Can ‘Hand to God’ sock it to the Tonys?

Robert Askin’s dark comedy “Hand to God” opened last week with some of the strongest reviews of any show this season, and Steven Boyer is getting major Tony buzz for his dual role as a shy Texas teenager and his demonic sock-puppet alter ego, Tyrone. The boyish 32-year-old seems poised to challenge Broadway newbie Alex Sharp, who plays an autistic British teen in “Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” for the Best Actor (Play) prize. (See all odds here)

Who do you think will win this competitive category? Make the best predictions in our Tony nominations contest and you could win a $100 Amazon gift certificate and a place of honor in our famous leaderboards

Broadway has had a Big Bird-sized love affair with onstage puppetry ever since Julie Taymor’s “The Lion King” swept the savannah in 1998 with seven Tonys, including Best Musical.

Then six years later, “Avenue Q,” whose R-rated puppet antics are a clear inspiration for “Hand to God,” surprised front-runner “Wicked” for the top prize. In what could be a bad sign for Boyer, though, John Tartaglia and Stephanie D’Abruzzo both snagged lead acting nominations – but neither won.

Puppetry has featured prominently in other Broadway productions, from the 2009 Best Musical nominee “Shrek” to “The Pee-wee Herman Show” in 2010 to “Little Shop of Horrors,” which made its Broadway debut in 2003-04 with Tony nominee Hunter Foster grappling with the voracious animatronic Audrey II.

And it isn’t just musicals that have gone made merry with marionettes. Four years ago, “War Horse” took home the Best Play in part on the strength of Handspring Puppet Co.’s work crafting convincingly life-like full-size equine stars from steel, wood, leather, and cables.

Tonys Best Musical Actress battle:
Kelli O’Hara vs. Chita Rivera vs. Kristen Chenoweth

When it came to predicting the Tony Awards nominations last year, the Experts tied the Top 24 Users (those users with the best scores predicting the 2013 nominations) with an overall accuracy rate of 86.67%. Our Editors were at 80.42% while all Users averaged 67.92%. (Click on each group’s name to see their overall results from last year.)

As Gold Derby Users – just like YOU – turn out to be our smartest prognosticators, it’s vital that you give us your predictions. Your picks factor into our Users racetrack odds. These, in turn, are a key component of Gold Derby’s official (combined) odds

To win, you must have the highest accuracy percentage – and maybe more than that. If more than one player has the best accuracy, the winner is the person with the highest accuracy plus most game points. So, remember to place your three super bets when making predictions. Each player gets one super bet of 500 points and two of 200 points with all the other categories worth 100 points. Strategy is key. Place those super bets wisely and they could crown you our winner.

That’s what happened when we tallied up prediction scores for last year’s Tony Awards nominations. Nine users were tied at the top with a jaw-dropping 95% accuracy. However, J F Petsche was our official winner because he scored 6,046 points (including 2,915 points for Play Revival where he had placed his 500 point bet). Compare that to second-place finisher Ted Stevenson  who scored 5,674 points (he put his 500 point bet on Musical Revival and earned 2,333 points there). 

Get started by making your own predictions for Best Actor (Play) using our easy drag-and-drop menu found at the bottom of this post.

You can continue to update and change your predictions until the morning of the nominations announcement on April 28. Just click “Save Predictions” when you’ve settled on your choice. And remember to place your 500 and 200-point bets wisely. 

To enter your predictions for the other genre categories, make sure you are logged into your Gold Derby account or register for a free account via Facebook, Twitter or Google.

After logging in, click on the “Predictions” button found at the top-right of every page. That will bring you to a list of every event currently being predicted at Gold Derby.

We are forecasting everything from the winners of the Academy of Country Music Awards and both Daytime and Primetime Emmys to the results on reality TV shows like “The Amazing Race” and “Survivor” and talent shows such as “American Idol” and “The Voice.” Click on any box to bring up that event, then scroll down to start making your predictions.

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