Special Reports

Predictions: Which Actors in Plays Are Going to Win a Tony in 2023?

Our critics predict the winners of the 2022 Tony Awards.

The winners of the 2023 Tony Awards will be revealed in a televised ceremony on Sunday. Our critics have some predictions. Yesterday, they offered their thoughts on the musical acting categories. Today, they’re doing plays. Here’s who they think will win:  

Brandon Uranowitz and Arty Froushan appear in Tom Stoppard’s Leopoldstadt on Broadway.
(© Joan Marcus)

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

THE NOMINEES
Jordan E. Cooper, Ain’t No Mo’
Samuel L. Jackson, August Wilson’s The Piano Lesson
Arian Moayed, A Doll’s House
Brandon Uranowitz, Leopoldstadt
David Zayas, Cost of Living 

Zachary Stewart
Will win: Brandon Uranowitz
Should win: Arian Moayed 

Brandon Uranowitz is giving an extraordinary performance as a character who ages several decades over the course of Leopoldstadt. But Arian Moayed’s infuriating take of Torvald Helmer is the best I’ve ever seen. I’d also like to mention to Jordan E. Cooper, whose prospect of winning is zilch (not enough voters caught the show, I suspect). Still, I can’t wait for him to come back to the stage.  

Hayley Levitt 
Will win: Brandon Uranowitz 
Should win: Brandon Uranowitz

This is Brandon Uranowitz’s fourth time as a Tony contender and his work keeps getting better and better. Tom Stoppard has written a behemoth of a play with Leopoldstadt and Uranowitz stands out among the sprawling cast of 30-plus stellar actors. It’s his turn to collect the award. 

Pete Hempstead 
Will win: Brandon Uranowitz 
Should win: Brandon Uranowitz 

Brandon Uranowitz gives a transformative performance in Leopoldstadt and deserves the Tony this year. I admire Adrian Moayed’s meltdown as Torvald in A Doll’s House and Jordan E. Cooper’s hilarious Peaches in Ain’t No Mo’, but Uranowitz seems to me the clear should-and-will in this category. 

David Gordon
Will win: Brandon Uranowitz
Should (Have Been Nominated): Gregg Mozgala 

Brandon Uranowiz is a chameleon of an actor who goes back and forth between plays and musicals. His turn in Leopoldstadt cements him as one of our contemporary greats, and he deserves it. The rest of this list could have been chosen by dartboard, fine actors who I personally wouldn’t have selected to make the final cut. I would have liked to have seen Gregg Mozgala make it for Cost of LIving; his exclusion (when his three other castmates all got nominated) was particularly baffling. 

Katy Sullivan starred in Cost of Living on Broadway.
(©Julieta Cervantes)

 

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

THE NOMINEES
Nikki Crawford, Fat Ham
Crystal Lucas-Perry, Ain’t No Mo’
Miriam Silverman, The Sign in Sidney Brustein’s Window
Katy Sullivan, Cost of Living
Kara Young, Cost of Living 

Zachary Stewart
Will win: Katy Sullivan
Should win: Crystal Lucas-Perry 

Sullivan was unforgettable in Cost of Living, which is why I think voters will remember her even though that show has been closed for months. That’s sadly not true of Crystal Lucas-Perry’s tour-de-force in Ain’t No Mo’. As I mentioned above, it wasn’t open long enough, and I suspect most voters missed it.  

Hayley Levitt 
Will win: Katy Sullivan 
Should win: Crystal Lucas-Perry 

While Cost of Living — featuring an excellent Katy Sullivan — had the chance to complete its limited Broadway run as part of the Manhattan Theatre Club roster, Ain’t No Mo’‘s all-too-brief commercial run made Crystal Lucas-Perry’s truly brilliant performance the season’s best-kept secret. Nominators fortunately remembered it, but plenty of voters likely weren’t able to catch one of the show’s 51 performances. 

Pete Hempstead
Will win: Miriam Silverman
Should win: Crystal Lucas-Perry 

Crystal Lucas-Perry gave a stunning performance in Ain’t No Mo’, and in a world where that show had a longer run, she would have won. Miriam Silverman, however, had me positively mesmerized with her storytelling in the second act of The Sign in Sidney Brustein’s Window. In a long play filled with a lot of topical conversations, her character’s surprisingly frank confessions on marriage are unforgettable, and Silverman delivered them impeccably.   

