Did You Know... Our Favorite Fun Facts About the 2019 Tony Nominees!
Over the course of each Broadway season, unexpected and unique storylines inevitably pop up. This morning, with the announcement of the 2019 Tony Award nominations, a number of new narratives have come to life.
We've got performers making historic returns, while others are doing things that have never been done before, and much more. Check out some of the most interesting factual nuggets below, and if you think of any that we miss, tweet us @BroadwayWorld and we will share our favorites.
The American Theatre Wing's 73rd Annual Tony Awards, hosted by Tony winner James Corden, will air live from Radio City Music Hall on the CBS Television Network on Sunday, June 9, 2019 (8:00-11:00 PM, ET/delayed PT). The Tony Awards are presented by The Broadway League and the American Theatre Wing.
At last year's Tony Awards, the Best Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical category featured six nominees, this year, it was the Best Actress in a Leading Role in a Play category to include a half-dozen performers. This year's nominees are Annette Bening, Laura Donnelly, Elaine May, Janet McTeer, Laurie Metcalf, and Heidi Schreck.
This is the first time that the category has expanded to six nominees since Anne Bancroft won for THE MIRACLE WORKER in 1960.
In recent years, having six performers nominated in a category has been unusual, but it's not unheard off. It happened for the first time in 1956 when Julie Harris won for THE LARK, and of course, Katrina Lenk (THE BAND'S VISIT) beat five other nominees in 2018.
In 1958, there were actually seven nominees in the Best Actor in a Play category. Ralph Bellamy (Sunrise at Campobello) beat Richard Burton (Time Remembered), Hugh Griffith (LOOK HOMEWARD, ANGEL), Laurence Olivier (The Entertainer), Anthony Perkins (LOOK HOMEWARD, ANGEL), Peter Ustinov (ROMANOFF AND JULIET), and Emlyn Williams (A BOY GROWING UP).
Back and Better than Ever
Elaine May earned the above nomination for her return to the stage 53 years after she last appeared on Broadway; although some might argue that it doesn't technically count.
Though three plays that May wrote (TALLER THAN A DWARF, AFTER THE NIGHT AND THE MUSIC, and RELATIVELY SPEAKING) have come to Broadway since, she last appeared as a performer on Broadway in 1966's THE OFFICE, which never technically opened.
Annette Bening has appeared on Broadway twice, in 1987's COASTAL DISTURBANCES and now in ALL MY SONS. She received Tony nominations for both performances; marking an incredible 32 years between noms.
Though Fionnula Flanagan had been on Broadway in 1968's LOVERS and 1971's THE INCOMPARABLE MAX, she earned her first Tony nomination for 1974's ULYSSES IN NIGHTTOWN and then hadn't been seen on the Main Stem until THE FERRYMAN.
The 45 years between nominations is the third longest span between performance nominations, following Barbara Cook's 52 years (1958's THE MUSIC MAN, 2010's SONDHEIM ON SONDHEIM) and Jane Fonda's 49 (1960's THERE WAS A LITTLE GIRL, 2009's 33 VARIATIONS)
With her nomination in the Best Featured Actress in a Musical category, OKLAHOMA!'s Ali Stroker becomes the first performer who uses a wheelchair to be nominated for a Tony.
Also, with the Best Play nomination for GARY: A SEQUEL TO TITUS ANDRONICUS, it is believed that Taylor Mac is the first openly gender non-confirming individual to be nominated in the category.
Plays that Sing and Dance
For the second year in a row, the Best Original Score category features music written for a play. Last year, Adrian Sutton was nominated for ANGELS IN AMERICA, this year it is Adam Guettel for TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD.
Over the past 10 season - perhaps because of the rise of ineligible jukebox musicals - it is becoming more and more common to see plays honored in this category.
