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Tony Predictions the Day After: How Did We Do?

We compare our pre-Tony predictions against the actual results.

The danger of making predictions is that they will inevitably come back to haunt you. Still, three of TheaterMania's critics made them: David Gordon, Hayley Levitt, and I announced our Tony predictions in a series of posts last week. Now we return to face the consequences: As it turns out, we and our readers (who participated in an online survey) were mostly right in our prognostications, with only a few misses between us. I'll analyze the results below.


Elaine May won the Tony Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play for her work in The Waverly Gallery.
(© Brigitte Lacombe)

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play

All three of our critics unanimously picked Elaine May to win this award, which she did. Our audience agreed, with 54.2 percent of respondents to our online poll choosing May. This category was as close to a lock as it gets, with even May predicting her victory back during the winter run of the play: "Watching from the wings, I thought: I'm gonna win this guy's Tony," she said of costar Lucas Hedges during her stealthily gracious acceptance speech.


Celia Keenan-Bolger poses with her Tony Award.
(© David Gordon)

Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play

This was another case of consensus, with all three critics predicting that Keenan-Bolger would win her long-anticipated Tony Award. A whopping 85 percent of audience respondents agreed, giving the adorable Keenan-Bolger a margin of victory usually enjoyed only by Central Asian potentates.


Stephanie J. Block holds up her Tony Award.
(© David Gordon)

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical

Another case of complete agreement! TheaterMania's critics all predicted Stephanie J. Block would win a Tony for playing Cher, and she did. Our audience agreed, with 64.4 percent of respondents picking Block as the winner.


A majority of our audience respondents predicted Amber Gray of Hadestown would win the Tony.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical

It can't all be kisses and kumbayas. In the one major upset for our readers last night, Ali Stroker triumphed in the Featured Actress in a Musical category, besting Amber Gray, the favorite for 53.5 percent of our audience. All three of our critics correctly predicted that Stroker would win, although two (David Gordon and Hayley Levitt) thought Gray should have won.


Bryan Cranston smiles with his Tony Award in the press room.
(© David Gordon)

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play

Everyone agreed that this was a contest between Bryan Cranston and Jeff Daniels, which is why one of the only moments of real tension last night was when host James Corden asked Daniels to show off his "losing face" before the award was even announced. It proved to be a good rehearsal: Cranston won, as predicted by David Gordon, 45.5 percent of our readers, and me. Hayley Levitt and 35.1 percent of our readers picked Daniels.


The results for this category were almost evenly divided among our respondents.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play

Our readers were sharply divided on this category, with only a 27.3 percent plurality picking eventual winner Bertie Carvel. All three critics correctly predicted that Carvel would triumph — although we all also thought someone else should win.


70.7 percent of our readers picked the correct winner of this category.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical

My one major flub of the night was in predicting that Brooks Ashmanskas would win this category, because that is what I really wanted to happen. Let that be a lesson to you Tony prognosticators: Never follow your heart. My fellow critics, David Gordon and Hayley Levitt, were absolutely correct to predict that Santino Fontana would win, as were 70.7 percent of our readers.


Broadway veteran André De Shields finally wins a Tony Award.
(© David Gordon)

Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical

We end the acting categories on a major point of consensus: All three critics correctly predicted that André De Shields of Hadestown would win his first Tony Award, 46 years after making his Broadway debut. And 70.5 percent of our readers agreed. Hooray!


Director Rachel Chavkin proudly holds her first Tony Award.
(© David Gordon)

Best Direction of a Musical

All three critics predicted that Chavkin would win for her muscular direction of Hadestown, as did 87 percent of our audience. We were correct. Chavkin is the most innovative director of new musicals working on Broadway today, so I'm sure this is the first of many.


A huge cast appears in Sam Mendes's production of The Ferryman.
(© Joan Marcus)

Best Direction of a Play

Another point of total consensus: All three critics picked Mendes to win for his direction of The Ferryman, as did 68.9 percent of readers. He won and became the only winner at last night's ceremony not to accept his award in person.


TheaterMania's readers were divided about revival, with a plurality picking the eventual winner.

Best Revival of a Play

A plurality of 37.5 percent of our readers predicted that the 50th anniversary revival of The Boys in the Band would win Best Revival, despite it closing 10 months ago. They were correct, as was critic David Gordon. Hayley Levitt, Zachary Stewart, and 29.2 percent of our readers incorrectly predicted that The Waverly Gallery would take this award.


A scene from the Broadway revival of Oklahoma!
(© Little Fang Photo)

Best Revival of a Musical

It was a two-way race between a traditional revival of Kiss Me, Kate and a radical revival of Oklahoma! Hayley Levitt, Zachary Stewart, and 80 percent of our readers correctly predicted that the latter would win. David Gordon took the minority viewpoint (with 20 percent of our readers) that Kate would triumph. He was wrong.


A scene from Jez Butterworth's Tony-winning play, The Ferryman.
(© Joan Marcus)

Best Play

Our survey showed 71.3 percent of our readers predicting that Jez Butterworth's massive family drama, The Ferryman, would take home the top play award. They were correct. Critics Hayley Levitt and Zachary Stewart predicted that as well, with David Gordon taking the maverick's position and betting on Heidi Shreck's What the Constitution Means to Me. He was wrong again.


Amber Gray, Patrick Page, and Reeve Carney star in Hadestown on Broadway.
(© Matthew Murphy)

Best Musical

We end on a point of harmony: All three critics agreed that Hadestown would win Best Musical, and so did 73.1 percent of our readers. It turns out, we're all pretty good at making predictions. Or, maybe this was just a particularly dull and predictable year at the Tony Awards.

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