Tony Awards 2019 Breakdown

PV junior predicts winners


Jason Leibfried

The 2019 Tony Awards will be airing on Sunday, June 9, at 8 p.m. Pascack Valley junior Jason Leibfriend breaks down each award and predicts the winners for each category.

The 2019 Tony Award nominations were released on April 30 and will be awarded on June 9 of this year. The show airs on Sunday, June 9, at 8 p.m., on most streaming services or CBS.

The season saw the premiere of 11 new musicals and two new revivals of musicals. The leading musicals by nominations this year were “Hadestown” at 14, “Ain’t Too Proud” at 12, “Tootsie” at 11, and “Beetlejuice” and “Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!at eight. Out of the 13 musicals eligible for awards, three of them did not receive any nominations.

This season was an interesting season because there is a variety of shows that have won the title of “Best Musical” out of the the lesser-known awards that have been announced. The Awards gave “Be More Chill” best musical, meanwhile “Hadestown” won at the Outer Critics Circle Awards and Drama League Awards, and “Tootsie” won the Drama Critics Circle Awards. Usually, there is one show that wins all of the lower-tier awards, and it can give insight to what will win the Tony Awards, although this algorithm was not accurate as last season “Spongebob SquarePants” won the majority of the lower-tier awards, yet lost the Best Musical Tony to “The Band’s Visit.”

Best Musical

Five musicals were nominated for Best Musical out of the 11 new musicals added. These are “Ain’t Too Proud,” “Beetlejuice,” “Hadestown,” “The Prom,” and “Tootsie.”

Will Win: “Hadestown”

Should Win: “The Prom”

Should Have Been Nominated: “Be More Chill”

Out of all the musicals nominated for the Tony Award Best Musical this year, “The Prom” has been consistently nominated for Best Musical in all of the awards, both lower-tier and higher-tier awards.

“Hadestown” is an artistic masterpiece that I think will win the Tony Award. Based off of the Greek myth, this show tells the ancient tale of Orpheus and Eurydice in a new way with spectacular new songs, a creative set, and an amazing direction. It exceeds in every way and it is everything you would expect a musical to be.

“The Prom” is another really strong musical. It is the only musical nominated for the Best Musical Tony this year not based on something pre-existing, whether it be a movie, myth, or artist. It has a hilarious script with funny characters, catchy songs, and a strong message about the acceptance of yourself and others around you.

“Tootsie” is a musical based off of the 1982 comedy movie. It tells the story of a man who gets blacklisted on Broadway and the only way for him to get a job is to dress up as a woman. The talent in this show is evident and the book is comical. It definitely has a good chance of winning the Tony Award. Although, the musical has been heavily criticized for being transphobic and making homophobic jokes throughout, and because of that, I do not think the Tony’s would give it the most prestigious award on Broadway.

While I really enjoyed “Beetlejuice” since it was an extremely fun show with a jaw-dropping set and amazing practical effects, it had a few plot holes and it is fully based off a movie. It does not really take a unique spin like “The Lion King.”

“Ain’t Too Proud” was a shock for almost everybody in the Broadway community. Being nominated for 12 awards, nobody expected it to do as well as it did. While it is a good musical with outstanding choreography, it’s not as good as the other options this season.

Personally, I felt that “Be More Chill” deserved the nomination more than “Ain’t Too Proud.” The musical didn’t get much love from the Tony’s as it did for the lower-tier awards, going as far as winning Best Musical for one of them, so while it’s not surprising that it didn’t get the nomination, it definitely deserved it in my opinion.

Best Revival of a Musical

Two revivals opened this past season, and both of them were nominated for the category. These are “Kiss Me, Kate” and “Oklahoma!.”

Will Win: “Oklahoma!”

Should Win: “Oklahoma!”

Should Have Been Nominated: N/A

This category is much harder to predict. The two shows are very different with “Oklahoma!” taking a modern take on the classic 1940s musical and “Kiss Me, Kate” taking a very classic take on the musical.

I feel like “Oklahoma!” takes the edge on this one since it clearly re-invented the musical in a good way. It took a creative risk as it re-imagined the setting and style of the musical in a way that has never been done before. It has new orchestrations and arrangements of the song. While “Kiss Me, Kate” is a spectacle, the entire show is what you would expect from the musical, taking very little creative risks.

