Everything You Need to Know: Tony Awards 2016

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The Tony Awards are coming up soon, so I have made a list of everything you need to know before watching the awards. The show is on June 12th and is hosted by the host of the Late Late Show, James Corden. For my predictions click here and for my opinion of the nominees click here.

The Categories– There are exactly 24 different competitive categories this year (just like last year), and in each category there are either four or five nominees. This year s especially notable for having five best new musical nominees (Hamilton, Waitress, Bright Star, Shuffle Along, and School of Rock), while the category normally only has four (the last time there was 5 nominees was in 1960 when The Sound of Music and Fiorello! shared the Tony). This year there has also been a push to bring back the sound design awards (which Hamilton would win), but the push was ignored.

The Shows— There are a total of 26 different shows nominated for the awards.

Most notable amongst them is Hamilton*, the hip-hop musical, which is nominated for a record breaking 16 nominations (the previous record was 15 and was shared between The Producers and Billy Elliot). The show was nominated for every single category it was eligible for and was nominated twice for best actor (both Lin-Manuel Miranda and Leslie Odom Jr.) and thrice for best featured actor (Daveed Diggs, Jonathan Groff, and Christopher Jackson). The show is expected to win best new musical and best score, but every other category is pretty much fair game for everyone. The show features Lin-Manuel Miranda (In the Heights), Leslie Odom Jr. (Tick, Tick… Boom!), Philippa Soo (Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812), Renee Elise Goldsberry (The Lion King), Daveed Diggs (Broadway debut), Christopher Jackson (In the Heights), and Jonathan Groff (Frozen). And all the names I just mentioned are nominated for their work.

Another notable nominee is Shuffle Along*, which was nominated for 10 awards (also a significant amount). There was a lot of debate about whether this show should be considered a revival or a new musical, due to a push by the show’s producer, Scott Rudin, and the show’s close ties with a previous Broadway show. But despite the disagreement, the show was labeled a new musical and has to compete with Hamilton (and probably lose). The show stars Audra McDonald, who was definitely snubbed a nomination, and also features Brian Stokes Mitchell (Man of La Mancha), Billy Porter (Kinky Boots), Brandon Victor Dixon (nominated for best featured actor), Joshua Henry (fun fact: during the workshops for Hamilton, Henry played King George), Brooks Ashmanskas (Something Rotten!), and Adrienne Warren (nominated for best featured actress).

She Loves Me* is nominated for a total of 8 awards (including best revival of a musical) and is the most nominated revival this year. Despite all that it is still not the favorite to win best revival (The Color Purple is). The show however has gotten great reviews especially for its actors (getting the second highest amount of acting nominations for a musical) and for its direction. This adaptation also featured brand new orchestrations, by Larry Hochman, which was also nominated. The show stars a star-studded cast including Laura Benanti (Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown), Zachary Levi (Thor: The Dark World), Jane Krakowski (Guys and Dolls), and Gavin Creel (Hair).

Eugene O’Neill’s play Long Day’s Journey Into Night is nominated for a total of 7 Tony awards, and is thereby the most nominated play this year. It is typically unusual for a revival of a play to be the most nominated play as well (though more common than with the musicals), but this play pulls it off. The production has gotten great reviews, especially for its wonderful cast (the show was nominated for three out of four acting categories) and its production design. The play stars Jessica Lange (King Kong), Gabriel Byrne (Little Women), Michael Shannon (Boardwalk Empire), and John Gallagher Jr. (Spring Awakening).

Also a notable show is the play Eclipsed, which stars Lupita Nyong’o and is nominated for 6 awards. This play has garnered wonderful reviews praising the play’s direction (by nominee Liesl Tommy) and acting. Another decently nominated show was The Humans, also with 6 nominations, which tells the story of a normal and average American family. The play is expected to win Best New Play as well as acting awards for both Supporting Actor (Reed Birney) and Actress (Jayne Houdyshell). Two other plays that have gotten a handful of nominations are Ivo Van Hove’s two Arthur Miller adaptations, A View From the Bridge and The Crucible. They are both up for a handful of awards.

School of Rock*, Bright Star*, and Waitress* are the three remaining musicals up for the Best New Musical award, with each having four nominations (Best Musical, Best Score, Best Book, and Best Actor (School of Rock) or Best Actress (Bright Star and Waitress). King Charles III and The Father are the two remaining Best New Play nominees with 5 and 2 nominations respectively and The Father‘s leading actor, Frank Langella, prone to win Best Actor. The Color Purple*, Fiddler on the Roof*, Spring Awakening* are each up for Best Revival of a Musical with The Color Purple being expected to win the category. Blackbird and Noises Off are the two remaining Best Revival of a Play nominees, with neither of them being expected to win anything, although Blackbird’s Jeff Daniels being the most likely to nab the award from Frank Langella.

