Best Musical Predictions 2023
April 25, 2023
It’s coming! After months of witnessing some incredible performances on Broadway in the 2022-23 season, Tony Awards season awaits once again. The 2023 Tony nominations will be announced on May 2 before a June 11 ceremony from the United Palace in Washington Heights.
The biggest prizes are, as always, Best Play and Best Musical, and this week we’ve predicted the likely nominees and winners for the Best Musical category — even though some of these haven’t opened yet. Let’s get started!
Best Musical Contenders
& Juliet: This West End transfer — still running at the Stephen Sondheim Theatre — also happens to be one of the most cleverly constructed jukebox musicals ever. Set during the first performance of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, Anne Hathaway (not that one), suggests his heroine not kill herself at the end of the play, and start a new life without Romeo. Juliet’s story comes to life through nearly 30 songs written and produced by Swedish sensation Max Martin, and all woven into the plot by “Schitt’s Creek” creator David West Read. This shot of pure gold is one of the most fun musicals on Broadway right now (especially for Shakespeare fanatics, pro-feminists, and 1990s/2000s music lovers), and the strong notices it received on opening night might be enough for it to roar to a Tony nod.
Kimberly Akimbo: The touching musical at the Booth Theatre won Broadway’s heart this season as it transferred from Atlantic Theatre Company. The plot follows 16-year-old Kimberly Levaco, a rare disease that makes her look like a 72-year-old lady, who is determined to find happiness anywhere and anyhow — which isn’t easy when her mother is a hypochondriac, her father is an alcoholic, and her ex-convict of an aunt is up to no good. This refreshing new musical checks all the boxes as to what Tony voters have been pulling for the last number of years.
New York, New York: Start spreading the news. Partially inspired by the 1977 Martin Scorsese film (starring Robert De Niro and Liza Minnelli), the new musical from John Kander and Lin-Manuel Miranda — also featuring several Kander & Ebb trunk songs — traces the lives of a diverse array of New Yorkers as they chase their dreams and try to find their “major chord” in life: music, money, and love. Now in previews at the St. James Theatre, the musical doesn’t open until April 26, but considering the successful creatives behind this project, it’s not impossible to think it will receive some Tony buzz.
Shucked: This completely original “farm to fable” follows a small town isolated from the rest of the world by fields of corn. Corn is valuable to the town’s way of life, and when it begins to die, an underestimated young girl travels to the big city searching for help. One of the major surprises of the 2022-23 Broadway season, Shucked has turned Broadway on its ear with its countrified score (by Brandy Clark and Shane McAnally), a book full of dad jokes and delicious one-liners (by Tootsie Tony winner Robert Horn), and a cast that includes some of the best comedic actors in New York. Don’t sleep on it!
Some Like It Hot: A larger-scale comedy, Some Like It Hot is the story of two jazz musicians who witness a mob hit in Chicago, disguise themselves, and flee cross-country with an all-girl band. Some Like It Hot expands on the 1959 Billy Wilder movie by diversifying its principal cast and making a more modern statement on gender identity. For high-budget entertainment, it’s tough to beat a Jazz Age-pastiche score (by the nimble Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman), fast-paced staging by the always-reliable Casey Nicholaw, a life-size train car coming onto the Shubert Theatre stage, and a five-minute tap-dancing chase sequence. Nobody’s perfect, but it sounds like this adaptation comes close.
Almost Famous: Adapted from a movie of the same name, Almost Famous opened in the fall with book and lyrics by Cameron Crow and original music by Tom Kitt. Directed by Jeremy Herrin, Almost Famous had performances at the Jacobs Theatre until its closing on January 8th. While it is unlikely this new musical will be nominated, there is a chance it could sneak into some categories.
A Beautiful Noise: The story of the legendary Neil Diamond comes to life this new musical filled with his hits. Directed by Tony Award winner Michael Mayer, choreographed by Olivier Award winner Steven Hoggett, and written by four-time Academy Award nominee Anthony McCarten, A Beautiful noise has been open at the Broadhurst Theatre since December 4. It’s leading man, Will Swenson, should get a nomination even if the show is overlooked.