The Tony Awards: 2019 predictions


Jamie Steinman

Every year, millions of people attending Broadway shows are mesmerized by the flashing stage lights and highly intimate storytelling. Like many other forms of entertainment, Broadway has its own version of the Oscars: the Tony Awards, which honor the best in theater. With the awards premiering on June 9, here are my predictions for the four biggest categories.

Starting off, I’d like to take a look at the Best Revival of a Play. This is a very interesting category to me because I don’t really see a definitive winner out of the nominees. The five revivals who snagged nominations this year were “All My Sons,” “The Boys in the Band,” “Burn This,” “Torch Song,” and “The Waverly Gallery.”

This is intriguing because three out of these five shows have already closed and the Tony voters typically do not favor shows that have closed. My personal pick is “Burn This,”  which is a story of love blossoming between two people in the midst of mourning the death of a loved one. The emotional weight and star power of Adam Driver (who also plays Kylo Ren from “Star Wars”) helps to create a powerhouse performance.

Next up is the Best Revival of a Musical. Due to the lack of revivals that opened this year, the revivals of “Kiss Me, Kate” and “Oklahoma” were the only productions nominated in this category. I don’t think this is much of a contest as “Oklahoma,” Rodger and Hammerstein’s famous story of a farm girl choosing between two potential suitors, is a revival that does more to innovate on an already classic story through its staging, which adds complexity to the story.

It is also a much darker take on the original play, and deconstructs the sunny optimism that was present in the original. Meanwhile, the opposing nominee “Kiss Me, Kate” is a little more vanilla and didn’t get as stellar reviews.

In the Best Play category, I was expecting the staging of “To Kill a Mockingbird” to win, so I was surprised to see it get snubbed of a nomination. I think we can easily disregard “Choir Boy,” “Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus,” and “Ink” as their reviews didn’t live up to those of “The Ferryman” and “What the Constitution Means to Me.” I think between the two, “The Ferryman,” a story of a rural family in crisis during the Northern Irish unrest of the 1980s, will win due to it being an Olivier (the London equivalent of the Tonys) winning transfer and Sam Mendes’s legendary job directing this play.

Finally, arguably the biggest category of the night is the Best Musical. Out of the five nominees, “Beetlejuice” and “Ain’t Too Proud” are unlikely to take home the award. “Beetlejuice” had a more lukewarm reception compared to the other four nominees, and “Ain’t Too Proud” is a jukebox musical, which is a musical featuring the songs of a popular music act, in this case being the “Temptations,” which isn’t favored by most of the Tony voters.

Between “Hadestown,” “The Prom,” and “Tootsie,” I have a hard time deciding who will take home the award. “The Prom” is completely original and has an important story to the LGBTQ community, “Hadestown” is the most unique and innovative of the nominees, and “Tootsie” is a beloved musical adaptation with star power, that holds a candle to the movie it was based on and delivers plenty of laughs. I predict that “Hadestown” will take the win due to its jazzy and folky score and depression era industrial background that creates a stellar and chilling retelling of the myths of Orpheus and Eurydice and that of Hades and Persephone.

No matter who wins this Sunday night, this has truly been a fantastic season for theater. These shows have done an exemplary job telling diverse and interesting stories that will keep theatregoers entranced for years to come. The awards give rightful recognition to performances that many now live in the shadow of movies and TV shows.

Theater is an extremely powerful art form and draws many viewers in with its ability to tell intricate stories through real life people in intimate spaces.

Although the Tonys buzz is almost over, there are many spectacular shows opening soon that will play alongside these enticing nominees.