cast is terrific. Stranger things have happened, but I’d also like to note that for both the aforementioned Pippin and King and I, their leading ladies ALSO won in those years! Could we see a repeat with Erivo and Purple?

~FEATURED ACTRESS IN A PLAY

Who will probably win: Jayne Houdyshell in The Humans

  • The Humans is being referred to as one of the best new plays in recent memory, and Jayne Houdyshell has been in the business for quite some time. She’s due for a win, and there aren’t roles much meatier than this one to get her there.

Potential upset: Megan Hilty in Noises Off

  • In a bizarrely similar vein, this is Broadway sweetheart Hilty’s first Tony Award nomination. However, she is one of the most popular “belting sopranos” in the biz. The Featured Performer categories are notoriously unpredictable too; do you recall Annaleigh Ashford’s win last year?

~FEATURED ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL

Who will probably win: Renee Elise Goldsberry as Angelica in Hamilton

  • Goldsberry has been favorited to win this nugget since her show opened. Viewers have cited the brilliant acting she brings to the brilliantly-written song “Satisfied.” But this is not the one-way ticket to victory- remember how Sydney Lucas’s astounding “Ring of Keys” last year…wound up in a loss for her?

Potential upset: Jennifer Simard as Sister Mary in Disaster!

  • I’m gonna go out on a limb and say that this is the most unlikely of my upsets, and with good reason. Her show has already shut its doors. However, even people that absolutely despised Disaster! fell in love with Simard’s portrayal of a gambling nun. The phenomenon even inspired a Twitter hashtag, Put Simard On, trying to earn her a bit performance in the ceremony.

~LEADING ACTOR IN A MUSICAL

Who will probably win: Leslie Odom, Jr. as Aaron Burr in Hamilton

  • The real Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton dueled to the death, and the same thing could go down here! Both men are giving tour-de-force performances, but I think Odom’s is getting some more attention. Personally, I think Lin Manuel-Miranda will earn his trophies for the show’s book and music.

Potential upset: Danny Burstein as Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof

  • And we close with the classic “Kelli O’Hara problem” that only ended last year. Danny Burstein is among performers who have the most Tony Award nominations without a single win. He is clearly pouring his heart and soul into the iconic part of Tevye the Milkman, but he wound up in a really bad year to do so. There IS a small chance that his loss record combined with the beloved Fiddler results in “a staircase just for show.”
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