2022 Tony Awards slugfest: Final nominations predictions — it’s a Broadway Brawl! [VIDEO]

With the 2022 Tony Awards nomination announcement just days away, Broadway watchers are scrambling to finalize their predictions after a stellar season on the rialto. To help guide us through the ups and downs of the major Tony categories, I am joined by Michael Musto (Queerty, The Village Voice), Brian Lipton (Cititour) and my Gold Derby colleague David Buchanan for a heated debate. Which productions and performers will receive happy news on Monday, May 9 when nominations are announced? Watch our 2022 Tony Awards slugfest above with final nominations predictions.

With “The Lehman Trilogy” far out front in the Best Play race, I wonder aloud how many other plays from the dynamite first half of the season will make the cut this year. “I think this is one season, based on the buzz, where they are going to remember things that are close,” suggests Musto. Normally Tony voters prefer shows which are still open, and still generating income. But he and I are both confident that “Clyde’s” will land a Best Play nomination, since acclaimed playwright Lynn Nottage is having a successful year (she also wrote the book for “MJ” and the libretto for the opera adaptation of her play “Intimate Apparel”).

SEE 2022 Tony predictions by show: ‘Company,’ ‘The Music Man,’ ‘The Lehman Trilogy’ will lead

Buchanan is similarly confident about “Skeleton Crew” appearing in Best Play because “Dominique Morrisseau is such an acclaimed playwright.” But Lipton hopes that nominators’ memories stretch back to the first show of the season: “Pass Over” by Antoinette Nwandu. “I actually think it was the strongest play,” he admits. We all agree that spring debuts “Hangmen” and “The Minutes” will fill out the category.

As for Best Play Revival, most pundits seem to agree that “for colored girls,” “How I Learned to Drive,” “Take Me Out” and “Trouble in Mind” are all poised for nominations. That leaves one open slot. Buchanan and I believe it will go to “The Skin of Our Teeth” due to its “audacious, swinging for the fences” production from Lincoln Center Theater. Lipton and Musto however, think it may be too unwieldy for some voters. They instead think “American Buffalo” will sneak into the race. “I know David Mamet is one of the less popular people in the theater world right now,” admits Musto, but he thinks the nominators “will show how big they are” by separating the production from the playwright’s incendiary remarks.

In the race for the highly coveted Best Musical award, Pulitzer Prize-winner “A Strange Loop” is the clear favorite to win. “It’s a lock,” Musto affirms. It will be joined by the international sensation “SIX” and Bob Dylan tuner “Girl From the North Country” as nominees, leaving two open nomination slots. Buchanan and I currently have the Billy Crystal vehicle “Mr. Saturday Night” and the LSD-infused “Flying Over Sunset” rounding out the list. But we are both wary of “MJ,” which Lipton and Musto are certain will make the cut. I point out that “the industry really loves ‘MJ’ a lot more than the critics did,” and Lipton correctly assesses that the only way it would fall short is if nominators have strong feelings about the ways in which the musical skirts the controversies which clouded the King of Pop’s legacy. “Theater and politics are meeting so much this season,” notes Lipton.

There’s an unfortunate scenario brewing for the Best Musical Revival category. Four eligible productions opened this season, which means there are only three nomination slots. Unless a statistical tie occurs, one show will be left out in the cold. We are all in agreement that “Funny Girl” is the likeliest of the bunch to miss the cut. “Of the four, that’s the one that got the weakest response,” admits Musto. Perhaps a six decade absence on Broadway (since Barbra Streisand famously originated the lead role) simply generated expectations that were too great for any staging to overcome. “It wasn’t really a well-regarded musical, except for Barbra, the first time,” Lipton reminds us. So frontrunner “Company” will be joined by “Caroline, or Change” and “The Music Man.”

The acting races are fiercely competitive this year. Will Mary-Louise Parker become the first woman with back-to-back Lead Actress in a Play wins? Will all three men from “The Lehman Trilogy” make the lineup for Lead Actor in a Play? How do we begin to decipher which members of the vast ensembles behind “The Minutes,” “POTUS,” or “Take Me Out” will earn nominations? And can anyone stop Patti LuPone and Matt Doyle on their march to the podium? Be sure to watch the full video discussion to hear all of our thoughts, and log your final Tony nomination predictions before Monday, May 9.

PREDICT the 2022 Tony Awards nominees now through May 9

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