A surprise? At an awards show?
The forgone-conclusion nature that is increasingly endemic to entertainment awards shows doesn't hold true for this year's Tony Awards in New York. Many of the categories remain wide open, including the evening's biggest prize for new musical.
The ceremony, which is being held Sunday evening at Radio City Music Hall, will honor the best of Broadway's 2013-14 season, which saw a total of 44 productions open in New York, with 12 new musicals and 10 new plays.
Of the musical nominees, two productions seem headed for a photo finish -- "A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder," the dark comedy about wealth and homicide, and "Beautiful -- The Carole King Musical," a jukebox ode to the popular songwriter. Waiting in the wings is Disney's "Aladdin," a family crowd-pleaser that has also managed to charm the critics.
The award for new play is leaning toward "All the Way," the three-hour historical drama by Robert Schenkkan about Lyndon B. Johnson's first year the White House. But Broadway pundits haven't counted out "Act One," the ambitious drama by James Lapine that was adapted from the memoirs of Moss Hart.
Other categories carrying big question marks include revival of a play, with no clear front-runner; and lead actress in a musical, with Jessie Mueller as Carole King squaring off against Kelli O'Hara of "The Bridges of Madison County."
Many eyes will be on actress Audra McDonald, who could take home a record-tying sixth Tony if she is honored for her performance as Billie Holiday in "Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill." But some pundits sense an upset in the making from LaTanya Richardson Jackson, who plays the matriarch in the revival of "A Raisin in the Sun," with Denzel Washington.
Hugh Jackman will host the ceremony, which will be broadcast live on CBS, with a delay for the West Coast, at 8 p.m. EDT/PDT.