David Gordon
Will Win: Miriam Silverman
Should Win: Crystal Lucas-Perry 

I’m thinking this one is gonna go to the scene-stealer of Sidney Brustein’s Window — a meal of a role that also won Alice Ghostley a Tony in 1965. Who would I vote for? Probably Crystal Lucas-Perry, just for her tour-de-force monologue in Ain’t No Mo’. I still don’t know how she memorized it. 

Sean Hayes stars in Good Night, Oscar on Broadway.
(© Joan Marcus)

 

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

THE NOMINEES
Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Suzan-Lori Parks’ Topdog/Underdog
Corey Hawkins, Suzan-Lori Parks’ Topdog/Underdog
Sean Hayes, Good Night, Oscar
Stephen McKinley Henderson, Between Riverside and Crazy
Wendell Pierce, Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman 

Zachary Stewart
Will win: Sean Hayes
Should win: Stephen McKinley Henderson 

As Oscar Levant, Sean Hayes delivers a remarkable performance in a season full of them. I think he wins by virtue of being the only nominee with an open show. Personally, I would give it to Henderson for a gripping performance in this season’s great anti-tragedy, which has only gotten better since it first played this town a decade ago.  

Hayley Levitt 
Will win: Sean Hayes
Should win: Yahya Abdul-Mateen II and Corey Hawkins 

Not many actors get to cap off a tour de force with a bravura performance of Rhapsody in Blue on piano. Sean Hayes makes Good Night, Oscar a memorable evening of theater — but Yahya Abdul-Mateen II and Corey Hawkins together made the revival of Suzan-Lori Parks’s Topdog/Underdog a triumph. I imagine they’ll split each other’s odds in this category, but their collaboration deserves to be remembered. 

Pete Hempstead 
Will win: Sean Hayes
Should win: Wendell Pierce 

Until I saw Sean Hayes give his jaw-dropping performance as Oscar Levant, Wendell Pierce was my favorite in this category. His take on Willy Loman moved me on a personal level, and he opened Miller’s Death of a Salesman to a whole new range of interpretations. He was brilliant. Hayes, however, is breathlessly brilliant, and I felt he had an edge, not least because of his ability to bang out Rhapsody in Blue on the piano every night. I think he will win. 

David Gordon
Will Win: Stephen McKinley Henderson
Should Win: Stephen McKinley Henderson 

What a great list this is, and any of these actors deserve the prize, in all honesty. But Stephen McKinley Henderson’s performance in Between Riverside and Crazy, which he originated a decade ago, has only gotten better with age, and this is the year that we’ll honor this elder statesman. 

Jodie Comer stars in Prima Facie on Broadway.
(© Bronwen Sharp and Caz Lock)

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

THE NOMINEES
Jessica Chastain, A Doll’s House
Jodie Comer, Prima Facie
Jessica Hecht, Summer, 1976
Audra McDonald, Ohio State Murders 

Zachary Stewart
Will win: Jodie Comer
Should win: Audra McDonald 

The inevitable triumph of Comer was predicted months before Prima Facie bowed in New York. She’s the reason to go see that play, and voters will reward her for it. But the performance from this season that haunts me most is McDonald’s powerfully restrained take on Suzanne Alexander. I know she already has six Tonys, but I would give her another.  

Hayley Levitt 
Will win: Jodie Comer
Should win: Audra McDonald 

Audra McDonald does not need a seventh Tony Award, but she thoroughly transformed herself for her nearly solo performance in Adrienne Kennedy’s Ohio State Murders. That being said, Jodie Comer achieves a super-human feat in the one-woman Prima Facie, so I’ll be more than delighted when she takes home the award on June 11. 

Pete Hempstead 
Will win: Jodie Comer
Should win: Jodie Comer 

Jodie Comer will win this Tony, and rightly so. She picked a tough role – in both its subject and in its physical demands – and she nailed it. Audra McDonald is a serious contender every time she is nominated, but Comer should and will take it this year.  

David Gordon
Will Win: Jodie Comer
Should Win: Audra McDonald 

Jodie Comer is gonna add the spinny medallion to the shelf of awards she’s already collected for Prima Facie, one of the greatest performances of our time and proof of how an intelligent actor can make a meal out of table scraps. 

 

Featured In This Story

Prima Facie

Closed: July 2, 2023

Good Night Oscar

Closed: August 27, 2023

Leopoldstadt

Closed: July 2, 2023