Tony Awards Best Play showdown: ‘Clybourne Park’ vs. ‘Other Desert Cities’

This is the first time since 1994 that four American plays are in contention for Best Play. And three of these productions mark the Broadway debut of the playwright. 

Nine of our Experts are backing last year’s Pulitzer Prize champ “Clybourne Park” to take the top Tony Award. This revisiting by Bruce Norris of the landscape first explored by Lorraine Hansberry in “A Raisin in the Sun” delves into race relations and gentrification in the changing face of a Chicago neighborhood. It has even odds to win. 

Predicting it to prevail on Tonys night are: Frank DiLella (NY1), Thom Geier (Entertainment Weekly), Susan Haskins (Theater Talk), Andy Humm (Gay USA), Brian Lipton (Theatermania), Michael Musto (Village Voice), Tom O’Neil (Gold Derby), Doug Strassler (NY Press) and Matt Windman (amNY). 

Five pundits believe the searing domestic drama “Other Desert Cities” will bag the top Tony Award. This first play by Jon Robin Baitz to run on the rialto was a finalist for this year’s Pulitzer. The wry domestic drama pits a returning liberal daughter against her conservative parents who balk when she threatens to expose a long-held secret. Its odds of prevailing are 19 to 10. 

Those Experts who foresee a win for this Lincoln Center production are: Melissa Bernardo (Entertainment Weekly), Harry Haun (Playbill), Paul Sheehan (Gold Derby), David Sheward (Back Stage) and Wayman Wong (NY Daily News). 

MAKE YOUR TONY PREDICTIONS: What Will Win Best Play?

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Rick Elice adapted the 2004 children’s bestseller “Peter and the Starcatcher” by Dave Barry and Ridely Pearson for the stage. This tale imagines what life was like for Peter Pan long before he met Wendy and the rest of the Darlings. Martin Denton (NY Theater) is backing this bid which has odds of 8 to 1. 

David Ives has been to Broadway before with adaptations of a play (“Is He Dead?”) and a film musical (“White Christmas”). This time around, he returns with an original piece — “Venus in Fur” — which explores sexual politics between a theater director and an actress auditioning for him. This entry is the longshot with odds of 25 to 1. 

See how our Experts rank predictions in each category. See charts detailing their racetrack odds (click “More” within each category box to see extended data). Review contenders here and enter predictions here.

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