The Tony Awards, the most prestigious awards ceremony in the world of theater, are set to take place this year at a new venue, the United Palace in Washington Heights. Excitement is building among theater enthusiasts as the event approaches, and for those who can’t wait to see who takes home the coveted prizes, there’s a mathematical model that can help predict the winners in all 26 categories.
The model, similar to ones used for the Oscars, is based on a combination of factors, including the number of categories a show is nominated in, the predictions of Broadway critics, and the results of the Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle, and Drama League Awards. To improve the accuracy of the predictions, the model has been trained on historical data from the past 25 years of the Tony Awards, with inputs that have proven to be more effective in the past given more weight in this year’s predictions.
While some years may see clear favorites sweep the awards, as was the case in the final pre-pandemic Tonys when 22 of the 26 mathematical favorites emerged victorious, other years may see upsets and surprises.
Here’s a closer look at each category and the mathematical percentages for the frontrunners:
Best Play: Tom Stoppard, a four-time winner for Best Play, could add to his impressive record with a win for Leopoldstadt, a poignant tale of a Jewish family in Vienna facing rising antisemitism in the first half of the 20th century.
Best Revival of a Play: Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House is likely to win this category, which it has already won once before in 1997, or Topdog/Underdog.
Leading Actor in a Play: Sean Hayes, who plays the lead role in Good Night, Oscar, is hoping to clinch the prize for his portrayal of the real-life Oscar Levant, a musician and actor who appeared on The Tonight Show in 1958.
Leading Actress in a Play: Jessica Chastain, who won her first Oscar last year for The Eyes of Tammy Faye, is predicted to win her first Tony for her work in A Doll’s House, although she faces stiff competition from Jodie Comer in Prima Facie.
Featured Actor in a Play: Brandon Uranowitz, who portrays multiple roles in Leopoldstadt, is the clear frontrunner in this category, with a 2-in-3 chance of winning based on his wins from both the Drama Desk and the Outer Critics Circle Awards.
Featured Actress in a Play: Miriam Silverman, who delivered a standout performance in The Sign in Sidney Brustein’s Window, is favored to win in this category, with a 37% chance of clinching the prize.
Direction of a Play: With the model not being confident in the direction categories, Leopoldstadt’s Patrick Marber has a slight lead over Max Webster for Life of Pi.
Costume Design of a Play: Emilio Sosa’s works for Ain’t No Mo’ and Good Night Oscar are impressive, but Brigitte Reiffenstuel’s designs for Leopoldstadt are predicted to take this trophy.
Lighting Design of a Play: The West End production of Life of Pi transformed an indoor stage to the high seas and won this category at the Olivier Awards. The American version has a 32% chance of repeating that success.
Scenic Design of a Play: Andrzej Goulding and Tim Hatley’s work on Life of Pi, which features a unique setting, is favored to win this category.
Sound Design of a Play: The model does not see a clear frontrunner in this category, but A Christmas Carol is given a slight edge.
Best Musical: While Kimberly Akimbo is popular among theater enthusiasts, the model predicts Some Like It Hot will win this category, having already won the Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards.
Best Revival of a Musical: The original run of Parade was nominated for this award in 1999, and the revival is expected to take home the prize, but Into the Woods and Sweeney Todd are also in contention.
Leading Actor in a Musical: Non-binary actors J. Harrison Ghee (Some Like It Hot) and Alex Newell (Shucked) are set to make history if they win in their respective categories, with both being predicted to clinch the awards based on the model’s calculations.
Leading Actress in a Musical: Kimberly Akimbo has a chance to sweep both actress categories with Victoria Clark and Bonnie Milligan, but it’s not a certainty, with strong competition from other nominees in this category.
Featured Actor in a Musical: Alex Newell is once again the favorite in this category, despite having to compete against cast members from their own show.
Featured Actress in a Musical: Bonnie Milligan and Kimberly Akimbo are predicted to win in this category, which would make Kimberly Akimbo the 14th musical to sweep both actress categories.
Direction of a Musical: With best musical and best musical revival frontrunners Some Like It Hot and Parade as the frontrunners, Jessica Stone is favored to win this category, just edging out Michael Arden.
Costume Design of a Musical: Gregg Barnes is predicted to win this category for Some Like It Hot, with his costumes to bring 1930s style into the present.
Lighting Design of a Musical: Natasha Katz, a previous winner for Once, An American in Paris, and MJ, is poised to take home the prize for Sweeney Todd.
Scenic Design of a Musical: Beowulf Boritt is expected to win this category for New York, New York, which brings the city’s exteriors alive indoors.
Sound Design of a Musical: This is the toughest category to predict, with both & Juliet and Sweeney Todd in contention, but New York, New York has a slight edge.
In conclusion, while mathematical models can never be entirely certain when it comes to predicting something as subjective as artistic awards, the above predictions do offer some insight into who may emerge victorious at this year’s Tony Awards. Only time will tell which nominees will make history and take home the coveted prizes on the night.