Feinberg Forecast: Scott Predicts Tuesday's Tony Nominations

Numerous Hollywood notables — from Bradley Cooper and Helen Mirren to Harvey Weinstein and Sting — hope to be in the running for Broadway's top honors.
Matthew Murphy
'An American in Paris'

This season's Tony nominations will be revealed on Tuesday morning, following a Monday afternoon gaggle by the Tony Nominating Committee to determine what they will be. In anticipation of the big announcement, I thought that I would share my own best guesses of what the field will look like.

The following projections and commentary are based on my own viewings of the contenders throughout the season; consultations with numerous knowledgeable members of the theater community, including and especially our own distinguished theater critic David Rooney; and careful study of the lists — and attributes — of past nominees and winners.

I recognize that the Tonys are a very different beast than the Oscars and the Emmys. Few people ever see all — or even most — of the contenders, due to geography, cost and timing. (They each play at one of the 40 theaters with 500 or more seats in and around Times Square, most of which charge more than $100 per ticket — plus some of them already have come and gone.) The ceremony is not preceded by months of festivals and awards shows that offer hints about how things will pan out. (The selections of the Drama League, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle and New York Drama Critics Circle groups are only of limited help because they also consider off-Broadway productions.) And the nominees and winners are not determined by thousands of voters, but rather by very few. (This year's nominating committee consists of fewer than 40 people, while fewer than 900 people will determine the winners.)

Still, at a time when talent jumps among theater, film and television more than ever — Matthew Broderick, Michael Cera, Glenn Close, Bradley Cooper, Tony Danza, Larry David, Jake Gyllenhaal, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Vanessa Hudgens, Hugh Jackman, James Earl Jones, Matthew Morrison, Helen Mirren, Carey Mulligan, Sting and Ruth Wilson are all in the running for Tony noms this year — we at the entertainment outlet of record feel that it would be remiss for Hollywood not to pay close attention to Broadway. David Rooney does that for us throughout the year. And it is my great pleasure to join him in doing so — live from New York, for the second year in a row — throughout the theater season's exciting homestretch.

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BEST PLAY
Projected Nominees
1. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

2. Hand to God
3. Wolf Hall, Parts One and Two
4
. Disgraced
Major Threats

5. Constellations
6. The Audience
7.
Airline Highway
Long Shots

8. Fish in the Dark
9. The River
10. The Country House
11. Living on Love

British import Curious, a multimedia extravaganza, is the best reviewed show of the year, unlike anything that's ever hit Broadway before and a slam-dunk. Everything else is somewhat fluid. Hand to God, in which puppets take center stage, and Wolf Hall, an epic period piece, are divisive — some mourn the former as a sign of the apocalypse and see the latter as a good editing job — but I think their admirers outnumber their detractors. The final spot — or two — are tough calls. Disgraced and Airline Highway are well-written, thought-provoking productions about 21st century America. The Audience and Constellations, while not about anything of great contemporary social significance, are terrific vehicles for their lead performers. It's tempting to err on the side of shows that are still running (Airline and Audience), but my sense is that the two that have already closed are far from forgotten.

BEST MUSICAL
Projected Nominees
1. An American in Paris
2. Fun Home
3. Something Rotten!
4. The Visit

Major Threats

5. Finding Neverland
6. It Shoulda Been You
7. 
The Last Ship
 8.
Honeymoon in Vegas
Long Shots
9. Doctor Zhivago
10. Holler If Ya Hear Me

The top three look set in stone: An American in Paris, which brings ballet back to Broadway, and Fun Home, a minimalistic tour-de-force that originated Off-Broadway, are exactly what Tony voters live to celebrate, and Something Rotten! is this year's Aladdin (it happens to come from the same director/choreographer), a splashy, fun, well-done show that appeals to the masses. I think the edge for the fourth spot goes to The Visit — a show with a pedigree out of a theater buff's dream — but look out for Finding Neverland, which could displace or join it. Sure, it won't be helped by middling reviews or the community's ambivalence toward Hollywood trespassers — as you may have heard, it comes via Harvey Weinstein — but it has also generated big box-office and the rest of its principal creative talent are Broadway denizens in good standing. Of course, the apple cart could be totally overturned by the just-opened It Shoulda Been You, which is a lot of fun, or one of two commercial flops from earlier in the season, The Last Ship or Honeymoon in Vegas.

