The design categories at the Tony Awards may not be the most exciting races to casual viewers but guessing the correct winners could be the key to prevailing in Gold Derby’s prediction contest. While “Hamilton” is sure to clean up nicely this Sunday, you may want to hold off on ticking its box everywhere. Let’s take a closer look at the three design races for musicals, including a breakdown of the predictions by our 13 experts (journalists who cover the Broadway beat year-round.)
Costume Design (Musical)
Paul Tazewell took revolution-era dress and gave it a contemporary remix, which seems like more than enough reason for voters to continue to board the “Hamilton” train according to nine of our experts. However, four of them are predicting a win for past Tony champ Ann Roth for “Shuffle Along.” The sheer number of outfits in her flapper era wardrobe could prove enough for her to slip by “Hamilton.” But I could get behind an upset if there were just one challenger, but voters could also be swayed by Jeff Mahshie’s colorful costumes in “She Loves Me.” So, I don’t see “Hamilton” detractors all uniting behind “Shuffle Along.” And with this category as its only nomination, Gregg Barnes will have to be content to sit in the audience, despite his fanciful work on the now-closed “Tuck Everlasting.”
Lighting Design (Musical)
Howell Binkley should easily take this award for “Hamilton.” Jules Fisher and Peggy Eisenhauer do dazzling work in “Shuffle Along”, but the set and costumes are arguably the more eye-catching design elements. Ben Stanton’s work in “Spring Awakening” alternated from rock show brashness to delicate, quiet moments. But the show may be out of sight, out of mind. That would leave the flashy work from Justin Townsend in “American Psycho” to challenge “Hamilton.” But our experts have unanimously backed. Binkley, and there’s no reason to argue with them.
Scenic Design (Musical)
Three-time Tony winner Santo Loquasto competes again for making “Shuffle Along” look like a picturesque postcard from start to finish. However, the strong competition this year will probably prevent him from adding a fourth trophy to his haul. Es Devlin brilliantly recreated the 80’s in “American Psycho.” Having video projection designer Finn Ross on the ticket with her could help, but the musical proved to be divisive and has already closed. The race then comes down to David Korin’s turntables in “Hamilton” and David Rockwell’s sorbet-hued parfumerie in “She Loves Me.” I have a hunch this will be one of the few races “Hamilton” loses, thanks to Rockwell’s lush jewel box set. Our experts split eight to five in Rockwell’s favor.
Make your Tony predictions HERE. You’ll compete to win our contest prize for best picks — $100 in Amazon gift certificates — a place of honor on our leaderboard and a starring role in next year’s Top 24 Users (the two dozen folks who do the best predicting this year’s Tony winners). Be sure to read our contest rules.