“Hamilton” made Tony Awards history with a record-breaking 16 nominations, surpassing the previous total of 15 set by “The Producers” in 2001 and tied by “Billy Elliot” in 2009. Despite achieving this milestone, our 13 experts (journalists who cover the Broadway beat year-round) are dubious that the musical juggernaut will break the record for most Tony Award wins (12) held by “The Producers.” “Hamilton” has the potential to win 13 races on Sunday (it has multiple bids in three categories). However, we think it is vulnerable in four of these.
Best Actor (Musical)
In one of the most hotly contested categories of the season, “Hamilton” competes against itself with both Leslie Odom and the show’s creator, Lin-Manuel Miranda, in contention. Odom, who plays Aaron Burr, is favored over Miranda for his portrayal of Alexander Hamilton by a vote of five to four among our experts. (Miranda is a lock to win both Book and Score). However, four experts are predicting a win at last for Danny Burstein (“Fiddler on the Roof”), who has lost his previous five Tony races.
Best Actress (Musical)
Phillipa Soo, who is making her Broadway debut as Hamilton’s wife Eliza, nabbed a slot in this extremely competitive category over the likes of Broadway royalty Audra McDonald (“Shuffle Along”) and fellow newcomer Ana Villafañe (“On Your Feet!”). While she could not have picked a better show to ignite her promising career, Soo will have to watch this season’s breakout performer Cynthia Erivo, also making her Broadway debut, claim the prize for her performance as Celie in the revival of “The Color Purple.” She is the pick of all 13 of our experts.
“Hamilton” choreographer Andy Blankenbuehler now has four Tony Award nominations and one win (that was for his work on Lin-Manuel Miranda’s previous musical “In The Heights”). I’m betting on “Shuffle Along” choreographer Savion Glover who is also a four-time Tony nominee with one win to his name (“Bring In ‘Da Noise, Bring In ‘Da Funk”). He has long been a favorite in the industry and his work in “Shuffle Along” represents the most impressive, awe-inspiring choreography of the entire Broadway season. Our experts split seven to six in Glover’s favor.
Best Scenic Design (Musical)
David Korins’ scenic design for “Hamilton” serves many functional and symbolic purposes, but is undeniably sparse. David Rockwell’s jewel-box scenic design for “She Loves Me,” on the other hand, impresses audiences with a massive and visually-stunning set. Eight experts predict Rockwell will win at last after five losses while five expect Korin to prevail on his first nomination.
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