Best Book of a Musical

The nominees for Best Book of a Musical, the script and story, goes to “Ain’t Too Proud,” “Beetlejuice,” “Hadestown,” “The Prom” and “Tootsie.”

Will Win: “Tootsie,” Robert Horn

Should Win: “The Prom,” Bob Martin and Chad Beguelin

Should Have Been Nominated: N/A

“Tootsie is a musical based on a movie, but the book of this show takes the positive parts of the movie and brings it to life while also creating new elements of the story to make it better. It tackles topics that the movie did not, like what Michael Dorsey, the main character, learns from pretending to be a woman.

While “Tootsie” succeeded in adapting the movie for the stage, “The Prom” is a fully original story not based on any pre-existing content. It is a unique script that feels like a classic show with a modern twist.

“The Prom” is a musical comedy that is actually funny and clever, something hard to find in most modern shows, while having emotional and dramatic moments that leaves audiences engaged.

Writing a musical is hard, but writing a musical comedy that is comical and has a heart to it is even harder. “The Prom” greatly succeeds at that.

Best Original Score Written for the Theatre

The nominees for Best Original Score, open to both plays and musicals, goes to “Be More Chill,” “Beetlejuice,” “Hadestown,” “The Prom,” “To Kill a Mockingbird,” and “Tootsie.”

Will Win: “Hadestown,” Anaïs Mitchell

Should Win: “Hadestown,” Anaïs Mitchell

Should Have Been Nominated: N/A

This category was particularly hard as it is filled with strong nominees. While all the songs to each of these shows are good and catchy, the “Hadestown” score is beautiful. The songs carry power to them that truly wows the audience. The songs stick with you even after leaving the performance — they are beautiful, emotional, and powerful. 

Best Direction of a Musical

The nominees for Best Direction of a Musical goes to “Ain’t Too Proud,” “Oklahoma!,” “Hadestown,” “The Prom,” and “Tootsie.”

Will Win: Rachel Chavkin, “Hadestown”

Should Win: Daniel Fish, “Oklahoma!”

Should Have Been Nominated: N/A

Arguably one of the most important awards of the season, besides Best Musical, the direction of the show will make or break the experience. This season had an exceptional amount of shows with amazing direction.

Everyone who sees “Hadestown says it’s an absolute masterpiece with its unique storytelling methods. The director really put a ton of effort into the musical and it shows.

“Oklahoma!” is another beautiful show with an outstanding direction. The show is a modern take on a classic show, and the show is so iconic you could have played it safe and people would still love it. But the show took a different take on it and still wows audiences, both people who have never seen it and people who love the show. The show’s unique take on the classic show is why it should win, but “Hadestown” will probably win between the two.

Best Choreography

The nominees for Best Choreography, again open to both plays and musicals. goes to “Choir Boy,” “Kiss Me, Kate,” “Hadestown,” “Ain’t Too Proud,” and “Tootsie.”

Will Win: Warren Carlyle, “Kiss Me, Kate”

Should Win: Sergio Trujillo, “Ain’t Too Proud”

Should Have Been Nominated: “Head Over Heels” and “The Prom”

This was another hard category since all of the shows nominated deserve it completely.

“Ain’t Too Proud” has insane choreography throughout the show, mostly to the leading men in the show, but “Kiss Me, Kate’s” classic feel to the show will push it to victory. The show has a lot of choreography that is amazing to watch from the audience and looks like it would be so much fun. This season had a lot of shows with strong choreography, and “Head Over Heels” and “The Prom” both have amazing choreography that unfortunately in the Tony nominator’s eyes, did not exceed the other shows nominated.  

Best Orchestrations

The nominees for Best Orchestrations, again open to both plays and musicals, goes to “Oklahoma!,” “Kiss Me, Kate,” “Hadestown,” “Ain’t Too Proud,” and “Tootsie.

