Now Reading
Tony Awards 2024 Winners Predictions: Category-By-Category Using Math

Tony Awards 2024 Winners Predictions: Category-By-Category Using Math

Tony Awards 2024 Winners Predictions: Category-By-Category Using Math

A category-by-category look at which musicals and plays have the best chance of claiming honors based on a model trained on historical data and other indicator awards.

Beginning in 2021, the Tonys became a marathon. Not just because of the 26 categories, the same as the number of miles in a marathon. But also because what used to be 3 hours of awards is now 4.5. So put on a fresh pair of tap shoes, get your costume change ready, and enjoy every minute of it.

The time to start training is now. If you’ve already acquired your Tony attire, next up on the regimen is a sneak preview of who might win. As with the Oscars, I’ve built a mathematical model to predict the Tony Awards, based on a combination of which categories a show is nominated in, the aggregated predictions of various Broadway critics, and the results of the Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle, Drama League, and New York Drama Critics Circle Awards.

The model is trained on historical Tony Awards data, and inputs that have done a better job of predicting each category in the past get more weight in this year’s predictions.

With 15 possible best musical contenders on Broadway this season, this must have led to some very difficult choices for Tony voters as they cast their ballots, with so much musical talent to choose from. Here’s a look at what the math says for predicting the play categories and musical categories:

We begin with a strong favorite. When the nominations were announced, Stereophonic heard its name called 13 times, surpassing Slave Play’s record for most-ever nominations for a play. It would be a major upset if another play won. Then again, Slave Play lost to The Inheritance, so don’t consider any race to be over.

This race felt a bit closer when the nominations were first announced, but since then, Appropriate completed a full sweep of the Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle, and Drama Desk Awards, giving it nearly as commanding of a lead as Stereophonic in the Best Play race.

Leslie Odom Jr. burst into A-list status in Hamilton, a production that would ultimately get him 75 percent of the way to an EGOT. While he still needs that Oscar win (he has been nominated), he’s the favorite to double his Tony total Sunday night for his role in Purlie Victorious. But don’t count out Jeremy Strong (An Enemy of the People).

Sarah Paulson (Appropriate) is a popular pick here, but the math says this one is neck-and-neck with Jessica Lange (Mother Play). To add to the drama, the Drama Desk Awards recently went to genderless acting categories, allowing both of them to win the Lead Performance award there, doing no favors for us prognosticators.

A Doll’s House (1997) is the only show to win Tonys for Best Revival of a Play, Best Lead Actress in a Play, and Best Featured Actor in a Play. If Corey Stoll can join his fellow favorites on stage, Appropriate would match that feat.

This is quite a run that Kara Young is on. Two years ago, she was nominated for Featured Actress in a Play Clyde’s. Last year, she was up for the same category for Cost of Living. And now, make that three in a row with Purlie Victorious. The only other person to be nominated in three consecutive years in this category was Judith Light, and she won the last two of them. Now Young looks to join the winners’ circle.

It’s just about impossible to get to a historic 13 nominations without having strong direction. Daniel Aukin’s show is the favorite up and down the board (especially “down,” if you keep reading), and he himself has a 41 percent chance to win a Tony.

While there is no “makeup and hair” Tony, there most certainly is a Costume Design one, and it’s looking like a well-deserved win for Dede Ayite and Jaja’s African Hair Braiding. Even if there’s an upset, Ayite gets a second bite at the apple, as she is also nominated in this category for Appropriate.

If, hypothetically, every favorite won in every category (a very unlikely occurrence), Stereophonic would win five Tonys including Best Play. It would be only the 13th show to achieve that, most recently The Lehman Trilogy two years ago. The all-time record for plays is seven wins, held by The Coast of Utopia (2007), which could theoretically be in striking distance for Stereophonic with a couple of upsets.

David Zinn has already made history this year, regardless of the results Sunday night. He’s nominated in this category for Stereophonic and Jaja’s African Hair Braiding, and in Costume Design of a Play for An Enemy of People, making him only the fourth person to be nominated for three shows in the same year (excluding Best Show categories). The other three were Kenneth Posner (2013), Bob Crowley (2015), and Ann Roth (2018). Now Zinn is looking to win this one, albeit with heavy competition from the collective known as “dots” (Appropriate, An Enemy of the People).

This almost seems unfair, right? Stereophonic is about the rise of a 70s rock band, and while it doesn’t quite veer into the categorization of a “musical,” it’s certainly more musical than the average play, giving it a clear leg up in the Sound Design race.

The Drama League opted for Hell’s Kitchen. The Outer Critics Circle sided with Suffs. The Drama Desk honored off-Broadway’s Dead Outlaw. Fasten your seatbelts.

