What Drama Desks Mean For Tonys

The Drama Desk awards were handed out last night in NYC. Next Sunday, of course, comes the Tonys. What do the Desks tell us about the Tony races? Not all that much. The Desks’ big winner, “Hamilton” (pictured), with 7 gongs, won’t be Tony-eligible until next year. What this means primarily is that this year’s Tonys, lacking the explosive, diverse talents of “Hamilton,” are probably going to be wall-to-wall Caucasian: shameful. The Desks include off-Broadway, which limits their Tony-predictive capability, as does the fact that Tony voting has already basically happened, yet the fact that most of the Desks were won by Broadway people means something. I expect the Desks’ big winners — “Curious Incident” for best play, “The King and I for Best Musical revival, “The Elephant Man” for Best Play revival — to repeat at the Tonys, though the marvelous “Skylight” could beat “Elephant.” I also expect Desk winners Kristin Chenoweth, Alex Sharp, Helen Mirren, and Annaleigh Ashford to repeat their Desk acting triumphs at the Tonys. I don’t expect Desk honorees K. Todd Freeman or Christian Borle to repeat, although the latter does have a shot in an unsettled category, Featured Actor/Musical. Finally, “Hamilton” taking a majority of Drama Desks’ musical categories means that some of Tonys’ musical categories are still too close too call. I’d bet, however, that “An American in Paris,” which won 4 Desks, (and “Curious Incident,” which won 6), will be the biggest winners on Tony night, with “Paris” besting “Fun Home” for Best Musical. And Robert Fairchild’s Desk win in Best Actor/Musical, for “American,” indicates that his support in the community could signal a Tony triumph.

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