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MAY
12
4 MOS

FEINBERG FORECAST: A Look at the Tony Awards Field 27 Days Out

THR's awards analyst offers his latest take on an unusually fluid race.

Mothers and Sons Tyne Daly and Frederick Weller - H 2014
Joan Marcus
Frederick Weller and Tyne Daly in Terrence McNally's best play Tony nominee, "Mothers and Sons"

The following projections and commentary are based on THR awards analyst Scott Feinberg's ongoing viewings of the nominees; his consultations with THR theater critic David Rooney; and careful readings of other Broadway commentators, plus Tony history books, rule books and much more. You can expect new and updated forecasts each Monday through the Tonys!

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BEST PLAY
Nominees
1. All the Way (March 6-, THR review)
2. Casa Valentina (April 23-, THR review)

3. Act One (April 17-, THR review)
4. Mothers and Sons (Oct. 17-, THR review)
5. Outside Mullingar (Jan. 23-March 16, THR review)

On May 5, many of the top theater critics in town gathered to determine the recipients of the 79th annual New York Drama Critics' Circle Awards, and the prize for Best American Play -- which, along with all of the others, will be presented at a ceremony on May 16 -- went, on the fourth ballot, to All the Way (the backers of which included, eventually, THR's own David Rooney, who initially championed The Night Alive and The Realistic Joneses). On May 12, Robert Schenkkan's LBJ bio-play, which stars Bryan Cranston, also topped a field of the same nominees that are represented in this Tony category except one (The Realistic Joneses instead of Mothers and Sons) to bag the 64th Outer Critics Circle honor for Outstanding New Broadway Play, which will be presented at a ceremony on May 22. Meanwhile, this evening, Mothers and Sons, its esteemed playwright, Terrence McNally (one of only eight people who have won the best play Tony more than once) and one of its stars, Bobby Steggert (Will), were toasted at a cocktail party at the home of Rick Miramontez following their "Up Close" event with 50 members of the Drama League. Guests included Rick Nicita and Paula Wagner, Taylor Negron and Drama League president Jano Herbosch. McNally told me that he is a Tony voter, saw Outside Mullingar before it closed and plans to see the other three plays with which his is competing over the next week or so.

BEST MUSICAL
Nominees
1. Beautiful: The Carole King Musical (Jan. 12-, THR review)
2. A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder (Nov. 17-, THR review)
3. Aladdin (March 20-, THR review)
4. After Midnight (Nov. 3-, THR review)

The New York Drama Critics' Circle awarded its Best American Musical prize to Fun Home, an off-Broadway production that closed in January, over Gentleman's (second place) and After Midnight (third); Lisa Kron's play about a lesbian cartoonist also won the Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Off Broadway Musical on May 4. Meanwhile, the Outer Critics Circle prize for Outstanding New Broadway Musical, chosen from a field of the four Tony nominees, plus Rocky, went to Gentleman's, which also took home more total awards than any other show, four. Meanwhile, Vanessa Williams' run on the jazz revue After Midnight came to an end on May 11; she had filled in for 2004 American Idol winner Fantasia Barrino, who will return to the show on Tuesday night through June 8 and will then be succeeded by Patti LaBelle (June 10-29), Gladys Knight (July 8-Aug. 3) and Natalie Cole (Aug. 5-Aug. 31) -- quite a lineup!

BEST REVIVAL OF A PLAY
Nominees
1. Twelfth Night (Nov. 10-Feb. 16, THR review)
2. The Glass Menagerie (Sept. 26-Feb. 23, THR review)
3. A Raisin in the Sun (April 3-, THR review)

4. The Cripple of Inishmaan (April 20-, THR review)

The New York Drama Critics' Circle does not have an award that corresponds with this Tony category, but voted to issue a special citation to the Shakespeare's Globe production of Twelfth Night (and Richard III, with which it played in repertory). As for the Outer Critics Circle, they picked, from a field of these nominees minus Raisin and plus Machinal and The Winslow Boy, Glass Menagerie as their Outstanding Revival of a Play honoree.