2019: TO KILL A MOCKING BIRD- music by Adam Guettel
2018: ANGELS IN AMERICA- music by Adrian Sutton
2012: PETER AND THE STARCATCHER- music by Wayne Barker, lyrics by Rick Elice
2010: FENCES- music by Branford Marsalis
2010: ENRON- music by Adam Cork, lyrics by Lucy Prebble
Keep in mind that the official title of the category does specify "Music and/or Lyrics Written for the Theatre." Many thought that perhaps Jason Michael Webb and Fitz Patton's original music for CHOIR BOY would be the play to land the score slot, but instead, Webb will receive a Special Tony Award for his work arranging and music directing the Best Play nominee.
Like Guettel and TO KILL A MOCKING BIRD above, this year we saw a play nominated in another traditional musical category. After being overlooked for ONCE ON THIS ISLAND last year, Camille A. Brown was nominated for her choreography in CHOIR BOY. This is the seventh time that choreography in a straight-play has been nominated.
2019: CHOIR BOY- Camille A. Brown
2018: HARRY POTTER AND THE CURSED CHILD- Steven Hoggett
2015: THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME- Scott Graham and Steven Hoggett
1992: DANCING AT LUGHNASA- Terry John Bates
1989: LARGELY NEW YORK- Bill Irwin and Kimi Okada
1973: MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING- Donald Saddler
1956: RED ROSES FOR ME- Anna Sokolow
Journalist and mathematician Ben Zauzmer posted a Twitter thread with 73 fun facts for the 73rd Annual Tony Awards:
0/73: Here is my 73-part trivia thread on the 73rd Tony Award nominations.- Ben Zauzmer (@BensOscarMath) April 30, 2019
Some of our favorite facts from the thread are:
"Fresh off his win for The Band's Visit,
@DavidYazbek ( @TootsieMusical) has a chance to become the 4th person to compose back-to-back Best Musical winners. -Richard Adler/Jerry Ross (The Pajama Game, Damn Yankees) -Cy Coleman (City of Angels, The Will Rogers Follies)"
This is the 5th time 2 shows received 2+ Musical Ft Actor noms (
@Hadestown, @AintTooProud). Others: 1960: Fiorello!, The Sound of Music 2001: The Producers, The Full Monty 2003: Hairspray, Movin' Out 2015: Something Rotten!, An American in Paris
Will the Third Time Be a Charm?
Having won in 2017 for A DOLL'S HOUSE, PART 2 and in 2018 for THREE TALL WOMEN, Laurie Metcalf has already joined Judith Light (2012, 2013), Stephen Spinella (1993, 1994), Sandy Dennis (1963, 1964), Gwen Verdon (1958, 1959), and Shirley Booth (1949, 1950) as the Tony Awards' only back-to-back acting winners.
However, with her nomination for HILLARY AND CLINTON, she could be the first to complete the hat-trick. And, since it has already been announced that she will return to Broadway in the 2019-20 season in WHO'S AFRAID OF Virginia Woolf?, she has a legitimate shot at four-in-a-row.
The More the Merrier
This is the first time in the category's history that there are five nominees for Best Book. And, it is the first time that there have been six nominees in the Best Score category.
This wasn't the most diverse year for the Tonys (or Bway) but let's note that Tarell Alvin McCraney is the first African-American man to get a Best Play nomination since the death of August Wilson and that Dominique Morisseau is the first AA woman up for Best Book in 20 years.- Mark Harris (@MarkHarrisNYC) April 30, 2019
Jeremy Pope, with his acting nominations for CHOIR BOY and AIN'T TOO PROUD, becomes only the second performer to be nominated in acting categories for both a play and musical in the same season.
Dana Ivey previously accomplished the feat in 1984 for both HEARTBREAK HOUSE and SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE.
Other performers to have multiple acting nominations in the same year are:
2019: Jeremy Pope (AIN'T TOO PROUD, CHOIR BOY)
2014: Mark Rylance (RICHARD III, TWELFTH NIGHT)
2010: Jan Maxwell (LEND ME A TENOR, THE ROYAL FAMILY)
2002: Kate Burton (THE ELEPHANT MAN, HEDDA GABLER)
1984: Dana Ivey (HEARTBREAK HOUSE, SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE)
1982: Amanda Plummer (A TASTE OF HONEY, AGNES OF GOD)
This season, four performance categories feature multiple nominees from the same show, including two that have multiple nominees from two different shows. Let's look back at the previous times that the Best Featured Actor and Actress in a Musical categories have had two shows with multiple nominees.
