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

This should be an interesting race given the performances we've seen this year. I fully expect, even with a crowded field, to see multiple nominees from the same show, it's just a matter of which one. So pending Tony eligibility, here's our breakdown of this race so far. 


  • Daveed Diggs - Hamilton
  • Christopher Jackson - Hamilton
  • Gavin Creel - She Loves Me

Probable Nominees

  • Adam Kantor - Fiddler on the Roof
  • Okieriete Onaodowan - Hamilton

On the Bubble

  • George Takei - Allegiance
  • A.J. Shively - Bright Star
  • Jonathan Groff - Hamilton
  • Byron Jennings - She Loves Me

With all the strong male performances in Hamilton, I expect to see more than one name from that show in this category. My guess is that it's going to be Diggs and Jackson. Given the buzz regarding Creel's performance in She Loves Me, I would expect his name will be included as well. 

As for the remaining names on the list, it's anyone's guess. Kantor has a strong chance, as does Onadowan but a 3rd nominee in this category for Hamilton is unlikely. 

As for the bubble, I'd say they're all long shots for Tony recognition. Takei would be an interesting choice but a nomination for him would probably serve more as a symbolic gesture rather than having earned one. Returns on Shively are strong, but he may be considered for Best Actor, we have to wait and see on that. I don't see She Loves Me getting two nominations in this category which puts Jennings on the outskirts. The one name on this list that could make a surprising appearance is Groff. For as little as he is on stage, he makes quite the impression and chews each scene he's in, which might be enough bait for Tony voters. We saw this happen last year with Brad Oscar's nomination for Something Rotten! 

Like I said, it's a crowded field. Also, keep in mind actor-heavy Tuck Everlasting and Shuffle Along haven't even opened yet and they have some Tony-bait in their ranks. Also, early buzz on Drew Gehling in Waitress is quite good too. This is going to be a race to watch. 

Probable winner: While most would say it's either Diggs or Jackson, I would remind them with what happened last year when three actresses from Fun Home were nominated and essentially split the vote enough for Ruthie Ann Miles to pull of an upset win. The same certainly could happen here which would clear the path for Gavin Creel or someone else to nab the award. My money right now is with Diggs but that could change.