A Fleetwood Mac-inspired band in the studio. A bustling hair-braiding shop in Harlem.

A revolutionary approach to a musical based on a 2005 concept album. A show based on a classic young adult novel.

A revival of a Stephen Sondheim flop. An unforgettable journey to the Kit Kat Klub in Berlin.

The 2023-24 Broadway season was full of exciting and heartbreaking moments — and a few swings and misses, too. But this is a time to celebrate excellence, so we are back to bring you our thoughts on who and what should win at the 77th annual Tony Awards.

Maleah Joi Moon as Ali with the company of the Broadway musical “Hell’s Kitchen,” which earned 13 Tony Award nominations. It features songs by Alicia Keys.

Maleah Joi Moon as Ali with the company of the Broadway musical “Hell’s Kitchen,” which earned 13 Tony Award nominations. It features songs by Alicia Keys.

“Hell’s Kitchen,” featuring the music of Alicia Keys, and “Stereophonic” a new play with music by Arcade Fire’s Will Butler, lead the way with 13 nominations each.

The 2024 Tony Awards take place Sunday, June 16, at the David H. Koch Theater in Lincoln Center. Hosted by Ariana DeBose, the awards ceremony will air live from 8 to 11 p.m. on CBS, and undefined. A preshow, “The Tony Awards: Act One,” kicks off on Pluto TV at 6:30 p.m.

As every year, our Broadway reporter and critic go head-to-head in a volley on which plays and musicals they think should take the Tony.

Bill Canacci, our critic, goes first. Ilana Keller, our reporter — and obsessive fan of “Frozen” — answers.

And they’re off!

OK, here we go. Ilana has promised that she will be nice to me this year. We shall see.

Best Musical

  • “Hell’s Kitchen”

  • “Illinoise”

  • “The Outsiders”

  • “Suffs”

  • “Water for Elephants”

"Illinoise" received four Tony nominations, including Best Musical."Illinoise" received four Tony nominations, including Best Musical.

“Illinoise” received four Tony nominations, including Best Musical.

BILL CANACCI: “Hell’s Kitchen” is a great show and it will probably win, but “Illinoise” is a musical unlike any other. This beautiful coming-of-age story takes you on a breathtaking journey through song and dance. Watching the brilliant company of dancers glide and rush and leap around the stage is remarkable. The performers never speak, but they successfully interpret characters’ feelings and scenes through movement. And the three singers! They all have angelic voices. What’s sad is that Tony nominators, not to mention Ilana, did not give this show enough love.

ILANA KELLER: What Bill means is that I said the FORMAT of the show was somewhat reminiscent of “Cats.” Then he mumbled a lot and generally freaked out before giving me one of his trademark “Oh, Ilana…” sighs. I’ll admit, it took me a little while to get into “Illinoise” but once I got there, it had me hooked. It’s not easy to change one’s mind after a few numbers, but this one did it. It is wholly deserving of the nomination. “Hell’s Kitchen” tells a compelling story, and blends the highs and lows of life with the power and allure of music. Those who write it off as a simple Alicia Keys jukebox musical are missing out. I wouldn’t be surprised if it takes the win here, but I also would be on the lookout for “Suffs.” Based on the American women’s suffrage movement, it’s resonating with a lot of folks right now — and it’s infectious, funny, sobering and tells a tale most don’t know.

BC: I liked “Suffs” but I don’t think it’s in the same league as “Illinoise” or “Hell’s Kitchen.” And for the record, I love “Cats.” In another life, I want to be Mr. Mistoffelees — or Grizabella.

Best Play

  • “Jaja’s African Hair Braiding”

  • “Mary Jane”

  • “Mother Play: A Play in Five Evictions”

  • “Prayer for the French Republic”

  • “Stereophonic”

The cast of "Stereophonic," nominated for 13 Tony Awards.The cast of "Stereophonic," nominated for 13 Tony Awards.

The cast of “Stereophonic,” nominated for 13 Tony Awards.

IK: I think “Stereophonic” takes the win here. A period piece pitch-perfectly (see what I did there?) executed, it’s more than deserving. “Jaja’s African Hair Braiding” could surprise. My dark horse pick here is “Prayer for the French Republic.” Sadly topical, its themes resonate and it offers a tragically beautiful (or is that beautifully tragic? Quick Bill, name the reference) family tale of love, tradition, Judaism and hate.