BEST REVIVAL OF A PLAY
Projected Nominees
1. Skylight

2. The Elephant Man
3. You Can't Take It with You
4. It's Only a Play

Major Threats
5. A Delicate Balance
6. This Is Our Youth
7
. The Heidi Chronicles

Long Shots
8.
The Real Thing

The only sure-thing here is Skylight, the which is still running — unlike much of the rest of this field — and going over tremendously. Bradley Cooper made The Elephant Man a must-see show and it did not disappoint, so although it's been gone for months I wouldn't bet against it. You Can't Take It with You was well-received and featured a popular creative team that I wouldn't bet against (James Earl Jones, Annaleigh Ashford, etc.). And then there's It's Only a Play, which has been a big draw (Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick together again!) and resonates especially well with Broadway insiders. The others are all plausible if not especially distinguished or commercial alternatives; Heidi is the only one of them that is still running — and it's due to close early next Sunday after underperforming at the box office.

BEST REVIVAL OF A MUSICAL
Projected Nominees
1. On the Twentieth Century
2. The King & I

3. On the Town

4. Side Show
Major Threats

5. Gigi

There are few bad options — really, few options at all — in this category. The first three are universally adored and in. Gigi is regarded as lightweight, partly because of Vanessa Hudgens (although I felt that, apart from over-enunciating her T's for some reason — that reason not being an attempt at a French accent — she's perfectly charming in the role). And that means the only question is whether or not enough voters will remember Side Show, which came and went months ago but was pretty admired while it was around, to force the inclusion of a fourth nominee in this category, unlike last year when there could have been four but ended up being just three.

BEST ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE IN A PLAY
Projected Nominees
1. Alex Sharp (The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time)
2. Steven Boyer (Hand to God)
3. Bradley Cooper (The Elephant Man)
4. Bill Nighy (Skylight)
5. Ben Miles (Wolf Hall: Parts 1 & 2)

Major Threats

6. Jake Gyllenhaal (Constellations)
7. Nathan Lane (It's Only a Play)
8. Hugh Jackman (The River)
9.  Hari Dhillon (Disgraced)
10. John Lithgow (A Delicate Balance)
11. Brian Dennehy (Love Letters)
Long Shots
12. Larry David (Fish in the Dark)
13. Kieran Culkin (This Is Our Youth)
14. Michael Cera (This Is Our Youth)

15. Ewan McGregor (The Real Thing)
16. Douglas Sills (Living on Love)

It's unimaginable that Broadway newcomer Sharp won't be in there, and very hard to fathom a scenario in which the tour de force work of Boyer (with his puppet) and Cooper (with his contortions) aren't recognized, as well. Nighy is integral to a show people love and Miles is the standout of his two-parter and onstage virtually throughout the five-and-a-half-hour epic (plus someone from a historical period piece costume drama always seems to get in), so I think they'll grab the final two slots. But Gyllenhaal made a major impression in his Broadway debut and Lane, Jackman, Lithgow and Dennehy are Broadway royalty, so write them off at your peril.

BEST ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE IN A PLAY
Projected Nominees
1. Helen Mirren (The Audience)
2. Carey Mulligan (Skylight)
3. Ruth Wilson (Constellations)
4.
Geneva Carr (Hand to God)
5. Glenn Close (A Delicate Balance)
Major Threats
6. Elisabeth Moss (The Heidi Chronicles)
7. Lindsay Duncan (A Delicate Balance)

8. Renee Fleming (Living on Love)
9. Mia Farrow (Love Letters)
Long Shots
10. Blythe Danner (The Country House)
11. Gretchen Mol (Disgraced)

12. Maggie Gyllenhaal (The Real Thing)

This race is shaping up to be a battle between two terrific British broads of different generations, Mirren and Mulligan, with a third, rookie Wilson, looking like the only possible spoiler. Carr is a new name but integral to the success of her show, which I suspect will put her over the top. And although Close wasn't at her best, her show is long gone and she's competing with costar Duncan, she always gets nominated, so I tip her for the fifth spot over Duncan, Moss (great, but in a faltering show), Fleming (in a non-singing part) and the rest of the field, all of whom are up for shows that closed long ago.

