Early 2016 Tony Awards Predictions: Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical

Chris Peterson

OnStage Founder & Editor-in-Chief


A little while back we released some of our way too early Tony predictions, but now that the nominations are just a month away, and with very little left to open on Broadway, it's time to start thinking about who might be hearing their named called on June 12th. 

So with that in mind, for the next couple of days, I'll be releasing my Tony nominations and possible winners. 

Today's Category: Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical

This will be another race that might have some interesting results. I fully expect that the five nominees in this category will have made quite the case for themselves and it will be incredibly bittersweet hearing whoever wins this award. Here's our breakdown pending Tony eligibility. 


  • Leslie Odom Jr - Hamilton
  • Lin-Manuel Miranda - Hamilton
  • Danny Burstein - Fiddler on the Roof

Probable Nominees

  • Alex Brightman - School of Rock
  •  Andrew Keenan-Bolger - Tuck Everlasting

On the Bubble

  • Zachary Levi - She Loves Me
  • Brian Stokes Mitchell - Shuffle Along
  • Billy Porter - Shuffle Along
  • Josh Segarra - On Your Feet
  • Benjamin Walker - American Psycho

I think the locks are pretty safe bets here. As for the probables, I expect one of them to be nominated. I'm leaning toward Brightman but I wouldn't be surprised, nor would I argue, if it's Keenan-Bolger. 

As for the bubble, this is going to be a tough call with only one to two slots left. I don't think Levi will make the cut nor Segarra. So it's either going to be Walker or either Mitchell/Porter. The word I'm receiving on them is fantastic, so I expect someone in the cast to make it in this race.

Probably winner: Tough call but my money is with Leslie Odom Jr. Considering he's the front runner for both Best Score and Best Book, I don't think we're going to see a hat trick with a win for Miranda here. Also, for those of you hoping for a tie; while it's not mathematically impossible, it's unlikely. It hasn't happened in an acting category since 1979. However, the first time it happened it was a tie between two people in the same show(Gwen Verdon and Thelma Ritter for New Girl in Town), so it's not impossible. 

This category also tends to favor new musicals. Since 2000, the award has gone to actors from new musicals 11 times. So that certainly favors Hamilton here. 

Which means once again, Danny Burstein will go home empty handed. Which is a shame because of his five previous Tony nominations, he should have won twice(The Drowsy Chaperone and Golden Boy). But Kelli O'Hara won on her 6th try, maybe Odom and Miranda split the vote enough for Burstein win? We'll see.