BEST REVIVAL OF A MUSICAL
Nominees
1. Hedwig and the Angry Inch (April 22-, THR review)
2. Violet (April 20-, THR review)
3. Les Miserables (March 23-, THR review)

The Outer Critics Circle, from a field of these same nominees, plus Cabaret (which the Tony Nominating Committee snubbed) and Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill (which the Tony Administration Committee deemed a play, not a musical), picked Hedwig as its Outstanding Revival of a Musical honoree.

BEST ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE IN A PLAY
Nominees
1. Bryan Cranston (All the Way)

2. Tony Shalhoub (Act One)
3. Mark Rylance (Richard III)
4. Samuel Barnett (Twelfth Night)

5. Chris O'Dowd (Of Mice and Men)

Shalhoub was the subject of a flattering profile in The New York Times, but Cranston was all over the news this week, as well, in anticipation of Friday's release of the latest film version of Godzilla, in which he plays a starring role. Cranston was also awarded the Outer Critics Circle's Outstanding Actor in a Play prize over Shalhoub and Rylance, as well as No Man's Land's Ian McKellen and Outside Mullingar's Brian F. O'Byrne.

BEST ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE IN A PLAY
Nominees
1. Audra McDonald (Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill)

2. LaTanya Richardson Jackson (A Raisin in the Sun)
3. Cherry Jones (The Glass Menagerie)
4. Tyne Daly (Mothers and Sons)

5. Estelle Parsons (The Velocity of Autumn)

From a field of three of these of the same women (Daly, Jones and Parsons) and two others (Machinal's Tony-snubbed Rebecca Hall and Jessica Hecht from the off-Broadway show Stage Kiss), the Outer Critics Circle picked Jones as its Outstanding Actress in a Play winner. Meanwhile, the AP ran a cute story about Daly reuniting with a group of backstage workers on Mothers and Sons with whom she last collaborated 25 years ago on Gypsy. After the May 11 Sunday matinee performance of Daly's play -- not an easy one to play or watch on Mother's Day --  her all-male costars presented her ("our favorite mother in the room") with a bouquet, and also noted that all mothers in the room would receive a flower on their way out of the theater. And, in the department of "news" that will make you chuckle, McDonald took to Twitter on May 8 to clarify any confusion that might exist about her identity: "Hey twitter folks that visit this handle... I'm not the singer Audra Mc[Donald] from The Voice. I'm the much older, blacker singer from The Broadway."

BEST ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE IN A MUSICAL
Nominees
1. Neil Patrick Harris (Hedwig and the Angry Inch)

2. Jefferson Mays (A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder)
3. Andy Karl (Rocky)
4. Ramin Karimloo (Les Miserables)

5. Bryce Pinkham (A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder)

From a field of four of these same men (all but Karimloo, who was replaced by Fun Home's Tony-ineligible Michael Cerveris), the Outer Critics Circle picked Mays as the recipient of its Outstanding Actor in a Musical prize. And, on May 8, newsman and sports fanatic Larry King interviewed Karl about his portrayal of boxer Rocky Balboa, a week after he and his castmates performed for David Letterman on The Late Show.

BEST ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE IN A MUSICAL
Nominees
1. Jessie Mueller (Beautiful: The Carole King Musical)
2. Sutton Foster (Violet)
3. Kelli O'Hara (The Bridges of Madison County)
4. Idina Menzel (If/Then)
5. Mary Bridget Davies (A Night with Janis Joplin)

All five nominees -- "the women who made this year's musicals sing" -- gathered for a conversation with The New York Times that ran in its special Tony Awards section. And, from a field of three of them (Mueller, Foster and O'Hara) plus two other women (Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill's McDonald, whom the Tonys Administration Committee placed in the play category, and Cabaret's Michelle Williams, whom they passed over), the Outer Critics Circle picked McDonald as the recipient of its Outstanding Actress in a Musical prize.