BEST ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE IN A MUSICAL
Projected Nominees
1. Michael Cerveris (Fun Home)
2. Brian d'Arcy James (Something Rotten!)
3. Robert Fairchild (An American in Paris)
4. Matthew Morrison (Finding Neverland)
5.
Tony Yazbeck (On the Town)
Major Threats
6. Ken Watanabe (The King and I)
7.
Roger Rees (The Visit)
8. John Cariani (Something Rotten!)

9. Peter Gallagher (On the Twentieth Century)
10. Tam Mutu (Doctor Zhivago)
Long Shots
11. Michael Esper (The Last Ship)
12. Rob McClure (Honeymoon in Vegas)
13. Corey Cott (Gigi)
14. Saul Williams (Holler If Ya Hear Me)

Cerveris, James and Fairchild anchor their immensely well-liked shows and it would be rather shocking if any of them are not included. In spite of any reservations that some may have about Neverland, I expect that Morrison, who was a Broadway baby before going Hollywood in Glee, will be welcomed back with open arms. And I suspect that the fifth slot will go to trouper Yazbeck for another popular show, although Watanabe gives a soulful performance and holds his own in his debut, Cariani is very well liked (James is the safer bet from the show but costars were nominated in this category last year) and veterans Rees and Gallagher certainly have their backers, too.

BEST ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE IN A MUSICAL
Projected Nominees
1. Kelli O'Hara (The King and I)
2. Kristin Chenoweth (On the Twentieth Century)

3. Chita Rivera (The Visit)

4. Lisa Howard (It Shoulda Been You)
5. Erin Davie (Side Show)

Major Threats

6. Beth Malone (Fun Home)
7.
Laura Michelle Kelly (Finding Neverland)

8.
Emily Padgett (Side Show)

9.
Leanne Cope (An American in Paris)
Long Shots
10. Kelli Barrett (Doctor Zhivago)
11. Rachel Tucker (The Last Ship)
12. Brynn O'Malley (Honeymoon in Vegas)
13. Vanessa Hudgens (Gigi)

If any of the top three are not nominated, the Richter scale around Times Square will surely spike. The rest of the field, interestingly enough, is filled with relative newcomers and up-and-comers. Howard makes a big impression in her show and would be a popular choice. Davie and Padgett are up for roles that brought two women a single nomination when the show was first mounted years ago, but that's not an option this time, so can voters bring themselves to nominate one but not the other? My hunch is yes — although I'm not totally confident on which one — but if I'm wrong then look out for Malone, despite a tremendously understated part, Kelly, despite her show's baggage, or ballerina Cope, despite having relatively little dialogue.

BEST ACTOR IN A FEATURED ROLE IN A PLAY
Projected Nominees
1. Alessandro Nivola (The Elephant Man)

2. Nathaniel Parker (Wolf Hall: Parts 1 & 2)
3. Marc Kudisch (Hand to God)
4. Richard McCabe (The Audience)
5. Micah Stock (It's Only a Play)

Major Threats

6. James Earl Jones (You Can't Take It with You)
7. Josh Radnor (Disgraced)

8. Matthew Beard (Skylight)

9. Bryce Pinkham (The Heidi Chronicles)
10. Jason Biggs (The Heidi Chronicles)

11.
Bob Balaban (A Delicate Balance)
12. Dakin Matthews (The Audience)

13. Dylan Baker (The Audience)
14. Matthew Broderick (It's Only a Play)
Long Shots
15. Josh Hamilton (The Real Thing)
16.
Jerry O'Connell (Living on Love)
17. F. Murray Abraham (It's Only a Play)
18. Rupert Grint (It's Only a Play)
19. Byron Jennings (You Can't Take It with You)
20. Patrick Kerr (You Can't Take It with You)
21. Fran Kranz (You Can't Take It with You)
22. Mark Linn-Baker (You Can't Take It with You)
23. Reg Rogers (You Can't Take It with You)

No category this year is harder to predict than this one. Nivola and Parker are really co-leads and probably get a boost from having more sizable parts than the rest of the field. Veteran Kudisch and newcomer Stock got a lot of laughs out of rather small parts in shows people greatly admire, so I'm slotting them in, too. And it feels like at least one member of the male ensemble that surrounds Mirren in The Audience could make the cut, and the most likely, to me, would be McCabe. But if voters feel sentimental, then they could easily throw a nom to 84-year-old Jones (his one big speech at the end made up for an otherwise passive characterization), or Radnor (who was excellent), or Beard (memorably quirky) or Pinkham (this would be two years in a row for him). Who the hell knows?