BC: Are you talking about “Beautiful: The Carole King Musical”? Why is it, Ilana, that every year you bring up a show that has been nominated in the past? At any rate, I agree about “Prayer for the French Republic,” although I admit I enjoyed it off-Broadway more than the nominated production. I’ll give this one to “Stereophonic,” too. It’s funny that in the show the Stevie Nicks-like character refuses to cut her song from its more than six-minute length. I think the playwright is talking to the audience: “I know you want this show to be under three hours, but it’s not going to happen!”

IK: 1) Bill hates “Wicked.” 2) Next time he tells me I need to cut one of my stories because it’s too long, I’ll say, “It’s not going to happen!”

Best Revival of a Play

Leslie Odom Jr. (left) and Kara Young in "Purlie Victorious."Leslie Odom Jr. (left) and Kara Young in "Purlie Victorious."

Leslie Odom Jr. (left) and Kara Young in “Purlie Victorious.”

BC : A difficult category because three are first-rate productions. But I’m going with “Purlie.” Tony and Grammy Award winner Leslie Odom Jr. returned to Broadway in the first revival of Ossie Davis’ fun, hilarious and intelligent satire, “Purlie Victorious: A Non-Confederate Romp Through the Cotton Patch.” But who would ever have guessed Odom wouldn’t be the highlight of the show? Set in the 1950s, Purlie (Odom) is a fast-talking preacher who returns to his childhood home in Georgia with Lutiebelle Gussie Mae Jenkins (Kara Young), a young domestic worker who adores him.

IK: Agreed. I’m also glad that PBS captured “Purlie” and audiences around America have the chance to see these excellent performances.

Best Revival of a Musical

Daniel Radcliffe (left), Jonathan Groff and Lindsay Mendez in "Merrily We Roll Along."Daniel Radcliffe (left), Jonathan Groff and Lindsay Mendez in "Merrily We Roll Along."

Daniel Radcliffe (left), Jonathan Groff and Lindsay Mendez in “Merrily We Roll Along.”

IK: “Merrily We Roll Along” has been having quite a moment. With the actors behind its three main characters are all nominated for Tonys, this treat of a revival continued the wave of Stephen Sondheim adoration that intensified after his death. “Merrily” tells the story — in reverse — of three friends and the creative processes that bring them together and tear them apart. A transfer from off-Broadway, I think it takes the win here — although it should watch over its shoulder for the bold, brash “Cabaret” revival.

BC: I loved the “Cabaret” revival, but lots of people did not. I think we have to give this one to “Merrily.” I loved this show back in the 1990s when I first saw a college production, and I still do. Friendship matters.

IK: Whenever Bill calls me I never know whether it’s because he’s keeping his friends close or his enemies closer.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical

  • Eden Espinosa, “Lempicka”

  • Maleah Joi Moon, “Hell’s Kitchen”

  • Kelli O’Hara, “Days of Wine and Roses”

  • Maryann Plunkett, “The Notebook”

  • Gayle Rankin, “Cabaret at the Kit Kat Club”

Gayle Rankin, now starring in "Cabaret at the Kit Kat Klub," got her TV breakthrough in Netflix's "Glow."Gayle Rankin, now starring in "Cabaret at the Kit Kat Klub," got her TV breakthrough in Netflix's "Glow."

Gayle Rankin, now starring in “Cabaret at the Kit Kat Klub,” got her TV breakthrough in Netflix’s “Glow.”

BC: Another tough choice. Let me start by saying I loved watching Maryann Plunkett, by far the best thing about “The Notebook.” While I respect her performance, I’m going to drop Kelli O’Hara from consideration here. Eden Espinosa had the challenge of making something out of the very uneven “Lempicka,” and she doesn’t always succeed. I will not be surprised if Maleah Joi Moon, making their Broadway debut, wins, but I’m going to give this to Gayle Rankin. She shocked and appalled many critics, but I found her raw energy, intensity and emotion astonishing as she screamed her way through songs like “Maybe This Time.”

