Tony Award Winner Predictions

If you’re not familiar with the Tony Awards, you probably heard all about it last year without realizing, thanks to Hamilton. However, this year it’s not that simple.

The American Theatre Wing’s 71st Annual Tony Awards will take place on Sunday, June 11, 2017 on CBS. The award show is presented by The Broadway League and The American Theatre Wing and celebrates musicals and plays that have come to Broadway during the end of 2016- 2017 season. The event will be hosted by Kevin Spacey.

This year twenty five shows were honored and given nominations in twenty four categories. Aura 32 is showcasing ten of these categories and are sharing our predictions for this astonishing night! Disclaimers: categories pertaining to musicals will be focused on, because honestly, I would not be able to do justice to the play nominees.

BEST COSTUME DESIGN OF A MUSICAL

Linda Cho, Anastasia

Santo Loquasto, Hello, Dolly!

Paloma Young, Natasha, Pierre, & The Great Comet of 1812

Catherine Zuber, War Paint

Predicted Winner: Linda Cho, Anastasia

When I saw Anastasia, I was left in awe of the costumes and set design. Anastasia tells the story of a lost princess, and the costume design certainly matches this level of royalty. Grand, gorgeous, jeweled gowns grace the stage throughout the performance. The final ruby red ball gown that Anya wears is truly fit for a queen. I saw the musical from the last row of the Broadhurst Theatre; however, this didn’t stop me from getting the full effect of Cho’s gowns. Also, despite a lack of nominations, I absolutely adored Anastasia. Therefore, this is only one of the categories I wish the show was recognized for.

BEST LIGHTING DESIGN OF A MUSICAL

Howell Binkley, Come From Away

Natasha Katz, Hello, Dolly!

Bradley King, Natasha, Pierre, & The Great Comet of 1812

Japhy Weideman, Dear Evan Hansen

Predicted Winner: Bradley King, Natasha, Pierre, & The Great Comet of 1812

In Natasha, Pierre, & The Great Comet of 1812, lighting isn’t something only seen on stage. In fact, for a show where a set stage is nonexistent, lighting becomes that much more important. Tables with old-fashioned lights are scattered in between seats to embody the feel of a Russian tea parlor. These lights glow and change throughout the performance, in addition to the close to thousands of light bulbs hanging from strings, and chandeliers that resemble stars. King’s use of light brings an element to the musical that stuns the audience just as much as the songs being sung. Even if you don’t appreciate or understand The Great Comet’s plot, there’s no denying the unbelieveable use of lighting within the show.

BEST SCENIC DESIGN OF A MUSICAL

Rob Howell, Groundhog Day The Musical

David Korina, War Paint

Mimi Lien, Natasha, Pierre, & The Great Comet of 1812

Santo Loquasto, Hello, Dolly!

Predicted Winner: Mimi Lien, Natasha, Pierre, & The Great Comet of 1812

I’ve been inside the Imperial Theatre before, but stepping inside to see Natasha, Pierre, & The Great Comet of 1812, I genuinely thought I was going to combust into uncontrollable tears when my eyes laid on the set. The Great Comet has received praise for their multiple levels of innovation. Lien’s set design is an undeniable innovative creation that I continue to be in awe of. The Great Comet, essentially, is a 360 degree performance. Framed photographs hang on the walls, a tiled runway is intertwined throughout the theatre for the actors to perform on, and a gigantic set of double doors sits above it all. The set is designed so the audience can sit on stage, in the orchestra, or in the mezzanine; and that’s only the start to the endless possibilities to choose from, each providing their own unique perspective of the performance! It’s truly astonishing to see how a small theatre can be transformed into a portion of 19th century Russia.

BEST BOOK OF A MUSICAL

Come From Away, Irene Sankoff and David Hein

Dear Evan Hansen, Steven Levenson

Groundhog Day The Musical, Danny Rudin

Natasha, Pierre, & The Great Comet of 1812, Dave Malloy

Predicted Winner: Dear Evan Hansen, Steven Levenson

A musical would be nothing without its book. The book is not only a narrative, but also a blueprint for the entire show and a link between dialogue and score. Ultimately, a show without a strong book is barely a show at all. The book that Levenson has created evokes tears, chuckles, and a feeling of belonging all in one. Dear Evan Hansen tells a story that is relatable to everyone, no matter who you are. It’s a story of utmost importance and should not be ignored.

