The 2017 Tony Awards:
What to Know Going into Theater’s Biggest Night
An untold side to 9/11. A suicidal teenager. A revived Bill Murray movie. An 1800’s Russian love story. And that’s just the Best Musical category. This year’s 2017 Tony Awards are sure to wow with the winners as well as the performances during the show. Actor Kevin Spacey will be hosting following host James Corden in 2016. Awards show presenters include Tiny Fey, Orlando Bloom, Anna Kendrick, Olivia Wilde, Lin-Manuel Miranda, and more. Performances so far include many of the nominated Best Musical casts and stars.
Here are the nominations are each Tony Award and the background information going into theater’s biggest night.
A Doll’s House, Part 2 seems like an easy win for Best Play. It garnered eight nominations, more than any other play this year.
*A Doll’s House, Part 2*
The Best Musical category remains a little more interesting. There was a record 13 new musicals that opened on Broadway this past year. Though many believed Dear Evan Hansen would easily win months prior, Come From Away has crept into the favorites with its telling of compassion during the 9/11 attack. The Great Comet weaves romance and historical context with 1800’s Russia. However, Groundhog Day mixes quirky humor with life lessons regarding love and the Golden Rule: “Treat others how you want to be treated.” Dear Evan Hansen still pulls away with its intimate telling of high school struggles during the era of Thirteen Reasons Why.
Best Book of a Musical
After all of the research, interviews, and production, Come From Away arguably deserves Best Book of a Musical. However, Dear Evan Hansen shoulders up as a tough competitor.
*Come From Away
Irene Sankoff and David Hein*
Dear Evan Hansen
Groundhog Day The Musical
Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812
Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics) Written for the Theatre
Again, Dear Evan Hansen might easily snatch this away from Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812. However, the elegance and depth of The Great Comet‘s music and lyrics bring a historical niche to the stage.
Come From Away
Music & Lyrics: Irene Sankoff and David Hein
Dear Evan Hansen
Music & Lyrics: Benj Pasek & Justin Paul
Groundhog Day The Musical
Music & Lyrics: Tim Minchin
*Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812
Music & Lyrics: Dave Malloy*
Best Revival of a Play
Jitney is the most prized contender for Best Revival of a Play. The irony is the revival is no longer running, so whether this creates a “forgotten memory” effect in voters’ minds is to be determined.
*August Wilson’s Jitney*
John Guare’s Six Degrees of Separation
Lillian Hellman’s The Little Foxes
Best Revival of a Musical
I believe everybody wants Hello, Dolly! to breakout and gain that Tony Award. Though it’s highly successful, the original production received many nominations without securing the win. With Better Midler at the helm, many believe the revival is ready to take the Tony spotlight.
— Hello, Dolly! (@HelloDollyBway) June 5, 2017
Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play
Kevin Kline, one familiar to the Broadway stage and Tony Awards stage, might grab this out from under his fellow nominees for his narcissistic character in Present Laughter.
Denis Arndt, Heisenberg
Chris Cooper, A Doll’s House, Part 2
Corey Hawkins, John Guare’s Six Degrees of Separation
*Kevin Kline, Present Laughter*
Jefferson Mays, Oslo
Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play
A Doll’s House, Part 2 will continue to sweep up awards in the Leading Actress category with Metcalf’s vivacious performance that intersects one’s present freedom with one’s suppressed past.
Cate Blanchett, The Present
Jennifer Ehle, Oslo
Sally Field, The Glass Menagerie
Laura Linney, Lillian Hellman’s The Little Foxes
*Laurie Metcalf, A Doll’s House, Part 2*
Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical
Ben Platt. Ben Platt. His name is becoming more and more household due to Dear Evan Hansen‘s success. Platt should take home the Leading Actor in a Musical Tony due to his emotional investment in his role as the unpopular high school kid.
Christian Borle, Falsettos
Josh Groban, Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812
Andy Karl, Groundhog Day The Musical
David Hyde Pierce, Hello, Dolly!
*Ben Platt, Dear Evan Hansen*
Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical
Just like Hello, Dolly!, I believe everybody is rooting for Better Midler due her comforting return to Broadway. She revived Hello, Dolly! and should snag the Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical.
Denée Benton, Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812
Christine Ebersole, War Paint
Patti LuPone, War Paint
*Bette Midler, Hello, Dolly!*
Eva Noblezada, Miss Saigon
Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play
Danny DeVito is another familiar name who stars in The Price‘s revival as a sneaky furniture salesman. Either DeVito or Jitney‘s Thompson will be up for the award.
Michael Aronov, Oslo
*Danny DeVito, Arthur Miller’s The Price*
Nathan Lane, The Front Page
Richard Thomas, Lillian Hellman’s The Little Foxes
John Douglas Thompson, August Wilson’s Jitney
Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play
Day is the epicenter of Sweat‘s make-up. However, A Doll’s House, Part 2 and The Little Foxes make this category truly an anyone-can-win situation.