Will Win: Michael Chorney and Todd Sickafoose, “Hadestown”

Should Win: Michael Chorney and Todd Sickafoose, “Hadestown”

Should Have Been Nominated: Be More Chill”

Orchestrations are what makes the songs sound even better than they are. The “Hadestown” orchestrations are beautiful and emotional to listen to. There is almost no competition to the other nominees compared to “Hadestown.” All of the other shows took previously existing orchestrations and adapted them for this production, like “Tootsie.”

“Be More Chill” is another show that should have been nominated. Listening to “Jeremy’s Theme,” the overture of the show points out how brilliantly these orchestrations were laid out. Unique instruments, some of which have never been used in Broadway before, were used. The show definitely deserved the nomination for this category.

Best Scenic Design of a Musical

The nominees for Best Scenic Design of a Musical, again open to both plays and musicals. goes to “Oklahoma!,” “Beetlejuice,” “Hadestown,” “Ain’t Too Proud,” and “King Kong.”

Will Win: David Korins, “Beetlejuice”

Should Win: David Korins, “Beetlejuice”

Should Have Been Nominated: “Tootsie”

The “Beetlejuice” sets were jaw-dropping. The magic that they used throughout to do the illusions was mind-boggling and the set transformed throughout the show in view of the audience. The show definitely deserves the win.

“Hadestown” is a close second, with its uniquely-designed set that is almost equally as amazing.

“Tootsie,” while having a cool set design that really feels like a classic golden age Broadway musical, was for some reason not nominated. This could be to it not being as spectacular as the other shows, but its classic take on New York City definitely deserved a nomination.

Best Costume Design of a Musical

The nominees for Best Costume Design of a Musical, again open to both plays and musicals, goes to “Tootsie,” “Beetlejuice,” “Hadestown,” “Ain’t Too Proud,” and “The Cher Show.”  

Will Win: Bob Mackie, “The Cher Show”

Should Win: Bob Mackie, “The Cher Show”

Should Have Been Nominated: “Head Over Heels”

Costumes this year was another hard category to choose a winner. The costumes in “The Cher Show” blow all of the other shows out of the water. They are inspired by Cher’s actual clothes she wore, but took them a step further and made them dazzling to look at while you are watching.

“Head Over Heels” also had unique costumes. The show takes place in medieval times, and while I have not seen the show, the costumes from promotional videos and performances looked amazing and beautiful. I am surprised that the show was not nominated.

Best Sound Design of a Musical

The nominees for Best Sound Design of a Musical, again open to both plays and musicals. goes to “King Kong,” “Beetlejuice,” “Hadestown,” “Ain’t Too Proud,” and “Oklahoma!.”

Will Win: Nevin Steinberg and Jessica Paz, “Hadestown”

Should Win: Peter Hylenski, “King Kong”

Should Have Been Nominated: “Be More Chill”

The Tony for Sound Design of a Musical was recently brought back last season and deals with not only sound effects, but the effects used with microphones.

“King Kong” has a marvelous sound design with not only the roar of King Kong that rattles the entire theatre, but with the other smaller, lesser heard sound effects that most people would not notice but really make an impact on the show. Unfortunately, I do not think “King Kong” will win the award since “Hadestown” is equally as amazing.

“Be More Chill,” yet again, excels at sound design in my opinion. This was the strongest part of the show for me, as the character’s voices glitch during the show. The things they are able to do to the character’s voices, such as make them robotic or deeper than they are, are amazing and I am shocked the show did not get the nomination for this category.

Best Lighting Design of a Musical

The nominees for Best Lighting Design of a Musical, again open to both plays and musicals. goes to “King Kong,” “Beetlejuice,” “Hadestown,” “Ain’t Too Proud,” and “Oklahoma!.”  

Will Win: Bradley King, “Hadestown”

Should Win: Kenneth Posner and Peter Nigrini, “Beetlejuice”

Should Have Been Nominated: “The Cher Show”

Lighting is another category that could make or break a show. The “Hadestown” lighting is as brilliant as the rest of the show. It is simplistic yet complex and adds so much to the show. I think “Hadestown” will definitely win, but a close second is the lighting for “Beetlejuice” which adds so much to the show. The show relies a lot on magic, which some of it would not be possible or as effective if the lighting design was not perfect. It deserves the award, but unfortunately, the brilliant design of “Hadestown” might take the cake.