BEST ACTRESS IN A FEATURED ROLE IN A PLAY
Projected Nominees
1. Patricia Clarkson (The Elephant Man)
2. Lydia Leonard (Wolf Hall: Parts 1 & 2)

3. Rose Byrne (You Can't Take It with You)
4. Sarah Stiles (Hand to God)
5. Karen Pittman (Disgraced)

Major Threats
6. Annaleigh Ashford (You Can't Take It with You)
7. Clare Higgins (A Delicate Balance)
8. Martha Plimpton (A Delicate Balance)

9. Anna Chlumsky (Living on Love)

10. Megan Mullally (It's Only a Play)
11.
Cynthia Nixon (The Real Thing)

12. Sarah Steele (The Country House)
Long Shots
13. Tavi Gevinson (This Is Our Youth)
14.
Lucy Briers (Wolf Hall: Parts 1 & 2)
15. Kristine Nielsen (You Can't Take It with You)
16. Julie Halston (You Can't Take It with You)
17. Stockard Channing (It's Only a Play)
18. Johanna Day (You Can't Take It with You)
19. Elizabeth Ashley (You Can't Take It with You)

This is a pretty thin category this year. Clarkson, returning to Broaday after a 25-year absence, has a few terrific moments and I think that may be enough for the win. Leonard has a bigger part and could challenge her, but she's less known and part of a much bigger ensemble. Byrne made an impressive debut. Young Stiles has been plugging away for a few years and gets bonus points for her puppetry. And Pittman was magnetic in her scenes. I imagine the You Can't Take It with You and It's Only a Play candidates will cancel each other out.

BEST ACTOR IN A FEATURED ROLE IN A MUSICAL
Projected Nominees
1. Kelsey Grammer (Finding Neverland)
2. Christian Borle (Something Rotten!)

3. Andy Karl (On the Twentieth Century)
4. Max von Essen (An American in Paris)

5. Brad Oscar (Something Rotten!)
Major Threats
6. Tony Danza (Honeymoon in Vegas)
7. Brooks Ashmanskas (Something Rotten!)

8. Fred Applegate (The Last Ship)

9.
Jimmy Nail (The Last Ship)
10. Paul Alexander Nolan (Doctor Zhivago)

11. Howard McGillin (Gigi)

Long Shots

12. Clyde Alves (On the Town)
13. Jay Armstrong Johnson (On the Town)
14. Brandon Uranowitz (An American in Paris)
15. Conrad Ricamora (The King and I)
16.
David Burtka (It Shoulda Been You)
17. Jason Danieley (The Visit)

This category could be renamed "best comic relief" this year. Grammer is responsible for most of his show's laughs, Borle and von Essen steal every scene in which they appear, Karl shows off his physical prowess in a completely different way than he did last year en route to a nom for Rocky, and I think Oscar or Ashmanskas could ride the coattails of their show's popularity to a slot alongside Borle. I wouldn't write off Danza, though, who is well liked and gets extra credit for beating the pavement — literally, by the TKTS booth — on behalf of his ill-fated show.

BEST ACTRESS IN A FEATURED ROLE IN A MUSICAL
Projected Nominees
1. Judy Kuhn (Fun Home)

2. Tyne Daly (It Shoulda Been You)
3. Ruthie Ann Miles (The King and I)
4. Sydney Lucas (Fun Home)
5. Mary Louise Wilson (On the Twentieth Century)

Major Threats
6. Jill Paice (An American in Paris)
7. Harriet Harris (It Shoulda Been You)

8. Emily Skeggs (Fun Home)

9.
Victoria Clark (Gigi)
10. Ashley Park (The King and I)

11. Dee Hoty (Gigi)

Long Shots
12. Alysha Umphress (On the Town)
13. Megan Fairchild (On the Town)
14. Elizabeth Stanley (On the Town)
15. Heidi Blickenstaff (Something Rotten!)
16. Kate Reinders (Something Rotten!)

17. Nancy Opel (Honeymoon in Vegas)

Kuhn, Daly and Wilson are veterans adored by the community who milk every ounce of their parts. People go to Miles' show to see Kelli O'Hara and leave remembering her, too. And 11-year-old Lucas gives an eerily mature performance and probably solidified her nom with her one blowout solo number. If anyone could bounce one of the above, it would probably be Paice, who is very good in a great show; Skeggs, the "middle" Alison; or one of two Tony-winning vets, Harris and Clark.

