Predicting the Tonys: Critics Weigh In

Part One: Which Shows Will (and SHOULD) Win?

Show-Score | By Deeksha Gaur | Jun 6, 2016

We reached out to a number of leading critics to ask them who they thought will win the Tonys (and who SHOULD win).  Some of their responses just might surprise you!

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Here at Show-Score, we like to hear from both critics and fans about the theater they love. To date, close to 18,000 theater fans have Predicted the Tonys, but our critic community has yet to weigh in...until now!

We reached out to a number of critics to ask them who each thought WILL and SHOULD win.   It’s of course a very busy time of year, but we were delighted that so many responded, including critics from (in alphabetical order): Act Three, American Theatre Magazine, Bob’s Theater Blog, Broadway World, CitiTour, CurtainUp, The Guardian, Hot Pepper Theater, Huffington Post, Lighting and Sound America, New York Theater, The New York Times, Talkin’ Broadway, Theater in the Now, Time Out New York, Stage Buddy, and The Washington Post.

We wanted to especially shout out to our friends at StageGrade for starting this tradition and to Jonathan Mandell at New York Theater for suggesting we carry the tradition forward.  

Without further ado, please find out who the critics think will and should win.

It should come as no surprise that this is the year of “Hamilton”. The question on everyone’s mind is should “Hamilton” sweep? Opinions are mixed. Some believe, as Jonathan Mandell of New York Theater does, that “luckily, the show is worthy of its elevation, for being both groundbreaking and breathtaking.” Others, like Elyse Sommer of CurtainUp feel that the show “is such a juggernaut that a lot of truly fine and deserving shows have lost out.” This debate about which shows SHOULD win dominated the feedback we gathered from the critics.  


Nominees: "Bright Star", "Hamilton", "School of Rock", "Shuffle Along", "Waitress"

Critics Say WILL Win: "Hamilton"

Critic Say SHOULD Win: "Hamilton"

Show-Score Members Say WILL Win: "Hamilton"

It’s the year of the “duh,” everybody. According to Matthew Murray of Talkin' Broadway, this is “perhaps the most pointless category, not just of the year but of the entire history of the Tony Awards.” Another critic called it “the mother of all ‘locks’” and Ben Ferber at Hot Pepper Theater promised, “If this doesn't happen, I will literally eat a hat.” (Hey Ben, we’re going to hold you to it.)  

But not all critics are Hamil-fans. Both “Shuffle Along” and “School of Rock” each received one vote in the should win category. And many expressed a desire to vote for both “Shuffle Along” as well as "Hamilton".


Nominees: "Eclipsed", "The Father", "The Humans", "King Charles III"

Critics Say WILL Win: "The Humans"

Critics Say SHOULD Win: "The Humans"

Show-Score Members Say WILL Win: "Eclipsed"

The Humans
1,499 reviews
Overall Score

Now this is an interesting race! The critics’ consensus handed the Tony to “The Humans”, but this was by no means a unanimous decision. A handful of critics — like many Show-Scorers — believe that “Eclipsed” will, and indeed should, take home the prize. This debate is well summarized by Howard Miller of Talkin’ Broadway who said: “‘The Humans’ takes it for its flawless execution as well as outstanding writing. But nearly as strong is ‘Eclipsed’, with a broader and more worldly social justice theme.”


Nominees: "The Color Purple", "Fiddler on the Roof", "She Loves Me", "Spring Awakening"

Critics Say WILL Win: "The Color Purple"

Critics Say SHOULD Win: "The Color Purple"

Show-Score Members Say WILL Win: "The Color Purple"

Again, consensus may be one thing, but unanimity is quite another. While most agreed that “The Color Purple” will win, over half the critics believed either “Spring Awakening” or “She Loves Me” should win. The reason for all the disagreement: we’ve been spoiled for choice this year. As Todd Backus of Hot Pepper Theater pointed out, “This is a category in which I’d be happy to see any of the nominated shows win — they were all that good.”

