Gypsy's opening announces the beginning of Tony season on Broadway, as the next few months promise more eleventh-hour entries, with shows positioning themselves for runs at the award. The rave reviews for the revival — and for its three stars: Patti LuPone, Laura Benanti, and Boyd Gaines — raise the question: Can anyone beat Gypsy?
The question is made more complicated by the fact that this year, bizarrely, has been ruled by the straight play on Broadway. By our count, only twelve musicals will be eligible for Tony Awards this year, and only four of those are revivals. So that means the competition for acting awards, as well as the big prize, is much thinner than in most years. (Meanwhile, the Tonys for straight plays are going to be brutal this year.) So can Gypsy get the sweep — Revival, Actress, and Featured Actor and Actress? We think it probably can.
Best Revival of a Musical
The only contenders for this award — unless we're missing something — are Gypsy, Grease, South Pacific, and Sunday in the Park With George. The only real contenders are Gypsy and Sunday, but it seems pretty likely that Patti and the power of Gypsy will blow the well-regarded but not star-studded Sunday revival out of the water.
Best Leading Actress in a Musical
LuPone benefits from the fact that the two most showy performances in musicals this year — other than hers — come from writer/actors, Lin-Manuel Miranda of In the Heights and Stew of Passing Strange. LuPone's competition should include Kelli O'Hara of the upcoming South Pacific revival; Jenna Russell of Sunday in the Park; and Faith Prince in A Catered Affair. Prince is always a threat, but this award was LuPone's the day she took the role.
Best Featured Actor in a Musical
This one's a tougher call, as showy comedic performances always have a chance to walk away with this award. Who might beat Gaines? Perhaps one of the seafolk of The Little Mermaid, or one of the chameleons that back up Stew in Passing Strange? Or, biggest of all, Harvey Fierstein in A Catered Affair?
Best Featured Actress in a Musical
This winner could come out of nowhere; perhaps there's an actress in Cry-Baby or In the Heights who might rise from obscurity and dance away with this award. Or it could go to a star as a sop to an otherwise ignored show — say, Megan Mullally or Sutton Foster from Young Frankenstein. But given how Tony voters love Benanti — this would be her third nomination already — we sure like her chances.