Thursday, April 18, 2024

Tony Awards Tonight: Hot Races in Every Category, But Look for Jessica Chastain, Leopoldstadt, Some Like it Hot, Annaleigh Ashford Among My Choices


The Tony Awards are on tonight at 8pm on CBS.

It’s been another long theater season, with ups and downs. But there are hot races tonight, and despite the Writers Guild Strike this should be an entertaining show.

There are a lot of postulations about who should win, who will win, etc. I can only go by my gut about what will happen.

What won’t happen is Danielle Brooks winning Featured actress in a play for “The Piano Lesson.” She wasn’t nominated, which is just tragic.

Here are my hopes and dreams I’ll be sitting in the United Palace Theater and will be tweeting @showbiz411 regardless of who takes the stage.

Best Play: “Leopoldstadt” by Tom Stoppard. There’s no question.

Best Musical: My choice is “Some Like it Hot.” There’s a big push for “Shucked.” And another for “KImberly Akimbo,” a show I just didn’t get.

Best Revival of a Play: Four great choices, I lean toward “The Piano Lesson,” but “A Doll’s House” was cutting edge, “Top Dog/Underdog” was emotional, “The Sign in Sidney Brustein’s Window” was creative.

Best Revival of a Musical: It’s Sondheim’s world. How do you choose between “Sweeney Todd” and “Into the Woods”? The former is my favorite musical. But the latter was unexpected. The “Woods” have it.

Best Lead Actress in a Musical: Annaleigh Ashford’s Mrs. Lovett in “Sweeney Todd” was brilliant, hands down.

Best Lead Actor in a Musical: The “Some Like it Hot” actors will split their vote. Josh Groban’s voice is amazing in “Sweeney Todd.” But I’d like to see Bryan D’Arcy James win for “Into the Woods.” Ben Platt would be the alternative in “Parade.”

Best Lead Actor in a Play: Wendell Pierce was so good in “Death of a Salesman,” and I wish he’d be chosen. But the production ended a while ago. When Sean Hayes plays “Rhapsody in Blue” in “Good Night Oscar” you know he’s going to win. How can he not? If only Willy Loman had known an instrument!

Best Lead Actress in a Play: I know Jodie Comer has many fans from “Prima Facie.” But never bet against Jessica Chastain. She was quite remarkable. Also, this catagory is the strangest. All the others have five nominees. This one has four, For some reason, Laura Linney isn’t listed. She might have won for “Summer 1976.”

Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical: Alex Newell from “Shucked” has the floor.

Actress in a Featured Role in Musical: Julia Lester from “Into the Woods” is likely the winner. But my heart is with Ruthie Miles from “Sweeney Todd.”

Featured Actor, Actress in a Play: Brandon Uranowitz is the only nominee everyone can agree on, from “Leopoldstadt.” I wish more of the cast had been nominated, too. Miriam Silverman stole “Sidney Brustein” from everyone in the cast including Oscar Isaac and Rachel Brosnahan. I think the latter two agree as well.

Best Director, Play and Musical: Patrick Marber, “Leopoldstadt.” Lear deBessonet, “Into the Woods.”

Best Choreography of a Musical: Susan Stroman overcame having no book for “New York. New York” an made her set pieces into the stars. If I could see those again without having to see the show, I’d be there.

Best Book of a Musical: David Lindsay Abaire was the most clever with “Kimberly Akimbo.” But I have a feeling “Shucked” will win.

Best Original Score: Not a great year. “Some Like it Hot” is total fun, but I think the Tony will go to “Shucked.”

Best Scenic Design: Play — “Leopoldstadt.” Musical: “Sweeney Todd.”

Best Costume Design: Play — “Leopoldstadt,” Musical: Donna Zukowska of “New York New York” also overcame many obstacles. Also, she does “Mrs, Maisel.”

Best Lighting Design — Play “Leopoldstadt” Musical: Natasha Katz did both “Sweeney Todd” and “Some Like it Hot.” Come on, give it to her.

Best Sound Design — Play– Ben and Mazx Ringham did both “A Doll’s House” and “Prima Facie,” so they have it. Musical: tough call, Sondheim vs, Sondheim but “Sweeney Todd” sounded superb.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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