How Often are People Tony-Nominated for Different Shows in the Same Season?

Jennifer Ashley Tepper Is answering your questions with Broadway Deep Dive!

By: Apr. 14, 2024
Get Access To Every Broadway Story

Unlock access to every one of the hundreds of articles published daily on BroadwayWorld by logging in with one click.

Existing user? Just click login.

Do you have a burning Broadway question? Dying to know more about an obscure Broadway fact? Broadway historian and self-proclaimed theatre nerd Jennifer Ashley Tepper is here to help with her new series, Broadway Deep Dive. Every month, BroadwayWorld will be accepting questions from theatre fans like you. If you're lucky, your question might be selected as the topic of her next column!

Submit your Broadway question in the comments here!

This time, the reader question was: How often are people Tony Award-nominated for different shows in the same season?

The countdown to Tony Award nominations is upon us! As such, Tony Award history is on theatre folks’ minds.

I loved getting asked the question: How often are people Tony Award-nominated for different shows in the same season? For the sake of this column, let’s look only at the categories related to directors, choreographers, writers, and actors. (An exploration of people Tony-nominated for different shows in the same season in every category would be very long!) What is the history of instances where Broadway creatives in these fields have been nominated for different shows in the same season? What is possible for this season’s Tony nominations on April 30?

The only Tony Award seasons where a director has been nominated for directing two different musicals have been 1987 and 2000. In 1987, Trevor Nunn won for Les Misérables, which he co-directed with John Caird, and Nunn was also nominated for another, quite different British import: Starlight Express. In 2000, Susan Stroman received four Tony nominations for two different shows! Stroman was nominated for both Best Direction of a Musical and Best Choreography for both The Music Man and Contact, winning the latter award for the latter show.

On the play side, in 1965, Mike Nichols won the Best Direction of a Play Tony for directing both Luv and The Odd Couple. Later, 1977 saw Nichols nominated for directing two different plays: Streamers and Comedians. In 1973, A.J. Antoon won the Tony for his direction of the Pulitzer Prize-winning play That Championship Season, and was also nominated for a revival of Much Ado About Nothing. In 2009, Matthew Warchus won Best Director of a Play for his work on God of Carnage, and was also nominated for The Norman Conquests, the three-part production.

In 2000, Michael Blakemore set a Tony Award record when he won Best Direction of a Musical for Kiss Me, Kate and Best Direction of a Play for Copenhagen. Blakemore had also been nominated in both categories in 1990, for City of Angels and Lettice and Lovage. In 1963, the prolific George Abbott was nominated in both categories, winning for his direction of the musical A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, while nominated for directing the play Never Too Late. In 2001, Jack O’Brien was nominated in both categories, for the musical The Full Monty and the play Invention of Love

From 1947 to 1960, Best Direction was only one category, and directors of both plays and musicals were included. During this time, in 1952, José Ferrer won for Best Director for directing three plays: The Shrike, The Fourposter, and Stalag 17—and also won Best Actor in a Play for his work in The Shrike! Tyrone Guthrie won in 1956 for directing The Matchmaker and was also nominated for directing both Six Characters in Search of an Author and Tamburlaine The Great that season. In the same year, Harold Clurman was nominated for directing Bus Stop, Pipe Dream, and Tiger at the Gates. In 1957, Joseph Anthony was nominated for directing the musical The Most Happy Fella and the play A Clearing in the Woods. During these years, a Best Director nominee would be nominated for all shows they directed in a given season, but if they won, they would only be honored for one specific production. 

How Often are People Tony-Nominated for Different Shows in the Same Season?
Schele Williams and Michael Grief in rehearsals for The Notebook.

In a previous column, I explored Michael Greif’s current record-making season, directing three new Broadway musicals: Days of Wine and Roses, The Notebook (co-directed with Schele Williams), and Hell’s Kitchen. Based on this accomplishment, Greif could potentially receive Best Direction of a Musical nominations for three different musicals this season. In this same category, Alex Timbers could potentially receive two nominations—for directing Gutenberg! The Musical! and Here Lies Love. In addition to The Notebook, Schele Williams is also directing The Wiz, making her the third director who might be double-nominated for Best Direction of a Musical this season. On the Best Direction of a Play side, Lila Neugebauer has had a busy season, directing both Appropriate and Uncle Vanya.

As far as choreography, just last season, Jenifer Weber was honored by the Tony Awards for the first time—for two shows in the same season. Weber received Best Choreography nominations for her work on both & Juliet and KPOP. In the Best Choreography category, there are six others who have historically received nominations for different shows in the same season: Danny Daniels (1967, Annie Get Your Gun and Walking Happy), Rob Marshall (1994, Damn Yankees and She Loves Me), Susan Stroman (2000, Contact (won) and The Music Man), John Carrafa (2002, Into The Woods and Urinetown), Jerry Mitchell (2005, La Cage Aux Folles (won) and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels), and Christopher Gattelli (2018, My Fair Lady and SpongeBob SquarePants).

This season, in the world of choreography, Mayte Natalio could potentially be nominated twice, for her work on How To Dance in Ohio and Suffs. Lorin Latarro could potentially be double nominated for choreographing both The Who’s Tommy and The Heart of Rock and Roll. For both Natalio and Latarro, these would be their first Tony nominations.

The legendary Noël Coward received both of his two Tony nominations in the same year; in 1964, he was nominated for Best Direction of a Musical for High Spirits and Best Book of a Musical for The Girl Who Came to Supper. (From 1947 to 1965, a now-retired Tony Award category, Best Author, was awarded. This could go to the writer of a play or librettist of a musical. The nominees in this category who wrote musicals are now usually considered to have been nominated for Best Book of a Musical.) In 2000, Michael John LaChiusa was nominated for both Best Book and Best Score, for both Marie Christine and The Wild Party—4 nominations in all! In 2022, Lynn Nottage received nominations for Best Play for Clyde’s as well as Best Book of a Musical for MJ The Musical.

This season, Amy Herzog wrote the new play Mary Jane, and also the new adaptation of An Enemy of the People. Adam Cork wrote original music for both Patriots and The Shark is Broken (as well as sound designing); while it’s unlikely for a Best Score nomination to go to a play in a year with so many new musicals, it is possible. (Cork was previously nominated for the score of the play Enron in 2010, which he also sound designed.)

How Often are People Tony-Nominated for Different Shows in the Same Season?
Jeremy Pope in Choir Boy.

There are six actors in Tony Award history who have been nominated for two different shows in the same year. These are Amanda Plummer (1982, Agnes of God (won) and A Taste of Honey), Dana Ivey (1984, Heartbreak House and Sunday in the Park with George), Kate Burton (2002, The Elephant Man and Hedda Gabler), Jan Maxwell (2010, Lend Me a Tenor and The Royal Family), Mark Rylance (2014, Twelfth Night (won) and Richard III), and Jeremy Pope (2019, Ain’t Too Proud and Choir Boy).

It doesn’t seem likely that this acting distinction will be bestowed on any performers this season… but you never know!

Vote Sponsor