By Deborah Flomberg
In 2017, the race to the Tony is much less clear-cut than last year. In 2016, it was pretty easy to predict which show would run away with just about every statue as Hamilton received 13 nominations and took home an impressive 11 awards, including Best Musical. This year, the awards may not be as one-sided, as there are several different shows in the running for the various big categories. Here is a quick look at the most heated races and which shows just may take home the coveted statue.
Best Performance By An Actress In A Leading Role In A Musical
The Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical category features some of the biggest names in Broadway history. Two mega-stars are up for the same show – Patti LuPone and Christine Ebersole are both in the running for their leading roles in War Paint. However, there is also Bette Midler and her return to the Great White Way for the revival of Hello Doll. Not to be overlooked are newcomers Denee Benton, who received her first Tony nomination for her role in Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812 and Eva Noblezada for Miss Saigon. Odds are, this one will go to Midler, who has received rave reviews for her take on the legendary Dolly Levi.
Best Performance By An Actor In A Leading Role In A Musical
When it comes to the leading actor in a musical category, there are several front-runners as well. Christian Borle is up for his fourth nomination, having received awards in the past for his performances in Peter And The Starcatcher and Something Rotten and he’s up for the revival of Falsettos this year. This category also brings the first nomination for recording mega-star Josh Groban, whose performance in Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812 is also gaining a lot of traction, and another nomination for David Hyde Pierce for Hello Dolly. However, the race is really heating up between Andy Karl in Groundhog Day The Musical and Ben Platt’s brilliant take on Dear Evan Hansen. This one is most likely going to the big contender – Platt, who’s been involved with Tony rumors since the show premiered.
Best Performance By An Actress In A Leading Role In A Play
Not to be overlooked by the musicals, the play category has some major contenders as well. Consider the Leading Actress in a Play category, which features Cate Blanchett, Sally Field, Laura Linney and Laurie Metcalf—all incredible actresses with impressive resumes. However, Jennifer Ehle shouldn’t be overlooked here either, as she’s up for her sixth nomination, having won four previously for her brilliant role in all three parts of The Coast of Utopia and 2000’s The Real Thing. This year, Ehle is up for Oslo – a powerful drama about the back-channel negotiations during the Oslo Peace Accords in the 1990s between Israel and Palestine. Yet, it’s most likely that this one will go to Sally Field, who scores her first nomination for the revival of The Glass Menagerie and her stunning portrayal of Amanda Wingfield.
When it comes to Best Musical, there are four truly impressive shows in the race. Natasha Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812 is a brilliant new musical based on a portion of Tolstoy’s War and Peace whereas the nominated Come From Away tells the true story of the events after Sept. 11, 2001, focusing on the 38 planes that were ordered to land in the small town of Gander, Newfoundland. On the lighter side, the musical adaptation Groundhog Day the Musical based on the 1993 film has been receiving surprisingly impressive reviews thanks to the strong music and lyrics by Tim Minchin and a book by the original screenwriter for the film, Danny Rubin. However, odds are this one will go to Dear Evan Hansen which tells the story of a high school senior who has an anxiety disorder and has to deal with a classmate’s death. Thanks to a stunning score by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul – best known for their work on A Christmas Story, The Musical, Dogfight and Edges – this powerful show has already won several awards, including the Helen Hayes Award for Best Musical, the Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Musical and the Lucille Lortel Award for Best Musical.