Tony Predictions: Best Direction of a Play/Musical – Helmer Hopefuls Duke It Out Including LaTanya Richardson Jackson and Michael Arden

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Variety Awards Circuit section is the home for all awards news and related content throughout the year, featuring the following: the official predictions for the upcoming Oscars, Emmys, Grammys and Tony Awards ceremonies, curated by Variety senior awards editor Clayton Davis. The prediction pages reflect the current standings in the race and do not reflect personal preferences for any individual contender. As other formal (and informal) polls suggest, competitions are fluid and subject to change based on buzz and events. Predictions are updated every Thursday.

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UPDATED: May 1, 2023

2023 Tony Predictions:
Best Direction of a Play

Fat Ham review
Marcel Spears and Billy Eugene Jones in “Fat Ham” on Broadway.

Weekly Commentary: Directors with a strong hand are always likely to draw nominations attention, which is why Jamie Lloyd stands poised for a nom for his unstintingly minimalist staging of “A Doll’s House.” The puppetry-packed spectacle of “Life of Pi” seems equally likely to snag a nom for Max Webster, while Saheem Ali (“Fat Ham”) grabs notice with the spirited emotional release of his staging of “Fat Ham.” LaTanya Richardson Jackson is ready for recognition for her crowd-pleasing, starry production of “The Piano Lesson,” and Kenny Leon garnered acclaim for his beautifully acted staging of “Topdog/Underdog.”

Waiting in the wings are a trio of other directors who turned in notably well-received work, including Anne Kauffman (“The Sign in Sidney Brustein’s Window”), Justin Martin (“Prima Facie”) and Daniel Sullivan (“Summer, 1976”).

Read: Variety’s Awards Circuit for the latest Tony Awards predictions in all categories.

And the Predicted Nominees Are:

  1. Jamie Lloyd — “A Doll’s House” (Hudson Theatre)

  2. Saheem Ali — “Fat Ham” (American Airlines Theatre)

  3. LaTanya Richardson Jackson — “The Piano Lesson” (Barrymore Theatre)

  4. Max Webster — “Life of Pi” (Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre)

  5. Kenny Leon — “Topdog/Underdog” (Golden Theatre)

Next in Line

  1. Justin Martin — “Prima Facie” (Golden Theatre

  2. Anne Kauffman — “The Sign in Sidney Brustein’s Window” (James Earl Jones Theatre)

  3. Daniel Sullivan — “Summer, 1976” (Samuel J. Friedman Theatre)

All Eligible Shows and Performances (Unranked)

2023 Tony Predictions:
Best Direction of a Musical


Weekly Commentary: Among musicals, Michael Arden’s “Parade” provided perhaps the biggest revelation of the season with a freshly relevant look at an influential musical. A trio of Tony regulars, Casey Nicholaw (“Some Like It Hot”), Jack O’Brien (“Shucked”) and Susan Stroman (“New York, New York”), could well earn noms for their characteristically polished work, while Jessica Stone likely gets a nod for delivering the quiet emotional gut-punch of “Kimberly Akimbo.”

Other contenders include Thomas Kail for his grand, atmospheric “Sweeney Todd,” Lear deBessonet for her pleasing and popular “Into the Woods” and Bartlett Sher for his elegantly staged production of “Camelot.”

Read: Variety’s Awards Circuit for the latest Tony Awards predictions in all categories.

The Tony Awards eligibility cutoff date for the 2022–23 season is April 27, 2023, for all Broadway productions which meet all other eligibility requirements. The 2023 Tony Awards nominations will be announced on May 2, 2023.

The 76th Annual Tony Awards are scheduled for June 11, 2023, at the United Palace in New York City. It will air on CBS and Paramount+ and be produced by Ricky Kirshner and Glenn Weiss, with the latter also serving as the director.

And the Predicted Nominees Are:

  1. Michael Arden — “Parade” (Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre)

  2. Casey Nicholaw — “Some Like It Hot” (Shubert Theatre)

  3. Jack O’Brien — “Shucked” (Nederlander Theatre)

  4. Jessica Stone — “Kimberly Akimbo” (Booth Theatre)

  5. Susan Stroman — “New York, New York” (St. James Theatre)

Next in Line

  1. Thomas Kail — “Sweeney Todd” (Lunt-Fontanne Theatre)

  2. Lear deBessonet — “Into the Woods” (St. James Theatre)

  3. Bartlett Sher — “Camelot” (Vivian Beaumont Theater – Lincoln Center Theater)

All Eligible Shows and Performances (Unranked)

Tony Awards Predictions Categories


About the Tony Awards

The Antoinette Perry Award for Excellence in Broadway Theatre, better known as the Tony Awards, is given out annually by the American Theatre Wing and The Broadway League, recognizing excellence in live Broadway theatre. The ceremony, held annually in New York City, was founded by theatre producer and director Brock Pemberton and is named after Antoinette “Tony” Perry, an actress, producer and theatre director who was co-founder of the American Theatre Wing.

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