In all six previous instances, the eventual winner came from a show with multiple nominees.
2019: AIN'T TOO PROUD- Jeremy Pope, Ephraim Sykes | HADESTOWN- André De Shields, Patrick Page
2003: HAIRSPRAY- Dick Latessa (winner) and Corey Reynolds | MOVIN' OUT- Michael Cavanaugh, Keith Roberts.
2001: THE PRODUCERS- Gary Beach (winner), Roger Bart, Brad Oscar | THE FULL MONTY- John Allison Conlee, André De Shields
1969: 1776- Ron Holgate (winner), William Daniels | PROMISES, PROMISES- Larry Haines, Edward Winter
1960: FIORELLO!- Tom Bosley (winner), Howard Da Silva | THE SOUND OF MUSIC- Theodore Bikel, Kurt Kasznar
2019: HADESTOWN- OKLAHOMA!- Ali Stroker, Mary Testa | TOOTSIE- Lilli Cooper, Sarah Stiles
2000: CONTACT- Karen Ziemba (winner), Deborah Yates | SWING!- Laura Benanti, Ann Hampton Callaway
1987: LES MISERABLES- Frances Ruffelle (winner), Judy Kuhn | ME AND MY GIRL- Jane Connell, Jane Summerhays
Since there were only two musical revivals on Broadway this season (KISS ME, KATE, OKLAHOMA!), there are - obviously - only two shows nominated for Best Revival of a Musical; although the committee could have chosen to lump them with the play revivals if they so wished.
An award for this category was first presented in 1994. Before that season, plays and musicals were always considered together. However, in the 25 years of the category's existence, the only other times that there have only been two shows in this category were:
1995: SHOWBOAT (winner), HOW TO SUCCEED IN BUSINESS WITHOUT REALLY TRYING
2002: INTO THE WOODS (winner), OKLAHOMA!
On Twitter, in honor of Heidi Schreck's dual-nominations, Time Out New York theatre critic Adam Feldman and theatre writer and literary manager Seth Christenfeld compiled a list of individuals who have been nominated for writing and performing in the same show:
Who before Heidi Schreck has been Tony-nommed for writing and performing in a show? Lin-Manuel (Hamilton), Sherie Rene Scott (Everyday Rapture), Stew (Passing Strange), Bob Martin (Drowsy Chaperone), Claudia Shear (Dirty Blonde), Harvey Fierstein (Torch Song Trilogy)...who else?- Adam Feldman (@FeldmanAdam) April 30, 2019
As has become a tradition on Tony nomination day (and in BWW's annual fun facts article), the theatre website The Interval sends out sobering stats about the representation of women in the Tony nominations and the Broadway season at large.
If you would like to see their entire Twitter thread of facts, you can start here:
It's TIME...2019 statistics about women and the Tony Awards! (Please note that the following stats count nominations, not individuals, unless otherwise noted.)#TonyAwards2019 - The Interval (@TheIntervalNY) April 30, 2019
"Since 2000, Rachel Chavkin is the 18th nomination of a woman for Best Director of a Musical. Men have been nominated 66 times."
"Dominique Morisseau is only the third black woman to be nominated for Best Book of a Musical. The other two are Micki Grant in 1973 and Vinnette Carroll in 1977."
"Camille A. Brown was nominated for Best Choreography. The last time a black woman was nominated for choreography was 1996."
"WHAT THE CONSTITUTION MEANS TO ME by Heidi Schreck is only the 12th play by a woman to be nominated for Best Play since 2000. Nominations have gone to plays by men 73 times."
Have more Tony fun facts? Let me know on Twitter @BWWMatt. You can also listen to me discuss the awards season on BroadwayRadio, especially our daily theatre news show, "Today on Broadway," which you can download Monday through Friday.
Nominee graphics credit: @TheTonyAwards