73rd Annual Tony Award Nominations

Tuesday, The American Theatre Wing announced the nominees for the 73rd Annual Tony Awards, and from straight plays to musicals, it’s shaping up to be one of the tensest seasons in modern history, thanks to the tough competition between Hadestown and Tootsie and The Ferryman, What The Constitution Means To Me, and Choir Boy.

The Best Musical field is perhaps the most interesting (isn’t it always?), thanks to the truly creative and experimental pieces filling this year’s nominees. Following in last year’s footsteps, two of this year’s nominees are based on musicals: Tootsie and Beetlejuice. Tootsie is perhaps the biggest contender of the lot, thanks to its frontrunner status for the great character actor Santino Fontana and the way it actually modernizes the classic Dustin Hoffman comedy for the 21st century. The musical earned 11 nominations overall, including Book and Music, Direction, Choreography, Fontana, Featured Actor Andy Grotelueschen (in the Bill Murray role) and Featured Actresses Lilli Cooper (in the Jessica Lange role) and Sarah Stiles (in the Teri Garr role). As for Beetlejuice, the zany Tim Burton adaptation outperformed expectations, earning eight nominations across the board, including Alex Brightman’s riveting performance as the Ghost With The Most, Sound, Lighting, and Scenic Design (although, surprisingly, not technical director Alex Timbers). Of course, the most nominated – and talked about – musical of the lot has to be Hadestown, the Great Depression-set folk-rock opera inspired by the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice. The show has received massive acclaim for its powerful story, its stunning visuals, and its impressive performances – in particular Patrick Page as the antihero Hades, whose 2010-written ballad “Why We Build The Wall” has become very…timely, I guess is the right word. The show received 14 nominations, and is most likely the frontrunner for Best Musical (you can consider Best Featured Actor and Best Direction a shoe-in).

Of course, Hadestown is followed closely by Ain’t Too Proud, the most recent in the trend of jukebox bio-musicals released in the wake of 2006’s Jersey Boys. Ain’t Too Proud tells the story of legendary Motown band The Temptations and it tracks their career through the highs and lows. On top of the expected Best Musical, Best Direction, and Best Choreography nods, Ain’t Too Proud also found massive success in the acting categories, with Derrick Baskin earning a Leading Actor nod for his performance as Otis Williams, Ephraim Sykes earning a nomination for his performance as David Ruffin, and Jeremy Pope earning a nod as Eddie Kendricks (Pope is also one of only six actors to ever be double nominated at the Tonys, also earning a nomination for his work in the play Choir Boy). Ain’t Too Proud has managed to earn a whopping 12 nominations overall, making it the second-most nominated show this season. And finally, Best Musical is rounded-out by the one-time frontrunner, and the only truly original musical of the bunch, The Prom. A real crowd-pleaser, The Prom tells the story of a young girl who finds herself in the center of a nationwide scandal after her town’s PTA bans her from bringing her girlfriend to prom. A group of narcissistic, untalented actors hear of her plight and decide to make themselves heroes by taking up her cause, much to the poor girl’s chagrin. Eventually, everyone comes together thanks to the power of true love, and they all dance the night away. It’s a cute, clever concept, and while the show underperformed in the technical categories, it did manage to dominate the lead categories, earning nominations for Brooks Ashmanskas and Beth Leavel as the self-centered actors, as well as Caitlin Kinnunen as the teenaged Emma (famously, Kinnunen was cast in the chorus of the show before producers realized she would be perfect for the lead). And then there are the revivals. This year, only two shows were eligible for Best Revival of a Musical, but boy, could they be more different. The current rendition of Kiss Me, Kate is pretty straightforward in execution, playing the entire show pretty classically (and earning nominations for choreography, Orchestrations, and Kelli O’Hara for Best Actress), but the real talk in New York is Daniel Fish’s take on Oklahoma! Fish has stripped the show to its essentials, rendering the music as a simple country band (complete with jugs, acoustic guitars, and washboards) and leaving the set as a picnic-themed theatre-in-the-round (at intermission, the cast serves chili and cornbread from the tables center-stage), but its what he’s done to the material that’s most fascinating. Fish has amped up the sultry, dark material underneath the surface of the Rodgers and Hammerstein romantic-comi-tragedy, rewritten the role of the infamous Jud Fry, and given the ending a new horrifying twist – and all without changing a single note or line of dialogue. It gives the material a fresh take that is daring and bold, and as a lover of Oklahoma! for years, I cannot be more excited about this recent take. The show is a shoe-in for Best Revival, and maybe even Best Direction, Orchestrations and Scenic Design, actor Damon Daunno has a real shot for Best Actor, and Ali Stroker will become both the first actress to ever win a Tony for the coveted role of Ado Annie, but also become the first actor in a wheelchair to ever win a Tony.

