NEW YORK (AP) - There’s “Follies” and then there’s folly. The first is a winning revival of Stephen Sondheim’s musical that wowed Broadway this season. The other is how you can characterize any attempt to handicap Sunday’s Tony Awards. But here goes.
Will win: “Newsies.” Should win: “Once.”
This is the battle of extremes _ the stripped-down, bittersweet magic of “Once” versus the pump-you-up appeal of classic razzle-dazzle in “Newsies.” Both are a great night out, just different. Both came from movies and only “Newsies” has new songs written specifically for the stage, giving it an edge with Tony voters. But “Once” just makes you feel, well, good. As for the other contenders, “Leap of Faith” doesn’t have a chance since it’s already closed, and “Nice Work If You Can Get It” is a fun romp, but not as strong as its cousin “Anything Goes.”
Will win: “Clybourne Park.” Should win: “Clybourne Park.”
Bruce Norris’ sly, edgy gem has the same heat on it that Jon Robin Baitz’s “Other Desert Cities” had when it opened in the winter. That doesn’t make it better, just fresher. Both plays prove Broadway is putting on great American works again. The oh-so-cool “Peter and the Starcatcher” and the naughty “Venus in Fur” are inventive and bold, but not broad enough to tickle everyone.
Will win: “Death of a Salesman.” Should win: “Death of a Salesman.”
Arthur Miller’s masterpiece is timely and there is so much to like _ the recreated original set and music, the directing of Mike Nichols and the performances by Philip Seymour Hoffman, Linda Emond and Andrew Garfield _ that even if one part leaves you cold, the others will not. The revival of Gore Vidal’s “The Best Man” was also timely and had the season’s most insane collection of talented stage actors ever assembled, but it attacked your head. Miller’s play took your guts.
Will win: “Follies.” Should win: “The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess.”
The only thing certain in this category is that the two revivals from Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber _ “Evita” and “Jesus Christ Superstar” _ will cancel each other out, leaving the prize between a proud, confident Stephen Sondheim revival against the show he denigrated before it opened. That was uncool, especially when the re-imagined opera turned out to be rather stunning as a musical. But Sondheim’s dirt-throwing may make Tony voters squeamish, leaving “Follies” the win. “I Loves You, Porgy,” indeed.
Will win: Philip Seymour Hoffman (“Death of a Salesman”). Should win: James Corden (“One Man, Two Guvnors”).