2023 Tony Awards predictions: Who will win vs. who should win

Tribune Content Agency

NEW YORK — It looks like this year’s Tony Awards will be a trifle tricky to predict.

The annual celebration of Broadway’s best shows is set to be unscripted due to a writers strike, promising a song-and-dance-heavy ceremony that could go off the rails in all the right — or wrong — ways.

Plus, it’s hard to say who will be taking home the trophies. Many fields, including the coveted best musical category, appeared to be up for grabs entering the weekend.

But that’s not stopping us from making some calls on who will win the biggest awards, and who deserves them.

Best Musical

Will win: “ Kimberly Akimbo

Should win: “Kimberly Akimbo”

In an unassuming field of musicals, this sensitive show about a New Jersey teenager aging at an alarming rate shined the brightest. But it’s not quite a shoo-in. The boisterous but overbaked “Some Like It Hot” had the highest highs of the season. It is fun, and could swipe the award. Some think the pleasantly silly “Shucked” might husk the trophy. It shouldn’t.

Best Play

Will win: “Leopoldstadt”

Should win: “Between Riverside and Crazy”

“Leopoldstadt,” by Tom Stoppard, is an ambitious, elaborate tour de force tracking a Jewish family derailed by the Nazis. It would be a deserving Tony recipient. But the season’s most satisfying production — of any type — was the clever, contemporary tale “Between Riverside and Crazy,” set at a Manhattan apartment and circling a struggling Black ex-cop. Stephen Adly Guirgis’ play is sidesplitting and unpredictable. It should take the honors.

Best Musical Revival

Will win: “Parade”

Should win: “Sweeney Todd”

This year, the revived musicals were decisively stronger than the newbies. “Parade,” starring the sensational Ben Platt and Micaela Diamond, was the subject of significant buzz, and drew an ugly neo-Nazi protest outside the Bernard Jacobs Theatre. The show, about an American Jew who was wrongfully convicted of murder and lynched a century ago, executes its iffy source material well. But the best musical in this category is a production of Stephen Sondheim’s “Sweeney Todd” directed ably by Thomas Kail. Josh Groban brings his A game to Todd, but Annaleigh Ashford steals the show. If Sondheim’s “Into the Woods” or a riveting reworking of Lerner & Loewe’s “Camelot” — a heavy underdog — pull an upset, we won’t complain.

Best Play Revival

Will win: “Topdog/Underdog”

Should win: “A Doll’s House”

Kenny Leon deftly directed a revival of the Pulitzer-winning “Topdog/Underdog,” but a revival of Henrik Ibsen’s “A Doll’s House” deserves this statuette. Jessica Chastain delivers a restrained masterclass performance, and what feels at first like a lousy set reveals a thematic trick toward the end.

Here are the rest of our predictions for how the night will unfold:

Best Original Score

Will win: “Kimberly Akimbo”

Should win: “Kimberly Akimbo”

Best Leading Actress in a Musical

Will win: Victoria Clark, “Kimberly Akimbo”

Should win: Annaleigh Ashford, “Sweeney Todd”

Best Leading Actor in a Musical

Will win: J. Harrison Ghee, “Some Like It Hot”

Should win: Ben Platt, “Parade”

Best Leading Actress in a Play

Will win: Jodie Comer, “Prima Facie”

Should win: Audra McDonald, “Ohio State Murders”

Best Leading Actor in a Play

Will win: Stephen McKinley Henderson, “Between Riverside and Crazy”

Should win: Stephen McKinley Henderson, “Between Riverside and Crazy”

Best Featured Actor in a Musical

Will win: Alex Newell, “Shucked”

Should win: Alex Newell, “Shucked”

Best Featured Actress in a Musical

Will win: Bonnie Milligan, “Kimberly Akimbo”

Should win: Bonnie Milligan, “Kimberly Akimbo”

Best Choreography

Will win: Casey Nicholaw, “Some Like It Hot”

Should win: Casey Nicholaw, “Some Like It Hot”