Tony Awards Predictions 2024: Who Will Win and Who Should Win

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Predicting the winners of the Tony Awards this season feels a little like playing ping-pong without a paddle. Simply put: It’s next to impossible. In a highly competitive season with 15 original musicals, six musical revivals, 10 new plays, and five play revivals, this Broadway season is stacked.

Hell’s Kitchen, the Alicia Keys jukebox musical, leads the musical race, and Stereophonic, the David Adjmi play following a fictional rock band recording their new album, tops the plays, both with 13 Tony nominations. Still, the shows face considerable competition to actually nab the awards, with heavy-hitters like the musical revival of Merrily We Roll Along and the Sarah Paulson-led Appropriate, to just name two.

Below, I make my selects for the season (after having seen almost every show nominated), both based upon personal opinion (should win), and who, campaigns and all, will most likely win. It goes without saying, of course, that if my opinion differs between the two, it is based upon my own personal tastes, and the “will win” is in no way undeserving. It was a Broadway season to behold, and all of these shows and performances deserve to be celebrated.


Best Musical

a group of people in white robes and hats on a stage

Joan Marcus

The cast of Suffs

Nominees:

  • Hell’s Kitchen
  • Illinoise
  • The Outsiders
  • Suffs
  • Water for Elephants

Will Win: Suffs

Shaina Taub’s suffragists musical has everything going for it—a solid production and a compelling story: Taub is only the second woman in Broadway history to write, compose, and star in a Broadway musical. With strong reviews, notable performances, and the strength of producers Secretary Hillary Clinton and Malala Yousafzai behind them, Suffs is most likely to take home the Tony Award.

Should Win: Hell’s Kitchen

In the age of the oversaturated jukebox musical, Alicia Keys made a show with her hits correctly. With new arrangements for some of her classic songs (like “Fallin’”), the numbers transfer effortlessly to the Broadway stage. The one new track made for the musical, “Kaleidoscope,” brings remarkable joy in the middle of act one. With memorable performances by Maleah Joi Moon, Shoshana Bean, Kecia Lewis, and Brandon Victor Dixon, and roof-raising choreography by Camille A. Brown, Hell’s Kitchen is the full package.

Possible Upset: With the Best Musical race closer than ever, both Illinoise and The Outsiders aren’t out of the running.

Best Play

a group of people playing instruments

Julieta Cervantes

The cast of Stereophonic

Nominees:

  • Jaja’s African Hair Braiding
  • Mary Jane
  • Mother Play
  • Prayer for the French Republic
  • Stereophonic

Will Win: Stereophonic

Should Win: Stereophonic

David Adjmi’s play with music by Will Butler of Arcade Fire doesn’t claim to take inspiration from Fleetwood Mac’s recording of Rumours, but it also doesn’t claim to not do that either. The standout play of the season became the most Tony-nominated play ever with 13 nominations, and the performances of its ensemble cast are edging on extraordinary. Sarah Pidgeon, who plays lead vocalist Diana, is of particular note due to her goddess-like voice. If Stereophonic doesn’t take home the Tony for Best Play, something is wrong with the world.

Possible Upset: Every single person I have spoken to who has seen this show if Stereophonic doesnt win.

Best Revival of a Musical

merrily we roll along

Matthew Murphy

The ensemble of Merrily We Roll Along

Nominees:

  • Cabaret at the Kit Kat Club
  • Gutenberg! The Musical!
  • Merrily We Roll Along
  • The Who’s Tommy

Will Win: Merrily We Roll Along

Should Win: Merrily We Roll Along

Maria Friedman directed a revival of Stephen Sondheim’s biggest flop, and it became one of the most successful shows on Broadway this season. With a cast led by Jonathan Groff, Daniel Radcliffe, and Lindsay Mendez, Merrily We Roll Along is a lock for this award.

Possible Upset: Me, if Merrily We Roll Along doesn’t take home this Tony.