IK: Maleah Joi Moon is powerful, believable and oh-so-talented — and they’re from Jersey! The Franklin High School graduate has been one of the breakout stars of the season. That said, they’re up against a heck of a lot of talent.

Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical

  • Brody Grant, “The Outsiders”

  • Jonathan Groff, “Merrily We Roll Along”

  • Dorian Harewood, “The Notebook”

  • Brian d’Arcy James, “Days of Wine and Roses”

  • Eddie Redmayne, “Cabaret at the Kit Kat Club”

Brian d'Arcy James and Kelli O'Hara in "Days of Wine and Roses" on Broadway.Brian d'Arcy James and Kelli O'Hara in "Days of Wine and Roses" on Broadway.

Brian d’Arcy James and Kelli O’Hara in “Days of Wine and Roses” on Broadway.

IK: As I’ve said before, I don’t believe in snubs. There are so many factors at play in nominations, crowded seasons, art is so subjective, to say the least. But I’ll break that rule here for Chip Zien’s performance in “Harmony.” The gorgeously gut-wrenching and powerful final moments he poured into the show will stay with me forever. He deserved a nomination. None of that should take away from the nominees, however. Like so many other categories, there is a feast of fine performances and I think anyone could take it home. Dorian Harewood breaks hearts every night, but Brian D’Arcy James’ battle with the ebbs and flows of alcohol and family stand out for me.

More: Harmony star Chip Zien angry — and proud — as Judaism, Broadway collide amid antisemitism

BC: I don’t see Redmayne or Grant winning. You may be right about James, but I’d be more inclined to go with Jonathan Groff for “Merrily We Roll Along.” It’s “Our Time,” Ilana.

IK: You do know what movie Groff is well-known for, right? “Frozen.” The animated feature-turned-delightful-musical that you banned me from mentioning.

BC: Every year, Ilana. You just can’t help yourself. And for the record, it is far from a “delightful” musical.

IK: Rude.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play

  • Betsy Aidem, “Prayer for the French Republic”

  • Jessica Lange, “Mother Play”

  • Rachel McAdams, “Mary Jane”

  • Sarah Paulson, “Appropriate”

  • Amy Ryan, “Doubt: A Parable”

Sarah Paulson, right, and Corey Stoll, center, with Michael Esper, are both nominated for Tony Awards for their roles in the Broadway debut of Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’ “Appropriate.”Sarah Paulson, right, and Corey Stoll, center, with Michael Esper, are both nominated for Tony Awards for their roles in the Broadway debut of Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’ “Appropriate.”

Sarah Paulson, right, and Corey Stoll, center, with Michael Esper, are both nominated for Tony Awards for their roles in the Broadway debut of Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’ “Appropriate.”

BC: Ilana, these are not getting any easier!! This comes down to Sarah Paulson, Rachel McAdams and Jessica Lange. While I think Paulson will win, and while I was haunted by McAdams’ performance, I’m going to give this to Lange. Seeing her portray a mother with a gay son and a lesbian daughter was amazing. One of the most memorable moments of the season is watching her sad and lonely character while she’s alone at home. Described in the script as “The Phyllis Ballet,” we see her listen to music, dance, pretend to have a conversation with someone. Remarkable.

IK: As much as it pains me to agree with Bill, I agree. The scene he just mentioned happens without her uttering a single word. A minute onstage alone can feel like a lifetime, yet Jessica Lange held the audience spellbound. And, once again, there were more-than-worthy performances all around. I’d like to acknowledge Betsy Aidem, though. Her struggles onstage with antisemitism, family, tradition, aging and more are a lot to bite off, but her blend of practicality and fear only became more poignant as the show moved from off-Broadway.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play

  • William Jackson Harper, “Uncle Vanya”

  • Leslie Odom Jr., “Purlie Victorious: A Non-Confederate Romp Through the Cotton Patch”

  • Liev Shreiber, “Doubt: A Parable”

  • Jeremy Strong, “An Enemy of the People”

  • Michael Struhbarg, “Patriots”

Jeremy Strong with Victoria Pedretti in a scene from "An Enemy of the People" on Broadway.Jeremy Strong with Victoria Pedretti in a scene from "An Enemy of the People" on Broadway.

