Experts predict Best Actress (Play) showdown at Tony Awards

Our Experts are divided over the winner of the Best Actress (Play) race at the Tony Awards. 

Six of them are predicting that Tracie Bennett will win for reprising her Olivier-nominated portrayal of Judy Garland in “End of the Rainbow.” They are: Melissa Bernardo (EW), Brian Lipton (Theatermania), Michael Musto (“Village Voice”), Tom O’Neil (Gold Derby), Blake Ross (Playbill) and Wayman Wong (NY Daily News). This support gives Bennett the edge at 3 to 2. 

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As three of our Experts — Paul Sheehan (Gold Derby), David Sheward (Backstage) and Matt Windman (amNY) — foresee Stockard Channing for her performance as a brittle society matron in “Other Desert Cities” she has odds of 10 to 3. She won this award in 1985 for “A Day in the Death of Joe Egg” and has contended in this category three times since. 

However, Martin Denton (NY Theater) predicts Linda Lavin, who featured in the off-Broadway run of “Cities” as Channing’s liberal sister, will prevail for her starring role as a matriarch in “The Lyons.” She has odds of 15 to 2 to take home a bookend to her 1987 award for Neil Simon‘s “Broadway Bound.” 

One Expert — Thom Geier (EW) — is backing Nina Arianda (6 to 1) for reprising her off-Broadway role as a mainipulative actress in David Ives’ “Venus in Fur” while another — Andy Humm (Gay USA) — forecasts a win for Angela Bassett (16 to 1) as a hotel maid who encounters Martin Luther King, Jr. in Katori Hall‘s Olivier-winning “The Mountaintop.”

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