Best Revival of a Play

a person sitting on a couch

Joan Marcus

Michael Esper as Franz Lafayette and Graham Campbell as Rhys Thurston in Appropriate

Nominees:

  • Appropriate
  • An Enemy of the People
  • Purlie Victorious: A Non-Confederate Romp Through the Cotton Patch

Will Win: Appropriate

Should Win: Appropriate

Appropriate is a family drama like no other. The play began off-Broadway in 2014 with a young Mike Faist as Rhys Thurston prior to this 2023 Broadway production, which stars Sarah Paulson, Natalie Gold, Corey Stoll, and the now departed Elle Fanning. Set at their father’s plantation home in Arkansas following his death, the story follows the Lafayette family, whose battle of their inheritance promises to break them apart. It addresses race and reconciliation with a razor-sharp lens, all backed by a beautiful set and strong lighting design.

Possible Upset: An Enemy of the People boasted a lot of buzz this season.

Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical

jonathan groff

Matthew Murphy

Jonathan Groff (center) plays Franklin Shepard in Merrily We Roll Along

Nominees:

  • Brody Grant (The Outsiders, Ponyboy Curtis)
  • Jonathan Groff (Merrily We Roll Along, Franklin Shepard)
  • Dorian Harewood (The Notebook, older Noah Calhoun)
  • Brian d’Arcy James (Days of Wine and Roses, Joseph Clay)
  • Eddie Redmayne (Cabaret at the Kit Kat Club, the Emcee)

Will Win: Jonathan Groff

Should Win: Jonathan Groff

Jonathan Groff tells the story of Franklin Shephard in Merrily effortlessly, allowing audiences to believe he is both a spry twenty-something and a jerk of a movie composer. With beautiful singing to boot, Groff’s Tony Award seems to be written in the stars.

Possible Upset: Brody Grant and Brian d’Arcy James both give strong performances in The Outsiders and Days of Wine and Roses, respectively.

Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical

kelli o'hara

Joan Marcus

Kelli O’Hara stars in Days of Wine and Roses opposite Brian d’Arcy James

Nominees:

  • Eden Espinosa (Lempicka, Tamara de Lempicka)
  • Maleah Joi Moon (Hell’s Kitchen, Ali)
  • Kelli O’Hara (Days of Wine and Roses, Kirsten Arnesen-Clay)
  • Maryann Plunkett (The Notebook, older Allison Calhoun)
  • Gayle Rankin (Cabaret at the Kit Kat Club, Sally Bowles)

Will Win: Kelli O’Hara

In Days of Wine and Roses, Tony-winner Kelli O’Hara stole the show. The actress, who won her first Tony playing Anna in the 2015 revival of The King and I, played Kirsten Arnesen-Clay in the now closed production. With music and lyrics by Adam Guettel and a book by Craig Lucas, the show focuses on Kirsten and her husband Joe (Brian d’Arcy James) navigating alcoholism. O’Hara’s performance was masterfully sung and acted, however in this close category, she seems just to be about an inch ahead of all of her fellow nominees.

Should Win: Maleah Joi Moon

Maleah Joi Moon gives a triumphant performance as Ali in Hell’s Kitchen. Playing the role loosely based upon Keys’ own life, Moon floats through the star’s hits with undeniable ease. It’s an earth-shattering Broadway debut for the 21-year-old, one seldom seen in the theater. Moon should be taking home this award and adding “Tony winner” to her resume, if the Tony voters have any sense.

Possible Upset: Maryann Plunkett gave an emotional and heartbreaking performance in The Notebook. While she’s unlikely to come home with the award, her performance deserves its flowers nonetheless.

Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Play

a person in a suit and tie

Marc J. Franklin

Leslie Odom Jr. stars in Purlie Victorious

Nominees:

  • William Jackson Harper (Uncle Vanya, Astrov)
  • Leslie Odom Jr. (Purlie Victorious: A Non-Confederate Romp through the Cotton Patch, Purlie Victorious Judson)
  • Liev Schreiber (Doubt: A Parable, Father Brendan Flynn)
  • Jeremy Strong (An Enemy of the People, Doctor Thomas Stockmann)
  • Michael Stuhlbarg (Patriots, Boris Berezovsky)

Will Win: Leslie Odom Jr.

Should Win: Leslie Odom Jr.

Leslie Odom Jr. is likely to grab his second Tony Award, following his performance as Aaron Burr in Hamilton, for his turn as Rev. Purlie Victorious Judson in the 1961 Ossie Davis play. A comedy, the show focuses on Odom’s character as he returns to his hometown in Georgia to save his hometown church.

