Predicting the outcome of the design categories at the Tony Awards proves a challenge every year. But if you want to perform well in our prediction contest, you’ll need to ace these tough below-the-line races. Here is a rundown of how the competition is shaking out in each of the four design awards for the plays. My powers of divination tell me that a certain “Boy Who Lived” is going to perform quite well in these categories.
Christine Jones looks like a safe bet for a win here, thanks to the gargantuan undertaking that is “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.” The scenic design is complex, featuring trap doors, lifts, and plenty of moving parts. Yet it never feels overblown and at times appears deceptively simple. Miriam Buether’s mesmerizing and surprising design for “Three Tall Women” could pull off a surprise as she did last week at the Drama Desk awards (it helps that she also created a memorable set for “The Children” earlier in the season), but she will likely fall victim to Potter-mania. In another year, “Angels in America” could take this home for Ian MacNeil and Edward Pierce’s drastic reinterpretation of the classic. But the scope of “Cursed Child” will likely prove too epic to ignore.
If “Farinelli and the King” was still open, Jonathan Fensom would easily snatch the trophy for his gorgeous 18th century gowns. The detailed period work made the production a sheer delight to look at. The Drama Desk voters agreed and granted him a win at their recent ceremony. However, the limited run concluded in March and forgetful voters will be wowed by Katrina Lindsay’s garb for “Harry Potter.” She seals a win in the first scene when street clothes are transformed into Hogwarts robes in one fabulous flourish by the actors. No other nominee can boast such flashy costume moments.
Paul Russell did wonders with actual candlelight on stage in “Farinelli and the King,” but the show is not at the forefront of voter’s minds. Two-time Tony winner Paule Constable would make a worthy winner for “Angels in America.” Her lighting becomes imperative in defining delineating the ever shifting scenes of Tony Kushner’s epic. But Neil Austin is favored to add a second Tony to his mantle for “Harry Potter” (he won previously for “Red”). I’ll abide by the production’s wishes and #keepthesecrets, but safe to say that Austin’s beautiful work helps bring creatures and spells to life.
The sound design categories are back, but they are only being voted on by a qualified panel of experts. If the general voting body was deciding the category, then Gareth Fry of “Harry Potter” would easily win the popularity contest. The effects heavy production wouldn’t be able to bring the wizarding world to life without his soundscape. But a smaller panel of voters might allow for singular tastes to break through. In that case, an upset win by “Angels in America” sound designer Ian Dickinson is entirely possible. I would argue that the Angel’s entrance in “Millennium Approaches” is one of the most memorable uses of sound in the entire season. “Cursed Child” will probably still impress panel for a win, but this could be the one design category that puts a stop to a “Potter” sweep.
Be sure to make your Tony predictions today so that Broadway insiders can see how their shows and performers are faring in our odds. You can keep changing your predictions as often as you like until just before nominees are announced on June 10. And join in the fun debate over the 2018 Tonys taking place right now with Hollywood insiders in our theater forums. Read more Gold Derby entertainment news.