2023 Tony Awards slugfest: 15 productions vie for places in Musical races [WATCH]

In the lead-up to Tony nominations being announced on May 2, Sam Eckmann and I are predicting 10 of the Musical categories, where new breakout shows like “Kimberly Akimbo” and “Some Like it Hot” and revivals of “Sweeney Todd” and “Into the Woods” will compete for the highest honors of the New York theatre community. Nominations will be announced on May 2 and winners will be revealed on June 11. Watch the full video slugfest above.

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At the outset, I declare that I think “Kimberly Akimbo” will have “a sensational Tony night.” The new show by Jeanine Tesori and David Lindsay-Abaire leads both of our predictions for the Best Musical prize, but we agree that “Some Like it Hot” will be a strong challenger. Sam describes it as “a ‘Hello Dolly!’ for the modern times,” noting how it’s both “super funny but also very poignant.”

As for Revival, Sam deems this contest “a battle of the Sondheim shows” as “Sweeney Todd” and “Into the Woods” contend for the top honor. We both think “Parade” and “Camelot” will round out the category, and Sam highlights how “Parade” is “sadly speaking to the moment” of antisemitic violence.

SEE Victoria Clark (‘Kimberly Akimbo’) could be the 12th actress in this elite club of Tony winners

We are similarly in sync on the top acting categories. In Best Actress, we agree on four of the five potential nominees, which include Victoria Clark (“Kimberly Akimbo”), Annaleigh Ashford (“Sweeney Todd”), Sara Bareilles (“Into the Woods”), and Micaela Diamond (“Parade”). For that fifth slot, Sam opts for past Tony winner Patina Miller, who played The Witch in “Into the Woods,” while I go with past Tony nominee Phillipa Soo as Guinevere in “Camelot.” He cautions that “if someone falls out, it would be one of the women from ‘Into the Woods,’” before hypothesizing that since Clark and Ashford both have Tonys already, a breakout performer might emerge this spring to steal the Tony away.

We do share the same top five in Best Actor, but Sam picks J. Harrison Ghee for their star turn in “Some Like it Hot,” while I bet on Josh Groban as the menacing title character in “Sweeney.” In this competitive category, I stress how much I want to slot in Andrew Burnap as Arthur in “Camelot,” but I don’t know who to drop just yet.

Our predictions in the featured categories are much less assured. While we both have Bonnie Milligan (“Kimberly Akimbo”) out front for Featured Actress and see Broadway veteran NaTasha Yvette Williams (“Some Like it Hot”) scoring a bid, our picks diverge from there. I’m betting on past winners and nominees like Ruthie Ann Miles (“Sweeney Todd”) and Phillipa Soo (“Into the Woods”) to break through, which means I think the latter will score two nominations this year. Sam, conversely, goes out on a limb for Robyn Hurder (“A Beautiful Noise: The Neil Diamond Musical”), who previously surprised with a bid for “Moulin Rouge!.”

Featured Actor is equally crowded. We both have Justin Cooley (“Kimberly Akimbo”), Jordan Donica (“Camelot”), and Gavin Creel (“Into the Woods”) predicted; I have slotted in Gaten Matarazzo (“Sweeney Todd”) and Joshua Henry (“Into the Woods”), while Sam opts for Kevin Del Aguila (“Some Like it Hot”) and Kevin Cahoon (“Shucked”). We also discuss the many, many other possible nominees that we don’t have enough room to predict.

SEE Brian d’Arcy James (‘Into the Woods’) hoping to break decades-old Tonys curse

To close out, we quickly discuss four other categories. For Best Direction, I pick “Kimberly Akimbo” for now, while Sam think “Sweeney Todd” will prevail because it lends itself to a “more grand directorial concept.” He warns of a potential nomination for “Parade,” while I emphasize that we will know a lot more about how this will shake out once “New York, New York” begins performances. We both pick an “Akimbo” duo of wins in Score and Book, though I note that the Tonys like “really funny books,” which might favor a “Some Like it Hot” win. If “Hot” gets shut out of a lot of races by “Kimberly,” we both think it will at the very least prevail in Choreography.

PREDICT the 2023 Tony Award nominees through May 2

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