As for the straight play categories, everything was shaken to its core when Best Play was announced. You see, while the two frontrunners for the award, To Kill A Mockingbird (adapted by Aaron Sorkin) and Network (a hit adaptation by the Brits starring Bryan Cranston), each earned a handful of nominations – Network received five nods, including Cranston, Sound, Lighting, and legendary director Ivo van Hove, while Mockingbird received a whopping nine for director Bartlett Sher, Score, Scenic Design, Lighting, and actors Jeff Daniels (Atticus Finch), Celia Keenan-Bolger (Scout), and Gideon Glick (Dill Harris) – neither show was nominated for Best Play. That’s right: the two most nominated plays of the year found themselves left out of the top race. Instead, we find three modern masterworks battling it out with a comedy and a historical drama. Perhaps the frontrunner is Jersualem playwright Jez Butterworth’s The Ferryman, a drama about a former IRA activist trying to live out the rest of his life in the country – the play did earn a whopping nine nominations, including director Sam Mendes (director of Skyfall and Oscar winner for American Beauty, also a previous nominee for 1998’s Cabaret), actor Paddy Considine, actress, Laura Donnelly, and Featured Actress Fionnula Flanagan. Or perhaps the frontrunner is Moonlight writer Tarell Alvin McCraney’s Choir Boy, a show exploring race and sexuality inside an African-American all-boys school (McCraney’s thematic fingerprints are clearly all over it), which received nominations for Best Play, a second nomination for Jeremy Pope, Best Sound in a Play, and a rare Best Choreography nomination for a straight play. Or perhaps it will be Pulitzer finalist What The Constitution Means To Me, Heidi Schreck’s original play where she reflects back on her grade school essays about the Constitution, reflects on what those lessons mean to her, and reflects back over the past the past six generations of women in her family and how their time in America has evolved over the years. The show is a hit in the literary community, and that could put it over the edge, but overall, it did only manage to muster two nominations – one for Best Play and one in a six-way tie for Best Actress. Also nominated is the Nathan Lane-led comedy Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus, which explores existentialism in the aftermath of Shakespeare’s famous tragedy. It earned seven nominations (none for Lane), including two for Best Featured Actress, one for Best Director (George C. Wolfe), and a series of technical nominations. And finally, there’s Ink, the American premiere of the British play of the same name. The show is a Sweet Smell of Success-esque telling of the rise of the infamous newspaper The Sun, and how editor Larry Lamb and owner Rupert Murdoch made it the success it is today (for better or worse. The show outperformed expectations, earning nominations for beloved character actor Bertie Carvel as Murdoch, Rupert Goold for Best Director, Best Scenic Design, Best Lighting Design, and Best Sound Design.

And finally, we have the play revivals, which mostly break down to three shows and a few interesting tidbits. For example, The Waverly Gallery is most likely not going to win Best Revival, but it is interesting to note that Elaine May is nominated for her first Tony ever for the show. She’ll go head to head with All My Sons and its leading lady Annette Bening (as well as two-time winner Laurie Metcalf for portraying Hillary Clinton). Sons is the frontrunner for the award, and also received nominations for Benjamin Walker in Featured Actor. Honestly, the only show that stands a chance against All My Sons is the smoldering new take on Burn This, featuring a hot-off-his-Oscar-nod Tony nominee in Adam Driver and Broadway staple Brandon Uranowitz. It would be unwise to bet against these two plays in the Featured Actor category.

The 73rd Tony Awards will be held on June 9th, and it will be hosted by James Corden. Special Tony Awards will be presented to Marin Mazzie and Jason Michael Webb, as well as Sonny Tilders for his work creating the gorilla puppet in King Kong: The Musical. You can see the full list of nominees below.

Best Play

  • Choir Boy
  • The Ferryman
  • Gary: A Sequel To Titus Andronicus
  • Ink
  • What The Constitution Means To Me

Best Musical

  • Ain’t Too Proud
  • Beetlejuice
  • Hadestown
  • The Prom
  • Tootsie

Best Revival of a Play

  • All My Sons
  • The Boys In The Band
  • Burn This
  • Torch Song
  • The Waverly Gallery

Best Revival of a Musical

  • Kiss Me, Kate
  • Oklahoma!

