The Tony nominations are tomorrow. Here's what to expect.
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The Tony nominations are tomorrow. Here's what to expect.
Theatergoers line up for “Hell’s Kitchen” in New York, April 24, 2024. At a time when Broadway is overflowing with plays and musicals but could use more ticket buyers, this season’s Tony Award nominations will be announced on Tuesday, offering a boost to some shows and dashing the hopes of others. (Sara Krulwich/The New York Times)

by Michael Paulson

NEW YORK, NY.- At a time when Broadway is overflowing with plays and musicals but could use more ticket buyers, this season’s Tony Award nominations will be announced Tuesday, offering a boost to some shows and dashing the hopes of others.

Here’s what you might want to know about the Tony nominations, which this year will recognize plays and musicals that opened on Broadway between April 28, 2023, and April 25, 2024:

When and how are the nominations announced?

A few categories are to be made public shortly after 8:30 a.m. Eastern on the Tuesday broadcast of “CBS Mornings.” (CBS airs the Tonys, so it has first dibs on the news.) The full list of nominees will be announced on the Tony Awards YouTube channel starting at 9 a.m. Two previous Tony winners, Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Renée Elise Goldsberry, will read the list of nominees.

The New York Times’ live coverage of the announcements will continue all day, with the list of nominees as well as news and analysis.

How were the nominees chosen?

The Tony Awards have a nominating committee made up of people knowledgeable about theater (many are theater artists or administrators) but who do not have a financial stake in any of the season’s shows. This season 36 Tony-eligible plays and musicals opened; nominators were required to see all of them.

The nominating committee started with 60 members, but then — as always happens — some had to recuse themselves because they couldn’t get to all the shows or because a conflict of interest arose. About 45 nominators are expected to vote.

What are the leading contenders?

The race for best musical — generally the prize with the biggest economic impact — is wide open, with 15 eligible contenders, none of which have immediately broken out as a unanimous critical darling or a box-office smash. Five to seven shows will be nominated for the best musical award.

Look for “Hell’s Kitchen,” the musical loosely based on Alicia Keys’ life and featuring her music, to rack up a lot of nominations, as well as “The Outsiders,” adapted from S.E. Hinton’s classic coming-of-age novel.

The other categories are a little more lopsided.

This has been a strong season for musical revivals, but towering above the others is the starry revival of “Merrily We Roll Along,” which was loved by critics. It is selling amazingly well (it’s already profitable), and has a fantastic comeback story. The original production, in 1981, was one of Broadway’s most famous flops.

“Merrily” features songs by Stephen Sondheim, whose commercial appeal has soared since his death in 2021. It is a reverse-chronological look at the implosion of a three-way friendship; in the current revival, those friends are played by Daniel Radcliffe, Jonathan Groff and Lindsay Mendez, all of whom are likely to be nominees. Look also for “Cabaret” and “Tommy” to receive nods in the musical revival category.

Among new plays, the field will most likely be led by “Stereophonic,” David Adjmi’s fictional behind-the-music drama about a rock band recording an album. Also expected to do well is “Mary Jane,” Amy Herzog’s play about a single mother raising a child with cerebral palsy and other conditions.

Among play revivals, expect two dramas set in the American South to lead the pack: “Appropriate,” Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’ 2013 play about three siblings wrestling with a family secret, and “Purlie Victorious,” Ossie Davis’ 1961 comedy about a preacher seeking to reclaim a church building from a plantation owner.

Do I know any of the likely nominees?

Probably. Among the film and television stars vying for nominations are Steve Carell, Jessica Lange, Rachel McAdams, Leslie Odom Jr., Sarah Paulson, Daniel Radcliffe, Eddie Redmayne, Liev Schreiber and Jeremy Strong.

A number of recording artists could land nominations for best score, including David Byrne (“Here Lies Love”), Barry Manilow (“Harmony”) and Ingrid Michaelson (“The Notebook”), as well as Will Butler (formerly of Arcade Fire, writing music for “Stereophonic”) and Jamestown Revival (“The Outsiders”).

The potential producer nominees include Keys (for “Hell’s Kitchen”), Angelina Jolie (for “The Outsiders”) and Hillary Clinton (for “Suffs”).

When are the Tony Awards?

This year’s ceremony will take place on June 16 at Lincoln Center’s David H. Koch Theater. The broadcast will begin at 8 p.m. Eastern on CBS; it will also be streamed on Paramount+, and will be preceded by a streaming preshow on Pluto TV at which some awards will be handed out.

Why does this matter?

The Tony Awards are a recognition of excellence in theater, honoring actors, writers, designers, directors, choreographers, musicians and, yes, producers for their work on the plays and the musicals that make it to Broadway.

The awards can boost the financial fortunes and careers of winning shows and artists. The broadcast is a marketing opportunity for Broadway, introducing potential ticket buyers to the latest shows. Musicals that win tend to enjoy longer lives on Broadway and on the road; plays that win are more likely to be studied and staged elsewhere; and artists who win often have more opportunities and better compensation going forward.

This article originally appeared in The New York Times.

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