And David Barbour of Lighting and Sound America concurred: “This is really too close to call. Both ‘Color Purple’ and ‘Fiddler’ offer something new...But ‘She Loves Me’ is very beloved, so there's no real clear favorite.” Ultimately though, while many see it as “a less than splendid musical,” the “splendid production” of “The Color Purple” puts it over the edge to take home the win among these critics.


Nominees: "Blackbird", "The Crucible", "Long Day's Journey Into Night", "Noises Off", "A View from the Bridge"

Critics say WILL Win: "A View from the Bridge"

Critics say SHOULD Win: "A View from the Bridge"

Show-Score Members say WILL win: "A View from the Bridge"

About a quarter of the critics believe “Long Day’s Journey Into Night” will and should win. Why? “ part because it is still running and because the conservative Tony voters may prefer a more straightforward production.” And perhaps because, as Michael Block of Theater in the Now said, “Ivo van Hove's Arthur Miller revivals may cancel him out with voters.” That being said, there’s a great amount of admiration for van Hove's "A View from the Bridge." According to Raven Snook of Time Out New York: “Ivo van Hove's stripped-down take on Miller's classic was revelatory. I sat onstage and was enthralled.” Others described this production as “perfect” and the auteur as having “changed forever how classic American plays are staged.”


Nominees: Alex Brightman, Danny Burstein, Zachary Levi, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Leslie Odom, Jr.

Critics Say WILL Win: Leslie Odom, Jr.

Critics Say SHOULD Win: Leslie Odom, Jr.

Show-Score Members Say WILL Win: Lin-Manuel Miranda

Half the critics believe that Leslie Odom, Jr. will take the Tony. As Jonathan Mandell of New York Theater points out, “Lin-Manuel Miranda was generous enough to give another actor – Leslie Odom, Jr. – a fabulous part. Aaron Burr is in effect the narrator of ‘Hamilton’, carrying the burden of much of the exposition. Although he is Alexander Hamilton’s killer, he is also at one point his friend; he is a complex man, not a straightforward villain. Finally, Odom gets several of the best songs – including 'Wait For It' and 'In The Room Where It Happened' to himself.” Raven Snook of TimeOut New York added, “in terms of sheer electricity and emotion, Leslie's got it.” Ben Ferber of Hot Pepper Theater thought that “Burr is the more interesting/inscrutable character in the show” and Matthew Murray of Talkin’ Broadway called Odom “one of the better things about ‘Hamilton’.”

Despite this praise, it is still a hotly contested race, with many of the remaining votes going to Lin. Indeed, 55% of Show-Score members who predicted the Tony’s believe the award will go to Miranda, as opposed to 35% who believe it is Odom’s for the taking.


Nominees: Laura Benanti, Carmen Cusack, Cynthia Erivo, Jesse Mueller, Phillipa Soo

Critics Say WILL Win: Cynthia Erivo

Critics Say SHOULD Win: Cynthia Erivo

Show-Score Members Say WILL Win: Cynthia Erivo

This is as close to a landslide as it gets for a non-Hamilton show (especially in a category where "Hamilton" is nominated). 75% of all critics and 53% of Show-Score members believe Erivo has it in the bag, with just slightly less thinking she should win. Who got the other “should” votes? Everyone. One critic pointed out that in this category “all are deserving” for the “many spot-on portrayals” (Jonathan MandellNew York Theater).

However, in the end, Erivo just nudged out the others. “I haven't seen a reaction on Broadway anything like the tempest that greets Erivo during and after ‘I'm Here,’” said Rob Weinert-Kendt of American Theatre MagazineJonathan Mandell concurred about her effect on the audience: “Erivo’s performance — both her acting and her crystal clear singing — is capable of both exquisite nuance and shattering power...which provokes the audience to rise up, tear up, and cheer.”   


