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Who Will Receive a Tony Nomination for Acting in Musicals in 2022?

Our critics discuss the potential nominees in the musical acting categories.

Broadway eagerly awaits the announcement of the 2022 Tony Award nominations. Originally scheduled to be released this week, the announcement has been postponed to Monday, May 9, to give the nominators enough time to see every eligible production. But that won't stop our critics from sounding off on which actors they think will make the cut. Here are our critics' predictions for the categories of Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical, Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical, Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical, and Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical:

Patti LuPone is primed to be the front-runner for the 2022 Tony Award for Featured Actress in a Musical.
(© Matthew Murphy)

Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical

David Gordon:

Patti LuPone, Company
L Morgan Lee, A Strange Loop
Jennifer Simard, Company
Kimber Elayne Sprawl, Girl From the North Country
Samantha Williams, Caroline, or Change

This can go in any direction, but the eventual winner will be Patti LuPone, for delivering the Patti LuPone performance of our dreams.

Zachary Stewart:

Patti LuPone, Company
Jennifer Simard, Company
Ayana George, MJ
Jayne Houdyshell, The Music Man
L Morgan Lee, A Strange Loop

This is the race to lose to Patti LuPone, who pretty much has a lock on this award — deservedly so. Still, the inclusion of L Morgan Lee as the first openly transgender nominee is worth note, and will make this a category one to watch Monday morning.


Joaquina Kalukango is likely to receive a Tony nomination for Leading Actress in a Musical.
(© Julieta Cervantes)

Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical

David Gordon:

Sharon D Clarke, Caroline, Or Change
Carmen Cusack, Flying Over Sunset
Sutton Foster, The Music Man
Joaquina Kalukango, Paradise Square
Mare Winningham, Girl From the North Country

The big complaint this season was that the leading ladies in three of the biggest musicals couldn't handle the demands of the score. That knocks Katrina Lenk (Company) and Beanie Feldstein (Funny Girl) out, though Sutton Foster will make it in for being Sutton Foster. Ditto Carmen Cusack, whose moving performance in Flying Over Sunset was a highlight of the show, as was Mare Winningham in Girl From the North Country. The actual contest is between the show-stopping work of Sharon D Clarke and Joaquina Kalukango, with the latter having the edge because her show is (remarkably) still open.

Zachary Stewart:

Joaquina Kalukango, Paradise Square
Sharon D Clarke, Caroline, Or Change
Sutton Foster, The Music Man
Mare Winningham, Girl From the North Country
Beanie Feldstein, Funny Girl

My final selection in this list will be the most controversial. No, Beanie didn't sing the role just like Barbra, but I was personally charmed, and I think enough of the nominators will agree. Joaquina Kalukango is the person to beat in this category, but expect a strong challenge from Sharon D Clarke, who will be returning to Broadway this fall, and would love to do it with a freshly minted Tony. I'm sure you have noticed that I have completely excluded the entire cast of Six (all of whom are eligible in this category). I suspect the nominators will have trouble elevating one or two of the six over the others, and might seek to recognize them all with a special award.


Jared Grimes (dancing) is one of our picks for the 2022 Tony nominations for Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical.
(© Matthew Murphy)

Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical

David Gordon:

Quentin Earl Darrington, MJ
Matt Doyle, Company
Jared Grimes, Funny Girl
John-Andrew Morrison, A Strange Loop
David Paymer, Mr. Saturday Night

Like Featured Actress, this is a tough one that could go in any number of directions. One lock is Matt Doyle, who will probably win for playing Jamie in Company and singing "Not Getting Married" — besides Patti, he's really the only actor people talk about. I'd throw my vote to John-Andrew Morrison, whose performance as the mother in A Strange Loop is pretty devastating, especially during the "AIDS Is God's Punishment" tableaux at the end. Quentin Earl Darrington was great as Michael Jackson's father and tour manager, switching demeanors often within the same scene, and David Paymer was sweet and doddery as Billy Crystal's brother in Mr. Saturday Night, a role he also earned an Oscar nom for. Rounding it is the Funny Girl scene-stealer Jared Grimes, whose tap routine is a season highlight.

Zachary Stewart:

Matt Doyle, Company
Jared Grimes, Funny Girl
Tavon Olds-Sample, MJ
John-Andrew Morrison, A Strange Loop
Austin Scott, Girl From the North Country

There's going to be real competition in this category, even if it looks slightly different than this. It may seem strange that I didn't single out any of the Six actors, but I did recognize John-Andrew Morrison as one of the six Thoughts in A Strange Loop, but I actually think Morrison's committed and believable performance as Usher's mother will capture the attention of the nominators.


Jaquel Spivey is likely to receive a Tony nomination for Leading Actor in a Musical for his Broadway debut.
(© Marc J. Franklin)

Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical

David Gordon:

Billy Crystal, Mr. Saturday Night
Myles Frost, MJ
Hugh Jackman, The Music Man
Rob McClure, Mrs. Doubtfire
Jaquel Spivey, A Strange Loop

This category is pretty much set in stone: this season's two major celebrities who helped give some star-power to Broadway's reopening season despite fair to middling performances, and the three theater actors who work their tails off in their respective shows and deliver the goods. I don't envy the voters who will have to eventually choose.

Zachary Stewart:

Rob McClure, Mrs. Doubtfire
Myles Frost, MJ
Jaquel Spivey, A Strange Loop
Hugh Jackman, The Music Man
Billy Crystal, Mr. Saturday Night

This category will feature two of the biggest box-office draws of this century, two exciting newcomers, and one of the nicest, hardest-working guys on Broadway. I'm afraid it's another Susan Lucci year for Rob McClure. And while Billy Crystal and Hugh Jackman will benefit from heaps of goodwill, I think the real contest is between Myles Frost and Jaquel Spivey, with the edge going to the latter.

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