Experts predict ‘Once’ has edge now over ‘Newsies’ for Best Musical at Tony Awards

The majority of our Experts had been predicting “Newsies” to win Best Musical but are now backing the bid by “Once” just days before the Tony Awards Sunday. 

Once,” a screen-to-stage version of the 2007 film about an Irish songwriter and his Czech muse, leads all contenders with 11 nominations. This off-Broadway transfer features tunes by Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová, who starred in the movie and won the Best Original Song Oscar for “Falling Slowly.”

Our 10 Experts predicting it to prevail are: Martin Denton (NY Theater), Elysa Gardner (USA Today), Harry Haun (Playbill), Michael Musto (Village Voice), Tom O’Neil (Gold Derby), Blake Ross (Playbill), Paul Sheehan (Gold Derby), David Sheward (Backstage), Doug Strassler (NY Press) and Matt Windman (amNY). It has odds of 1 to 1.

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Newsies” is a stage version of the 1992 Disney film about the delivery boys’ strike against New York City newspapers in 1899. It features music by eight-time Oscar champ and three-time Tony contender Alan Menken and lyrics by Jack Feldman with a book by four-time Tony winner Harvey Fierstein. Menken reaped Tony bids for his scores to “Beauty and the Beast,” “The Little Mermaid” and “Sister Act.”  Fierstein’s won Tonys for writing and starring in “Torch Song Trilogy,” the book of “La Cage aux Folles” and his lead role in “Hairspray.” Both are nominated for their work on this show which has eight nominations in total. 

Backing this show are seven Experts: Melissa Bernardo (EW), Frank DiLella (NY1), Thom Geier (EW), Susan Haskins (Theater Talk), Andy Humm (Gay USA), Brian Lipton (Theatermania) and Wayman Wong (NY Daily News). It now has odds of 3 to 2. 

In third place with odds of 16 to 1 is “Nice Work If You Can Get It,” a frothy tuner that uses songs from the Gershwin catalog to tell the tale of a playboy (Matthew Broderick) and a bootlegger (Kelli O’Hara) in 1920s New York. While two-time Tony champ Broderick was snubbed, O’Hara landed one of the show’s 10 nods.

The final nominee is “Leap of Faith” which is Menken’s second entry in this race. However, unlike “Newsies,” this adaptation of the 1992 film starring Steve Martin failed to impress critics or audiences. This was the lone bid for this recently shuttered show and it has odds of 25 to 1. 

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