NEW YORK, NY.-
Tony nominations morning is always filled with joy for lots of performers, theater artists and producers who find themselves in contention for Broadways biggest recognition. But there are also always some who are overlooked, and others who are just gobsmacked.
Here are some of the snubs, surprises and observations about Mondays list:
The nominators spread out their admiration quite widely: Of the 34 eligible shows, 29 got at least one nod, including the critically scorned Diana. But five new plays were completely overlooked. Most surprising: Pass Over, a well-reviewed play and bracing drama by Antoinette Chinonye Nwandu, and also the first play to open after the pandemic lockdown. Also scoring no nominations: Birthday Candles, by Noah Haidle; Chicken & Biscuits, by Douglas Lyons; Is This a Room, by Tina Satter; and Thoughts of a Colored Man, by Keenan Scott II.
The Civil War-era musical Paradise Square has had an especially tortuous road to Broadway, and so far ticket sales have been quite weak. But the shows fortunes Monday had to offer comfort and hope: It snagged an impressive 10 nominations, tying for the second most of any show. Joaquina Kalukango was always a sure thing in the lead actress in a musical category, but nominators also singled out two of her supporting co-stars, Sidney DuPont and A.J. Shively. The show drew attention in most of the major technical categories as well, including for Bill T. Jones choreography, but one key member of the creative team was left out: the director, Moisés Kaufman.
Several major stars who are drawing big crowds to their shows failed to impress. Among them: the married couple Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick, who are starring in a smash revival of Plaza Suite that scored just one nomination, for costume design, and Daniel Craig, who is playing the title role in a revival of Macbeth. (His co-star, Ruth Negga, did get nominated, and the production was also nominated for lighting and sound design.)
Tony nominators followed the critics, raining on the parade for the highly anticipated revival of Funny Girl. While it was the beloved musicals first time back on Broadway in nearly 60 years, it scored only one nomination, for tap-dancing supporting actor Jared Grimes. And Beanie Feldstein, who drew tepid notices filling Barbra Streisands shoes as Fanny Brice, did not receive a best actress nomination.
How to handle the many ensemble-driven shows was always going to be a challenge for the nominators. In the case of The Lehman Trilogy, they bestowed riches on everyone, nominating all three lead actors Simon Russell Beale, Adam Godley and Adrian Lester and expanding the category to make room for them all. For the musical Six, on the other hand, a cast twice the size proved hard to rank, and none of the actresses playing the six wives of Henry VIII were crowned.
That Jesse Tyler Ferguson would be nominated for his role in Take Me Out seemed a sure bet. And the suave star power of Jesse Williams, as the baseball demigod Darren Lemming, vaulted him to a nomination as well. But the big surprise was a third nod in the supporting actor category for the far less well-known Michael Oberholtzer, whose wounded ferocity as a racist teammate put him in (friendly?) competition with his co-stars.
Another show also struggling at the box office a revival of the choreopoem For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/ When the Rainbow Is Enuf also did quite well Monday. The production had announced an early closing date of May 22, and must now decide whether its seven nominations, plus a social-media-fueled pay-it-forward campaign to get tickets into the hands of those who might not otherwise be able to afford them, are enough to extend the run.
This article originally appeared in The New York Times