The Tony Awards nominations were announced on Tuesday, May 3, and, as expected, Hamilton dominated. Not only did it dominate, but it set a record for nods: 16. That beats the 15 that The Producers got back in 2001, which was tied in 2009 by Billy Elliot.
Helping Hamilton reach that number was its massive presence in the acting categories. In addition to creator Lin-Manuel Miranda’s nomination for his performance in the title role, the show received another nomination in the category Best Actor in a Musical (Leslie Odom, Jr.) and nods in Best Featured Actor in a Musical (Daveed Diggs, Jonathan Groff and Christopher Jackson), Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role (Phillipa Soo) and Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role (Renée Elise Goldsberry).
The musical’s feat was given added significance considering that the category Best Sound Design of a Musical was discontinued this year. (Bad news for Nevin Steinberg, Hamilton’s sound designer, who won a Drama Desk Award for his work on the musical last year and surely would have been nominated for a Tony had the category existed.)
Lin-Manuel Miranda should bring a small suitcase to the Tony Awards ceremony, as he is nominated four times himself, for Best Musical, Best Actor in a Musical, Best Book and Best Score, and many believe he will win all four.
Hamilton will compete for Best Musical with Bright Star, Waitress, School of Rock and Shuffle Along, Or the Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed. The latter came in second in the nomination tally with ten. Star Audra McDonald did not receive one of those ten, which is a kind of reverse landmark for her. It’s the first time since her Broadway debut in Carousel in 1994 that she’s taken on a major role in a Broadway production and not been nominated for a Tony. (Her sole miss was the 2003 revival of Henry IV, in which she played the small role of Lady Percy.)
Andrew Lloyd Webber’s nomination for Best Score is his first since 2006's Woman in White, thus officially making School of Rock the composer’s Broadway comeback. The last time he won a Tony was his uncontested win in 1995, for Sunset Boulevard.
Among plays, the top nominee magnets were Eclipsed, the harrowing story of the effect of the Liberian civil war on women hostages, and The Humans, about a modern family facing a crisis, both with six. Among musical revival: She Loves Me, Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick’s valentine to romance in a Budapest parfumerie, earned eight nominations. Among play revivals, Eugene O’Neill’s Long Day’s Journey Into Night, came in with seven.
Joe Mantello, who directed three plays on Broadway this season, was nominated for one, The Humans. Ivo Van Hove, who directed two Arthur Miller plays on Broadway this season, was also nominated for one, A View From the Bridge.
The nominations were remarkable in another way: In the same year when the Academy Awards battled criticism that its nominations reflected a lack of diversity in Hollywood, the Tony Awards nods spoke of diversity. All told, 14 of the forty acting nominations honored black, Hispanic and Asian-American actors, including members of the casts of Hamilton, Shuffle Along, or the Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921, and All That Followed, Eclipsed, and The Color Purple. They’ll be no social media backlash to the Tonys.
Disaster!, the musical send-up of 1970s disaster movies, which netted only one nomination, and has been flagging at the box office, was the first victim. It will end its run at the Nederlander Theatre on May 8 after opening on March 8. The production cuts short its limited run, originally scheduled to conclude on July 3.
Want to see a Member of Parliament play King Lear?
Let me put that another way. Want to see Glenda Jackson play King Lear?
Well, come this fall in London, you can do both. Jackson will essay the titanic Shakespearean role at the Old Vic, with artistic director Matthew Warchus at the helm.
Jackson was one of the intentional cinema’s most famous stars in the ‘’70s, winning Oscars for Women in Love and A Touch of Class. But she all but disappeared from stages and screens in the mid-‘90s. There was a good reason for that. In 1992, she ran for the House of Commons as a Labour Party candidate. She won, and held various offices until retiring last year.
Now free to act again, she is diving in head first into the deep end.