Jeremy Strong with Victoria Pedretti in a scene from “An Enemy of the People” on Broadway.

IK: Leslie Odom Jr.’s return to Broadway following “Hamilton” showed a new side of the performer, one that very well may earn him another Tony. That said, Michael Struhbarg’s remarkable range in “Patriots” could take home the win here.

BC: Jeremy Strong should also get some love, but Struhbarg was incredible. He gets my vote.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play

  • Will Brill, “Stereophonic

  • Eli Gelb, “Stereophonic”

  • Jim Parsons, “Mother Play”

  • Tom Pecinka, “Stereophonic”

  • Corey Stoll, “Appropriate”

A scene from "Stereophonic," which received 13 Tony Award nominations.A scene from "Stereophonic," which received 13 Tony Award nominations.

A scene from “Stereophonic,” which received 13 Tony Award nominations.

BC: Someone from “Stereophonic” should win, and I’ll go with Tom Pecinka. In the Fleetwood Mac world that this show seems to take place in, he plays the Lindsey Buckingham character. It’s an intense, emotionally charged performance.

IK: “Stereophonic” has intricate ensemble work, and that shows with the three nominations in this category. While I agree that Pecinka or a castmate very well deservedly may take it, I also wouldn’t be surprised if Corey Stoll ekes out a surprise.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play

  • Quincy Tyler Bernstine, “Doubt: A Parable”

  • Juliana Canfield, “Stereophonic”

  • Celia Keenan-Bolger, “Mother Play”

  • Sarah Pidgeon, “Stereophonic”

  • Kara Young, “Purlie Victorious: A Non-Confederate Romp Through the Cotton Patch”

Sarah Pidgeon (left), Juliana Canfield and Tom Pecinka in "Stereophonic."Sarah Pidgeon (left), Juliana Canfield and Tom Pecinka in "Stereophonic."

Sarah Pidgeon (left), Juliana Canfield and Tom Pecinka in “Stereophonic.”

IK: I interviewed Leslie Odom Jr. about a month ago and discussing the achievements of “Purlie” he said, “Kara Young. Kara Young. Kara Young.” I’d have to agree. Her performance here continues a streak of nominations for every role of her young Broadway career, and I think she takes it home here.

More: Leslie Odom Jr. talks ‘Purlie’ Tony nomination, PBS airing, music ahead of visit to Basie

BC: Kara Young should easily win this. Odom may be the star of the show, but Young’s performance is what you remember. She has a great future.

IK: How come you never say that about me?

Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical

  • Roger Bart, “Back To The Future: The Musical”

  • Joshua Boone, “The Outsiders”

  • Brandon Victor Dixon, “Hell’s Kitchen”

  • Sky Lakota-Lynch, “The Outsiders”

  • Daniel Radcliffe, “Merrily We Roll Along”

  • Steven Skybell, “Cabaret at the Kit Kat Club”

Brandon Victor Dixon at the piano in "Hell's Kitchen."Brandon Victor Dixon at the piano in "Hell's Kitchen."

Brandon Victor Dixon at the piano in “Hell’s Kitchen.”

BC: So Daniel Radcliffe should win this one, and he deserves it. But I have to give love and respect to Steven Skybell in “Cabaret” and Brandon Victor Dixon in “Hell’s Kitchen.”

IK: While Daniel Radcliffe always will be associated with Harry Potter (and hey, there are worse things that can happen), he has worked hard to prove himself onstage. This is his fifth Broadway show, and he has a good shot of taking home the win.

BC: Ilana, for the last time, I am not in Slytherin!

Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical

  • Shoshana Bean, “Hell’s Kitchen”

  • Amber Iman, “Lempicka”

  • Nikki M. James, “Suffs”

  • Leslie Rodriguez Kritzer, “Monty Python’s Spamalot”

  • Kecia Lewis, “Hell’s Kitchen”

  • Lindsay Mendez, “Merrily We Roll Along”

  • Bebe Neuwirth, “Cabaret at the Kit Kat Club”

Steven Skybell and Bebe Neuwirth in "Cabaret at the Kit Kat Club."Steven Skybell and Bebe Neuwirth in "Cabaret at the Kit Kat Club."

