Tony Award Nomination Analysis

2015 Tony Nomination Predictions

An * indicates the nomination was one predicted by the Culture Vulture.  The percentage is the number of accurate predictions.  Overall achieved an 81% prediction rate.

Play (75%)

  • *The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Simon Stephens; Stuart Thompson, Tim Levy for NT America, Warner Bros. Theatre Ventures, Nick Starr & Chris Harper for NT Productions, Bob Boyett, Roger Berlind, Scott M. Delman, Roy Furman, Glass Half Full Productions, Ruth Hendel, Jon B. Platt, Prime Number Group, Scott Rudin, Triple Play Broadway, The Shubert Organization, The National Theatre
  • Disgraced, Ayad Akhtar; The Araca Group, Lincoln Center Theater, Jenifer Evans, Amanda Watkins, Richard Winkler, Rodger Hess, Stephanie P. McClelland, Tulchin/Bartner Productions, Jessica Genick, Jonathan Reinis, Carl Levin/Ashley De Simone/TNTDynaMite Productions, Alden Bergson/Rachel Weinstein, Greenleaf Productions, Darren DeVerna/Jere Harris, The Shubert Organization, The David Merrick Arts Foundation
  • *Hand to God, Robert Askins; Kevin McCollum, Broadway Global Ventures, CMC, Morris Berchard, Mariano V. Tolentino Jr., Stephanie Kramer, LAMS Productions, DeSimone/Winkler, Joan Raffe & Jhett Tolentino, Timothy Laczynski, Lily Fan, Ayal Miodovnik, Jam Theatricals, The Ensemble Studio Theatre, MCC Theater
  • *Wolf Hall, Parts 1 & 2, Hilary Mantel & Mike Poulton; Jeffrey Richards, Jerry Frankel, Matthew Byam Shaw, Nia Janis & Nick Salmon for Playfull Productions UK, Carole Shorenstein Hays, Jam Theatricals, Ron Kastner, Kyodo Tokyo, Inc., Tulchin Bartner Productions, WLE MSG, Jane Bergère, Scott M. Delman, Rebecca Gold, Just for Laughs Theatricals, Kit Seidel, Triple Play Productions, Gabrielle Palitz, Georgia Gatti, Jessica Genick, Will Trice, The Shubert Organization, The Royal Shakespeare Company

Though Disgraced received mixed to positive reviews, its pedigree as a Pulitzer winner (and association with Tony darling Lincoln Center Theater) seems to have moved it into the fourth slot.  The race is really between the Dog and Wolf.


Musical (100%)

  • *An American in Paris; Stuart Oken, Van Kaplan, Roy Furman, Stephanie McClelland, Darren Bagert, Carole L. Haber, James Nederlander, Five Cent Productions, Michael Leavitt, Apples and Oranges Studios/Dominion Pictures, Roger Berlind/Arch Road, Simone Genatt Haft/Marc Routh, Triptyk Studios/Spencer Ross, Ed Walson/Peter May, Adam Zotovich/Celia Atkin, Eugene Beard/Julie Boardman/Kalish-Weinstein, Stuart Ditsky/Jim Herbert/Sandy Robertson, Suzanne Friedman/Independent Presenters Network/Wonderful Productions, The Leonore S. Gershwin 1987 Trust/Jenkins-Taylor/Proctors, Harriet Newman Leve/Jane Dubin/Sarabeth Grossman, Caiola Productions/Jennifer Isaacson/Raise the Curtain, Elephant Eye Theatrical & Pittsburgh CLO, Théâtre du Châtelet
  • *Fun Home; Fox Theatricals, Barbara Whitman, Carole Shorenstein Hays, Tom Casserly, Paula Marie Black, Latitude Link, Terry Schnuck/Jack Lane, The Forstalls, Nathan Vernon, Mint Theatrical, Elizabeth Armstrong, Jam Theatricals, Delman Whitney, Kristin Caskey & Mike Isaacson, The Public Theater, Oskar Eustis, Patrick Willingham
  • *Something Rotten!; Kevin McCollum, Broadway Global Ventures, CMC, Mastro/Goodman, Jerry & Ronald Frankel, Morris Berchard, Kyodo Tokyo Inc., Wendy Federman, Barbara Freitag, LAMS Productions, Winkler/DeSimone, Timothy Laczynski, Dan Markley, Harris/Karmazin, Jam Theatricals, Robert Greenblatt, Jujamcyn Theaters
  • *The Visit; Tom Kirdahy, Edgar Bronfman, Jr., Tom Smedes, Hugh Hayes, Peter Stern, Judith Ann Abrams, Rich Affannato, Hunter Arnold, Carl Daikeler, Ken Davenport, Bharat Mitra & Bhavani Lev, Peter May, Ted Snowdon, Bruno Wang Productions, Taylor Cleghorn, Sandi Moran, Mark Lee & Ed Filipowski, Blodgett Calvin Family, Gabrielle Palitz/Weatherby & Fishman LLC, Marguerite Hoffman/Jeremy Youett, Carlos Arana, Veenerick & Katherine Vos Van Liempt, 42nd.Club/Silva Theatrical, Kate Cannova/Terry Loftis, The Shubert Organization, Williamstown Theatre Festival

Let the campaigning begin for the one award that really matters.  Come Tony night, love will probably be spread around among Paris, Fun Home and Rotten.


