Every year, Broadway celebrates the best musical performances and plays of the season with the Antoinette Perry Awards for Excellence in Theatre, better known as the Tony Awards. Broadcast on June 7 this year and hosted by Broadway legends Alan Cumming and Kristin Chenoweth, the Tonys are the general public’s one chance to get a glimpse of the wonders of New York City’s live theater. Though we could not see the performances ourselves, Verde researched all of the nominated shows and predicted who we think will win this year’s Tony Awards. Below are our top picks for Best New Musical, Best Revival of a Musical and Best Featured and Supporting Actors and Actresses.
Best New Musical
“Fun Home,” written by Lisa Kron with music by Jeanine Tesori, is the musical adaptation of the graphic novel autobiographical memoir by acclaimed cartoonist Alison Bechdel, who came out as lesbian a few months before her closeted father took his own life. Three touching actresses portray Alison in different stages of her life, and all three received Tony nominations for their performances, garnering the highest reviews of any new production opening on Broadway this season.
Best Revival of a Musical
“The King and I,” written by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein, tells the story of a Welsh schoolteacher who travels to Siam to tutor the children of the Siamese King. While this Golden Age show has a reputation for having politically incorrect humor, according to many reviews, the cast manages to stay true to the story without being offensive. With a stunning set, costumes and acting, this production masterfully brings new depth to the original story. The revival at Lincoln Center is directed by Bartlett Sher and stars Broadway veteran Kelli O’Hara alongside Japanese actor Ken Watanabe, both of whom revived Tony Award nominations for their performances as Anna and the King, respectively, adding to the total of nine nominations earned by “The King and I.”
Best Actress in a Musical
Broadway legend Chita Rivera is returning as Claire Zachanassian, a wealthy woman who returns to her hometown to enact revenge on the man who broke her heart years ago. At the age of 82, not many people could take on a role that requires so much movement, let alone perform it with Rivera’s finesse. Her performance makes her a standout in a category full of impressive actresses, and for what may be her final turn on Broadway, it makes sense to acknowledge that work with what could be her third Tony.
Best Actor in a Musical
Michael Cerveris, who plays Alison Bechdel’s father, Bruce, in “Fun Home,” fills a difficult role with emotional passion and vitality. Bruce, who runs a funeral home with his family in addition to teaching English at the local public school, has spent his entire life in the closet. Throughout the show he deals with his daughter’s coming out as well as his own attempts to reconcile his sexuality with the closeted life that he has lived for many years. His rendition of “Edges of the World,” the penultimate number in the show, is a tear-jerking portrayal of a man who feels like his entire world has come crashing down on him and does not know what to do.
Best Supporting Actress in a Musical
This year, Judy Kuhn is nominated for the fourth time for her role in “Fun Home” as Alison’s mother Helen, who has put up with her husband’s temperamental and angry demeanor for years. While this constitutes a smaller role than many of her past appearances, Kuhn’s solo number “Days and Days,” as she details her experiences of keeping her husband’s secrets, brings a stand-out passion to the role. Although Kuhn is competing against two other members of the “Fun Home” cast for this award, her experience and long-standing career make her the deserving choice.
Best Supporting Actor in a Musical
In “On The 20th Century,” the current revival of the 1978 musical with lyrics by Betty Comden and Adolph Green and music by Cy Coleman, Andy Karl plays Bruce Granit. This character is both the lover and costar of leading theatrical lady Lily Garland (played by Kristin Chenoweth), who is fated to lose Garland to her old flame and mentor Oscar Jaffee. Karl, perhaps best known for his role as the mailman in Legally Blonde, was nominated for a Tony Award in 2014 for his starring role in “Rocky.” In this production, he delivers an expertly hilarious performance according to the many theater critics and audience members who gave him favorable reviews.