Experts predict Audra McDonald (‘Porgy & Bess’) to win record-tying fifth Tony Award

All 17 of our Experts agree that Audra McDonald is on track to take home her fifth Tony Award for her lead performance in the musical “The Gershwins Porgy and Bess.” This Broadway darling overcame resistance to the revision of the 1935 Gershwin opera and won over the critics. Now, with overwhelming odds of 2 to 5, she is poised to claim her first lead trophy. 

The other songbirds up against this Tony juggernaut are: Jan Maxwell (“Follies“) with odds of 6 to 1; Cristin Milioti (“Once“) at 14 to 1; Kelli O’Hara (“Nice Work If You Can Get It“) at 16 to 1; and Laura Osnes (“Bonnie & Clyde”) at 50 to 1.

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McDonald is four for six at the Tonys, with two wins in each featured actress race for the musicals “Carousel” (1994) and “Ragtime” (1998) and the plays “Master Class” (1996) and “A Raisin in the Sun” (2004). 

She has contended twice before for Best Actress (Musical), losing her 2000 bid for “Marie Christine” to Heather Headley (“Aida”) and her 2007 nod for “100 in the Shade” to Christine Ebersole (“Grey Gardens”). 

By claiming her fifth Tony, McDonald will be tied with two titans of the Broadway stage — Julie Harris and Angela Lansbury — for the most awards.

Harris won five Best Actress (Play) prizes: “I Am a Camera” (1952), “The Lark” (1956), “Forty Carats” (1969), “The Last of Mrs. Lincoln” (1973) and “The Belle of Amherst” (1977). And she holds the record for most nominations for a performer with 10 nods.

Lansbury won Best Actress (Musical) four times — “Mame” (1966), “Dear World” (1969), “Gypsy” (1975) and “Sweeney Todd” (1979) — and picked up her fifth award for her featured performance in the play “Blithe Spirit” in 2009.

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