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Best Featured Actress of A Musical

Best Featured Actress of A Musical

Our Lady of the Underground for the Tony

Every year this specific category makes me wish everyone could win! We’ve got Lilli Cooper for “Tootsie,” Sarah Stiles for “Tootsie,” Mary Testa for “Oklahoma!,” Ali Stroker for “Oklahoma!” and Amber Gray for “Hadestown.” While each of the actress are bringing their own great performances, Stroker and Gray are the best bets for this year.

Every year this specific category makes me wish everyone could win! We’ve got Lilli Cooper for “Tootsie,” Sarah Stiles for “Tootsie,” Mary Testa for “Oklahoma!,” Ali Stroker for “Oklahoma!,” and Amber Gray for “Hadestown.” While each of the actress are bringing their own great performances, Stroker and Gray are the best bets for this year.

Before getting into the nitty-gritty of who, what and why of my predictions, I would like to acknowledge the atrocity that Leslie Kritzer from “Beetlejuice” and Bonnie Milligan from “Head Over Heels” were SNUBBED! I’m also slightly disappointed that Stephanie Styles didn’t get acknowledged for her role as Lois/Bianca in “Kiss Me, Kate” I just had to get that out there, back to Best Featured Actress of a Musical analysis.

Stiles and Cooper both bring great comedic performances in “Tootsie,” but they risk splitting their votes. I would say the same for Cooper and Stroker in “Oklahoma!”, but Stroker has something special. She is the first actress in a wheelchair to be nominated for a Tony. This is a HUGE MILESTONE for representation in the theatrical community that brings me eternal joy. Even if you ignore the fact that she is belting the iconic song “I Cain’t Say No” from a wheelchair and completely transforms the character from being a mere ingénue to owning her sexuality. A lot of voters are considering giving her the vote because they are so focused on her disability rather than her ability as an actress, which I find infuriating. While this representation is absolutely wonderful, it is also complicating the race.

Gray was the initial pick among critics. She has been with “Hadestown” for years, giving her time to develop a rich character. She owns the stage with her charisma, and her role, Persephone, toes the line of being a lead rather than a featured part, giving her plenty to dig deep into, and trust me, she does.  

Depending on whether or not the voters are focused on Stroker’s disability, she might receive the award. I have mixed feelings because while I am all for representation and making theatre more accessible, Ado Annie is just a less complex role than Persephone. Honestly, it could go either way, but my bet is that it will go to Amber Gray.

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