Experts predict Best Actress (Play) showdown at Tony Awards

Our 17 Experts are divided over the winner of the Best Actress (Play) race at the Tony Awards. 

Eleven of them are predicting that Tracie Bennett will win for her Olivier-nominated portrayal of Judy Garland in “End of the Rainbow.” They are: Melissa Bernardo (EW), Martin Denton (NY Theatre), Frank DiLella (NY1), Elysa Gardner (USA Today), Harry Haun (Playbill), Brian Lipton (Theatermania), Michael Musto (“Village Voice”), Tom O’Neil (Gold Derby), Blake Ross (Playbill), Doug Strassler (NY Press) and Wayman Wong (NY Daily News). This support gives Bennett the edge at 1 to 1.

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Five of our Experts — Thom Geier (EW), Susan Haskins (Theater Talk), Andy Humm (Gay USA), Paul Sheehan (Gold Derby) and Matt Windman (amNY) — foresee Nina Arianda winning for reprising her off-Broadway role as a mainipulative actress in “Venus in Fur.” She has odds of 12 to 5.

David Sheward (Backstage) is backing the bid by Stockard Channing for her performance as a brittle society matron in “Other Desert Cities.” She won this award in 1985 for “A Day in the Death of Joe Egg” and has contended in this category three times since. She has odds of 15 to 2. 

Linda Lavin, who featured in the off-Broadway run of “Cities” as Channing’s liberal sister, contends for her starring role as a matriarch in “The Lyons.” She has odds of 12 to 1 to take home a bookend to her 1987 award for Neil Simon‘s “Broadway Bound.” 

And Cynthia Nixon, who won this race in 2006 for “Rabbit Hole,” has odds of 50 to 1 to repeat for her work in “Wit.” 

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