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The 72nd Annual Tony Awards: Reflections & Predictions

Tony Awards
By Mena Buscetto

Each year as the annual Tony Awards approach, I think to myself, “The next Broadway season cannot possibly be any better, stronger, or more amazing than this one.” Each year, Broadway proves me wrong as it brings show-stopping performances, soulful words and lyrics, originality, and emotional connection to millions of people. This year’s eclectic group of shows, performers, writers, and designers is no exception.

As audience members we have nostalgically witnessed our favorite movies and television shows like, Frozen, Mean Girls, Harry Potter and Spongebob Squarepants come to life. Revivals of time-standing classics such as Angels in America, My Fair Lady and Once on This Island gave us the opportunity to relish in the timelessness of these pieces, and simultaneously marvel at the seamlessness of their transition into the modern age. We have been given a great gift, as always, to experience such quality theatre.

Though I would love to see every single one of these shows, I consider myself fortunate to have seen three of this year’s nominees: Mean Girls, Spongebob Squarepants: The Broadway Musical, and Once on This Island. Amongst my close group of friends, however, we have seen and discussed (in-depth) nearly all of the nominated performances.

P.S. It definitely pays to have friends who work in the theatre industry when you (literally) can’t pay.

Additionally, I am not one to judge a show solely off of Ben Brantley’s (the chief theater critic of The New York Times) word, but I do agree with many of the comments and criticisms that have appeared in his highly revered columns throughout the year.

In fact, Brantley dedicated an entire column to predicting the awards for June 10th, entitled “Tony Awards 2018: Who Will Win (And Who Should)”. While I will let you read this article and formulate your own opinions, I will comment on just one example of the many interesting discussions this season that Mr. Brantley also acknowledges in this article.

The first few categories listed are pretty consistent in terms of who should win and who will (which is comforting). We see our first discrepancy with the Best Actor in a Musical category, as Brantley predicts Ethan Slater, who plays the title role in Spongebob Squarepants: The Broadway Musical, to win, while acknowledging that The Band’s Visit actor Tony Shalhoub should take home the award.

After seeing Spongebob, I understand and agree with Brantley’s prediction. To say that Shalhoub should win the Tony is not diminishing Slater’s interpretation of one of our favorite television characters. Slater’s physical and vocal portrayal of the character was commendable, especially when thousands of people are expecting you to be an exact replica of a cartoon sponge. All things considered, he came as close as one can get.

However, we have to ask ourselves if imitating, albeit very accurately and entertainingly, an already established, widely loved character, or creating and portraying an original one (like Shalhoub) is worth the recognition.

It is an interesting argument and one that I’m sure will continue to surface.

Certain shows are better positioned to win big on June 10th. Mean Girls and Spongebob Squarepants: The Broadway Musical are in the lead with twelve nominations apiece. The Band’s Visit, Carousel, and Angels in America are close behind them with eleven noms each, and Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Parts One and Two and My Fair Lady are coming in with ten each.

The American Theatre Wing certainly had a tough task ahead of them this year. My hope, though I loved the year of Hamilton, is that there are some surprises, and a variety of people and performances recognized on Broadway’s biggest night. As a true lover of the performing arts, every single person who contributes to providing us with quality theatre is worthy of recognition and deservedly will be in attendance at the 72nd celebration of creativity, entertainment, and accomplishment.

I am no Ben Brantley or any equivalent expert, but every year I love predicting who will take home each award based on what I have seen, read, and heard, So I have decided to share these with you!

*These are my personal predictions and do not reflect the opinion of TheatreArtLife.*

My Predictions

Best Musical

The Band’s Visit

Best Play

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Best Revival of a Musical

My Fair Lady

Best Revival of a Play

Angels in America

Best Book of a Musical

Mean Girls by Tina Fey

Best Original Score

The Band’s Visit by David Yazbek

Best Leading Actor in a Play

Andrew Garfield (Angels in America)

Best Leading Actress in a Play

Glenda Jackson (Three Tall Women)

Best Leading Actor in a Musical

Ethan Slater (SpongeBob SquarePants)

Best Leading Actress in a Musical

Katrina Lenk (The Band’s Visit)

Best Featured Actor in a Play

Nathan Lane (Angels in America)

Best Featured Actress in a Play

Denise Gough (Angels in America)

Best Featured Actor in a Musical
Ari’el Stachel (The Band’s Visit)

Best Featured Actress in a Musical

Lindsay Mendez (Carousel)

Best Scenic Design of a Play

Christine Jones (Harry Potter and the Cursed Child)

Best Scenic Design of a Musical

Michael Yeargan (My Fair Lady)

Best Costume Design of a Play

Katrina Lindsay (Harry Potter and the Cursed Child)

Best Costume Design of a Musical

David Zinn (SpongeBob SquarePants)

Best Lighting Design of a Play

Neil Austin (Harry Potter and the Cursed Child)

Best Lightning Design of a Musical

Kevin Adams (SpongeBob SquarePants)

Best Direction of a Play

John Tiffany (Harry Potter and the Cursed Child)

Best Direction of a Musical

Bartlett Sher (My Fair Lady)

Best Choreography

Justin Peck (Carousel)

Best Orchestrations

Jamshied Sharifi (The Band’s Visit)

Sound Design in a Play

Gareth Fry (Harry Potter and the Cursed Child)

Sound Design in a Musical

Walter Trarbach and Mike Dobson (SpongeBob SquarePants)

Best Play

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Best Revival of a Musical

My Fair Lady

Best Revival of a Play

Angels in America

Best Book of a Musical

Mean Girls by Tina Fey

Best Original Score

The Band’s Visit by David Yazbek

Best Leading Actor in a Play

Andrew Garfield (Angels in America)

Best Leading Actress in a Play

Glenda Jackson (Three Tall Women)

Best Leading Actor in a Musical

Ethan Slater (SpongeBob SquarePants)

Best Leading Actress in a Musical

Katrina Lenk (The Band’s Visit)

Best Featured Actor in a Play

Nathan Lane (Angels in America)

Best Featured Actress in a Play

Denise Gough (Angels in America)

Best Featured Actor in a Musical

Ari’el Stachel (The Band’s Visit)

Best Featured Actress in a Musical

Lindsay Mendez (Carousel)

Best Scenic Design of a Play

Christine Jones (Harry Potter and the Cursed Child)

Best Scenic Design of a Musical

Michael Yeargan (My Fair Lady)

Best Costume Design of a Play

Katrina Lindsay (Harry Potter and the Cursed Child)

Best Costume Design of a Musical

David Zinn (SpongeBob SquarePants)

Best Lighting Design of a Play

Neil Austin (Harry Potter and the Cursed Child)

Best Lightning Design of a Musical

Kevin Adams (SpongeBob SquarePants)

Best Direction of a Play

John Tiffany (Harry Potter and the Cursed Child)

Best Direction of a Musical

Bartlett Sher (My Fair Lady)

Best Choreography

Justin Peck (Carousel)

Best Orchestrations

Jamshied Sharifi (The Band’s Visit)

Sound Design in a Play

Gareth Fry (Harry Potter and the Cursed Child)

Sound Design in a Musical

Walter Trarbach and Mike Dobson (SpongeBob SquarePants)

Visit TonyAwards.com for the most up to date information on the awards and don’t forget to watch or set your recording devices on Sunday, June 10 (8:00-11:00 PM, live ET/delayed PT) on the CBS Television Network.

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