BEST SCORE

Come From Away, Irene Sankoff and David Hein

Dear Evan Hansen, Benj Pasek and Justin Paul

Groundhog Day The Musical, Tim Minchin

Natasha, Pierre, & The Great Comet of 1812, Dave Malloy

Predicted Winner: Natasha, Pierre, & The Great Comet of 1812, Dave Malloy

For me, even considering Best Musical, this was the hardest category to choose. I’m someone who religiously blasts Cast Recordings in my car, to the joy of my passengers. Therefore, with such a powerful group of amazing scores, it was hard to predict/ choose a winner. Ultimately, Dave Malloy’s Natasha, Pierre, & The Great Comet of 1812, a fully sung-through musical, reminds me of what it means to be in a Broadway theatre. Don’t get me wrong, I’m the biggest fan of Dear Evan Hansen; the day that Original Broadway Cast Recording hit iTunes, I sat in my car and missed my first period class to finish listening to it. Come From Away also has a gorgeous score. Nevertheless, The Great Comet embodies every musical aspect that I love about Broadway. It has upbeat ensemble numbers that you can’t help but smile during; as well as, powerful ballads that can easily bring you to tears (not Dear Evan Hansen tears, but tears nonetheless). Overall, I was surprised and utterly impressed by Malloy’s work, and he created a score to be celebrated.

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A FEATURED ROLE IN A MUSICAL

Gavin Creel, Hello, Dolly!

Mike Faist, Dear Evan Hansen

Andrew Rannells, Falsettos

Lucas Steele, Natasha, Pierre, & The Great Comet of 1812

Brandon Uranowitz, Falsettos

Predicted Winner: Lucas Steele, Natasha, Pierre, & The Great Comet of 1812

In terms of performers, this is perhaps the most unpredictable category. Each one of these actors shines and conveys a different emotion to the audience in their respective show. Rannells brings a funny yet heartbreaking performance in Falsettos. Gavin Creel brings energy, enthusiasm, and his usual charm in Hello, Dolly! And Lucas Steele “moved with a swagger, which would have been ridiculous, had he not been so good-looking” as Anatole in Natasha, Pierre, & The Great Comet of 1812. While all of these actors are more than worthy of the Tony Award, ultimately, I was stunned by Steele’s performance. Anatole is a character you can’t help but hate to love. Even when the spotlight wasn’t on Steele, he continued to exude confidence and charisma during every moment. Even though many see The Great Comet for Josh Groban, who is currently starring as Pierre, I was far more impressed by Steele.

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A FEATURED ROLE IN A MUSICAL

Kate Baldwin, Hello, Dolly!

Stephanie J. Block, Falsettos

Jenn Colella, Come From Away

Rachel Bay Jones, Dear Evan Hansen

Mary Beth Peil, Anastasia

Predicted Winner: Jenn Colella, Come From Away

Come From Away is a brilliant show that, unfortunately, might be outshined this Tony season. Despite receiving an astounding seven Tony nominations, when up against other just as phenomenal shows, it’s one that gets left behind. With that said, I believe Jenn Colella will represent this fantastic show by receiving this win. Colella acts as the pilot of an American Airlines plane that went astray during 9/11, as well as being an active part of the ensemble. With no starring actor or actress, Colella’s featured nomination says it all and deserves a win.

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE IN A MUSICAL

Christian Borle, Falsettos

Josh Groban, Natasha, Pierre, & The Great Comet of 1812

Andy Karl, Groundhog Day The Musical

David Hyde Pierce, Hello, Dolly!

