It's Tony Time: Here Are Our Predictions

June 4, 2015

Robert Fairchild and Leanne Cope in Tony-nominated An American in Paris. Photo by Sara Krulwich via The New York Times. –


The anticipation is almost over. The 2015 Tony Awards are just two days away! It’s been a season of dance-filled musicals, with Jerome Robbins revivals On the Town and The King and I, Mia Michaels’ Broadway choreographic debut Finding Neverland (which was shut out with no Tony nominations), Chita Rivera’s final bow in The Visit and Christopher Wheeldon’s An American in Paris. Performances from each of these shows and more are sure to keep the broadcast lively, as are hosts Kristin Chenoweth and Alan Cumming. Here’s to hoping that their opening number outdoes Hugh Jackman’s 2014 hopping disaster.

Even though the Best Choreography category sometimes doesn’t even make it onto the live broadcast (which is a crime!), it’s still our favorite part of the Tonys. Here are the nominees for Best Choreography and our thoughts about who will take home the prize that has been claimed by Bob Fosse, Agnes de Mille, Jerome Robbins, Twyla Tharp, Kenneth MacMillan, Susan Stroman and many other dance greats.

Emmy-winning choreographer Joshua Bergasse has two musicals on Broadway this season — Gigi and On the Town. Only On the Town, based on Robbins’s Fancy Free and featuring New York City Ballet principal Megan Fairchild, has emerged as a Tony contender, with nominations for Best Choreography, Best Revival of a Musical and Best Leading Actor in a Musical among others. Though On the Town will have a hard time competing with An American in Paris (featuring Fairchild’s brother and co-NYCB dancer, Robert Fairchild!) for Best Choreography, it’s a solid choice for Best Revival.

Competing with On the Town for Best Choreography and Best Revival of a Musical is another Robbins revival, The King and I. Though Kelli O’Hara is a top pick for Best Leading Actress in a Musical, Tony winning choreographer Christopher Gattelli (nominated for South Pacific in 2008 and awarded the prize in 2012 for Newsies) will also likely fall short next to Wheeldon.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
might be the ultimate underdog of the Best Choreography category. It’s also nominated for Best Play, marking the first time in our memory that a play, not a musical has been recognized for its choreography. Movement directors Scott Graham and Steven Hoggett (of American Idiot, Once, Rocky the Musical and The Last Ship) have created a language of whimsical movement that constructs the world of the piece’s autistic protagonist. Though it’s not exactly “dance” and it won’t win Best Choreography, it is innovative and makes movement a vital part of a non-musical piece, and I’m all for that.

Casey Nicholaw’s nomination for Something Rotten! continues his string of Tony success as a director/choreographer, with nominations for his work on Monty Python’s Spamalot, The Drowsy Chaperone and The Book of Mormon. Adding energetic and quirky dances to silly musicals seems to be Nicholaw’s forte, but that won’t win him Best Choreography.

An American in Paris, directed and choreographed by the prolific ballet choreographer Christopher Wheeldon, is almost sure to win Best Choreography, and possibly snag Best Musical and Best Direction as well. As Dance Magazine Editor-in-Chief Jennifer Stahl puts it, “the man even choreographed the set changes beautifully!” Robert Fairchild has a good chance of taking home the Best Leading Actor award, but Leanne Cope’s competition for Leading Actress is stiff, including Tony host Kristin Chenoweth, Kelli O’Hara and Chita Rivera.

Possible snubs for the Best Choreography category include Jerry Mitchell protégé Denis Jones for Honeymoon in Vegas, Joshua Bergasse’s second project starring Vanessa Hudgens, Gigi, Steven Hoggett for Sting’s The Last Ship and contemporary superstar Mia Michaels for Finding Neverland.

Tune in on Sunday at 8/7c on CBS to see if our predictions are right!