Performers from “The Band’s Visit,” “Junk,” “Meteor Shower” and More
In order to make the Tony Awards nomination and voting process go as smoothly as possible, there is the Tony Awards committee, which, among its many responsibilities, makes certain determinations each winter prior to the nominations. Specifically, there are always actors in certain plays and/or musicals that are ambiguously Leading or Featured performers, and in order to decide which category they may be eligible to be nominated for, the committee meets to decide. Sometimes, producers ask for a performer to be considered one way or the other, and not always for the Leading category when there is ambiguity. The reason may be if there is particularly stiff competition in one of the categories, the producers may opt to vie for the other category, in order to give their show a better chance at taking home the win. This year, there were multiple shows whose performers needed determination from the Tony committee.
First of all, in one of the more exciting new musicals vying for top awards this season, several actors needed determination: The Band’s Visit. As determined by the committee, both Katrina Lenk and Tony Shalhoub are eligible in the Best Performance by an Actress/Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical categories for their respective Actress and Actor parts. In the play Junk, Steven Pasquale is considered eligible for the Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play category. For the same category, John Leguizamo will be eligible for Best Performance by an Actor in a Play category for his performance in Latin History for Morons. In addition, Mark Rylance is also considered eligible in the Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play category for his performance in Farinelli and the King. As for the Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical category, Hailey Kilgore will be considered eligible for her performance in Once on This Island. As for the Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical category, Ethan Slater will be considered eligible for his performance in SpongeBob SquarePants. However, Keegan-Michael Key and Laura Benanti from Meteor Shower are considered eligible in the Best Performance by an Actor/Actress in a Featured Role in a Play categories for their respective performances. This leaves Amy Schumer to be eligible for the award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play.
Orchestrations and Sound Design
In addition to eligibility determinations for performers, the Tony committee had several other calls to make. Regarding Orchestrations, AnnMarie Milazzo and Michael Starobin are considered jointly eligible in the Best Orchestrations category for their work on Once on This Island. In examining the evidence of these two individuals’ contribution to the show, the committee agreed that one was not more deserving of the nomination than the other, if the show is in fact nominated. In addition, Claire van Kampen, who is the writer of the play Farinelli and the King, comes to that show with a background in music. This is her first Broadway credit as a writer; previously, she earned music credits for her work on True West, Boeing-Boeing, La Bête, and Richard III / Twelfth Night. For Farinelli and the King, the official credit is listed as “music arranged by” Claire van Kampen, but upon consideration, for the purposes of Tony Awards eligibility, the committee determined that she is eligible for the category of Best Orchestrations. Finally, the committee also confirmed that Walter Trarbach and Mike Dobson are considered jointly eligible in the category of Best Sound Design of a Musical for their work on SpongeBob SquarePants. The committee will announce the Tony Award nominations on May 1, 2018, prior to the ceremony for the 72nd Annual Tony Awards, taking place on June 10, 2018 at Radio City Music Hall.