BEST ACTOR IN A FEATURED ROLE IN A PLAY
Nominees
1. Mark Rylance (Twelfth Night)
2. Brian J. Smith (The Glass Menagerie)
3. Reed Birney (Casa Valentina)

4. Stephen Fry (Twelfth Night)
5. Paul Chahidi (Twelfth Night)

From a field of just two of these same men (Chahidi and Smith), plus three others (Stage Kiss' Tonys-ineligible Michael Cyril Creighton, plus All the Way's John McMartin and The Winslow Boy's Alessandro Nivola), the Outer Critics Circle picked Smith as its Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play winner. Meanwhile, TV binge-watchers who are trying to catch up with season two of Netflix's House of Cards in time for Emmys voting are stumbling upon Birney and his Casa costar Larry Pine -- but may not recognize them, dressed, as they are on TV, as men!

BEST ACTRESS IN A FEATURED ROLE IN A PLAY
Nominees
1. Sophie Okonedo (A Raisin in the Sun)
2. Mare Winningham (Casa Valentina)

3. Celia Keenan-Bolger (The Glass Menagerie)
4. Sarah Greene (The Cripple of Inishmaan)
5. Anika Noni Rose (A Raisin in the Sun)

From a field of three of these same women (Okenedo, Rose and Winningham), plus two others (I Remember Mama's Tony-ineligible Barbara Barrie and Andrea Martin from Act One), the Outer Critics Circle picked Winningham as its Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play winner. Meanwhile, Half of a Yellow Sun, an indie film in which Rose stars opposite 12 Years a Slave Oscar nominee Chiwetel Ejiofor (trailer) opens in select theaters on Friday, so Rose has been having to promote that while juggling Raisin, as well.

BEST ACTOR IN A FEATURED ROLE IN A MUSICAL
Nominees
1. James Monroe Iglehart (Aladdin)

2. Nick Cordero (Bullets Over Broadway)
3. Joshua Henry (Violet)
4. Danny Burstein (Cabaret)
5. Jarrod Spector (Beautiful: The Carole King Musical)

From the exact same field of nominees, the Outer Critics Circle picked Cordero as its Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical winner. He was also the subject of a nice profile in The New York Times' special Tony Awards section.

BEST ACTRESS IN A FEATURED ROLE IN A MUSICAL
Nominees
1. Lena Hall (Hedwig and the Angry Inch)

2. Anika Larsen (Beautiful: The Carole King Musical)
3. Adriane Lenox (After Midnight)

4. Linda Emond (Cabaret)
5. Lauren Worsham (A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder)

From a field of nominees that overlapped with only one of these nominees (Larsen), and included four other women (Judy Kuhn and Sydney Lucas for the Tony-ineligible Fun Home, plus Bullets Over Broadway's Marin Mazzie and Lisa O’Hare of A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder), the Outer Critics Circle picked Mazzie as its Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical winner.

BEST BOOK OF A MUSICAL
Nominees
1. A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder (Robert L. Freedman)

2. Beautiful: The Carole King Musical (Douglas McGrath)
3. Aladdin (Chad Beguelin)
4. Bullets Over Broadway (Woody Allen)

From a field that also included Aladdin, Beautiful and Gentleman's, but not Bullets, the Outer Critics Circle honored Gentleman's with this prize.

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE (MUSIC AND/OR LYRICS) WRITTEN FOR THE THEATRE
Nominees
1. A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder (Steven Lutvak, Robert L. Freedman)

2. The Bridges of Madison County (Jason Robert Brown)
3. Aladdin (Chad Beguelin, Alan Menken)
4. If/Then (Tom Kitt, Brian Yorkey)

From a field of all of the same nominees in this category plus one (the ineligible Fun Home), the Outer Critics Circle picked Bridges as the recipient of its Marjorie Gunner Award for Outstanding New Score. Although Bridges will close on May 18, its score and orchestrations will be toasted at Sardi's this Wednesday, May 14, when Brown's caricature will be unveiled on a wall at the famed establishment.

Twitter: @ScottFeinberg