Nominees: Gabriel Byrne, Jeff Daniels, Frank Langella, Tim Pigott-Smith, Mark Strong

Critics Say WILL Win: Frank Langella

Critics Say SHOULD Win: Mark Strong

Show-Score Members Say WILL Win: Mark Strong

Over half of our critics predicted that Langella would win the Tony this year, although when asked who should win, they were mostly Team Mark Strong, as are our Show-Score members. So why this lack of faith that the Tony voters would not pick the most deserving? David Barbour of Lighting and Sound America shed some light on this matter, “If ‘A View from the Bridge’ were still running, it would be Strong's to lose.” Another notable critic agreed, saying, “Langella and Strong are equally exceptional...Given that a significant number of voters did not see Strong (whose show closed in mid-winter), one guesses that Frank will take the award.” David Clarke of BroadwayWorld is of the same view: “Frank Langella may steal this out from under Mark Strong. But, Strong is so deserving of this award,” while others call Strong’s Eddie Carbone “the best dramatic performance on Broadway this year.”


Nominees: Jessica Lange, Laurie Metcalf, Lupita Nyong'o, Sophie Okonedo, Michelle Williams

Critics Say WILL Win: Jessica Lange

Critics Say SHOULD Win: Jessica Lange

Show-Score Members Say WILL Win: Lupita Nyong'o

Reading the critics’ comments, it becomes clear why they believe Jessica Lange will and should win. The details of her artistry are described in specific and minute detail: “Her multi-octave voice, her fluttering hands, her deep love followed by verbally violent moments,” noted Raven Snook at TimeOut New York. “She is not just a fading ethereal figure, but a robust woman whose entire life unfolds before us — alternatively innocent, skittish, coquettish, sneering, full-out furious, resigned,” said Mandell at New York TheaterBarbour at Lighting and Sound America called Lange’s turn “astonishing.”

However, there was also some love for both Sophie Okenedo and Lupita Nyong’o. It seems the ensemble nature of “Eclipsed” works against Nyong’o, though many expressed that they would be happy to see her win it.


Nominees: Daveed Diggs, Brandon Victor Dixon, Christopher Fitzgerald, Jonathan Groff, Christopher Jackson

Critics Say WILL Win: Daveed Diggs

Critics Say SHOULD Win: Daveed Diggs

Show-Score Members Say WILL Win: Daveed Diggs

Over 90% of critics and 66% of Show-Score members believe that this is going to be a win for Daveed Diggs. There was some talk of vote splitting between Christopher Jackson, Jonathan Groff, and Daveed Diggs (all “Hamilton”) but most are confident, as is Ben Ferber at Hot Pepper Theater, that, “Diggs's incredible rising star, matched with his defining performance in ‘Hamilton’, will probably net him the Tony.” Even Matthew Murray at Talkin’ Broadway, who has resisted the Hamilfrenzy puts in one vote for Diggs: “by far the best of the ‘Hamilton’ bunch; Fitzgerald was technically better, but his material wasn't, and that plays a significant role.”


Nominees: Danielle Brooks, Renée Elise Goldsberry, Jane Krakowski, Jennifer Simard, Adrienne Warren

Critics Say WILL Win: Renée Elise Goldsberry

Critics Say SHOULD Win: Renée Elise Goldsberry

Show-Score Members Say WILL Win: Renée Elise Goldsberry

Goldsberry has a strong lead in both the WILL and SHOULD win categories. Critics admired her “stunning,” “mesmerizing” performance, especially “with the pure physical feat of rapping the most ambitious song in “Hamilton”, Satisfied” (MandellNew York Theater). However, Jennifer Simard is a quiet favorite. As Matthew Murray at Talkin’ Broadway said, she “stopped a show that couldn't get started any other way,” an accomplishment “equivalent to lifting the Statue of Liberty with just your pinky.”