The following is a list of other shows nominated for awards, but not expected to win anything as well as not being nominated for many categories: American Psycho, Disaster!, Tuck Everlasting, Hughie, Misery, Therese Raquin, On Your Feet!*, and Dames at Sea.

*indicates a show that will be performing at the event

The People–

James Corden- The host of the 70th Tony Awards, James Corden has had significant success with hosting the Late Late Show with James Corden. In 2012 Corden won a Tony Award for his role in the play One Man, Two Guvnors and starred in the film adaptation of Into the Woods. On his late night show, Corden has also showed off his love for musical theatre with the segment Crosswalk Musical and his recent segment of Carpool Karaoke in which he sings Broadway songs with Lin-Manuel Miranda, Audrey McDonald, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, and Jane Krakowski.

Lin-Manuel Miranda– Nominated for three awards this season, Miranda has taken Broadway by storm with his awe-inspiring epic retelling of the life of Alexander Hamilton in the musical, Hamilton. Having recently gotten a caricature at Sardi’s, Lin-Manuel Miranda is expected to win for Best Score and Best Book of a Musical, but he’s much more challenged in the Leading Actor category where he’s up against his co-star Leslie Odom Jr. and Danny Burstein.

Ivo Van Hoven– Van Hoven is the man responsible for two of this seasons Best Revival of a Play nominees, The Crucible and A View From the Bridge. Both of the plays are written by Arthur Miller, and Van Hoven’s adaptations have almost only gotten positive feedback and have featured big-name actors and actresses in the leading roles.

Jan Versweyveld- This three-time nominated light and set designer worked with Van Hoven on his two big shows this year. Along with Miranda, he’s the only person to be nominated for three awards this season. At the nomination ceremony Andrew Rannells made a joke after mispronouncing Versweyveld’s last name, “I’ll get it right next time”.

Audra McDonald– McDonald is the Broadway-queen who has won six tony awards and has been nominated for two others. She has also won a Tony for all four actress categories. This year she was expected to be nominated and a leading contender for Leading Actress in a Musical for her performance in Shuffle Along, but was subbed.

Andrew Lloyd-Webber– This seven-time Tony winning composer nominated for writing the score to School of Rock which is his first Tony nomination since 2006 (for the score to The Woman in White). Lloyd-Webber’s musical Cats is also set for a Broadway revival later this year, which could very well win a couple Tony Awards next year.

Andrew Rannells-  Rannells co-hosted the Tony Nominations this year and will be presenting at the actual event. Rannells is most notable for his role in The Book of Mormon as Elder Price, for which he was nominated for a Tony. Rannells also recently starred as King George III in Hamilton for a six week period while Jonathan Groff was shooting a TV show.

Patina Miller- The other co-host of the nominations as well as a presenter this year, Miller won a Tony Award in 2013 for her role as the Leading Player in the revival of Pippin. Miller also starred in the two Hunger Games: Mockingjay films in a bit-role as Commnader Paylor.

Daveed Diggs– This actor’s Broadway-debut has garnered him a Tony nomination, which in itself is unusual, but he is also the expected winner, which is very unusual. Before his role in Hamilton, Diggs worked for a delivery company.

Thomas Kail– This Broadway director who is the likely winner for Best Director of a Musical for his work in Hamilton, also directed the well-received Grease: Live starring (presenter) Aaron Tveit and Vanessa Hudgens.

Fun Facts–

The character of King George in Hamilton has been played by five actors (Joshua Henry, Brian d’Arcy James, Jonathan Groff, Andrew Rannells, and Rory O’Malley). And every single one of those actors had previously been nominated (but never won) for at least one Tony award: Henry for The Scottsboro Boys; d’Arcy James for Sweet Smell of Success, Shrek the Musical, and Something Rotten!; Groff for Spring Awakening; and Rannells and O’Malley for The Book of Mormon.

Jan Versweyveld is nominated for three Tony awards this season for two different plays (best scenic design for A View From the Bridge and best lighting design for A View From the Bridge and The Crucible). The only other thricely nominated individual this season is Lin-Manuel Miranda who is nominated thrice for one show (best leading actor, best score, and best book all for Hamilton).

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