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Which Directors, Composers, and Book Writers Will Get a Tony Nod in 2022?

Our final picks before the big day on Monday.

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 about who will get a nod next week. Here are our critics' predictions for the categories of Best Direction of a Play, Best Direction of a Musical, Best Choreography, Best Original Score, and Best Book of a Musical:

Susan Stroman directed POTUS, a White House farce on Broadway.
(© Paul Kolnik)

Best Direction of a Play

David Gordon:

Mark Brokaw, How I Learned to Drive
Camille A. Brown, For Colored Girls...
Scott Ellis, Take Me Out
Sam Mendes, The Lehman Trilogy
Anna D. Shapiro, The Minutes

The only one I'm completely sure of in this category is the likely eventual winner, Sam Mendes. I'm semi-certain about Anna D. Shapiro and Camille A. Brown, for similar reasons: these three directors guided their casts to such flawless ensemble work. The remaining slots can go to anyone, and I'd like to see Brokaw and Ellis take them for their edge-of-your-seat productions of How I Learned to Drive and Take Me out.

Zachary Stewart:

Tina Satter, Is This a Room
Sam Mendes, The Lehman Trilogy
Susan Stroman, POTUS
Camille A. Brown, For Colored Girls...
Kate Whoriskey, Clyde's

There was a great class of excellent, resourceful, visionary directors on Broadway this year, so predicting this category is hard. Tina Satter set the pace for the season, Kate Whoriskey kept it going with a zippy and magical staging of Clyde's, and veteran director Susan Stroman closed it out with a hilarious staging of a so-so play. This could go to anyone.


Jaquel Spivey (center) leads the cast of A Strange Loop on Broadway.
(© Marc J. Franklin)

Best Direction of a Musical

David Gordon: Stephen Brackett, A Strange Loop
Marianne Elliott, Company
Michael Longhurst, Caroline, or Change
Conor McPherson, Girl From the North Country
Jerry Zaks, The Music Man

For three-quarters of the season, Elliott had the Tony all but engraved for her uproarious, gender-swapped production of Company, but she has real competition now from Brackett and A Strange Loop. Perennial favorite Zaks will sneak right in for The Music Man instead of Mrs. Doubtfire, even though both productions were pretty lazy, and Longhurst and McPherson will round it out.

Zachary Stewart:

Lucy Moss and Jamie Armitage, Six
Stephen Brackett, A Strange Loop
Marianne Elliott, Company
Michael Mayer, Funny Girl
Christopher Wheeldon, MJ

All of these shows are open. All of these shows are tremendously delightful to watch. This is going to be a real competition, but I suspect Brackett will take it in a photo finish.


Myles Frost leads the cast of MJ on Broadway.
(© Matthew Murphy)

Best Choreography

David Gordon:

Camille A. Brown, For Colored Girls...
Warren Carlyle, The Music Man
Carrie-Anne Ingrouille, Six
Bill T. Jones, Garrett Coleman, and Jason Oremus, Paradise Square
Christopher Wheeldon, Richmond Talauega, and Anthony Talauega, MJ

These are the five best-danced shows of the season, though I'd like a Lorin Latarro spoiler for the cooking number in Mrs. Doubtfire.

Zachary Stewart:

Christopher Wheeldon, Richmond Talauega, and Anthony Talauega, MJ
Bill T. Jones, Garrett Coleman, and Jason Oremus, Paradise Square
Carrie-Anne Ingrouille, Six
Raja Feather Kelly, A Strange Loop
Warren Carlyle, The Music Man

The best dancing on Broadway is in MJ, with Paradise Square coming in a close second. Since both of these shows involve multiple moving parts (for instance, MJ has two Michael Jackson movement specialists), it will be interesting to see who is named in these nominations. But I think the contest is between these two, with the edge going to MJ.


Will the radio-ready score of Six carry it over the finish line?
(© Joan Marcus)

Best Original Score

David Gordon:

Jason Robert Brown and Amanda Green, Mr. Saturday Night
Michael R. Jackson, A Strange Loop Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss, Six
Nick Powell, The Lehman Trilogy

The Best Score category last year was entirely made up of plays, but this year only one play will sneak in: The Lehman Trilogy, which featured a live piano accompaniment through the entire three-hour production. The race, as Zach describes below, is between A Strange Loop and Six, though. I'd throw in Joe DiPietro and David Bryan's score for Diana the Musical, if only because I've been quoting some of those insane lyrics for months and it brings me great joy.

Zachary Stewart:

Tom Kitt and Michael Korie, Flying Over Sunset
Jason Robert Brown and Amanda Green, Mr. Saturday Night
Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss, Six
Michael R. Jackson, A Strange Loop

I expect there to be a lot of frustrated Six fans the morning of June 13, and this category might just add to it when A Strange Loop snags yet another trophy. That said, the success of Six is so much about its endlessly streamable cast recording. The radio-ready score seems to portend a second marriage between Broadway and popular music after an extended separation for the last half-century. Tony voters might want to encourage that process by handing a win to Six.


Michael R. Jackson's A Strange Loop will almost certainly be nominated for Best Book, and is a strong contender to win.
(© Marc J. Franklin)

Best Book of a Musical

David Gordon:

Billy Crystal, Lowell Ganz, and Babaloo Mandel, Mr. Saturday Night
Michael R. Jackson, A Strange Loop
Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss, Six
Conor McPherson, Girl From the North Country
Lynn Nottage, MJ

Crystal and company wrote the funniest play of the season, and it happens to have songs. But Jackson's book has the most depth, and everyone knows it.

Zachary Stewart:

Michael R. Jackson, A Strange Loop
Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss, Six
Conor McPherson, Girl From the North Country
Lynn Nottage, MJ
Billy Crystal, Lowell Ganz, and Babaloo Mandel, Mr. Saturday Night

This will almost certainly be another win for Michael R. Jackson, who wrote a musical that he thought could never be produced on Broadway...and then got it produced on Broadway. Voters will want to reward that audacity. Honorable mentions go to Lynn Nottage for delivering a decent book within the confines of an estate-sponsored bio-musical, and Conor McPherson for writing a good play around the songs of Bob Dylan.

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