Nominees: Reed Birney, Bill Camp, David Furr, Richard Goulding, Michael Shannon

Critics Say WILL Win: Reed Birney

Critics Say SHOULD Win: Reed Birney

Show-Score Members Say WILL Win: Reed Birney

This seems like a complete no-brainer to our team of critics. They lined up to heap praise on the actor, with comments like, “it's arguably the best performance yet by our greatest living stage actor” (Weinert-KendtAmerican Theatre Magazine); “It is for actors like Reed Birney that I’m grateful theater awards like the Tonys exist, because he deserves the attention for an unflashy New York stage career going back 40 years of subtle, superb craftsmanship” (MandellNew York Theater); and “after almost four decades of solid stage work, it's Birney's year...Feel the Birn!” (SnookTimeOut New York)


Nominees: Pascale Armand, Megan Hilty, Jayne Houdyshell, Andrea Martin, Saycon Sengbloh

Critics Say WILL Win: Jayne Houdyshell

Critics Say SHOULD Win: Jayne Houdyshell

Show-Score Members Say WILL Win: Megan Hilty

For the critics, this contest looks and feels very similar to the featured actor race. Jayne Houdyshell wins the “Will” and “Should” votes by a landslide. Some, like David Barbour at Lighting and Sound America believe that the two “Eclipsed” nominees will cancel each other out. Others believe that Houdyshell’s work on “The Humans” is a standout and deserves the Tony, for the same reasons they believe Birney deserves his. According to Matthew Murray (Talkin’ Broadway), “Everything I said about Reed Birney also applies to Houdyshell. Two marvelous actors doing some of their best work ever in this amazing play.” Howard Miller (also of Talkin’ Broadway) said she “gave the performance of a lifetime” and Raven Snook (TimeOut New York) told us that she is “a master at communicating more than the words say.” For David Clarke at BroadwayWorld, this award is Jane Houdyshell's hands down.” Interestingly, for fans, it’s Megan Hilty all the way, with 40% of the vote.


Nominees: Es Devlin and Finn Ross, “American Psycho”; David Korins, “Hamilton”; Santo Loquasto, “Shuffle Along”; David Rockwell, “She Loves Me”

Critics Say WILL Win: David Korins, “Hamilton”

Critics Say SHOULD Win: David Rockwell, “She Loves Me”

Show-Score Members Say WILL Win: David Korins, “Hamilton”

72% of Show-Score members and 50% of critics think David Korins will take home the Tony. But the set designs that inspired the most passion were by David Rockwell for “She Loves Me” and Es Devlin and Finn Ross for “American Psycho.” Indeed, for some critics, it really seemed like a two-horse race. As David Barbour of Lighting and Sound America pointed out, “Rockwell's design is sumptuous and old-school…The ‘American Psycho’ design is far more original and groundbreaking, but I'm not detecting any love for the show.” Similarly, Jonathan Mandell of New York Theater is torn between Rockwell, who “was robbed of a Tony last year for ‘On The Twentieth Century’, and he deserves one again for the clever jewel box of a set” and set designer Es Devlin and projection designer Finn Ross. “Although I hated the musical itself, the design of ‘American Psycho’ was outstanding.”

Given the consensus that Rockwell and Devlin/Ross produced the best designs of the year, why is Korins slated to win? Perhaps, as Matthew Murray of Talkin’ Broadway noted, they don’t trust that, “the voters will use their eyes rather than voting autopilot.”


Nominees: Beowulf Boritt, “Therese Raquin”; Christopher Oram, “Hughie”; Jan Versweyveld, “A View from the Bridge”; David Zinn, “The Humans”

Critics Say WILL Win: Jan Versweyveld, “A View from the Bridge”

Critics Say SHOULD Win: Beowulf Boritt, “Therese Raquin”

Show-Score Members Say WILL Win: Jan Versweyveld, “A View from the Bridge”