Steven Skybell and Bebe Neuwirth in “Cabaret at the Kit Kat Club.”

IK: We often talk about an embarrassment of riches, but DAMN. Side note: The number of Tony nominees in a category is dependent on the number of eligible productions/actors and can be expanded to a maximum of seven due to ties. This is the first time there have been seven nominees in this category. A deserved Lindsay Mendez win could complete a trifecta for “Merrily.” Amber Iman was a highlight of “Lempicka.” Any of the other nominees could take home the Tony without argument. But I’m tempted to give it to Kecia Lewis here. She quietly slipped into “Hell’s Kitchen” and quickly became its hub, before breaking hearts.

BC: For me, this comes down to Lewis, Mendez and Neuwirth. All are deserving, and you are so right about Lewis. But I have to go with Neuwirth, who turns in my favorite performance of the season. Her expressions, her scenes with Steven Skybell, are astonishing.

IK: I think this is the first time in the nearly quarter-century I’ve known you that you said “you are so right” to me.

BC: I take it back.

Best Book of a Musical

  • “Hell’s Kitchen,” Kristoffer Diaz

  • “The Notebook,” Bekah Brunstetter

  • “The Outsiders,” Adam Rapp and Justin Levine

  • “Suffs,” Shaina Taub

  • “Water for Elephants,” Rick Elice

BC: I don’t see a clear favorite, but I’ll give it to “Hell’s Kitchen.”

IK: Agreed, although a “Suffs” or “The Outsiders” win would not surprise.

BC: Did you notice in “The Outsiders” how the cast screamed certain songs. They just didn’t sing “Great Expectations.” It was “GREAT EXPECTATIONS!” Not sure what was going on there.

IK: You tend to call a lot of music screaming. Not everyone can be Depeche Mode.

Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics) Written for the Theatre

  • “Days of Wine and Roses,” Music & Lyrics: Adam Guettel

  • “Here Lies Love,” Music: David Byrne and Fatboy Slim; Lyrics: David Byrne

  • “The Outsiders,” Music & Lyrics: Jamestown Revival (Jonathan Clay and Zach Chance) and Justin Levine

  • “Stereophonic,” Music & Lyrics: Will Butler

  • “Suffs,” Music & Lyrics: Shaina Taub

IK: Will voters act on an outside-the-box nomination and give Best Score to a play this year? I think there’s a good shot here for “Stereophonic.”

BC: “Stereophonic” gets my vote. Nothing else stands out nearly as much.

Best Direction of a Play

  • Daniel Aukin, “Stereophonic”

  • Anne Kauffman, “Mary Jane”

  • Kenny Leon, “Purlie Victorious: A Non-Confederate Romp Through the Cotton Patch”

  • Lila Neugebauer, “Appropriate”

  • Whitney White, “Jaja’s African Hair Braiding”

BC: While “Stereophonic” could have been about 15 (30?) minutes shorter, Aukin gets my vote.

IK: Have you ever said anything should be longer? I really enjoyed Lila Neugebauer’s adept staging of “Appropriate,” but agree Aukin likely takes this one.

BC: I could have easily watched another hour of “The Lehman Trilogy.”

Best Direction of a Musical

  • Maria Friedman, “Merrily We Roll Along”

  • Michael Greif, “Hell’s Kitchen”

  • Leigh Silverman, “Suffs”

  • Jessica Stone, “Water for Elephants”

  • Danya Taymor, “The Outsiders”

Kim Blanck, center, and the company of "Suffs."Kim Blanck, center, and the company of "Suffs."

Kim Blanck, center, and the company of “Suffs.”

IK: I think “Merrily” keeps, er, rolling along here, with Maria Friedman’s talented touch.

BC: We should give a shout out to Michael Grief: He directed three shows on Broadway this season. I would not be surprised if “Hell’s Kitchen” won, but ‘Merrily” gets my vote. It’s “Me and you, pal, me and you.” Did I just say that to Ilana?

IK: Awww, you like me! You really like me! Did you know that’s actually a misquote of what Sally Field said at the 1985 Oscars?

BC: I didn’t, and I don’t care.

