Jordan Cooper’s “Ain’t No Mo” and Tom Stoppard’s “Leopoldstadt” collected six nominations each in the race for best new play. In an honest anomaly, the other three nominees in the category — Stephen Atlee Gurkis’ “Between Riverside and Crazy,” Martina Majok’s “The Cost of Living” and James James’ “Fat Ham” — are all Pulitzer Prize winners for drama. , in 2015, 2018 and 2022 respectively.
At a ceremony in Manhattan headlined by “Funny Girl” star Lea Michele and last year’s Tony winner Miles Frost for “MJ,” 27 of 38 eligible plays and musicals opened over 12. The month ends on April 27. Eleven shows received six nominations or more, a result that promises to make the 76th Tonys particularly competitive. Even the contests for best revival of a play and musical appear to be toss-ups: In the musical category, two popular Stephen Sondheim shows, “Into the Woods” and “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street,” are up against each other. “Lerner and Lowe’s Camelot” and “Parade,” with a score by Jason Robert Brown.
Both “Into the Woods” and “Parade” originated as concert revivals from Broadway as part of City Center Encores! project. Many of the stars of those productions were nominated: Sara Bareilles and Brian D’Arcy James won best actor for a musical for “Into the Woods,” and Michaela Diamond and Ben Platt earned similar spots for the musical “Parade.” In 1915, a Jew named Leo Frank was persecuted and beaten to death in an Atlanta suburb. Julia Lester, who played Little Red Riding Hood in “Into the Woods,” was nominated for Best Supporting Actress in a Musical. .
Contenders for best revival of a play include August Wilson’s “The Piano Lesson,” Henrik Ibsen’s “A Doll’s House,” Lorraine Hansberry’s “The Sign in Sydney Preston’s Window” and Suzanne-Lori Parks’ “Topdog/Underdog.”
The acting categories also offer some intriguing matchups: Jessica Chastain, nominated for best actress in a drama for her portrayal of Nora Helmer in “A Doll’s House,” faces debutant Jodie Comer as a London barrister. Susie Miller’s shock at her “first look”. Jessica Hecht in David Auburn’s “Summer, 1976” and Audra McDonald in Adrienne Kennedy’s “Ohio State Murders” are other strong actresses vying for the honor.
About 40 Tony nominators, representing a cross-section of theater disciplines, watch each show and vote for nominees in each category. Winners are chosen by a large group of Tony voters, numbering somewhere around 700. Tony rules allow flexibility in the number of nominees in each category; This year they went from four nominees for Best Actress in a Drama to seven for Best Lighting Design in a Drama.
Of particular note are “Topdog/Underdog” actors Yahya Abdul-Madeen II and Corey Hawkins, both up for Best Actor in a Drama. Stephen McKinley Henderson was singled out for his powerful work in “Between Riverside and Crazy”; Also in the running are Sean Hayes, who played Oscar Levant in “Good Night, Oscar,” and Wendell Pierce in the revival of “Death of a Salesman.”
Some other notable nominations in the acting categories: Victoria Clark, Justin Cooley and Bonnie Milligan, for outstanding performances in “Kimberly Akimbo”; In the revival of “Sweeney Todd” Sweeney Todd and Mrs. J. Harrison Nye and Christian Borle are up against each other for best actor in a musical for “Some Like It Hot” and Alex Newell and Kevin Cahoon are both nominated for best supporting actor in a musical for their priceless turns in “Shucked.”
While the accumulation of nominations gives some shows important bragging rights, musicals always top the charts because they qualify in more categories than plays, such as orchestrations, score and book. So Tuesday’s most-named headlines were all productions with songs: “& Juliet,” a pop riff on “Romeo and Juliet” that earned nine nods, as well as the touristy “New York, New York” and “Shucked,” a cheeky musical comedy set in rural America. Next at eight each are director Thomas Gayle’s “Sweeney Todd” and “Kimberly Akimbo,” about a New Jersey teenager who contracts a disease that causes her to age four times as fast as normal.
Tony Awards June 11 will air in two parts: The 90-minute preshow, including the first round of awards, will air on Pluto TV from 6:30pm to 8pm ET. This leads to the full telecast on CBS and Paramount Plus at 8 p.m.