Revival of a Play (75%)

  • *The Elephant Man; James L. Nederlander, Terry Allen Kramer, Catherine Adler, Roger Berlind, Caiola Productions, Patrick Catullo, Roy Furman, Larry Hirschhorn, Jeffrey Finn Productions, Van Kaplan, Edward M. Kaufmann, Hal Luftig, Arielle Tepper Madover, Peter May, Stephanie P. McClelland, The Shubert Organization, Douglas Smith, Jonathan M. Tisch, WLE MSG, LLC., Scott & Brian Zeilinger, Williamstown Theatre Festival
  • *Skylight; Robert Fox, Scott Rudin, Eli Bush, Roger Berlind, William Berlind, Roy Furman, Jon B. Platt, The Shubert Organization, Stephanie P. McClelland, Catherine Adler, Jay Alix & Una Jackman, Scott M. Delman, Heni Koenigsberg, Spring Sirkin, Stuart Thompson, True Love Productions, The Araca Group, Carlos Arana, David Mirvish, Joey Parnes, Sue Wagner, John Johnson
  • This Is Our Youth; Scott Rudin, Eli Bush, Roger Berlind, William Berlind, Jon B. Platt, Roy Furman, The Shubert Organization, Ruth Hendel, Scott M. Delman, Stephanie P. McClelland, Sonia Friedman, Tulchin Bartner, The Araca Group, Heni Koenigsberg, Daryl Roth, Joan Raffe & Jhett Tolentino, Catherine & Fred Adler, Joey Parnes, Sue Wagner, John Johnson, Steppenwolf Theatre Company
  • *You Can’t Take It with You; Jeffrey Richards, Jerry Frankel, Jam Theatricals, Dominion Pictures, Gutterman & Winkler, Daryl Roth, Terry Schnuck, Jane Bergère, Caiola Productions, Rebecca Gold, LaRuffa & Hinderliter, Larry Magid, Gabrielle Palitz, Spisto & Kierstead, SunnySpot Productions, VenuWorks Theatricals, Jessica Genick, Will Trice, Roundabout Theatre Company, Todd Haimes, Harold Wolpert, Julia C. Levy, Sydney Beers

This Is Our Youth is a surprise entry in the fourth slot for this. It’s only other award nomination this season was one of the myriad in the Drama League category for Play Revival. This looks to become a tight race between a limited run Skylight and two already closed shows: Elephant and You Can’t. The latter was the best reviewed revival of the season.


Revival of a Musical (100%)

  • *The King and I; Lincoln Center Theater, André Bishop, Adam Siegel, Hattie K. Jutagir, Ambassador Theatre Group
  • *On the Town; Howard & Janet Kagan, Severn Partners Entertainment, Bruce Robert Harris and Jack W. Batman, Paula Marie Black, Nigel Lythgoe, Michael J. Moritz Jr., Mahoney/Alden/Badway, Ambassador Theatre Group, Margie and Bryan Weingarten, Kim Schall, Michael Rubenstein, Terry/Louise/Chris Lingner, Brunish & Trinchero, Stephanie Rosenberg, LaRuffa & Hinderliter, Rubinstein/Handelman, Lizbeth Bintz, Riki Kane Larimer, 24 Hour Adventure Production, A & A Gordon, Matt Ross/Ben Feldman/Pamela Cooper and Barrington Stage Company
  • *On the Twentieth Century; Roundabout Theatre Company, Todd Haimes, Harold Wolpert, Julia C. Levy, Sydney Beers

Close up the shop, Tony loves Lincoln Center. The lack of nominations for the two Comden & Green “On the…” titles indicates which way the nominators want the voters to lean. This is The King and I’s to lose.


Actor in a Play (100%)

  • *Steven Boyer, Hand to God
  • *Bradley Cooper, The Elephant Man
  • *Ben Miles, Wolf Hall, Parts 1 & 2
  • *Bill Nighy, Skylight
  • *Alex Sharp, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

Alex Sharp is the front-runner here. But if Bradley Cooper plays the theatre game, he might pull out an upset.  There is also time for another nominee to make a run for it.  The campaigning season will be interesting.


