A quartet of leading ladies dominates this year’s Tony Awards race for Best Musical Actress.
At the head of the pack is Audra McDonald for “The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess.” She overcame the show’s initial bad press and emerged with some of the best reviews of her career. This would be McDonald’s fifth Tony win (her first in a lead category), tying the record currently held by theater royalty, Angela Lansbury and Julie Harris.
Right behind McDonald are “Follies” stars Jan Maxwell, whose performance in the revival of the Sondheim classic received the lion’s share of the acclaim, and two-time Tony champ Bernadette Peters. Maxwell is also no stranger to the Tonys, having been nominated four times, including two nominations in 2010.
Argentinean born Elena Roger has already taken home an Olivier Award for her performance in the title role of “Evita.”That part brought Tony gold to the last Broadway Evita, Patti LuPone. Tony voters love to reward Olivier winners who bring their performances across the pond, most recently doing just that for Douglas Hodge from “La Cage aux Folles” in 2010.
Any number of performers in shows that have not yet opened could round out the category.
And after lukewarm reviews in the West End, another screen to stage adaptation, “Ghost,” could carry leading lady Caissie Levy into the derby as well.
Earlier in the season, “Bonnie & Clyde” star Laura Osnes might have had a place at the table, but bad reviews for the show and an early closing will most likely leave her out of contention.