2008 Tony Awards: Old pros and new voices
A preview of the surprisingly hot competition for most of Broadway's coveted awards.
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Best Leading Actress in a MusicalSkip to next paragraph
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Will/Should Win: Patti LuPone, "Gypsy"
Could Pull Off an Upset: Kelli O'Hara, "South Pacific"
Two years ago, Ms. LuPone and Ms. O'Hara were facing off in this same category. Then LaChanze in "The Color Purple" scored the big upset. Could there by another spoiler this year? O'Hara oozes charm and vivacity as the irrepressible Nellie Forbush. But Mama Rose is the role LuPone was born to play, and she brings the full weight of her enormous talents to bear. It's almost historic. This would be her first Tony for best actress in a musical since her iconic turn in "Evita" almost 30 years ago. Really, folks, it's Patti's turn.
Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Play
Will/Should Win: Patrick Stewart
Could Pull Off an Upset: Ben Daniels, "Les Liaisons Dangereuses"; Laurence Fishburne, "Thurgood"
You know a Tony category is chock full of worthy contenders when Kevin Klein gets left off the list for his luminously low-key performance in "Cyrano de Bergerac." Royal Shakespeare Company veteran and big- and small-screen star Patrick Stewart has already become the first actor to receive a Tony nomination for playing the title role in the Scottish play. Count on him making it so and walking away with the gold statue.
Best Performance By a Leading Actress in a Play
Also nominated: Kate Fleetwood, "Macbeth"
In yet another mind-bogglingly competitive category, Ms. Dunagan, as the pill-popping matriach, or Ms. Morton, as the steely, sharp-tongued daughter, stand as the favorites for their wildly entertaining performances. But if the two Steppenwolf Theatre Company regulars split the vote, look for "Law and Order" veteran Ms. Merkerson or powerhouse British import Eve Best to sneak in for the win.