Predictions were all over the place in this category. In the WILL  win category, just under half of all critics and 57% of Show-Score members believed Jan Versweyveld would win the Tony for “A View from the Bridge”. But when it came to who was truly deserving, votes were split between all four of the nominees. Some were big fans of Christopher Oram’s design for “Hughie”, as David Barbour of Lighting and Sound America was, calling the set “most spectacular.” David Clarke at BroadwayWorld praised its “wonderfully haunted feel, in accord with the play’s tone.” Others lauded David Zinn’s set for “The Humans”, praising its elaborate details and the “last minute magic act it performs” (Matthew MurrayTalkin’ Broadway). However, Beowulf Boritt had the most votes by far in the SHOULD win category: “‘Therese Raquin's’ set was friggin' brilliant, with a cramped apartment suspended high above the stage juxtaposed with a literal river below ground level, and all of it could move,” said Ben Ferber of Hot Pepper Theater. Asked David Clarke of BroadwayWorld, “How could he not win this?”


Nominees: Gregg Barnes, “Tuck Everlasting”; Jeff Mahshie, “She Loves Me”; Ann Roth, “Shuffle Along”; Paul Tazewell, “Hamilton”

Critics Say WILL Win: Paul Tazewell, “Hamilton”

Critics Say SHOULD Win: Paul Tazewell, “Hamilton”

Show-Score Members Say WILL Win: Paul Tazewell, “Hamilton”

No surprise here that both critics and Show-Score members believe Paul Tazewell’s designs for “Hamilton” will win the Tony, believing that voters will, in the words of one prominent critic, jump “on the ‘Hamilton’ bandwagon.” However, the critics are split on whether “Hamilton” is truly deserving, or whether the award should go to Ann Roth for “Shuffle Along”.

Roth’s work is lauded for being “exceptional” and “stunning and superbly detailed” (BarbourLighting and Sound America). Raven Snook of TimeOut New York called Roth’s costumes “glorious” and wondered “if she'll make Audra's maternity dresses…” But for Jonathan Mandell of New York Theater“Tazewell mixes period costumes with abstract garments for the ensemble that simultaneously suggest both the 18th and the 21st century.” He allows “us to see the era of the Founding Fathers through the prism of today.” Howard Miller of Talkin’ Broadway asked us to consider, “how much dancing they've got to do in those clothes.”  And Ben Ferber of Hot Pepper Theater asked, “Has there ever been a Broadway costume design that's inspired more fanart? (Not that literally a single Tony voter would know what "fanart" means.)”


Nominees: Jane Greenwood, “Long Day’s Journey Into Night”; Michael Krass, “Noises Off”; Clint Ramos, “Eclipsed”; Tom Scutt, “King Charles III”

Critics Say WILL Win: Jane Greenwood, “Long Day’s Journey Into Night”

Critics Say SHOULD Win: Tom Scutt, “King Charles III”

Show-Score Members Say WILL Win: Tom Scutt, “King Charles III”

While 57% of Show-Score members believe Tom Scutt will win for “King Charles III,” the critics haven’t got anywhere near as definitive an answer. Votes were all over the place in this category, with Greenwood winning the category by a hair. The reason? David Barbour at Lighting and Sound America articulated it best when he said: “I am totally agnostic on this category, so I am going to hope that, at long last, Jane Greenwood — the Susan Lucci of the Tonys — will finally be honored for all her fantastic work.”


Nominees: Howell Binkley, “Hamilton”; Jules Fisher & Peggy Eisenhauer, “Shuffle Along”; Ben Stanton, “Spring Awakening”; Justin Townsend, “American Psycho”

Critics Say WILL Win: Howell Binkley, “Hamilton”

Critics Say SHOULD Win: Justin Townsend, “American Psycho”

Show-Score Members Say WILL Win: Howell Binkley, “Hamilton”

Critics believe that Tony voters don’t know much about lighting design and so are likely to vote with the tide. However, the all-important should win votes were split between Fisher and Eisenhauer’s “Shuffle Along” and Justin Townsend’s “American Psycho”. According to Howard Miller of Talkin’ Broadway, the “problematic show” should not stop Townsend from taking the Tony for his “great lighting design.” Indeed, David Clarke of BroadwayWorld called Townsend’s design “so brilliant it is staggering.” Others, like Matthew Murray of Talkin’ Broadway believes that, “Fisher and Eisenhauer marshaled an eye-popping cavalcade of instruments that helped make “Shuffle Along” a feast for the eyes.”


