Theater Thursday Special Report: Tony Nominations 2016 – The Good, The Bad, and the Hamilton

Hello readers! Theater Thursday (with a special report) has returned finally – and for good reason. That’s right, it is Tony Nominations Day! We can now take a look at what the American Theater Wing has declared the best of the best in this year’s theater community, and judging by the count, Hamilton is the clear favorite among both critics and fans alike. So who else made the cut and exactly how many awards is Lin and his team up for? Let’s take a look!

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To start this incredible celebration of diva stage moments, incredible new shows, and the genius that is the current crop of theater talent, here is the total nomination list (SOURCE):

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Best Musical
Bright Star
Hamilton
School of Rock
Shuffle Along
Waitress

Best Play
Eclipsed by Danai Gurira
King Charles III by Mike Bartlett
The Father by Florian Zeller
The Humans by Stephen Karam

Best Revival of a Musical
Fiddler on the Roof
She Loves Me
Spring Awakening
The Color Purple

Best Revival of a Play
A View From the Bridge
Blackbird
Long Day’s Journey Into Night
Noises Off
The Crucible

Best Leading Actor in a Musical
Alex Brightman, School of Rock
Danny Burstein, Fiddler on the Roof
Zachary Levi, She Loves Me
Lin-Manuel Miranda, Hamilton
Leslie Odom Jr., Hamilton

Best Leading Actress in a Musical
Laura Benanti, She Loves Me
Carmen Cusack, Bright Star
Cynthia Erivo, The Color Purple
Jessie Mueller, Waitress
Phillipa Soo, Hamilton

Best Leading Actor in a Play
Gabriel Byrne, Long Day’s Journey Into Night
Jeff Daniels, Blackbird
Frank Langella, The Father
Tim Pigott-Smith, King Charles III
Mark Strong, A View From the Bridge

Best Leading Actress in a Play
Jessica Lange, Long Day’s Journey Into Night
Laurie Metcalf, Misery
Lupita Nyong’o, Eclipsed
Sophie Okonedo, The Crucible
Michelle Williams, Blackbird

Best Featured Actor in a Musical
Daveed Diggs, Hamilton
Brandon Victor Dixon, Shuffle Along
Christopher Fitzgerald, Waitress
Jonathan Groff, Hamilton
Christopher Jackson, Hamilton

Best Featured Actress in a Musical
Danielle Brooks, The Color Purple
Renée Elise Goldsberry, Hamilton
Jane Krakowski, She Loves Me
Jennifer Simard, Disaster!
Adrienne Warren, Shuffle Along

Best Featured Actor in a Play
Reed Birney, The Humans
Bill Camp, The Crucible
David Furr, Noises Off
Richard Goulding, King Charles III
Michael Shannon, Long Day’s Journey Into Night

Best Featured Actress in a Play
Pascale Armand, Eclipsed
Megan Hilty, Noises Off
Jayne Houdyshell, The Humans
Andrea Martin, Noises Off
Saycon Sengbloh, Eclipsed

Best Direction of a Musical
Michael Arden, Spring Awakening
John Doyle, The Color Purple
Scott Ellis, She Loves Me
Thomas Kail, Hamilton
George C. Wolfe, Shuffle Along

Best Direction of a Play
Rupert Goold, King Charles III
Jonathan Kent, Long Day’s Journey Into Night
Joe Mantello, The Humans
Liesl Tommy, Eclipsed
Ivo van Hove, A View From the Bridge

Best Score
Sara Bareilles, Waitress
Steve Martin and Edie Brickell, Bright Star
Lin-Manuel Miranda, Hamilton
Andrew Lloyd Webber and Glenn Slater, School of Rock

Best Book of a Musical
Julian Fellowes, School of Rock
Steve Martin, Bright Star
Lin-Manuel Miranda, Hamilton
George C. Wolfe, Shuffle Along

Best Orchestrations
August Eriksmoen, Bright Star
Larry Hochman, She Loves Me
Alex Lacamoire, Hamilton
Daryl Waters, Shuffle Along

Best Choreography
Andy Blankenbuehler, Hamilton
Savion Glover, Shuffle Along
Hofesh Shechter, Fiddler on the Roof
Randy Skinner, Dames at Sea
Sergio Trujillo, On Your Feet!

