The “Hamilton” juggernaut continued to storm through Broadway on Tuesday when the smash musical broke another record with 16 Tony Award nominations — including nods for best musical and three more for creator Lin-Manuel Miranda for his score, book and lead performance. Leslie Odom Jr., who plays Hamilton’s assassin Aaron Burr, will compete with Miranda for best actor. Until now, the record was held by “The Producers” and “Billy Elliot,” which each had 15.
Almost as newsworthy for playgoers is the recognition of Ivo van Hove, the Belgian avant-garde director whose radical revivals of Arthur Miller’s “A View From the Bridge” (five) and “The Crucible” (four) were both nominated in the revival category, while van Hove, in his Broadway debut, also was nominated for his direction of “Bridge.”
Two of the four nominated plays are tied for six nominations each. These are Stephen Karam’s “The Humans,” including director Joe Mantello and featured actors Reed Birney and Jayne Houdyshell, and Danai Gurira’s “Eclipsed,” including director Liesl Tommy and star Lupita Nyong’o. Mike Bartlett’s “King Charles III” has five nominations, including ones for Tim Pigott-Smith and director Rupert Goold, while Florian Zeller’s “The Father” also got a nomination for star Frank Langella.
In an especially rich year for new musicals, “American Psycho,” “Tuck Everlasting” and “Allegiance” were conspicuously shut out from the all-important category. But major notice went to “Shuffle Along, or the Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed,” which has 10 nominations, including best musical and two for director/author George C. Wolfe. Shockingly, Audra McDonald (who already has a record six Tonys) did not get a nomination this time, but featured actors Brandon Victor Dixon and Adrienne Warren did.
The other best-musical nominations went to “Bright Star” (five), including Steve Martin and Edie Brickell for their bluegrass score, and Martin for his book and Carmen Cusack for her starring performance. “School of Rock” (four) and “Waitress” (four) also were chosen from an unusually rich helping of new musicals this season. For “School of Rock,” Andrew Lloyd Webber and Glenn Slater also were nominated for their score, and Alex Brightman was singled out as lead actor. “Waitress” also was nominated for Sara Bareilles’ score and Jessie Mueller’s starring role.
Aside from “Crucible” and “Bridge,” the busy play-revival category also honored “Long Day’s Journey Into Night” (seven), including nods for director Jonathan Kent and actors Jessica Lange, Gabriel Byrne and Michael Shannon. Also in the revival category were “Blackbird” (three), including one each for actors Jeff Daniels and Michelle Williams, and “Noises Off” (five), including feature-actor nominations for Andrea Martin, Megan Hilty and David Furr.
And from the equally competitive musical-revival season, the most nominations went to “She Loves Me” — which has six, including ones for director Scott Ellis and stars Laura Benanti and Zachary Levi.
“The Color Purple” has four nominations, including director John Doyle and star Cynthia Erivo and co-star Danielle Brooks. The deaf production of “Spring Awakening” has three, including one for director Michael Arden. Although Danny Burstein is nominated as the star of “Fiddler on the Roof,” director Bartlett Sher was not nominated.
Other conspicuous omissions include Benjamin Walker (“American Psycho”), Carolee Carmello and Sarah Charles Lewis (“Tuck Everlasting”), Jennifer Hudson (“Color Purple”), Ben Whishaw and Saoirse Ronan in “Crucible” (though Sophie Okonedo deservedly was), Ana Villafane and Andrea Burns (“On Your Feet!”), Linda Lavin (“Our Mother’s Brief Affair”), Forest Whitaker (“Hughie”), Keira Knightley and Judith Light (“Therese Raquin”), James Earl Jones and Cicely Tyson (“The Gin Game”), Matthew Broderick and Annaleigh Ashford (“Sylvia”), George Takei and Lea Salonga (“Allegiance”), John Gallagher Jr. (“Long Day’s Journey”).
Big-name stars Bruce Willis (“Misery”) and Al Pacino (“China Doll”) also were shunned.
The 70th anniversary Tony Awards will be held at the Beacon Theatre on June 12 and telecast on CBS.