Nominees: Natasha Katz, “Long Day’s Journey Into Night”; Justin Townsend, “The Humans”; Jan Versweyveld, “The Crucible”; Jan Versweyveld, “A View from the Bridge”

Critics Say WILL Win: Jan Versweyveld, “A View from the Bridge”

Critics Say SHOULD Win: Justin Townsend, “The Humans”

Show-Score Members Say WILL Win: Jan Versweyveld, “A View from the Bridge”

This was a pretty divisive category once again. Jan Versweyveld’s design is predicted to win by both critics and members, perhaps because, as Ben Ferber from Hot Pepper Theater surmised, “the complexity of an onstage audience will wow the Tony voters enough to give it to ‘A View from the Bridge’.” However, the most deserving winner, again, was Justin Townsend, this time for his design of “The Humans”. Said Jonathan Mandell of New York Theater: “Justin Townsend did stellar work this season, with shows at opposite ends of the spectrum in many ways — the blindingly bright ‘American Psycho’ and the mystically dark ‘The Humans’.” David Barbour of Lighting and Sound America praised Townsend for successfully “constantly redirecting the audience's attention over the two-floor set,” and for Matthew Murray at Talkin’ Broadway the answer can be summed up in four words: “The last scene. QED.”


Nominees: Michael Arden, “Spring Awakening”; John Doyle, “The Color Purple”; Scott Ellis, “She Loves Me”; Thomas Kail, “Hamilton”, George C. Wolfe, “Shuffle Along”

Critics Say WILL Win: Thomas Kail, “Hamilton”

Critics Say SHOULD Win: Thomas Kail, “Hamilton”

Show-Score Members Say WILL Win: Thomas Kail, “Hamilton”

This category doesn’t warrant much discussion. Most critics and 86% of Show-Score members awarded the Tony to Thomas Kail for “Hamilton”. But unlike some other categories this year, most felt that it was well-deserved. While everyone’s work was well-admired, Kail stood out for a number of reasons. For one, according to David Barbour of Lighting and Sound America“‘Hamilton’ has the most seamless staging since ‘A Chorus Line’.” But perhaps more importantly, as Jonathan Mandell of New York Theater noted, “Thomas Kail is the person who is the second-most responsible for shaping ‘Hamilton’, having been there from the beginning, spending six long years helping Lin-Manuel Miranda with countless choices.”


Nominees: Rupert Goold, “King Charles III”; Jonathan Kent, “Long Day’s Journey Into Night”; Joe Mantello, “The Humans”; Liesl Tommy, “Eclipsed”;  Ivo Van Hove, “A View from the Bridge”

Critics Say WILL Win: Joe Mantello, “The Humans”

Critics Say SHOULD Win: Ivo Van Hove, “A View from the Bridge”

Show-Score Members Say WILL Win: Ivo Van Hove, “A View from the Bridge”

While 47% of Show-Score members think the award will go to Van Hove, for critics, this is a true two-horse race. For one critic, “Van Hove takes it, although it could just as properly go to Mantello”. Rob Weinert-Kendt at American Theatre Magazine also acknowledged the strength of this category, but he believes that Mantello “is a known quantity” and will “edge out the others.”

In the Van Hove camp is David Clarke of BroadwayWorld, who said: “Ivo Van Hove's direction of ‘A View from the Bridge’ stripped the play down to its bones, letting the words take center stage. The result was virtuosic performances from the whole cast.” On the other side, Matthew Murray of Talkin’ Broadway wrote: “‘The Humans’ represents some of Mantello's best and most varied work, showing he can deal with actors and special effects with equal facility...he’s shown us he can be valuable--even essential--when he's at the top of his game. He has rarely been more on top than here.”