Best Actor in a Play

  • Paddy Considine-The Ferryman
  • Bryan Cranston-Network
  • Jeff Daniels-To Kill A Mockingbird
  • Adam Driver-Burn This
  • Jeremy Pope-Choir Boy

Best Actress in a Play

  • Annette Bening-All My Sons
  • Laura Donnelly-The Ferryman
  • Elaine May-The Waverly Gallery
  • Janet McTeer-Bernhardt/Hamlet
  • Laurie Metcalf-Hillary and Clinton
  • Heidi Schreck-What The Constitution Means To Me

Best Actor in a Musical

  • Brooks Ashmanskas-The Prom
  • Derrick Baskin-Ain’t Too Proud
  • Alex Brightman-Beetlejuice
  • Damon Daunno-Oklahoma!
  • Santino Fontana-Tootsie

Best Actress in a Musical

  • Stephanie J. Block-The Cher Show
  • Caitlin Kinnunen-The Prom
  • Beth Leavel-The Prom
  • Eva Noblezada-Hadestown
  • Kelli O’Hara-Kiss Me, Kate

Best Supporting Actor in a Play

  • Bertie Carvel-Ink
  • Robin de Jesús-The Boys in the Band
  • Gideon Glick-To Kill A Mockingbird
  • Brandon Uranowitz-Burn This
  • Benjamin Walker-All My Sons

Best Supporting Actress in a Play

  • Fionnula Flanagan-The Ferryman
  • Celia Keenan-Bolger-To Kill A Mockingbird
  • Kristine Nielsen-Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus
  • Julie White-Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus
  • Ruth Wilson-King Lear

Best Supporting Actor in a Musical

  • André De Shields-Hadestown
  • Andy Grotelueschen-Tootsie
  • Patrick Page-Hadestown
  • Jeremy Pope-Ain’t Too Proud
  • Ephraim Sykes-Ain’t Too Proud

Best Supporting Actress in a Musical

  • Lilli Cooper-Tootsie
  • Amber Gray-Hadestown
  • Sarah Stiles-Tootsie
  • Ali Stroker-Oklahoma!
  • Mary Testa-Oklahoma!

Best Direction of a Play

  • Rupert Goold-Ink
  • Sam Mendes-The Ferryman
  • Bartlett Sher-To Kill A Mockingbird
  • Ivo van Hove-Network
  • George C. Wolfe-Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus

Best Direction of a Musical

  • Rachel Chavkin-Hadestown
  • Scott Ellis-Tootsie
  • Daniel Fish-Oklahoma!
  • Des McAnuff-Ain’t Too Proud
  • Casey Nicholaw-The Prom

Best Music and Lyrics

  • Be More Chill
  • Beetlejuice
  • Hadestown
  • The Prom
  • To Kill A Mockingbird
  • Tootsie

Best Book of a Musical

  • Ain’t Too Proud
  • Beetlejuice
  • Hadestown
  • The Prom
  • Tootsie

Best Scenic Design of a Play

  • The Ferryman
  • Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus
  • Ink
  • Network
  • To Kill a Mockingbird 

Best Scenic Design of a Musical

  • Ain’t Too Proud
  • Beetlejuice
  • Hadestown
  • King Kong
  • Oklahoma!

Best Costume Design of a Play

  • Bernhardt/Hamlet
  • The Ferryman
  • Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus
  • To Kill a Mockingbird
  • Torch Song

Best Costume Design of a Musical

  • Ain’t Too Proud
  • Beetlejuice
  • The Cher Show
  • Hadestown
  • Tootsie

Best Sound Design of a Play

  • Choir Boy
  • The Ferryman
  • Ink
  • Network
  • To Kill A Mockingbird

Best Sound Design of a Musical

  • Ain’t Too Proud
  • Beetlejuice
  • King Kong
  • Hadestown
  • Oklahoma! 

Best Lighting Design of a Play

  • The Ferryman
  • Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus
  • Ink
  • Network
  • To Kill A Mockingbird

Best Lighting Design of a Musical

  • Ain’t Too Proud
  • Beetlejuice
  • The Cher Show
  • Hadestown
  • King Kong

Best Choreography

  • Ain’t Too Proud
  • Choir Boy
  • Hadestown
  • Kiss Me, Kate
  • Tootsie

Best Orchestrations

  • Ain’t Too Proud
  • Hadestown
  • Kiss Me, Kate
  • Oklahoma!
  • Tootsie

Add Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *