After nabbing 16 Tony Award nominations, will “Hamilton” win the most Tony Awards ever, on June 12? Not only is it doubtful the show will match the 12 wins received by “The Producers” in 2001, “Hamilton” may well fall short of 10, the record “A Chorus Line” set in 1975.
There has been talk of a “Hamilton” backlash, fed in part by too many puff pieces in the New York Times. The real reason “Hamilton” won’t break awards records is that the show has some very real competition in some key categories, particularly those given off-air.
“Hamilton” is practically guaranteed six wins: for best musical, featured actor Daveed Diggs, featured actress Renee Elise Goldsberry, orchestrator Alex Lacamoire, and score and book writer Lin-Manuel Miranda.
It’s very likely to win three more: for director Thomas Kail, lead actor Leslie Odom Jr. (who plays Aaron Burr, sir), and costume designer Paul Tazewell. But expect major competition in those categories from, respectively, George C. Wolfe (“Shuffle Along”), Danny Burstein (“Fiddler on the Roof”), and Ann Roth (“Shuffle Along”).
When a show like “Hamilton” crosses over from Broadway success to a national phenomenon, Tony voters love to go overboard and give the show everything.
That said, it’s probable that Cynthia Erivo (“The Color Purple”) will top Phillipa Soo (“Hamilton”) for lead actress in a musical.
And some other non-“Hamilton” could include choreographer Savion Glover (“Shuffle Along”), set designer David Rockwell (“She Loves Me”) and lighting designers Jules Fisher and Peggy Eisenhauer (“Shuffle Along”). At least that’s who should win in those categories.
Even though the CBS telecast always tells us otherwise, the Tony Awards aren’t just about musicals.
Stephen Karam’s Pulitzer finalist “The Humans” looks to score at least three wins: for best play, featured actor Reed Birney and featured actress Jayne Hoodyshell. Director Joe Mantello could also make the podium, although he faces stiff competition from Ivo van Hove for the Arthur Miller revival “A View From the Bridge.”
Even though it has closed, that production seems poised to win best revival of a play, its closest rival being the unevenly staged “Long Day’s Journey Into Night,” which has the advantage of still running. (There’s also Van Hove’s other Miller revival, “The Crucible.”)
Jan Versweyveld deserves two wins, for his lighting and set design on “A View From the Bridge.” Any other choices are just absurd.
Best revival of a musical presents a unique contest. Will the voters go for a definitive production (“She Loves Me”) or one that successfully revamps the original (“The Color Purple”)? “Purple,” please.