Only two revivals have ever won at least 70 percent of their nominations: Chicago (1997) went 6/8, and Assassins (2004) went 5/7. Merrily We Roll Along is mathematically favored to win 5 of its 7 nominations, including Best Revival of a Musical, and could join that group if all 5 go its way.

I wouldn’t go quite as far as saying a nominee is “due” on just his third nomination, but after falling short of the Tony for Spring Awakening and Hamilton, Jonathan Groff’s fans might make the case. Those fans have just under a coin flip’s chance of finally seeing their man on stage for his leading performance in Merrily We Roll Along.

This may be the model’s most surprising result of the night. Maleah Joi Moon (Hell’s Kitchen) is the popular pick here, and she may very well win. The top two nominees tied at the Drama Desk Awards, and Moon’s show earned 10 more nominations than O’Hara’s (Days of Wine and Roses) did. But after Kelli O’Hara won an Outer Critics Circle race that Moon wasn’t even nominated for, that was just barely enough to put her into the unexpected lead.

Daniel Radcliffe will forever be known for playing a certain wizard, but to assume that he’s riding to the top of this list on the power of film stardom would be unfair. This is now a stage actor who has thoroughly paid his New York dues, for those who believe in such things, and his 5th Broadway performance may be his best one yet, according to numerous critics.

For those keeping score at home, Lindsay Mendez’s narrowly projected win marks the third acting category that Merrily We Roll Along leads in. If it wins all three, it would join South Pacific (1950), The Music Man (1958), Jerome Robbins’ Broadway (1989), The Producers (2001), and Hamilton (2016) as the only shows to win these same three acting categories.

Typically, the season’s leading musical revival is a refresh of a beloved old musical. Not so this year, as Maria Friedman (Merrily We Roll Along) had to guide a show that originally only lasted 16 performances in its 1981 incarnation back into Broadway’s good graces. For her efforts, the math gives her the slimmest of margins over Jessica Stone (Water for Elephants).

Paul Tazewell (Suffs) is a familiar name in this category thanks to his seven nominations here, one shy of William Ivey Long’s record of eight. He’s looking for his second win, after Hamilton, for helping bring the suffrage movement back to life on the Music Box Theatre stage.

This is a particularly tough category to pick, the sort of race that wins or loses Tony pools. The precursors lined up behind The Outsiders, while most of the critics are leaning towards Illinoise. But with no nominee cracking the 40 percent mark, don’t be too surprised to see an even bigger upset here, whether that’s Cabaret, Hell’s Kitchen, or Water for Elephants.

Here Lies Love is a remarkably ambitious piece of scenic design, converting an entire Broadway theater into a disco club, complete with a standing audience (after all, who sits on a disco floor?) and brightly colored lights illuminating the dark interior. David Korins is the man who put it all together, and there’s a 40.5% chance he’ll be honored for his ingenuity Sunday night.

Hell’s Kitchen, partially based on the life of its creator Alicia Keys, is filled with musical instruments. Sound designer Gareth Owens has some clever stage magic up his sleeve: some of the on-stage instruments are actually played by the people holding them, but others contain speakers that relay the sounds of off-screen instruments, so that the audience feels like all of the on-stage performances are “real.” Even if Hell’s Kitchen falls short of the night’s final prize, this category looks like its strongest path to the stage.

Best Book of a Musical could prove to be an early clue for Best Musical watchers, as the same top two contenders – Suffs and Hell’s Kitchen – also go head-to-head in this race. Like the Best Musical race, Suffs has the edge here (a bit more in this category), so if Hell’s Kitchen pulls off the Best Book upset, all bets are off for Best Musical.

See Also
‘Those About to Die’ Review: Peacock’s Gladiatorial Spectacle

Perhaps the most intriguing nominee here is the one is second place, Stereophonic, continuing the recent trend of plays making the Original Score shortlist. It’s the eighth play in the last six years to do that, doubling the total from the first seven decades of Tony history. But don’t let that distract you from the impressive work of the frontrunner, Shaina Taub’s score for Suffs.

 Justin Peck seems to have a golden touch when it comes to award shows. He’s only worked on two films – West Side Story and Maestro – and both were nominated at the Oscars for Best Picture. He’s only done choreography for two Broadway plays – Carousel and Illinoise – and if things goes according to the data, he’d win the Tony for Best Choreography for both of them.

Illinoise is a unique show, bringing an album by Sufjan Stevens to life on-stage. Part of the credit for its success in doing so belongs to Timo Andres, who arranged the music for the Broadway adaptation. He enjoys a narrow 0.8 percent lead over Merrily We Roll Along, one of the few nominations the latter show might not win.

Copyright © MetaMedia™ Capital Inc, All right reserved

Scroll To Top