In a very competitive year, ‘Dear Evan Hanson’ has an edge when it comes to the top prize.
Best Musical is always the most hyped category heading into the Tony Awards, which will be broadcast Sunday night on CBS. But let’s face it: in many years, the race isn’t really a race. Consider recent runaway winners, such as Billy Elliot (2009), The Book of Mormon (2011), Once (2012), A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder (2014) and Hamilton (2016). All of those victories were rather clear from the outset. Among recent ceremonies, only the eventual victories of Kinky Boots (2013) and Fun Home (2015) were truly in doubt.
But this year, boy oh boy do we have a race. Dear Evan Hansen vs. Come from Away vs. Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812, and perhaps even a Groundhog Day upset. Just how close is it? For that, we need math, and that’s where I come in. As I described in yesterday’s article, which contains predictions in the ten play categories, I use nothing but statistics and data to calculate the chance that each nominee will win each race. And we’ve got 14 great ones on the musical side, so let’s dive in:
Following a relatively easy year for Best Musical prediction (in which Hamilton was clearly poised to win the top prize in a landslide), we are now faced with an extremely difficult one. Not only are there three legitimate contenders — no offense to Groundhog Day — but two of them opened off-Broadway in years past. So, even though Come from Away, about how the residents of a remote town in Newfoundland welcomed stranded airline passengers in the wake of 9/11, won this category at the Drama Desk Awards, it didn’t have to compete with either Dear Evan Hansen, which revolves around an anxiety-ridden teen, or Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812, which is based on a section of Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace. In the one contest where the trio did go head-to-head, the Drama League Awards, Dear Evan Hansen came out on top, so it is slightly favored to do so again Sunday night.
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