Actress in a Play (80%)

  • Geneva Carr, Hand to God
  • *Helen Mirren, The Audience
  • *Elisabeth Moss, The Heidi Chronicles
  • *Carey Mulligan, Skylight
  • *Ruth Wilson, Constellations

It is Helen Mirren’s world. The others are just ladies-in-waiting.


Actor in a Musical (80%)

  • *Michael Cerveris, Fun Home
  • *Robert Fairchild, An American in Paris
  • *Brian d’Arcy James, Something Rotten!
  • Ken Watanabe, The King and I
  • *Tony Yazbeck, On the Town

Probably a chance to honor Something Rotten! and the nearly two decade career of Brian d’Arcy James by Tonying him. But Cerveris and Fairchild are still very much in the hunt.


Actress in a Musical (100%)

  • *Kristin Chenoweth, On the Twentieth Century
  • *Leanne Cope, An American in Paris
  • *Beth Malone, Fun Home
  • *Kelli O’Hara, The King and I
  • *Chita Rivera, The Visit

Always an outside chance that Cope or Malone could be a dark horse win because of split votes at the top of the ticket. This will probably be the most closely watched race of the evening. O’Hara’s sixth nomination with no wins: she seems to always be up against prohibitive favorites. Chenoweth made a triumphant return to Broadway in a glorious show. Rivera made a triumphant (and probably final) return to Broadway in a turgid show.


Featured Actor in a Play (50%)

  • Matthew Beard, Skylight
  • *K. Todd Freeman, Airline Highway
  • *Richard McCabe, The Audience
  • Alessandro Nivola, The Elephant Man
  • *Nathaniel Parker, Wolf Hall, Parts 1 & 2
  • Micah Stock, It’s Only a Play

This is probably the most open-ended award of the acting categories.


Featured Actress in a Play (60%)

  • *Annaleigh Ashford, You Can’t Take It with You
  • Patricia Clarkson, The Elephant Man
  • *Lydia Leonard, Wolf Hall, Parts 1 & 2
  • Sarah Stiles, Hand to God
  • *Julie White, Airline Highway

Another fairly open race. But Leonard (Wolf Hall) or Ashford (You Can’t) could ride the wave of love for either of their shows. Or conversely be recipients of ways to honor their shows. Clarkson is a longtime stage veteran. White has a Tony, but this is the type of role which could net her a second.


Featured Actor in a Musical (80%)

  • *Christian Borle, Something Rotten!
  • *Andy Karl, On the Twentieth Century
  • *Brad Oscar, Something Rotten!
  • Brandon Uranowitz, An American in Paris
  • *Max von Essen, An American in Paris

Von Essen is a slight front-runner here, but campaigning season will be interesting to see. Borle is a past winner, Karl & Oscar are past nominees who have not won. Uranowitz is, like von Essen, a first time nominee.


Featured Actress in a Musical (60%)

  • *Victoria Clark, Gigi
  • *Judy Kuhn, Fun Home
  • Sydney Lucas, Fun Home
  • *Ruthie Ann Miles, The King and I
  • Emily Skeggs, Fun Home

Clark turns in Tony nominated performances in almost every Broadway appearance. A King and I sweep could propel Miles. While conventional wisdom would say that all three Fun Home nominees would cancel themselves out, generally when a show has three nominees in a category, one wins. Kuhn is a previous Tony nominee who has never won. Voters could coalesce around her.


Director of a Play (80%)

  • Stephen Daldry, Skylight
  • *Marianne Elliott, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
  • *Scott Ellis, You Can’t Take It with You
  • *Jeremy Herrin, Wolf Hall, Parts 1 & 2
  • *Moritz von Stuelpnagel, Hand to God

Probably Elliott or Herrin. Whichever wins here will probably also win Best Play.


Director of a Musical (80%)

  • *Sam Gold, Fun Home
  • *Casey Nicholaw, Something Rotten!
  • John Rando, On the Town
  • *Bartlett Sher, The King and I
  • *Christopher Wheeldon, An American in Paris

Probably between Gold and Sher. Wheeldon will likely win Choreography.  Gold and Sher each placed proscenium shows in non-proscenium settings without being too gimmicky.


Choreography (80%)

  • *Joshua Bergasse, On the Town
  • Scot Graham & Steven Hoggett for Frantic Assembly, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
  • *Christopher Gattelli, The King and I
  • *Casey Nicholaw, Something Rotten!
  • *Christopher Wheeldon, An American in Paris

Most likely Wheeldon’s to lose. Also of note, a rare Tony nomination for choreography for a play.


Book of a Musical (100%)

  • *Lisa Kron, Fun Home
  • *Karey Kirkpatrick, John O’Farrell, Something Rotten!
  • *Craig Lucas, An American in Paris
  • *Terrence McNally, The Visit

Lisa Kron should win this one.