Best Scenic Design of a Musical
Es Devlin and Finn Ross, American Psycho
David Korins, Hamilton
Santo Loquasto, Shuffle Along
David Rockwell, She Loves Me

Best Scenic Design of a Play
Beowulf Boritt, Thérèse Raquin
Christopher Oram, Hughie
Jan Versweyveld, A View From the Bridge
David Zinn, The Humans

Best Costume Design of a Musical
Gregg Barnes, Tuck Everlasting
Jeff Mahshie, She Loves Me
Ann Roth, Shuffle Along
Paul Tazewell, Hamilton

Best Costume Design of a Play
Jane Greenwood, Long Day’s Journey Into Night
Michael Krass, Noises Off
Clint Ramos, Eclipsed
Tom Scutt, King Charles III

Best Lighting Design of a Musical
Howell Binkley, Hamilton
Jules Fisher and Peggy Eisenhauer, Shuffle Along
Ben Stanton, Spring Awakening
Justin Townsend, American Psycho

Best Lighting Design of a Play
Natasha Katz, Long Day’s Journey Into Night
Justin Townsend, The Humans
Jan Versweyveld, A View From the Bridge
Jan Versweyveld, The Crucible

SCHOOL OF ROCK - 2015 PRES ART- Pictured: Alex Brightman andn cast- Photo Credit: Timmy Blupe

Now if you haven’t noticed, Hamilton continues to break records. What is the deal this time? Well, this “little” show about one of America’s founding fathers has garnered a total of 16 nominations – the most a production has received in Tony Award history. Granted, we will have to see if the show even wins won of them, but I am sure that it will take the Best Musical gold home, if not a few of the technical categories.

The other new musicals will sadly be out shined by Hamilton, but if it were me, School of Rock would take the prize without even a thought. Why? Because there are so few musicals that become better than the movies that inspire them – and since the majority of said shows don’t get nominated – I feel School of Rock needs a pat on the back and an award in hand, as does Lloyd Webber for finally writing something that isn’t a complete and utter disaster – like he has for the past 20 or so years.

When it comes to acting though, as much as I would love to see people like Christopher Jackson and Phillipa Soo take home the gold, there are a few individuals not in Hamilton that I think deserve the Tony in those acting categories just a little bit more. For starts, can we give some love to Laura Benanti? Girlfriend has been working her butt off in this industry, and seriously proves her classic Broadway talents in She Loves Me, hence why she should take the award. But there is also Color Purple‘s Cynthia Erivo, who has shown that she is someone to watch out for in the theater community, and has the pipes of a beast that are on par with Mandy Gonzalez and other vocal masters of current Broadway.

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Let’s also not forget the gents in the acting categories too. Zachary Levi continues to be a force on the Broadway stage, bringing about classic 60’s leading man charms in She Loves Me. Sadly, I don’t think he will take the prize, but if he did, it would be surely deserved. But the real competition I believe is between Leslie Odom Jr. and Alex Brightman, who in my opinion were the best performances on stage this year. Odom is giving something incredibly iconic, while Brightman is so full of energy, that he elevates his show past what it could have been. Sure, Danny Burstein was also fantastic in Fiddler, but I definitely think a revival of this nature shouldn’t win in this category, since it would be too predictable. There is too many new male performances that need to be recognized, and the match between Odom Jr. and Brightman is going to be an intense one.

As for the play category, it is also quite a doozy this year. From A View from the Bridge to The Crucible, it is all about the revivals this year. Personally, my vote for all the categories goes to Bridge, but there is a bit of a possibility that Long Days could also take some prizes, especially for its cast, including the flawless creature that is Jessica Lange. As for new plays, Humans seems the most obvious choice, as it has been the critical darling of the year in that category, and continues to leave audiences gasping. Unfortunately none of the other plays are making as much of a splash compared to last year’s Curious Incident. 

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When it comes to the categories I have the most interest in this year, the Musical Revival one is the strongest, even more than the original works in 2016. Why? Um, I’m sorry, have you seen Deaf West’s Spring Awakening, because that show deserves to sweep every one of those three categories it is in – a much needed prize after their short, under-performed run in the current tourist Broadway climate. But every revival this year was near flawless, and elevated past the original in aspects theatergoers never even imagined – particularly the case for Spring and Color Purple, who though were well received initially, have matured into fine pieces of theater.

Technical categories are sure to mostly go to Hamilton, but I would prepare you that it might not sweep the Best Score category, mostly because there is one lady that has a stiff upper hand on the competition: Sara Bareilles. Her work on Waitress has been very well received and could be the beginning of a brilliant career for her as a key figure in the theater community. Though the race between her and Lin for that category is very tight, I’m pretty sure this could be the one upset for the Hamilton fandom.

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Overall, this year’s Tonys is one of the most exciting and interesting of the season! With tons of beautiful diverse stories, talent and more, the 2016 ceremony is going to be one for the ages. If Hamilton wins, it will not only be the show with the most nominations in history, but possibly the most wins, beating out The Producers, who currently holds the title with 12 wins. Whatever the outcome, this is going to be a Tony Awards I and the rest of the world will never forget.

So what are your views on this year’s Tony Awards nominees? Think Hamilton deserved all the acclaim, or think another production got short handed? Who is your vote in all the categories? Will you be watching the ceremony this year? Which Broadway show will you be supporting? Comment below and tell us all your razzle dazzle feelings!

Watch the Tony Awards telecast on June 12th at 8pm! 

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