The Award for Best Play
A shoe-in. Neil LaBute’s Reasons to Be Pretty has struggled to find an audience. The late Horton Foote’s admired Dividing the Estate closed too long ago for Tony voters to have seen it. The best new play of the season—this year’s Pulitzer Prize winner, Ruined, by Lynn Nottage—isn’t eligible. (It’s an Off Broadway production.) Which leaves 33 Variations, the Lifetime disaster movie of the week (with a dash of Amadeus for amateur musicologists), competing with the commercial hit of the season, Yasmina Reza’s 80-minute breeze of a boulevard comedy of ill manners, God of Carnage, which the pretentious Ms. Reza mistakes for Kierkegaard.
Will win: God of Carnage
Best Actor in a Musical.
In its wisdom, the nominating committee has also ruled that Tony voters need see only one of the three boys who play Billy in Billy Elliot for all three of them to win a collective Tony as Best Actor in a Musical. When you’ve seen one, you’ve seen ’em all.
Will win: David Alvarez, Trent Kowalik and Kiril Kulish, Billy Elliot
The new Billy Elliot rule does not apply, however, to the revival of Alan Ayckbourn’s trilogy of plays, The Norman Conquests, which requires voters to swear on the holy bible of St. Ethel that they’ve seen all three. But the Tony for Best Revival usually goes to Lincoln Center, which makes everybody feel good about themselves except me. The Flintstones Waiting for Godot isn’t a strong contender. There’s no nomination for the admired—and now departed—Desire Under the Elms. The battle for Best Play Revival is therefore a close call between The Norman Conquests and Lincoln Center’s Joe Turner’s Come and Gone.
Will win: The Norman Conquests
Best Director of a Play
Will win: Matthew Warchus, the most gifted director of farce on either side of the Atlantic, for The Norman Conquests
Will win: Shock! Billy Elliot
Best Director of a Musical
Will win: Stephen Daldry, Billy Elliot!
Best Costume, Best Set Design
Prepare yourselves for Billy Elliot all night. The British mega-musical, which created the showbiz first of coal miners dancing merrily in tutus, will sweep everything in its category (including best peanuts). The only exception I can imagine is Best Costume, and possibly Best Set Design, for Shrek. (Green is good.)
Best Actress in a Musical
Will win: Alice Ripley for her suicidally depressive heroine in Next to Normal
Best Revival of a MusicaL
Finally, the Tony for Best Revival of a Musical is between the tougher, bilingual new production of West Side Story, directed by the always modest Arthur Laurents; and the vibrant, nice, clean Brazilian wax production of Hair, directed by Diane Paulus.
Let the sunshine in!
Will win, must win: Hair, beloved tribal love-rock musical of my generation!
Follow John Heilpern via RSS.