Actor in a Play: Mark Rylance, one of the greatest stage actors of our time. If Joe Mantello’s last-minute bid for an award in The Normal Heart doesn’t gain enough traction, Mark is taking home the statuette. Actress in a Play: France McDormand is the leader in a strong pack, and makes you forget that Vanessa Redgrave even appeared on stage this season, which is no small feat. But kudos to newcomer Nina Arianda in Born Yesterday. She’s one to watch in the next few seasons. Featured Actor in a Play: A lot of momentum has built up around The Motherfucker With the Hat, so Yul Vazquez has a real shot at winning the Tony, but my vote goes to John Benjamin Hickey for his strong turn in The Normal Heart. On a side note, I had hoped Billy Crudup’s turn in Arcadia would have garnered more attention, but that revival was a bit a snooze fest. Featured Actress in a Play: Ellen Barkin in The Normal Heart. Enough said. Director of a Musical: The Book of Mormon’s co-directors, Casey Nicholaw and Trey Parker have this award in the bag, if for no other reason than Trey’s turn from South Park to Times Square was seamlessly executed. Musical Score / Musical Book: The Book of Mormon is such a strong contender in these two categories, that there is no disputing its deserving a win for book and score. Choreography: Kathleen Marshall put together a strong revival of Anything Goes, and keeping in mind that Sutton Foster showcases some amazing tap dancing at the Stephen Sondheim Theatre, Kathleen has a good shot at winning. Orchestrations: Catch Me If You Can deserves some love here, as it was a sturdy contender this season as one of the true “old fashioned” musicals on Broadway. With The Book of Mormon sure to snag many of the awards on Tonys night, Catch Me should take this statuette home. Director of a Play: The Normal Heart’s co-directors Joel Grey and George C. Wolfe brought what was once a pound-on-your-chest warning call for the AIDS crisis to the modern stage, and kept things relevant, if not more important, to a 2011 crowd. These two stage veterans deserve the accolade.

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