Ben Platt, Dear Evan Hansen

Predicted Winner: Ben Platt, Dear Evan Hansen

If Ben Platt doesn’t win the Tony he rightfully deserves, just know in advance, you probably won’t hear from me ever again because I’ll be drowning in my own tears. This may sound like an exaggeration, but I can honestly say I was sobbing for a solid three hours straight when I saw Dear Evan Hansen. Platt is on stage for the entirety of the show besides one song. I truly do not know how Ben Platt performs as Evan eight times a week considering I could barely handle sitting in the theatre, let alone singing and acting, for one night. With that said, Platt never disappoints. Every moment he is present and living the life of Evan, an anxious, socially-awkward teenager. The amount of stress, tears, mucus, and raw emotion it takes to play Evan is something I’ve never seen from any other actor. While all the other actors nominated also have undeniable talent, I’m willing to say I’m wrong with every other prediction I’ve made except this one. I’ll bet $100; ask anyone who has seen Dear Evan Hansen what they thought of Platt. If they say he’s anything short of extraordinary, I’ll leave my contact information down below. Also, if he doesn’t win this Tony, I will personally riot against Broadway. (Okay, that’s not true. In all honesty, I’ll continue to throw my money at them because I have no self control; but, that doesn’t mean I won’t be extremely disappointed if Platt doesn’t win).

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE IN A MUSICAL

Denee Benton, Natasha, Pierre, & The Great Comet of 1812

Christine Ebersole, War Paint

Patti LuPone, War Paint

Bette Midler, Hello, Dolly!

Eva Noblezada, Miss Saigon

Predicted Winner: Bette Midler, Hello, Dolly!

Similar to Best Actor, I think this category is pretty cut and dry; meaning there’s an obvious winner: Bette Midler. Considering Hello, Dolly! is sold out for what feels like eternity, it’s no secret people are willing to sell an arm and a leg to breathe the same air as Bette. It’s truly an honor to see Ms. Midler in all her glory in a role that she was born to play. It’s no secret she’s also destined to win this Tony.  While I adored Denee Benton’s lovely, magical take on Natasha in The Great Comet (Benton sings what has become one of my all time favorite Broadway ballads), it’s an honor in itself to be nominated for such a prestigious title considering it’s her Broadway debut. The same goes for Noblezada, who is all of twenty one compared to legends such as Midler, LuPone, and Ebersole. Regardless, each leading lady shined in her own right.

BEST MUSICAL

Come From Away

Dear Evan Hansen

Groundhog Day The Musical

Natasha, Pierre, & The Great Comet of 1812

Predicted Winner: Dear Evan Hansen

I don’t know if this prediction is more of reality or a wish for it to come true. Dear Evan Hansen has moved me in a way like no other musical ever has. Maybe it’s because I was a senior in high school, like Evan, when I saw the show. Or maybe because it’s anthem, “You Will Be Found” matters to everyone, especially in this day and age. Either way, when I saw this wonderful musical, I was moved and transformed beyond the three hours I was sitting in the theatre. I formed an unforgettable bond with my dad thanks to this musical. I wept alongside him, Platt, and the rest of the audience. I continue to cry the moment the first note of “Words Fail” plays in my car before Platt even begins singing the most heart-wrenching song in the show, and boy does it have a few.

While, Natasha, Pierre, & The Great Comet of 1812 is innovative, with a diverse casting and impeccable set design, it’s something that not everyone agrees upon. (My mom was personally confused with the plot even though I loved every second of the musical). Groundhog Day The Musical brings a smile with Andy Karl’s quick fire jokes, but is nothing in comparison to what Dear Evan Hansen, or even Come From Away, preaches.

Dear Evan Hansen is a musical everyone can take something from. Whatever the reason may be for why I want Dear Evan Hansen to win, it’s a show that needs to be heard, appreciated, and most importantly, remembered. It’s message that “you are not alone” is something people often forget.  It’s something I forget all the time. But these lyrics are being sung eight times a week whether they’re being heard or not. If my prediction, or plea, for this fantastic musical to win this top honor makes one more person hear and remember those words, then that’s a win in itself for me.

The Tony Awards are being broadcast on CBS on Sunday, June 11, 2017 beginning at 8/7 EST. Aura 32 will be live-tweeting the event over on our Twitter account. It’s going to be an incredible night, please support us and tweet along!

 


 

Artwork by: Kate Bennett

Lauren Toneatto

Staff Writer

An aspiring artist, avid reader, and Disney princess in training. Commonly found eating Cheerios and creating. She wishes to explore the world and all it has to offer.

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