My predictions for the 2.5 big Tony Award nominations.

It seems like just yesterday we were debating who would get snubbed in the 2008-2009 Tony noms (remember when Rock of Ages slipped in instead of 9 to 5?) . . . And already, it’s time to predict this year’s snubs!

Conventional Broadway wisdom says that there are only 2.5 Tony Awards that have a meaningful impact at the Box Office:  Best Musical, Best Play . . . and the half goes to Best Revival of a Musical.

So, I’m going to give you my predictions on what I think will be nominated for those 2.5 categories (as opposed to what I think should be nominated).

Best Musical

IMHO, there are three locks for the Best Musical nom this year:

American Idiot

And the only completely original musical of the season . . .


It’s the fourth slot that there’s some fighting over, especially since this season saw the elimination of the Special Theatrical Event category, which lumps at least four other titles into the Best Musical category.

So who will take the slot?

The two front runners are The Addams Family and Come Fly Away, with Everyday Rapture the next-in-line long shot.  My guess is that the Tony Committee will honor Rapture by nominating it’s star for Best Actress and maybe even Best Book, but they’ll leave it out of this category, which puts us back with the two choices that started this paragraph.

If I were one of the nominators sitting The Edison Cafe making the decision, I’d go with Addams Family solely to reward the original score and the original book over the beautifully danced, but is-it-really-a-musical, Come Fly Away.  You’ve got to give some points to Family for degree of difficulty, don’t you?

But, knowing what I do about the nominators and the process by which they choose these nominees, my gut says that they will nominate Come Fly Away, and for the third year in a row, snub the big, commercial choice (First Legally Blonde, then 9 To 5, and now Addams Family).

Best Play

Expect the biggest hit, A Steady Rain, to get a steady snub in this category.

Red is a shoe-in for a nod.  As is Next Fall.  The next two spots could go a bunch of different ways.  You’ve got the Brit hit, Enron, Mamet’s f’ing Race, and Superior Donuts, the follow-up play by the man who penned the biggest dramatic epic that we’ve seen since Angels in America.  And what about The Chris Walken show aka Behanding in Spokane, the buzzed about Vibrator Play, or the timely Time Stands Still?

I’m going with Time for the third slot.  And the fourth?

Tricky again . . . I’d like to say that it will be Donuts . . . but taking into account that nominators tend to forget the Fall (as we found out last year), I’m going to go with Enron (partly because bigger really is sometimes better in the eyes of nominators and voters).

Best Revival of a Musical

Sondheim will get another bday present with a nom for Night Music.  La Cage will get the second slot, and Ragtime will get the thanks-for-trying third nom.

But what about the fourth?  Finian’s or Promises?  Great reviewed versus great box office?  Fall versus Spring?

Put my money on Promises.

– – – – –

Whew.  That was tough.  Thankfully, I’m only picking 2.5 of them.

The nominators are picking 26, and they’ll do it tomorrow.

On Tuesday, at 8:30 AM ET, the nominations will be announced live.  Watch on the web at

But before then, tell me how you think I did with my choices in the comments below.

What do you think will get nominated?

  • dan mason says:

    So Ken– if Addams Family does get the “degree of difficulty” nomination, can we set an over/under wager on how long until Michael Riedel kills himself. I think the Vegas wager will be 8 minutes and I’m betting the under. Over at my blog, I have a new game called “If I Were Michael Riedel”, where I try to predict how he will try to bury AF in his next column.
    It’s kind of hard to believe how bad the lineup of original musicals was this year, especially after so many amazing shows last season. I think AF will get three acting nominations and passed over for Best Musical in favor of Come Fly With Me.
    Also putting my money on Finian’s to get a nod over Promises in the revival category.
    I felt great about Time Stands Still getting nominated until I saw that it was totally snubbed by the Drama Desk. Surely, the Tony voters won’t make the same mistake will they???

  • I desperately want to see American Idiot get the nod this year, so I hope you are right on that one. I think it was a brilliant move to turn that album into a play. It only took one listen to that album (I was lucky enough to hear it before it came out) to know that it was destined to be a play. By awarding it with best musical the Broadway community will open the door wider for the modern rock opera to take its rightful place. Not to mention, it will help bring a whole new audience that may not have been traditionally interested in Broadway, and bringing an audience is really what it all comes down to in the end.

  • Chris says:

    This season asks us to define for ourselves “what is a musical?”. Frankly, I categorize Come Fly Away (like Contact before it) as Dance Theatre. Not a musical. It would have been a great Special Theatrical Event, but then they’d probably try and lump Everyday Rapture in there too, and while that’s like cabaret on steroids, it’s more of a musical to me than Come Fly Away. Should Addams Family get the nod over either of them simply because it *looks* more like a musical? I dunno. (Did they ever overhaul the nomination process after the 1996 nominations debacle?)

  • Paul D'Angelo says:

    Best Play – I’m hoping NEXT FALL will receive the nod because it is the heartfelt story with the heartfelt path which gives heartfelt hope for all. A first time playwright, virgin B’way director (working mom route too), an off-broadway transfer with everyone intact (a rarity if not a first) and stellar critical reviews. Oh, and Elton John too, not too shabby a line-up of hope. Following that logic, Sheryl Kaller should win as well for her direction but what will probably happen is that the play and direction will go to the splashier financed advertised on the radar show – you’re call as to which that is ??? I hope this year it’s substance over star and style.n HURT LOCKER over AVATAR !!!!!

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