1. Best Play, New
Topdog/Underdog and The Goat, Or Who Is Sylvia? tower over the competition. Sure, the New York Drama Critics Circle loves Edward Albee, but the Pulitzer went to Suzan-Lori Parks for a reason: Her characters are every bit as complex as the rest of us. As one of her jittery cardsharps might say, “Pick Topdog, you pick a winner; pick The Goat, you pick a loser.”
2. Best Play, Revival
Michael Frayn’s frolicky farce Noises Off is enjoying a delightful, crowd-pleasing run, but Noël Coward’s Private Lives, fresher in the minds of voters, is just as hilarious and also twice as nasty.
3. Best Musical, New
Thoroughly Modern Millie and Mamma Mia! are both frothy, glossy crowd-pleasers, but only Millie minted a brand-new Broadway star. Sutton Foster’s wattage should make the difference.
4. Best Musical, Revival
Stephen Sondheim squares off against his mentor, Oscar Hammerstein II, and should emerge, like the fringe on the surrey, on top. Timing is everything: Many fans of Oklahoma!’s London run felt let down by the transfer, while Into the Woods, long considered one of Sondheim’s most accessible shows, also emerged as one of his most heartfelt after 9/11.
5. Special Theatrical Event
Pretty soon, Elaine Stritch will have to edit her stunning solo – the part where she gripes about never having won a Tony. So much for that. (Though, of course, since she’s not up for Best Actress, her producers get the trophy …)