Nominees: Steve Martin, “Bright Star”; Lin-Manuel Miranda, “Hamilton”; Julian Fellowes, “School of Rock”; George C. Wolfe, “Shuffle Along”
Critics Say WILL Win: Lin-Manuel Miranda, “Hamilton”
Critics Say SHOULD Win: Lin-Manuel Miranda, “Hamilton”
Show-Score Members Say WILL Win: Lin-Manuel Miranda, “Hamilton”

“This one isn’t even close.”- David BarbourLighting and Sound America

“More duh” - Raven SnookTimeOut New York

“Another pointless category” - Matthew MurrayTalkin’ Broadway

“It’s ‘Hamilton’ by a mile!” - Howard MillerTalkin’ Broadway

Critics and 92% of audiences believe this is “no contest.” There were a couple of nods to George C. Wolfe in the SHOULD win category, but it seems with this one, the writing’s on the wall.


Nominees: Steve Martin & Edie Brickell, “Bright Star”; Lin-Manuel Miranda, “Hamilton”; Glenn Slater & Andrew Lloyd Webber, “School of Rock”; Sara Bareilles, “Waitress”
Critics Say WILL Win: Lin-Manuel Miranda, “Hamilton”
Critics Say SHOULD Win: Lin-Manuel Miranda, “Hamilton”
Show-Score Members Say WILL Win: Lin-Manuel Miranda, “Hamilton”

“Are you sick of me saying duh?” - Raven SnookTimeOut New York

“Another another pointless category” - Matthew MurrayTalkin’ Broadway

“Maybe the other nominees could get together for a Tony viewing party.” - David BarbourLighting and Sound America


Nominees: Andy Blankenbuehler, “Hamilton”; Savion Glover, “Shuffle Along”; Hofesh Shechter, “Fiddler on the Roof”; Randy Skinner, “Dames at Sea”; Sergio Trujillo, “On Your Feet”
Critics Say WILL Win: Andy Blankenbuehler, “Hamilton”
Critics Say SHOULD Win: Savion Glover, “Shuffle Along"
Show-Score Members Say WILL Win: Andy Blankenbuehler, “Hamilton”

This was actually a very closely run two-horse race. American Theatre Magazine’s Rob Weinert-Kendt said that this is “the only category where ‘Hamilton’ is plausibly threatened.” Jonathan Mandell of New York Theater explained, “Andy Blankenbuehler’s choreography greatly enhances ‘Hamilton’. But Savion Glover’s choreography makes ‘Shuffle Along’. If you removed Blankenbuehler’s choreography, Hamilton would still dazzle. If you removed Glover’s, Shuffle Along…wouldn’t.”   


Nominees: August Eriksmoen, “Bright Star”; Larry Hochman, “She Loves Me”; Alex Lacamoire, “Hamilton”; Daryl Waters, “Shuffle Along”
Critics Say WILL Win: Alex Lacamoire, “Hamilton”
Critics Say SHOULD Win: Alex Lacamoire, “Hamilton”
Show-Score Members Say WILL Win: Alex Lacamoire, “Hamilton”

Like 88% of Show-Score members, most critics believe Alex Lacamoire of “Hamilton” will and should win. Some, like David Barbour at Lighting and Sound America, believe that “voters don't really understand orchestrations and will vote with ‘Hamilton’, because why not.” Others offer up other explanations. According to New York Theater’s Jonathan Mandell: “In a musical where the words are vital yet come at a fast clip, Alex Lacamoire deserves kudos for the difficult job of making sure the musical instruments didn't overwhelm the rappers. (If there were still a Tony for sound design, Hamilton's sound designer Nevin Steinberg would surely win it.)”

However, in the end, he and a couple of others believe ‘Shuffle Along’ has the best orchestrations on Broadway: “The jazz syncopation is glorious in ‘Shuffle Along’, and Waters does it without synthesizers.”

Now that you know what the critics think, don’t forget to finalize your own predictions for a chance to win up to 1,000,000 Audience Rewards Points!