Four-time nominee and four-time winner Lansbury has the best record of the triumvirate. The actress earned Tony wins for her leading turns in Mame, Dear World, Gypsy and Sweeney Todd. This year, the musical maven marked her long return to the stage in Deuce — a play by fellow Tony four-timer Terrence McNally. It is her first nomination as a leading actress in a dramatic work. McDonald — who is four for five in her Tony win/nom ratio — will vie for the Tony again in 2007 with her sixth nomination. She has successfully earned two awards each in the Featured Actress in a Musical ( Carousel, Ragtime) and Featured Actress in a Play (Master Class, A Raisin in the Sun) categories. Her one loss was in the leading Actress in Musical category in 2000 for Marie Christine — the same category she finds herself in this season for her performance in the revival of 110 in the Shade.
Current nominee Gaines earns the most versatile award. He has won the Featured Actor in a Play honor for The Heidi Chronicles, the Leading Actor in a Musical Tony for She Loves Me and the Featured Actor in a Musical prize for Contact. This year, he vies for the award in yet another category, Best Actor in a Play for Journey's End. He is the only individual to have ever been nominated in each of the four male acting categories. And should he win, Gaines will join Harvey Fierstein and Tommy Tune in the exclusive club of artists who have earned Tony Awards in four separate categories.