Score (75%)

  • *John Kander, Fred Ebb, The Visit
  • *Wayne Kirkpatrick, Karey Kirkpatrick, Something Rotten!
  • Sting, The Last Ship
  • *Jeanine Tesori, Lisa Kron, Fun Home

Some sentiment may be for Kander & Ebb to win since this is their final show (unless they ever get The Skin of Our Teeth in shape). Sting is probably more like Dolly Parton than Cyndi Lauper –nomination is the reward. Race probably between Rotten and Fun Home.


Orchestrations (75%)

  • *Christopher Austin, Don Sebesky & Bill Elliott, An American in Paris
  • John Clancy, Fun Home
  • *Larry Hochman, Something Rotten!
  • *Rob Mathes, The Last Ship

This award is often a wildcard. Sometimes it goes in tandem with Best Score. Other times goes to the most rock-like show. If Sting had been an orchestrator, this award would probably go to Last Ship as a way to honor him. It will probably end up going to either Fun Home or American in Paris based on which show is winning Best Musical.


Set Design, Play (100%)

  • *Bunny Christie, Finn Ross, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
  • *Bob Crowley, Skylight
  • *Christopher Oram, Wolf Hall, Parts 1 & 2
  • *David Rockwell, You Can’t Take It with You

Four completely different types of sets. Probably an edge right now to Christie & Ross for Dog with the way they transcend time and space. But strong feelings swelling for any of the other shows could send any of the very worthy nominees to the stage.


Set Design, Musical (75%)

  • *Bob Crowley & 59 Productions, An American in Paris
  • *David Rockwell, On the Twentieth Century
  • *Michael Yeargan, The King and I
  • David Zinn, Fun Home

Rockwell could follow Robin Wagner’s lead with the original production and win for the Twentieth Century train. The other three shows could be part of a groundswell for their efforts.


Costume Design, Play (75%)

  • *Bob Crowley, The Audience
  • *Jane Greenwood, You Can’t Take It with You
  • *Christopher Oram, Wolf Hall, Parts 1 & 2
  • David Zinn, Airline Highway

Oram probably has an edge here for the costumes of Wolf Hall. But this is Greenwood’s 19th nomination with zero wins. Even though she got a special Tony last year, she should win one for an actual production. Her first nomination was 50 years ago.


Costume Design, Musical (100%)

  • *Gregg Barnes, Something Rotten!
  • *Bob Crowley, An American in Paris
  • *William Ivey Long, On the Twentieth Century
  • *Catherine Zuber, The King and I

Probably Zuber for The King and I. But any of the nominees could win it.


Lighting Design, Play (75%)

  • *Paule Constable, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
  • *Paule Constable & David Plater, Wolf Hall, Parts 1 & 2
  • Natasha Katz, Skylight
  • *Japhy Weideman, Airline Highway

Likely Constable wins for either Dog or Wolf (with Plater).


Lighting Design, Musical (100%)

  • *Donald Holder, The King and I
  • *Natasha Katz, An American in Paris
  • *Ben Stanton, Fun Home
  • *Japhy Weideman, The Visit

Holder could be part of a King and I groundswell (as with South Pacific). Likely other option would be whichever wins Best Musical – Paris or Fun.  Weideman’s third year of nominations and he nets two. But probably go home empty handed again.


Other notes

Thirteen shows which opened this season were completely blanked. They were the plays: The Country House, Fish in the Dark, Living on Love and The River; musicals: Doctor Zhivago, Finding Neverland, Holler If Ya Hear Me, Honeymoon in Vegas, and It Shoulda Been You; play revivals: A Delicate Balance, Love Letters and The Real Thing; and musical revival Side Show.

Many of these opened in the summer or fall to reviews that ranged from mixed to negative. So their omissions are not a surprise.  Some of them were victims of tight categories with many worthy nominees. Both of these are fairly standard for the Tonys from year to year.

A few of note: Finding Neverland received none, though it is doing fine at the box office now. On one level, this is undoubtedly a reaction to the strong-arming of producer Harvey Weinstein. Broadway likes strong producers, but generally prefers them to be home grown. Weinstein is not.  But on another level, I suspect that several potential nominees were just under the cusp of receiving recognition.

Some other notable omissions.  Nathan Lane, who is good box office, had been considered a contender for Actor in a Play for It’s Only a Play.  There were many worthy nominees in the category, and he didn’t make the cut. But he is rarely nominated. More often than not, even when he has been nominated or even won other theatre awards for a role, he does not get a Tony nomination.

While It Shoulda Been You was hardly viewed as a great musical, it was expected that Josh Grisetti or Lisa Howard could pick up acting nominations for it. Likewise, Tony Danza was viewed as a serious contender in the Featured Actor in a Musical category for Honeymoon in Vegas. But, as is often the case, when Tony nominators ignore a show, they IGNORE it!

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