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By Doug Strassler Yesterday I posted my predictions for the winners on Sunday's 66th Annual Tony Awards telecast. Below, my feelings about who will and who should go home with the gold in the musical categories: Best Musical: Nominees include the already-shuttered Leap of Faith, Newsies, Nice Work If You Can Get It, and Once. This is a rather humdrum list. Once is truly a play with music, as End of the Rainbow and Peter and the Starcatcher both identified themselves this season, but it opted to classify itself as a musical, so I'll play it as it lays. And it lies at the head of the pack here, challenged only by the crowd-pleasing Newsies. Who would have thought that Newsies, based on a bomb Disney movie musical from twenty years ago, would be the Goliath in this race? I still find it a middling musical, and as the more commercial one, would benefit less from a Tony win than Once, which could use the push. I, perhaps foolishly, grant the win to Once, which succeeds better on its own (slightly problematic) terms than the other nominees. Will win: Once Should win: Once Should have been nominated: absolutely nothing else this season Best Direction of a Musical: Nominees include Jeff Calhoun (Newsies), Kathleen Marshall (Nice Work If You Can Get It), Diane Paulus (The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess), and John Tiffany (Once). Tiffany will likely prevail here, and should: he managed to fuse a lot of unorthodox moving parts to turn Once into The Little Show That Could. Personally, I'd vote for Follies' Eric Schaeffer over this quartet, but he didn't make the cut. Will win: Tiffany Should win: Tiffany Should have been nominated: Eric Schaeffer, Follies Best Leading Actor in a Musical: Nominees include Danny Burstein (Follies), Jeremy Jordan (Newsies), Steve Kazee (Once), Norm Lewis (Porgy), and Ron Raines (Follies). Sometimes I play this game, where I put my money on the actor I want to win less, as karmic insurance that the one I want to win more will prevail. So even though the general consensus has it that long overdue veteran Burstein will win for his definitive portrayal of Buddy, I'll stick the much-hyped Jordan instead. All the while, I feel that a solid Lewis and especially Kazee are being overlooked in the mix, particularly the latter nominee, whose delicate work headlining this year's sleeper hit absolutely deserves recognition. Will win: Jordan Should win: Burstein or Kazee Should have been nominated: no one Best Leading Actress in a Play: Nominees include Jan Maxwell (Follies), Audra McDonald (Porgy), Cristin Milioti (Once), Kelli O'Hara (Nice Work), and Laura Osnes (Bonnie and Clyde). I'm a huge proponent of Maxwell's work this year; her rendition of "Story of Jessie and Lucy" slew me, and I haven't stopped thinking about it all year. Also, Milioti's idiosyncratic blend of tenderness and pluck was a big driving force behind Once's success ? her "The Hill" has also haunted me all season. But this one looks like McDonald's race to lose, and that rankles me. Though it's her first award as a leading performer, McDonald will set a record with five acting wins ? tying Julie Harris and Angela Lansbury ? and I just don't think her Bess is harrowing or transcendent enough to earn that career milestone (one that took Lansbury an additional four decades to hit, at that). Still she's a beloved member of the community, and a win seems all but assured. Will win: McDonald Should win: Maxwell Should have been nominated: Bernadette Peters, Follies Best Featured Actor in a Play: Nominees include Philip Boykin (Porgy), Michael Cerveris (Evita), David Alan Grier (Porgy), Michael McGrath (Nice Work), and Josh Young (Jesus Christ Superstar). Except for McGrath, all of the nominees here are nominated for revivals, and even Nice Work dusts off a bunch of Gershwin standards. I give McGrath the edge over Cerveris, but for me, Boykin stands out the most. His Crown was riveting, memorable and incredibly well-sung. He buoyed Porgy to places it didn't go when he wasn't onstage. Will win: McGrath Should win: Boykin Should have been nominated: Patrick Page, Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark (yes, really) Best Featured Actress in a Musical: Nominees include Elizabeth A. Davis (Once), Jayne Houdyshell (Follies), Judy Kaye (Nice Work), Jessie Mueller (On a Clear Day You Can See Forever), and Da'Vine Joy Randolph (Ghost the Musical). Mueller was the bright light in an otherwise execrable misfire, and Houdyshell brought humor and subtlety to a small but memorable part. Still, I said it in my review, this is Kaye's to win. Note to those who want a Tony: put a chandelier in your show, too. Will win: Kaye Should win: Houdyshell or Mueller Should have been nominated: Melissa van der Schyff, Bonnie or Bryona Marie Parham or NaTasha Yvette Williams, Porgy Let's see how my predictions go!

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