Trends and Tallies: Breaking Down the 2017 Tony Award Nominations

Tony Awards   Trends and Tallies: Breaking Down the 2017 Tony Award Nominations
Two Playbill editors analyze this year’s list of nominees—from first-timers to Hollywood big-wigs (and in some cases, both).

The 2017 Tony Award nominations were revealed May 2 as the theatre community marches toward Broadway's biggest night. Following the announcement, the Playbill editorial team took a deep dive into the list, tracking the most notable facts and figures from the 2016–2017 lineup. Read below for a few key observations.

The 71st annual Tony Awards, hosted by Kevin Spacey, will take place June 11 at Radio City Music Hall and will air on CBS.


Warm Welcome for Writers

Lynn Nottage and Paula Vogel
Lynn Nottage and Paula Vogel

All of the playwrights and book writers nominated for Best Play and Best Book of a Musical, respectively, are making their Broadway debuts. Playwrights Lucas Hnath for A Doll’s House, Part 2, J.T. Rogers for Oslo, and Pulitzer Prize winners Lynn Nottage for Sweat and Paula Vogel for Indecent earned nods.

The four nominated book writers are Irene Sankoff and David Hein for Come From Away, Steven Levenson for Dear Evan Hansen, Danny Rubin for Groundhog Day, and Dave Malloy for The Great Comet.

The Musical Hat Trick

The four shows nominated for Best Musical—Come From Away, Dear Evan Hansen, Groundhog Day, and The Great Comet—also comprise the full categories for Best Original Score and Best Book. What’s more, those four shows appear in the Best Director of a Musical category, supplemented only by Jerry Zaks’ direction of the revival of Hello, Dolly!

The Fantastic Four

Laurie Metcalf, Jayne Houdyshell, Condola Rashad, and Chris Cooper Brigitte Lacombe

Three shows boast nods for four of its performers. Hello, Dolly! earned nominations in each of the four musical acting categories for Bette Midler, David Hyde Pierce, Kate Baldwin, and Gavin Creel.

The entire company of A Doll’s House, Part 2 walked away with nominations: Laurie Metcalf, Chris Cooper, Jayne Houdyshell, and Condola Rashad.

Lastly, the revival of Falsettos celebrated nominations for Christian Borle, Stephanie J. Block, and two featured actors: Andrew Rannells and Brandon Uranowitz. The musical, despite closing in early January, is also up for Best Revival of a Musical. PBS intends to air the musical as part of its Live from Lincoln Center later this year.


Just a Little Bit of Star Quality


Big screen A-listers worked their way into all four Leading Actor/Actress categories this year. Hollywood names to pick up nominations included Kevin Kline for Present Laughter, Cate Blanchett for The Present, Sally Field for The Glass Menagerie, Josh Groban for The Great Comet, and Bette Midler for Hello, Dolly! Danny DeVito also gained recognition for his featured performance in The Price.

Déjà Vu

Jayne Houdyshell, Andy Blankenbuehler, and Alex Lacamoire
Jayne Houdyshell, Andy Blankenbuehler, and Alex Lacamoire

Eight artists celebrate nominations in the same category they appeared in at the 2016 Tony Awards. Metcalf, who was nominated last year for Misery, is up again now for A Doll’s House Part 2; her Doll’s House co-star Houdyshell, who walked away with the 2016 medallion for The Humans, was once again nominated for Best Featured Actress in a Play.

Hamilton Tony winners Andy Blankenbuehler, Alex Lacamoire, and Howell Binkley, were once more nominated for Best Choreography, Best Orchestrations, and Best Lighting, respectively—this time for Bandstand, Dear Evan Hansen, and Come From Away. David Korins, nominated in 2016 for his scenic design of Hamilton, also celebrates his second nomination for Best Set Design in a Musical for War Paint.

Hello, Dolly!’s Santo Loquasto picked up a nomination for Best Scenic Design of a Musical for the second consecutive year—after last year’s nomination for Shuffle Along. Jane Greenwood, nominated in 2016 for her costume design of Long Day’s Journey Into Night, collects another nomination this year for The Little Foxes.

Larry Hochman, who earned a nomination last year for orchestrating She Loves Me, is once again nominated for his work on another classic revival: Hello, Dolly!

Left Off the List

Phillipa Soo and Adam Chanler-Berat Joan Marcus

While 11 musicals and 14 plays collected nominations this morning, 11other shows were overlooked by the Nominating Committee. A number of productions—Paramour, In Transit, Les Liaisons Dangereuses, The Cherry Orchard, Significant Other, and Oh, Hello—ended their runs prior to the nominations announcement. Also excluded were A Bronx Tale, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Amélie, Sunset Boulevard, and Cats, which remain open. While a handful of these titles have strong enough advances to continue their runs, Playbill will continue to monitor weekly grosses to see how these omissions affect box office figures.

As previously reported, Sunday in the Park with George was not eligible for nominations at the producers’ request.

First-Timers' Club


An impressive 34 artists achieved Tony nominee status for the first time this year. The list includes 17 Broadway debuts: Cate Blanchett, Josh Groban, Denée Benton, Eva Noblezada, Danny DeVito, Denis Arndt, Rebecca Taichman, Rachel Chavkin, Hnath, Vogel, Nottage, Rogers, Malloy, Sankoff, Hein, Levenson, Rubin.

Rounding out the first-timers are Sally Field, Ben Platt, Chris Cooper, Corey Hawkins, Michael Aronov, Richard Thomas, John Douglas Thompson, Michelle Wilson, Mike Faist, Lucas Steele, Jenn Colella, Rachel Bay Jones, Bradley King, Denis Jones, Sam Pinkleton, Ellen Kane, and Greg Anthony Rassen.

Additionally, Tony Award winner Ruben Santiago-Hudson earned a nomination for his directorial debut for his work on August Wilson’s Jitney.


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