Possible Upset: His face is on the Playbill for An Enemy of the People, and it could be at the microphone on Tony Awards night too. Jeremy Strong is giving Leslie Odom Jr. a run for his money.

Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play

sarah paulson

Joan Marcus

Sarah Paulson is Toni Lafayette in Appropriate

Nominees:

  • Betsy Aidem (Prayer for the French Republic, Marcelle Salomon Benhamou)
  • Jessica Lange (Mother Play, Phyllis)
  • Rachel McAdams (Mary Jane, Mary Jane)
  • Sarah Paulson (Appropriate, Antoinette “Toni” Lafayette)
  • Amy Ryan (Doubt: A Parable, Sister Aloysius Beauvier)

Will Win: Sarah Paulson

Should Win: Sarah Paulson

It should be a Tony for Toni, as Sarah Paulson’s performance as Antoinette Lafayette in Appropriate is incredible. Paulson, who plays the overbearing sister in a three sibling dynamic, falls apart throughout the show as her family does, and her clear emotional intelligence bleeds through her performance.

Possible Upset: Jessica Lange as Phyllis in Mother Play is making this a good ole’ reunion and matchup. May the best American Horror Story: Coven witch win.

daniel radcliffe

Matthew Murphy

Daniel Radcliffe plays Charley Kringas in Merrily We Roll Along

Nominees:

  • Roger Bart (Back to the Future: The Musical, Doc Brown)
  • Joshua Boone (The Outsiders, Dallas Winston)
  • Brandon Victor Dixon (Hell’s Kitchen, Davis)
  • Sky Lakota-Lynch (The Outsiders, Johnny Cade)
  • Daniel Radcliffe (Merrily We Roll Along, Charley Kringas)
  • Steven Skybell (Cabaret at the Kit Kat Club, Herr Schultz)

Will Win: Daniel Radcliffe

Should Win: Daniel Radcliffe

Daniel Radcliffe proves that Harry Potter is well in the past with his comedic performance as Charley Kringas in Merrily We Roll Along. When I first saw the show during its pre-Broadway run at New York Theatre Workshop, I said to my close friend, “If this transfers to Broadway, Daniel Radcliffe will be a Tony winner.” Here we are, and it’s time for that prophecy about the boy who lived to become a reality.

Possible Upset: Brandon Victor Dixon sings his heart out in Hell’s Kitchen and Steven Skybell gives a gripping performance as Herr Schultz in Cabaret at the Kit Kat Club. Both stars could steal this away from Radcliffe.

kecia lewis

Marc J. Franklin

Kecia Lewis plays Miss Liza Jane in Hell’s Kitchen

Nominees:

  • Shoshana Bean (Hell’s Kitchen, Jersey)
  • Amber Iman (Lempicka, Rafaela)
  • Nikki M. James (Suffs, Ida B. Wells)
  • Leslie Rodriguez Kritzer (Monty Python’s Spamalot, Lady of the Lake)
  • Kecia Lewis (Hell’s Kitchen, Miss Liza Jane)
  • Lindsay Mendez (Merrily We Roll Along, Mary Flynn)
  • Bebe Neuwirth (Cabaret at the Kit Kat Club, Fraulein Schneider)

Will Win: Lindsay Mendez

Merrily We Roll Along could take home three out of four acting awards come Tony’s night, and no one should be complaining. As Mary Flynn, Lindsay Mendez brings humor, warmth, and joy to the show. Mendez would get her second Tony Award—her first was for her performance as Carrie Pipperidge in the 2018 revival of Carousel—and it would be well earned.

Should Win: Kecia Lewis

Kecia Lewis’ voice should be studied, as it’s simply unfair that someone can sound that good. The actress, who plays Miss Liza Jane in Hell’s Kitchen, has a low alto voice, but she also soars to high notes with impeccable skill and ease. Serving as the piano teacher to Ali, Lewis stops the show not once but twice, finishing out act one with a moving rendition of Keys’ “Perfect Way to Die.” While Lewis isn’t the only showstopper (Moon, Shoshana Bean, and Brandon Victor Dixon all have their starring moments), she adds great poise to the production. Lewis is, in every sense, a Broadway legend.

