Wednesday, June 7, 2017

2017 Tony Award Predictions: Best Revival

The 71st annual Tony Awards are this Sunday, and my annual predictions keep rolling right along. It's now time to discuss the prestigious production awards, those which honor an entire show rather than an individual part of it. Of all the award categories, a win here has the most noticeable impact on a show's box office, as well as its future prospects when it comes to potential tours and regional productions. 

As always, I will use a combination of personal opinion, critical consensus, and industry buzz to determine the most likely winner. So on to the Best Revival categories!

Best Revival of a Play

The cast of Jitney on Broadway.

Nominees: Jitney; The Little Foxes; Present Laughter; Six Degrees of Separation

Manhattan Theatre Club, one of the biggest not-for-profit players on the New York theatre scene, has a hit or miss track record when it comes to their Broadway seasons. But this year has been nothing but hits, with all three of their Broadway productions (Heisenberg, Jitney, and The Little Foxes) earning both critical acclaim and fairly healthy box office. Which is why it seems inevitable that MTC will take home the Tony for Best Play Revival this year, with the only question being which production it will win for.

The Little Foxes has all the elements that add up to Tony gold. It is currently running, features a much praised cast (several of whom are up for individual awards), and plenty of buzz thanks to the fact that stars Laura Linney and Cynthia Nixon play the two primary roles in repertory. But my gut tells me it will be MTC's other revival, the long-awaited Broadway bow of August Wilson's Jitney, that actually brings home the prize on Sunday night. Despite being the only nominee not currently running, Jitney was universally beloved by critics as serious art, and it's recent Drama Desk win only increases the production's profile and chances of winning. Six Degrees of Separation and Present Laughter will have to settle for just being nominated, as neither piece has inspired the kind of passion that makes people vote for you over other worthy options.

Will Win: Jitney

Best Revival of a Musical

Tony-nominee Kate Baldwin, Tony-nominee Bette Midler, Beanie Feldstein, and Taylor Trensch in Hello, Dolly!

This award is currently Hello, Dolly's to lose, and not just because of the sensational performance of Bette Midler in the title role. From top to bottom, this is one of the best realized productions of the season, and arguably the best Dolly we're likely to see in our lifetime. Composer Jerry Herman reportedly turned down multiple offers to revive this Golden Age classic over the years, waiting for just the right cast and director to make the show sing. He has found it in Jerry Zaks' sumptuous staging, which honors the show's old school roots while simultaneously making it feel fresh and new again. The sets, costumes, lights, choreography, and performances all add up to pure theatrical magic that will win over even those who aren't especially enamored with Hello, Dolly! as a show (as structurally, it admittedly has some faults).

The only thing that could spoil Dolly's victory lap would be a late in the game surge for Lincoln Center's Falsettos. The toast of the town when it opened this fall, the Broadway return of William Finn's signature work at one point appeared to be the show to beat, but the long months between its early January closing and now make it difficult to envision an actual win. Working in the show's favor is its incredibly appealing quartet of leads, who have been dutifully making the press rounds throughout Tony season professing their love for the show and one another. Their charm and innate likability could help remind voters what they liked so much about the show to begin with, but overcoming Dolly is a major uphill battle. And compared to its two competitors, Miss Saigon just doesn't have the acclaim or buzz to pull off an upset.

Will and Should Win: Hello, Dolly!

Check back soon for my predictions in the all important Best Play and Musical races, and catch up on the rest of my 2017 Tony coverage below!


  1. I really do believe Hello, Dolly will win. Shame it isn't well written.

    1. I "Dolly's" defense, I don't find the other two nominees particularly well written, either. And I think "Dolly" did a better job of addressing/disguising its structural flaws than the other 2 shows.