BEST BOOK OF A MUSICAL
Projected Nominees
1. Fun Home (Lisa Kron)
2. Something Rotten! (Karey Kirkpatrick, John O'Farrell)
3. The Visit (Terrence McNally)
4. An American in Paris (Craig Lucas)

Major Threats
5. It Shoulda Been You (Brian Hargrove)
6.
The Last Ship (John Logan, Brian Yorkey)
7. Finding Neverland (James Graham)
8.
Honeymoon in Vegas (Andrew Bergman) 
Long Shots
9.  Doctor Zhivago (Michael Weller)
10. Holler If Ya Hear Me (Todd Kreidler)

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE (MUSIC AND/OR LYRICS) WRITTEN FOR THE THEATRE
Projected Nominees
1. Fun Home (Jeanine Tesori, Lisa Kron)

2. Something Rotten! (Wayne Kirkpatrick, Karey Kirkpatrick)
3. The Last Ship (Sting)
4. The Visit (John Kander, Freb Ebb)
Major Threats

5. Finding Neverland (Gary Barlow, Eliot Kennedy)
6. It Shoulda Been You (Brian Hargrove, Barbara Anselmi)

7. Honeymoon in Vegas (Jason Robert Brown)

Long Shots
8. Doctor Zhivago (Lucy Simon, Michael Korie, Amy Powers)
9. Holler If Ya Hear Me (Tupac Shakur, Daryl Walters)

BEST DIRECTION OF A PLAY
Projected Nominees
1.
Marianne Elliott (The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time)
2. Stephen Daldry (Skylight)
3. Jeremy Herrin (Wolf Hall: Parts 1 & 2)
4. Scott Ellis (The Elephant Man)
5.
Moritz von Stuelpnagel (Hand to God)
Major Threats

6. Stephen Daldry (The Audience)
7. Joe Mantello (Airline Highway)
8. Kimberly Senior (Disgraced)
9. Anna D. Shapiro (This Is Our Youth)
10. Scott Ellis (You Can't Take It with You)
11. Michael Longhurst (Constellations)
12. Jack O'Brien (It's Only a Play)
Long Shots
13. Pam MacKinnon (The Heidi Chronicles)
14. Pam MacKinnon (A Delicate Balance)
15. Ian Rickson (The River)
16. Anna D. Shapiro (Fish in the Dark)
17. Daniel Sullivan (The Country House)
18. Gregory Mosher (Love Letters)
19. Sam Gold (The Real Thing)
20. Kathleen Marshall (Living on Love)

BEST DIRECTION OF A MUSICAL
Projected Nominees
1. Sam Gold (Fun Home)

2. Casey Nicholaw (Something Rotten!)
3. Christopher Wheeldon (An American in Paris)
4. Scott Ellis (On the Twentieth Century)
5. Bartlett Sher (The King and I)
Major Threats

6. Bill Condon (Side Show)
7. Diane Paulus (Finding Neverland)
8. John Rando (On the Town)
9. John Doyle (The Visit)

10. David Hyde Pierce (It Shoulda Been You)
Long Shots
11. Joe Mantello (The Last Ship)
12. Gary Griffin (Honeymoon in Vegas)
13. Eric Schaeffer (Gigi)
14. Des McAnuff (Doctor Zhivago)
15. Kenny Leon (Holler If Ya Hear Me)

BEST CHOREOGRAPHY
Projected Nominees
1.
Christopher Wheeldon (An American in Paris)
2.
Joshua Bergasse (On the Town)
3. Warren Carlyle (On the Twentieth Century)
4. Christopher Gattelli (The King and I)
5. Casey Nicholaw (Something Rotten!)

Major Threats

5. Anthony Van Laast (Side Show)
6. Mia Michaels (Finding Neverland)
7. Steven Hoggett (The Last Ship)
8. Danny Mefford (Fun Home)
9. Josh Rhodes (It Shoulda Been You)
Long Shots
10.
Denis Jones (Honeymoon in Vegas)
11. Joshua Bergasse (Gigi)
12.
Graciela Daniele (The Visit)
13. Kelly Devine (Doctor Zhivago)
14.
Wayne Cilento (Holler If Ya Hear Me)

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