Final Tony Thoughts

Final Tony Thoughts

Awards season has dragged on, but the end is finally in sight with the Tony Awards shindig at Radio City this Sunday. Of course, predicting winners is a fool’s errand: Politicking among voters/decision makers clouds the crystal ball. That said, drumroll for Useless Prediction No. 1:

• Expect the current White House to come under not-so-friendly fire from presenters, winners and the host, Kevin Spacey. It’s a given: Salvos will be released straight from the diaphragm.

Politics certainly informs the Best Play contest, but that’s a good thing. This is a tight race with a show for everyone (if only audiences would flock to plays the way they do to musicals). “Oslo” has genuine bipartisan appeal and is a thriller. Feminists and their sympathizers find much to applaud in the very funny, very serious “A Doll’s House, Part 2.” The LGBTQ community has a voice in “Indecent.” And “Sweat” speaks up for the workingman and woman. Put your money on “Oslo,” but the worthy upset would be “A Doll’s House, Part 2.” For a straight play, it sings.

Best Musical nominees, unfortunately, don’t have the resonant pipes of their play counterparts. “Dear Evan Hansen” is for the safe-space crowd. “Groundhog Day” is vastly entertaining, but is it a necessary show? I enjoyed “Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812” far more when it was in a tent downtown. “Come From Away” has a big heart. I give it to a big heart every time, but “Hansen” has millennial buzz. This one is up for grabs. The winner, though, will not have the legs of a “Phantom.”

My theater savvy tells me Kevin Kline will waltz off with the Best Actor in a Play gong for his role as a self-centered actor of a certain age in “Present Laughter.” Sure, Kline wears a silk dressing gown—several silk dressing gowns—with aplomb. But a Tony for a character he could portray in his sleep? My vote is for Jefferson Mays in “Oslo.” This season alone, Mays exercised his formidable comic chops as a fussbuget in “The Front Page” and his dramatic range as a wily Norwegian negotiator, with the slightest hint of a pitch-perfect accent, in “Oslo.” He’s Tony Versatility in my book.

I hope voters recognize Laurie Metcalf’s Best-Actress-in-a-Play genius in “A Doll’s House, Part 2” … But enough. I’ve been talking Tony for a month. I’m hoarse.

Tony Award winner Kevin Spacey hosts the Tony Awards on June 11. (Courtesy Tony Awards)

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