Possible Upset: Bebe Neuwirth gives a laser-focused yet emotional performance as Fraulein Schneider in Cabaret at the Kit Kat Club.

eli gelb

Julieta Cervantes

Eli Gelb is Grover in Stereophonic

Nominees:

  • Will Brill (Stereophonic, Reg)
  • Eli Gelb (Stereophonic, Grover)
  • Jim Parsons (Mother Play, Carl)
  • Tom Pecinka (Stereophonic, Peter)
  • Corey Stoll (Beauregard “Bo” Lafayette, Appropriate)

Will Win: Corey Stoll

Corey Stoll takes on the middle child in the revival of the Branden Jacob-Jenkins’ play Appropriate. Stoll gives a controlled performance as Bo Lafayette, one that will likely grant him his first Tony.

Should Win: Eli Gelb

It’s the season of Stereophonic, and in a very talented ensemble cast, Eli Gelb stands out as Grover, the talented, resumé-flubbing producer of the unnamed band’s upcoming album. Gelb is funny, endearing, and down-to-earth in the role, and if Stereophonic begins to sweep the awards, which seems like a possibility, Gelb could come home with a Tony Award.

Possible Upset: Will Brill and Tom Pecinka are both excellent in Stereophonic as well. If the cast doesn’t split Tony voters, any of the Stereophonic actors could leave with a Tony.

kara young

Marc J. Franklin

Kara Young is Lutiebell Gussie Mae Jenkins in Purlie Victorious

Nominees:

  • Quincy Tyler Bernstine (Doubt: A Parable, Mrs. Muller)
  • Juliana Canfield (Stereophonic, Holly)
  • Celia Keenan-Bolger (Mother Play, Martha)
  • Sarah Pidgeon (Stereophonic, Diana)
  • Kara Young (Purlie Victorious: A Non-Confederate Romp Through the Cotton Patch, Lutiebelle Gussie Mae Jenkins)

Will Win: Kara Young

Kara Young is the first Black performer to earn three consecutive Tony nominations, all in the same category. It’s looking like this could be her year for her turn as Lutiebelle Gussie Mae Jenkins. Young joins a list of six performers in Tony Awards history who have received three back-to-back nods.

Should Win: Sarah Pidgeon

Stereophonic has a marvelous ensemble cast, but perhaps the biggest standout is Sarah Pidgeon, whose character Diana seems not-so-loosely based on Stevie Nicks. Pidgeon, who is known for her performance in Tiny Beautiful Things, both sings beautifully and acts with quiet conviction in the play. It’s an exciting moment for the young 27-year-old, as this could be the vehicle that makes her a superstar.

Possible Upset: There’s little to no doubt here: It’s Kara Young versus Sarah Pidgeon for the Tony Award, an upset would be an absolute shock.

Best Director of a Musical

merrily we roll along

Matthew Murphy

Maria Friedman directed Merrily We Roll Along

Nominees:

  • Maria Friedman (Merrily We Roll Along)
  • Michael Greif (Hell’s Kitchen)
  • Leigh Silverman (Suffs)
  • Jessica Stone (Water for Elephants)
  • Danya Taymor (The Outsiders)

Will Win: Maria Friedman

Should Win: Maria Friedman

Merrily We Roll Along wouldn’t be a hit without the incredible vision of Maria Friedman, who is just one of the record-breaking female directors who made history this season. She completely transformed Sondheim’s ill-fated production into the sold-out success it is today. Friedman, who played Mary Flynn in the 1992 Leicester Haymarket Theatre production of Merrily, was a close friend of Stephen Sondheim. She made it her mission to make Merrily the success he knew it could be, and she can rest assured her mission is complete.

Possible Upset: Michael Greif’s direction of Hell’s Kitchen is sometimes a little predictable, but it always serves the story and music in an impactful manner.

Best Director of a Play

a group of people on a stage

Julieta Cervantes

The cast of Stereophonic

Nominees:

  • Daniel Aukin (Stereophonic)
  • Anne Kauffman (Mary Jane)
  • Kenny Leon (Purlie Victorious: A Non-Confederate Romp Through the Cotton Patch)
  • Lila Neugebauer (Appropriate)
  • Whitney White (Jaja’s African Hair Braiding)

Will Win: Daniel Aukin

Should Win: Daniel Aukin

The standout play of the season will likely rake in the awards, and Daniel Aukin led the Stereophonic team to a record-breaking amount of Tony nominations. A veteran director, this would mark Aukin’s first Tony.

