TheaterMania Logo
Home link

Predictions: Which Directors and Choreographers Will Win a Tony Award in 2022?

Our critics predict the winners ahead of the Tony Awards on June 12.

The Tony Awards will be announced on Sunday, June 12, but before then, our critics are predicting the winners (and revealing the winners in their hearts). They have already sounded off on actors in musicals and actors in plays. Now you can see their predictions for Best Direction and Choreography:

Will the Tony voters be able to resist The Skin of Our Teeth, a show with a giant dinosaur puppet?
(© Julieta Cervantes)

Best Direction of a Play

THE NOMINEES:
Lileana Blain-Cruz, The Skin of Our Teeth
Camille A. Brown, for colored girls who have considered suicide / when the rainbow is enuf
Sam Mendes, The Lehman Trilogy
Neil Pepe, American Buffalo
Les Waters, Dana H.

Hayley Levitt:
Will win: Sam Mendes
Should win: Lileana Blain-Cruz

I would have been team Lehman Trilogy in this category if I hadn't seen Lileana Blain-Cruz's extraordinary work in The Skin of Our Teeth. It's a Thornton Wilder head-scratcher of epic proportions, and Cruz has managed to draw out its humor and its many profound facets of meaning, all while wrangling a puppet dinosaur. Give that woman a trophy.

Zachary Stewart:
Will win: Sam Mendes
Should win: Sam Mendes

Sam Mendes's mesmerizing, efficient direction is one of the reasons the over three-hour runtime of The Lehman Trilogy seemed to flash by in an instant. Even though the show is closed, I predict voter will remember and reward Mendes for his excellent work.

David Gordon:
Will win: Sam Mendes
Should win: Les Waters

Yeah, yeah, yeah, Sam Mendes has had this one engraved forever, and he deserves it, if only for the fluidity of the staging alone. I'd love to see a surprise win for Les Waters and his production of Dana H. It's a solo show, but he's actually directing five people all at once: Deirdre O'Connell, the silent, lip-synching actor onstage playing Dana Higgenbotham; the actual Dana Higgenbotham, whose voice you hear throughout; sound designer Mikhail Fiksel, whose work is the reason you hear her voice; Steve Cosson, the interviewer plying Dana with questions; and Lucas Hnath, who edited all of the transcripts into an ingenious and terrifying work about his mother getting kidnapped and terrorized by a mental patient. I could go on and on but it won't do any good.

Pete Hempstead:
Will win: Sam Mendes
Should win: Lileana Blain-Cruz

My top two play directors managed to compress centuries (or millennia) into a mere three hours — and held my attention the whole time. Sam Mendes is likely to win for The Lehman Trilogy, for elevating a rotating set, dizzying projections, and three unforgettable performances into the realm of an onstage epic of mythic proportions. Lileana Blain-Cruz, however, brought an even more visually startling vision of all human history to the stage in her inspired revival of The Skin of Our Teeth and set the gold standard for any future revivals of this American classic. She dared to go big — really big — and it worked.


Katrina Lenk stars in director Marianne Elliott's revival of Company.
(© Matthew Murphy)

Best Direction of a Musical

THE NOMINEES:
Stephen Brackett, A Strange Loop
Marianne Elliott, Company
Conor McPherson, Girl From the North Country
Lucy Moss & Jamie Armitage, Six
Christopher Wheeldon, MJ

Hayley Levitt:
Will win: Stephen Brackett
Should win: Marianne Elliott

Momentum is favoring A Strange Loop, but everything about Marianne Elliott's Company — from the scene work to the staging to the gender-bending casting — feels exciting and refreshed. It all works so well, I think we've forgotten it was ever any different.

Zachary Stewart:
Will win: Stephen Brackett
Should win: Stephen Brackett

A Strange Loop is a musical that moves at the pace of one man's very active imagination. Brackett deserves a Tony for turning that dream into a reality.

David Gordon:
Will win: Marianne Elliott
Should win: Marianne Elliott

Marianne Elliott not only made Company fun, but she shepherded the production and cast through the passing of its 91-year-old co-creator, Stephen Sondheim. The production will win Best Revival, and I think she will, too.

Pete Hempstead:
Will win: Stephen Brackett
Should win: Stephen Brackett

This category was a toss-up between Christopher Wheeldon and Stephen Brackett for me. Even though the high energy Wheeldon created had me bouncing in my seat, Brackett impressed me with his uniquely funny and painfully honest depiction of a young man's interior world, one that took me through a spectrum of emotions, including some that made me real uncomfortable. It's hard to do that right, and Brackett did.


Myles Frost and the cast of MJ perform choreography by Christopher Wheeldon.
(© Matthew Murphy)

Best Choreography

THE NOMINEES:
Camille A. Brown, for colored girls who have considered suicide / when the rainbow is enuf
Warren Carlyle, The Music Man
Carrie-Anne Ingrouille, Six
Bill T. Jones, Paradise Square
Christopher Wheeldon, MJ

Hayley Levitt:
Will win: Christopher Wheeldon
Should win: Warren Carlyle

Christopher Wheeldon does an amazing job re-creating Michael Jackson's distinct dance style, but I'm more excited about the resurrection Warren Carlyle achieved in The Music Man. There's not a speck of dust on that nearly 70-year-old musical, and Carlyle played to his stars' greatest strengths — choreographing not just for spectacle, but for character.

Zachary Stewart:
Will win: Christopher Wheeldon
Should win: Christopher Wheeldon (and Rich and Tone Talauega)

MJ has the best dancing on Broadway right now, and while director-choreographer Christopher Wheeldon deserves every credit for helming the ship, we should spare some adulation for movement specialists Rich and Tone Talauega, who made the cast dance like they were in a Michael Jackson concert (they are nominated for a Drama Desk Award, and have won Outstanding Choreography from the Outer Critics Circle).

David Gordon:
Will win: Christopher Wheeldon
Should win: Warren Carlyle

Christopher Wheeldon's choreography for MJ is pretty spectacular, but it's pretty standard Michael Jackson, and that's OK. It fits the show. That said, this award could be the only one given to The Music Man, and Carlyle deserves it for turning a musical not known for its huge dancing into a dance spectacular.

Pete Hempstead:
Will win: Warren Carlyle
Should win: Camille A. Brown

I'm going to diverge from my colleagues on this one, since I think Tony voters might become nostalgic when they remember Warren Carlyle's vibrant choreography for The Music Man. While Wheeldon dazzles with his re-creation of Michael Jackson moves, let's face it, we've seen the moonwalk and MJ's signature hat-tip done many times before. For true originality, I would love to see Camille A. Brown take home this award. Her unique fusion of social and modern dance to convey the joy and pain of the women in for colored girls tells their stories even without the benefit of Ntozake Shange's moving language. And together, the dance and the words create real poetry.

Loading...
Loading...