*Johanna Day, Sweat*
Jayne Houdyshell, A Doll’s House, Part 2
Cynthia Nixon, Lillian Hellman’s The Little Foxes
Condola Rashad, A Doll’s House, Part 2
Michelle Wilson, Sweat
Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical
Hello, Dolly! continues to plug forward in the musical category with a potential win from Creel, but Rannells might pull it out with his performance in Falsettos. It would be refreshing to switch up the wins from Midler’s dominance for Hello, Dolly!
Gavin Creel, Hello, Dolly!
Mike Faist, Dear Evan Hansen
*Andrew Rannells, Falsettos*
Lucas Steele, Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812
Brandon Uranowitz, Falsettos
Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical
This is certainly the underdog prediction of the evening, as Come From Away is not a favorite for any of the individual actor nominations. However, Colella’s veteran Broadway presence carries the show’s only solo moment to the top of my list.
Kate Baldwin, Hello, Dolly!
Stephanie J. Block, Falsettos
*Jenn Colella, Come From Away*
Rachel Bay Jones, Dear Evan Hansen
Mary Beth Peil, Anastasia
Best Scenic Design of a Play
Jitney should take this for its cab station scenery. However, if the voters see the genius past the silliness of The Play that Goes Wrong, Jitney should be in a tough battle for Best Scenic Design.
*David Gallo, August Wilson’s Jitney*
Nigel Hook, The Play That Goes Wrong
Douglas W. Schmidt, The Front Page
Michael Yeargan, Oslo
Best Scenic Design of a Musical
The historical Russian settings of The Great Comet are elaborate, exquisite, and interactive. It should easily take the win in the Best Scenic Design of a Musical category.
Rob Howell, Groundhog Day The Musical
David Korins, War Paint
*Mimi Lien, Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812*
Santo Loquasto, Hello, Dolly!
Best Costume Design of a Play
Much like many of the other play categories, this is a bit of a competition, as there seems to be no clear, clear favorite.
Jane Greenwood, Lillian Hellman’s The Little Foxes
Susan Hilferty, Present Laughter
Toni-Leslie James, August Wilson’s Jitney
*David Zinn, A Doll’s House, Part 2*
Best Costume Design of a Musical
Similar to scenic design, the costume design fleshes out the historical context of the musical.
Linda Cho, Anastasia
Santo Loquasto, Hello, Dolly!
*Paloma Young, Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812*
Catherine Zuber, War Paint
Best Lighting Design of a Play
Indecent truly turned heads this Broadway season. This is partially due to the important role of lighting in the play that drives the emotional turns and plot.
*Christopher Akerlind, Indecent*
Jane Cox, August Wilson’s Jitney
Donald Holder, Oslo
Jennifer Tipton, A Doll’s House, Part 2
Best Lighting Design of a Musical
The Great Comet‘s technical production is as on part as its costumer and scenic design.
Howell Binkley, Come From Away
Natasha Katz, Hello, Dolly!
*Bradley King, Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812*
Japhy Weideman, Dear Evan Hansen
Best Direction of a Play
Again, a tough choice. The plays truly shoulder up to each other this year. However, Oslo will take the Best Direction award as the prediction; though this one is truly unpredictable.
Sam Gold, A Doll’s House, Part 2
Ruben Santiago-Hudson, August Wilson’s Jitney
*Bartlett Sher, Oslo*
Daniel Sullivan, Lillian Hellman’s The Little Foxes
Rebecca Taichman, Indecent
Best Direction of a Musical
Greif did not clinch the Best Direction award for Rent in 1996. Completely different in plot but similar in heart, Dear Evan Hansen gnaws are the truth of the character’s lives. Most often, these truths are brushed over on TV about high school life and, in Rent‘s case, being young in New York City. That stare-down of the uncomfortable truth should grant Greif the Tony.
Christopher Ashley, Come From Away
Rachel Chavkin, Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812
*Michael Greif, Dear Evan Hansen*
Matthew Warchus, Groundhog Day The Musical
Jerry Zaks, Hello, Dolly!
A refreshing option in the category but standard in his excellence. Hamilton‘s Blankenbuehler slays again with Bandstand. What is working against him is Bandstand‘s lack of nominations elsewhere.
*Andy Blankenbuehler, Bandstand*
Peter Darling and Ellen Kane, Groundhog Day The Musical
Kelly Devine, Come From Away
Denis Jones, Holiday Inn, The New Irving Berlin Musical
Sam Pinkleton, Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812
Malloy orchestrated and composed the music for The Great Comet. That marriage of talent should win him the Best Orchestration award.
Bill Elliott and Greg Anthony Rassen, Bandstand
Larry Hochman, Hello, Dolly!
Alex Lacamoire, Dear Evan Hansen
*Dave Malloy, Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812*