Tony picks: Kinky Boots to take best musical

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With the Tony Awards taking place here in New York on Sunday, June 9, many theater lovers are guessing which productions are going to win on Broadway’s biggest night. This year, many musical adaptations of popular films made their way to the stage, along with a variety of new plays and revivals of old hits. But who will take home a statue come June 9th?

Best Musical: All of this year’s Best Musical nominees – Kinky Boots, Bring It On: The Musical, A Christmas Story: The Musical, and Matilda the Musical – are stage adaptations of non-musical films. Kinky Boots is nominated in nearly every musical category, and its story of an almost bankrupt shoe factory saved by a glamorous entertainer is fresher and than that of fellow nominees. With a score by Grammy winner Cyndi Lauper and an element of newness its competition lacks, Kinky Boots is sure to win one of the night’s biggest accolades.Though it wasn’t a big winner at the Drama Desk Awards, which often foreshadows who will succeed on Tony night, Kinky Boots has a stylish leg up on the competition.

Best Play: Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike takes home the trophy. This play, written by Christopher Durang, had a successful Off-Broadway run and is just as well-received on the Broadway stage. It features Sigourney Weaver and David Hyde Pierce in two of the lead roles, and has received heavy critical acclaim for its quick wit. The story centers around step-siblings Vanya and Sonia, who have  never strayed from their small Pennsylvania home and find their life turned upside down after a surprise visit from their famous sister, Masha. The play’s toughest competition is Lucky Guy, written by Nora Ephron and starring Tom Hanks. Despite the popularity of both Ephron and Hanks, Lucky Guy doesn’t stand out in the same way Vanya does. Through its smart satire of dramatist Anton Chekov’s work, star power, and history of popularity with critics and audiences alike, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike has created a recipe for success on Tony night.

Best Original Score: Kinky Boots comes out on top. “When I Grow Up” and “Revolting Children” from Matilda The Musical are cute, but the rest of the score is bland, old-fashioned and forgettable, though it did win at Drama Desk. A Christmas Story: The Musical sticks with the same safe style as Matilda, and lacks memorable, exciting tunes. Hands on a Hardbody is the underdog in this category, as it’s the only show that is not also nominated for Best Musical. Cyndi Lauper’s already proved her ability to write catchy hit songs, and she does not disappoint this time around, with electric guitar and synth beats adding 21st-century flair to the music in Kinky Boots.

Best Revival of a Play: Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? is the winner. The latest iteration of the classic play by Edward Albee about two dysfunctional couples has been widely praised by critics. The competition in this category is tough – Golden Boy has the most nominations out of all the competing plays, Orphans has star power from Alec Baldwin, and The Trip to Bountiful has also been a hit. Woolf won at Drama Desk, and its tried-and-true story will win it a Tony.

Best Revival of a Musical: This category features old favorites Annie and Pippin, and a musical version of Charles Dickens’ final, unfinished novel, The Mystery of Edwin Drood. Cinderella is a classic story with a score by one of Broadway’s most legendary songwriting pairs (Richard Rodgers was a Townsend Harris alumnus). Though technically considered a revival, the stage musical has been adapted from a TV musical and is the show’s first-ever Broadway run. Cinderella has been nominated in nine major categories, and will likely take home multiple awards even if it loses in this category. Pippin won a Drama Desk Award for Best Revival of a Musical, but Cinderella’s magic won’t run out before Tony night.

Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical: Rogers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella’s Laura Osnes performance in the title role has received lots of critical acclaim, especially her beautiful singing. She is a compelling lead – audiences want to root for her and she’s left them spellbound. Osnes’ charm and grace makes her a perfect fit for a regal role like Cinderella, and winning the Tony for Best Actress in a Musical is something she is sure to bibiddi-bobbidi-do.

Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical: Matilda the Musical’s Bertie Carvel has already won an Olivier Award for his performance as Miss Trunchbull in the show’s London run, so it would be no surprise to see him win a Tony here in New York. His biggest competition comes from Billy Porter, who stars in Kinky Boots. Carvel won a Drama Desk Award for Best Actor Featured in a Musical, but Porter won for Best Leading Actor in a Musical. Both are excellent singers, but given Carvel’s history of victory, it is likely he’ll take home yet another trophy this June.

Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Play: This category is a close call, featuring Tony favorite Nathan Lane, Emmy winner David Hyde Pierce, and Tom Hanks. Hanks delivers as columnist Mike McAlary in Lucky Guy, and even though it’s his first Broadway role, it would be a major upset if he lost. He’s one of the most well-liked actors in show business, and this relatability easily translates from real life to the stage. Though Hanks’s work stands on its own, the Tonys tend to lean towards Hollywood all-stars when they’re nominated for awards. Although Hanks didn’t win at Drama Desk, his likeable persona, notoriety, and talent set him apart from the competition.

Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play: Cicely Tyson comes out on top. Tyson plays the lead role of Carrie Watts in The Trip to Bountiful, which received four nominations. In the play, Watts is a widow living in Houston with her son and daughter-in-law who makes a life-changing trip back to her hometown, Bountiful. Tyson’s film and television background is extensive, and this seasoned actress’s recent work includes The Help and Tyler Perry’s Why Did I Get Married Too?. Tyson’s toughest competition comes from Kristine Nielsen, who was nominated for her role as Sonia in Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, a talented actress with an equally impressive resume. Though it will be a close race, like her character, Tyson will be taking an important trip – up on to the Tony stage to accept her award.

Overall, the night’s biggest awards will go to new, upbeat productions that offer something different to audiences. The Tonys look to honor the best and brightest on the Broadway stage, whether that comes in the form of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s classic songs, clever and lively comedy, or a musical about shoes that will knock your socks off. No matter who wins, the Tonys are sure to razzle-dazzle viewers across the country.

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