Every year, the Tony Awards manage to produce some surprise winners and this year’s ceremony was no exception. Indeed, our official racetrack odds fell short in five of the two dozen categories, including one of the top production awards as well as one of the lead acting prizes and three of the featured ones.
“Fun Home” winning Best Musical may not have been as big an upset as”Avenue Q” prevailing over “Wicked” in 2004, but it still came as a surprise. After all, “An American in Paris” had even odds (1/1) of winning and was a much more accessible show with a far broader appeal. But even with its dark subject matter and odds of 6/5, “Fun Home” still managed to be the night’s big winner, taking home five Tonys in all.
Kelli O’Hara can finally (FINALLY!) be described as a Tony-winning actress. However, her victory in Best Actress (Musical) for her stirring performance in “The King and I” was far from a foregone conclusion. Rather, Tonys co-host Kristin Chenoweth was the frontrunner with 8/13 odds of winning for her over-the-top turn in a revival of “On the Twentieth Century.” O’Hara was in second place at 21/10. One can only wonder how much her overdue factor — this was her sixth nomination in 11 years — was part of her winning formula.
In his acceptance speech, Richard McCabe said that no one in America knew who he played in “The Audience.” That he pulled off an upset in Featured Actor (Play) meant that enough voters liked his portrayal of Harold Wilson, the one-time British Prime Minister. McCabe was sitting in third place with 14/1 odds of winning behind both Nathaniel Parker of “Wolf Hall Parts One & Two” (at 10/11) and Micah Stock for “It’s Only a Play” (19/10).
Ruthie Ann Miles wasn’t the only person left speechless by her Featured Actress (Musical) win for “The King and I.” Our odds had her in third place at 12/1 behind two of the actresses from “Fun Home,” frontrunner Judy Kuhn (3/10) and Sydney Lucas (15/2).
And Christian Borle won Featured Actor (Musical) for his scene-stealing performance as William Shakespeare in “Something Rotten” despite odds of 27/10 versus those of 8/10 for Andy Karl (“On the Twentieth Century”).