Welcome to the most wide open Tony Awards season in recent memory. Recent Broadway seasons have produced surefire winners like “Hamilton,” “The Band’s Visit,” or “Hadestown” that robbed awards season of some suspense. But the 2020 Tony race for Best Musical does not appear to include such a juggernaut, and there are plenty of new tuners with a viable path to victory. Now is the time to jump into our predictions center and make your early, gutsy Tony nomination picks.
This season features a slew of jukebox musicals which use pre-existing song catalogs. “Moulin Rouge!” has proved the most popular so far, letting Karen Olivo and Aaron Tveit belt their faces off to pop hits on the most lush scenic design of the season. “Tina – The Tina Turner Musical” tells the real life story of the queen of rock n’ roll with a star making turn from Adrienne Warren, “Girl From the North Country” uses Bob Dylan songs to chart the lives of Americans in the Great Depression, “Sing Street” adapts the film of the same name in this Off-Broadway transfer from New York Theater Workshop (who just claimed Best Musical with “Hadestown”), and “Jagged Little Pill” crafts an original story of pain and healing out of Alanis Morissette’s songs.
Tony voters have preferred to give musicals with original scores the win lately. If that holds true this year, there is no clear consensus pick among the new tuners. “SIX” is a pop concert extravaganza about the six wives of Henry VIII. “Diana” tells the story of the late Princess of Wales, with the songwriting team behind Tony winner “Memphis.” “Mrs. Doubtfire” is hoping that Rob McClure can capture Robin Williams’ spirit and Broadway’s love of comedic drag roles. “The Lightning Thief” has already ended its limited run, but charmed fans of the Percy Jackson novels with its stripped down staging. And Lincoln Center Theater is opening “Flying Over Sunset” cold, making it a true wildcard. That musical charts the experiences of three famous figures (Cary Grant, Clare Boothe Luce, and Aldous Huxley) as they experiment with LSD.
Voters will have a tough time deciding what non-musical outings make the cut as well. “Slave Play,” “The Sound Inside,” and “The Inheritance” have already made strong claims to the Best Play trophy and have been the big conversation starters of the fall season. Comedy lovers have also fallen for “Linda Vista” and “Grand Horizons.” But those artistic highs don’t even cover the eagerly anticipated spring shows like “The Lehman Trilogy” (where director Sam Mendes hopes to recover from his Oscar loss), Martin McDonagh’s “Hangmen,” Tracy Letts’ “The Minutes,” or Noah Haidle’s “Birthday Candles.”
A majority of these plays have male-dominated ensembles, which makes the race for Lead Actor in a Play insanely competitive. Lead Actor will feature the likes of Mark Addy (“Hangmen”), Ian Bardford (“Linda Vista”), Matthew Broderick (“Plaza Suite”), Rupert Everett (“Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?”), Jake Gyllenhaal (“Sea Wall/A Life”), Tom Hiddleston (“Betrayal”), David Morse (“How I Learned to Drive”), Sam Rockwell (“American Buffalo”), Campbell Scott (“A Christmas Carol”), Michael Shannon (“Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune”), and Blair Underwood (“A Soldier’s Play”) fighting for nominations. And that only scratches the surface of this stacked field of contenders.
Be sure to make your Tony nominations 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 the nominees are announced on April 28. And join in the thrilling debate over the 2020 Tony Awards taking place right now in our theater forums. Read more Gold Derby entertainment news.