Best Choreography

  • Annie-B Parson, “Here Lies Love”

  • Camille A. Brown, “Hell’s Kitchen”

  • Rick Kuperman and Jeff Kuperman, “The Outsiders”

  • Justin Peck, “Illinoise”

  • Jesse Robb and Shana Carroll, “Water for Elephants”

BC: “Hell’s Kitchen” takes second but if Justin Peck doesn’t win I will scream.

IK: Have you seen Edvard Munch’s “The Scream”? He’ll look just like that. But the good thing is, I don’t think we’ll have to be subjected to it. The choreography of “Illinoise” is brilliant, the storytelling is the epitome of how powerful dance can be. I have to give a shoutout to the “Water for Elephants” team here, though. Integrating dance and high-flying circus elements seamlessly isn’t easy.

BC: “Water for Elephants” had some stunning movement and action, indeed. It’s too bad the show was such a downer. I was so looking forward to seeing it because I love Grant Gustin (he was The Flash, Ilana).

IK : I am once again shocked that one of my favorite shows of the year is one you weren’t fond of.

Best Orchestrations

  • Timo Andres, “Illinoise”

  • Will Butler and Justin Craig, “Stereophonic”

  • Justin Levine, Matt Hinkley and Jamestown Revival (Jonathan Clay and Zach Chance), “The Outsiders”

  • Tom Kitt and Adam Blackstone, “Hell’s Kitchen”

  • Jonathan Tunick, “Merrily We Roll Along”

IK: This is the first time a play has been nominated for Best Orchestrations, and I think “Stereophonic” makes further history with the win, particularly if it also wins Best Score.

BC: It will likely win, but I’m voting for “Illinoise.” Songs are taken from the critically acclaimed 2005 concept album “Illinois” by New York singer and composer Sufjan Stevens, who has collaborated extensively with “Illinoise” choreographer and director Justin Peck. Composer and pianist Timo Andres enhances Stevens’ work with new arrangements that make the show even more magical.

Best Scenic Design of a Play

  • dots, “Appropriate”

  • dots, “An Enemy of the People”

  • Derek McLane, “Purlie Victorious: A Non-Confederate Romp Through the Cotton Patch”

  • David Zinn, “Jaja’s African Hair Braiding”

  • David Zinn, “Stereophonic”

BC: This comes down to “Stereophonic” and “Appropriate,” and I’ll take “Stereophonic.”

IK: It only seems “Appropriate” for me to take it, then. Which I would have done anyway.

Best Scenic Design of a Musical

  • AMP featuring Tatiana Kahvegian, “The Outsiders”

  • Robert Brill and Peter Nigrini, “Hell’s Kitchen”

  • Takeshi Kata, “Water for Elephants”

  • David Korins, “Here Lies Love”

  • Riccardo Hernández and Peter Nigrini, “Lempicka”

  • Tim Hatley and Finn Ross, “Back To The Future: The Musical”

  • Tom Scutt, “Cabaret at the Kit Kat Club”

IK: This should come down to “Here Lies Love” and “Cabaret,” the two big splashy musicals that redesigned theaters for their shows. I love the way “Here Lies Love” had such intricacies and the audience essentially became a part of the set, but I think “Cabaret” may pull this one out.

BC: Let’s give some love to “Back to the Future.” After all, it’s like a video game or a ride at Disney. And no love for “Hell’s Kitchen”? Here’s a question: Does scenic design include the theater, Ilana? Because Tom Scutt transformed the August Wilson Theatre and created the Kit Kat Club. He gets my vote.

IK: What’s cool about “Back to the Future” is that there are a ton of Easter eggs hidden, as well as the more overt awesomeness. “The fan base is so huge and so important. They need to be satisfied. They need to be given what they want to see and some more,” Hatley told me in an interview.

‘The car’s gotta fly’: How ‘Back to the Future’ came alive on Broadway

Best Costume Design of a Play

  • Dede Ayite, “Appropriate”

  • Dede Ayite, “Jaja’s African Hair Braiding”

  • Enver Chakartash, “Stereophonic”

  • Emilio Sosa, “Purlie Victorious: A Non-Confederate Romp Through the Cotton Patch”

  • David Zinn, “An Enemy of the People”

BC: My first thought is Dede Ayite for “Jaja’s African Hair Braiding,” so I’ll go with that.

