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It's been a strong season for Broadway, with a glut of formidable contenders for Tony honors across both play and musical fields. There are no clear frontrunners along the lines of last year's monster hit Hamilton to dominate the race, which means the 2017 ceremony will be an unusually competitive one, with prognosticators still struggling right down to the wire to pick winners in many categories.
Leading the musical field with 12 nominations is Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812. But that brilliantly conceived electro-poperatic retelling of a chapter of War and Peace is a divisive show that can't match the visceral emotional impact of Dear Evan Hansen, with nine nominations; or the popular underdog appeal of Come From Away, a potential dark horse with seven.
Among the new plays, pundits are split between J.T. Rogers' Oslo, which shapes nine months of secret back-channel peace negotiations into a riveting political thriller; and Lucas Hnath's A Doll's House, Part 2, which makes ingenious use of the Ibsen classic to consider what has and hasn't changed in terms of gender politics in the past 140 years.
Those plays received seven and eight nominations, respectively, with Doll's House claiming the rare the distinction of noms for its entire four-member cast, including Laurie Metcalf, the favorite to win for lead actress in a play.
On the musical revival side, the blockbuster smash Hello, Dolly! is the evening's closest thing to a lock for that honor, and only the most clamorous of upsets would deny its star Bette Midler the award for lead actress in a musical. The play revival stakes, however, have shaped up as a two-horse race between Lillian Hellman's The Little Foxes and August Wilson's Jitney, both of them staged in lauded productions from Manhattan Theatre Club that garnered six nominations apiece.
The 71st annual Tony Awards will be handed out June 11 at 8 p.m., airing live on CBS (tape-delayed on the West Coast) from New York City's Radio City Music Hall. Kevin Spacey will make his debut as the event's emcee.
Ahead of Sunday's ceremony, The Hollywood Reporter’s chief theater critic David Rooney shares his preferences, while awards analyst Scott Feinberg names his predictions to win in the top categories.
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