It is always a time of great anticipation. The Tony Awards, the most prestigious awards ceremony for Broadway, mean a great deal to the fate of plays and musicals, often dictating tourist picks throughout the summer and certainly adding a measure of prestige for the award recipients. This year, the Tony Awards ceremony will be held on June 8, 2014 at Radio City Music Hall. The nominations were just announced.
Leading the list of shows with the highest number of nominations is the new musical A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, which received 10 nominations. Hedwig and the Angry Inch followed with a respectable 8, and four shows tied next with 7 nominations: After Midnight, Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, Twelfth Night, and The Glass Menagerie. The Tony Nominating Committee adopted a new rule this winter, which allows each category to select up to five contenders, if deemed appropriate due to the votes being close enough in the final tally. Despite this fact, several categories still have only four or three nominees, even when those supposed to be serious contenders were left out of the running. For instance, the category of Best Musical includes only four nominees – After Midnight, Aladdin, Beautiful, and A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder – even while Bullets Over Broadway, If/Then, The Bridges of Madison County, and Rocky were all left out.
You cannot make everyone happy all the time, but perhaps the most notable snub was Will Eno’s new play The Realistic Joneses, which did not receive any nominations. Critics have hypothesized that this is because the nominating committee was turned off by the show’s unusual structure and provocative subject matter, while the plays that were selected were all more conventional, if significantly less moving or original. These nominees for Best Play are Act One, All the Way, Casa Valentina, Mothers and Sons, and Outside Mullingar, most of which received moderate to mixed reviews. The category for Best Revival of a Musical includes only three titles – Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Les Misérables, and Violet – though the only other contender, Cabaret, was blatantly left off the list. The four titles chosen for Best Revival of a Play are The Cripple of Inishmaan, The Glass Menagerie, A Raisin in the Sun, and the all-male production of Twelfth Night.
Not appearing on the Tony nomination list includes Daniel Radcliffe, who did not receive a nomination for Best Actor for his role in The Cripple of Inishmaan, despite having received magnificent reviews. This marks the third time he has starred on Broadway yet failed to be nominated for a Tony Award, it seems that he cannot shake his Harry Potter persona, albeit in the eyes of the Tony Award committee. Other actors who were astonishingly left out of the running include Denzel Washington for A Raisin in the Sun, Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart who co-starred in the repertory productions of No Man’s Land and Waiting for Godot, as well as Zachary Quinto who was the only star of The Glass Menagerie to be left off. Other shows that did not receive any nominations – some to great surprise – are the box-office smash Betrayal, the big-budget musical Big Fish, and the musicals Soul Doctor, First Date, and the revival of Cabaret.
Interestingly, all the nominees for Best Director of a Play were for revivals, rather than new plays. These are John Tiffany for The Glass Menagerie, Kenny Leon for A Raisin in the Sun, Tim Carroll for Twelfth Night, and Michael Grandage for The Cripple of Inishmaan. Perhaps the nominating committee prefers to acknowledge the work of directors who revive older works, rather than those who create the first Broadway production of a new play. They failed to recognize Bill Rauch for All the Way and James Lapine for Act One, both of whom worked magic with large casts.
Furthermore, it is notable that no women were nominated for play directing awards, and only one woman was nominated for directing a musical: Leigh Silverman for Violet. What’s more, none of the ten new plays this season were written by women. In fact, women were notably few amongst the nominees overall – with the clear exceptions of the Best Actress categories. Patrick Healy of The New York Times postulated that this is because men in power often choose those with whom they have a friendly relationship for high-up positions in the theatre, so it often turns out that men serve these roles.