With one of Broadway’s biggest days just around the corner, speculation over this year’s Tony Award nominations is peaking. Will there be any surprises in the best musical category, where many of the contenders are TV and film spinoffs (think “Mean Girls,” “Frozen” and “SpongeBob SquarePants”)? Or will the nominations leader be not a musical but a play, “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child,” based on the magical creations of author J.K. Rowling? Or will revivals such as “My Fair Lady” and “Carousel” rule the day?
With those questions in mind, here are three things to watch for when Katharine McPhee and Leslie Odom Jr. announce the 2018 Tony Award nominees early Tuesday:
1. Just how many nominations will “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” get?
The two-part play is all but a shoo-in for best play. Look for recognition of the originality and wizardry of the stagecraft behind the production, which already has earned eight Drama Desk nominations, including ones for costumes, wigs and hair, lighting and direction. If “Potter” is to lead the pack, however, it will need nominations for its cast, including Jamie Parker as lead actor in play and Anthony Boyle and Noma Dumezweni in featured actor and actress categories.
2. “The Band’s Visit” is already a favorite for best new musical, but what shows will also land in that category?
A year ago 13 original musicals vied for four slots, but this year only seven productions are in the mix. The front-runner, based on the 2007 Israeli film and directed by David Cromer, could end up facing off against shiny productions with Hollywood pedigrees: “Mean Girls,” adapted from the Tina Fey film, and “SpongeBob SquarePants,” with songs by Panic at the Disco!, John Legend and David Bowie. More of a dark horse: Disney’s “Frozen,” which launched with outsized expectations but has been met with lukewarm reviews.
3. To what extent will Broadway look like Hollywood East this year?
Amy Schumer could get nominated for lead actress in a play for Steve Martin’s “Meteor Shower,” but she’s got stiff competition from a few other well-known actresses, including Glenda Jackson for “Three Tall Women,” Lili Taylor for “Marvin’s Room” and Uma Thurman for “The Parisian Woman.” In the running for lead actor in a play: Denzel Washington for “The Iceman Cometh,” Andrew Garfield for “Angels in America” and Chris Evans for “Lobby Hero.”
“My Fair Lady” star Lauren Ambrose could lead the charge for revivals, while Fey’s odds (for best book) are better than dark horses like Joshua Jackson for “Children of a Lesser God,” John Lithgow for “Stories by Heart,” John Leguizamo for “Latin History for Morons” and Olivia Wilde for “1984.”
Oh, and don’t forget a guy named Bruce Springsteen, who isn’t entered in the competitive categories but who could get a special Tony Award for the phenomenon that is “Springsteen on Broadway.” It has been reliably grossing more than $2 million per week.
Follow along as we cover the nominations live Tuesday with analysis and commentary at latimes.com/arts.