Possible Upset: Lila Neugebauer’s revival of Appropriate is not just a star vehicle for Sarah Paulson. It’s a thoughtful and impactful production, one that is also deserving of a Tony.

Best Choreography

illinoise

Matthew Murphy

Ricky Ubeda plays Henry in Illinoise

Nominees:

  • Camille A. Brown (Hell’s Kitchen)
  • Shana Carroll and Jesse Robb (Water for Elephants)
  • Jeff Kuperman and Rick Kuperman (The Outsiders)
  • Annie-B Parson (Here Lies Love)
  • Justin Peck (Illinoise)

Will Win: Justin Peck (Illinoise)

Should Win: Justin Peck (Illinoise)

Illinoise has no dialogue, just beautifully sung music inspired by Sufjan Stevens’s album Illinois and dance. Justin Peck uses movement to tell the story of Henry (Ricky Ubeda), who, around a campfire, shares his story of identity, loss, and tragedy. There wasn’t a dry face in the audience at the end of the show, and Peck’s ability to make this complicated story crystal clear through dance will likely earn him a Tony.

Possible Upset: Camille A. Brown’s choreography in Hell’s Kitchen brings the streets of New York to the Broadway stage and was a highlight in the Alicia Keys musical.

Best Book of a Musical

a group of people on a stage

Matthew Murphy

The ensemble of The Outsiders.

Nominees:

  • Kristoffer Diaz (Hell’s Kitchen)
  • Bekah Brunstetter (The Notebook)
  • Justin Levine and Adam Rapp (The Outsiders)
  • Shaina Taub (Suffs)
  • Rick Elice (Water for Elephants)

Will Win: Kristoffer Diaz

Kristoffer Diaz places Ali as the narrator in Hell’s Kitchen, breaking the fourth wall and having her directly address the audience. It works, and it serves as the backbone for the musical, weaving Alicia Keys’ music into the story masterfully. Finding a way to make “Girl on Fire” ironic? That alone is deserving of a Tony.

Should Win: Justin Levine and Adam Rapp

Justin Levine and Adam Rapp tell Ponyboy Curtis’ story in The Outsiders with impeccable care. They keep the grit of the S.E. Hinton novel and the spirit of the classic movie of the same name and make it work for the Broadway stage. The story is endearing, emotional, and complex, making it clear that The Outsiders always did sing; it just needed the right team to do it correctly.

Possible Upset: Shaina Taub’s Suffs has the ability to sweep the night, and if Tony voters resonate with its sometimes cheesy but politically forward book, Suffs could be the upset in many categories.

Best Original Score Written for the Theatre

shaina taub

Joan Marcus

Shaina Taub leads the cast of Suffs

Nominees:

  • Adam Guettel (Days of Wine and Roses)
  • David Byrne and Fatboy Slim (Here Lies Love)
  • Will Butler (Stereophonic)
  • Shaina Taub (Suffs)
  • Jamestown Revival (Jonathan Clay and Zach Chance) and Justin Levine (The Outsiders)

Will Win: Shaina Taub

The strength of Suffs is in the songs, and Shaina Taub’s completely self-composed and self-written musical will likely be rewarded in this category. The numbers feel classic yet contemporary, which is rare on the Broadway stage, and allow the stories of the suffragists to be told in an assertive yet fun manner.

Should Win: Will Butler

A play in the running for this category, and it’s a frontrunner? Don’t act so surprised. Stereophonic’s original score pays homage to artists like Fleetwood Mac while still standing on its own. It’s sung beautifully by its actors (and especially Sarah Pidgeon), and it can cross over into the modern music landscape. The play dropped an album of the tracks too, and even the theater toe-dippers in my life have been raving about the music.

Possible Upset: Adam Guettel delivers an excellent score for Days of Wine and Roses.

The 77th Tony Awards, hosted by Ariana DeBose, will air on CBS on June 16.

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