IK: I also think Ayite wins this one. And that Bill’s usual outfits would fit right in.

BC: Oh yes. I just love bold colors. I do, however, dress like a stagehand. If I remember correctly, Ilana, you were a stagehand for a theater youth group until you were kicked out.

IK: I think you mean “worked at a children’s theater camp for nearly two decades, helping kindle the love of theater for hundreds of kids.”

Best Costume Design of a Musical

  • Dede Ayite, “Hell’s Kitchen”

  • Linda Cho, “The Great Gatsby”

  • David Israel Reynoso, “Water for Elephants”

  • Tom Scutt, “Cabaret at the Kit Kat Club”

  • Paul Tazewell, “Suffs”

IK: Jay Gatsby is described as grandiose and lavish, and the costumes in “The Great Gatsby” met him measure for measure. I think Linda Cho takes this one.

BC: Will “Gatsby” get some love? I don’t know. This is a hard one. I’d love to see “Cabaret” win but that’s probably asking too much.

Best Lighting Design of a Play

  • Isabella Byrd, “An Enemy of the People”

  • Amith Chandrashaker, “Prayer for the French Republic”

  • Jiyoun Chang, “Stereophonic”

  • Jane Cox, “Appropriate”

  • Natasha Katz, “Grey House”

BC: I suppose “Grey House,” which was far too creepy for my taste.

IK: Things that also are far too creepy for Bill’s taste: Casper the Friendly Ghost. However, he may be right here, though “Appropriate” also is a strong contender in my book.

BC: I admit I never did like Casper. I wasn’t creeped out, I just wanted him to go away.

IK: Like me?

BC: Yes. Is this over soon?

Best Lighting Design of a Musical

  • Brandon Stirling Baker, “Illinoise”

  • Isabella Byrd, “Cabaret at the Kit Kat Club”

  • Natasha Katz, “Hell’s Kitchen”

  • Bradley King and David Bengali, “Water for Elephants”

  • Brian MacDevitt and Hana S. Kim, “The Outsiders”

IK: Life is a cabaret, and so is this category. Do you agree, old chum?

BC: “Pal” and “chum” — what is going on here? You’re making me nervous. As much as I love “Illinoise,” I’ll take “Cabaret.”

IK: Do you see how he skipped right over the “old” part?

Best Sound Design of a Play

  • Justin Ellington and Stefania Bulbarella, “Jaja’s African Hair Braiding”

  • Leah Gelpe, “Mary Jane”

  • Tom Gibbons, “Grey House”

  • Bray Poor and Will Pickens, “Appropriate”

  • Ryan Rumery, “Stereophonic”

BC: “Stereophonic” deserves this one.

IK: There’s no such thing as a lock at the Tony Awards, but if there was, it would be “Stereophonic.”

Best Sound Design of a Musical

  • M.L. Dogg and Cody Spencer, “Here Lies Love”

  • Kai Harada, “Merrily We Roll Along”

  • Nick Lidster for Autograph, “Cabaret at the Kit Kat Club”

  • Gareth Owen, “Hell’s Kitchen”

  • Cody Spencer, “The Outsiders”

IK: I think Gareth Owen and “Hell’s Kitchen” should take this one, although again, “Here Lies Love” and “Cabaret” and their associated challenges are no slouch.

BC: “Their “associated challenges”? Thank God this is the last category. In honor of Bebe, I’m going to say this: Who cares? So what? I’ll take “Cabaret” again. And with that we’re through. Well, Ilana, you may have agreed with me from time to time, but I’m sure our readers can see from your constant badgering that you have a cold heart. It’s like it’s, dare I say, frozen.

IK: Oh, Bill. Let it go.

Bill Canacci can be reached at [email protected].

Ilana Keller is an award-winning journalist and lifelong New Jersey resident who loves Broadway and really bad puns. Reach out on Twitter: @ilanakeller; [email protected]

This article originally appeared on Asbury Park Press: 2024 Tony Awards predictions: Do Stereophonic, Hell’s Kitchen dominate?

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