Bette Midler will be feeling good today; Allison Janney not so much. The 2017 Tony nominations were announced Tuesday morning, with the uproarious Tolstoy-themed pop-opera ”Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812,” set among a group of horny and lovelorn Russian arty types, leading the pack with 12 nominations—and making it the lead contender in the Best (new) Musical category.
The critically-adored “Hello, Dolly!”, starring Bette Midler, has 10 nominations; and also nominated in all the categories it would wish to is the much-hyped and buzzed-about “Dear Evan Hansen,” themed around teen suicide which scored nine nominations.
The competition in the dramatic categories will be equally as fierce, with four very different pieces going head-to-head in the original play category.
With eight nominations, Lucas Hnath's “A Doll's House, Part 2” leads the original play category, a beautifully written sequel to Ibsen's “A Doll's House.” It is up against J.T. Rogers' “Oslo,” a fantastically written and performed play about Middle East politics, Paula Vogel's repression-themed “Indecent,” and Lynn Nottage's “Sweat,” about industrial decline and its effects on an American town. (Both latter playwrights are Pulitzer winners.)
There were notable omissions, not least in Allison Janney not being up for lead actress in a play for her role in “Six Degrees of Separation,” as well as the lack of love for a number of star-packed but underwhelming productions including “The Cherry Orchard” and “Les Liaisons Dangereuses.”
Danny DeVito receives a nomination for his role in Arthur Miller's “The Price,” but not Mark Ruffalo.
The competitive field is narrowed to a few productions fighting it out for nearly all the prizes, meaning some productions (like “Anastasia” and “Charlie and The Chocolate Factory”) getting almost totally overlooked. Here we break it down the nominated and the snubbed.
The Tony Awards will be held on June 11, and televised on CBS. Read Tim Teeman's reviews of all the nominated plays and musicals here.
Best performance by a leading actor (Play)
Daily Beast interviewee Denis Arndt (“Heisenberg”) will be doing battle with the excellent Chris Cooper (“A Doll's House, Part 2”), Corey Hawkins (“Six Degrees of Separation”), Kevin Kline (“Present Laughter”), and Jefferson Mays for “Oslo.” This is a tough category for the sheer variety of performances: a great span of ages, and significant recognition for Hawkins, a young black actor.
Both Arndt and Hawkins scored nominations where their female counterparts, Mary-Louise Parker and Janney, did not. Missing out in the category were the brilliant Richard Roxburgh (“The Present”), Henry Shields (“The Play That Goes Wrong”), and Simon McBurney (“The Encounter”).
Best performance by a leading actress (Play)
This will be an extremely hard-fought category, with brilliant and distinctive performances by all. Cate Blanchett (“The Present”) will be up against Jennifer Ehle (“Oslo”), Sally Field (“The Glass Menagerie”), Laura Linney (Lillian Hellman's “The Little Foxes”), and Laurie Metcalf (“A Doll's House, Part 2”). Missing out are “Six Degrees'” Allison Janney and “Eisenberg's” Mary-Louise Parker.
Best performance by a leading actor (Musical)
The most hype and excitement surrounds Ben Platt for “Dear Evan Hansen.” But he's up against Christian Borle (“Falsettos”), Josh Groban (“Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812”), Andy Karl (“Groundhog Day The Musical”), and David Hyde Pierce (“Hello, Dolly!”). Platt may well win, but the other performers give just as distinctive performances. Missing out are Jon Jon Briones (“Miss Saigon”) and Corey Cott (“Bandstand”).
Best performance by a leading actress (Musical)
This is an epic diva smackdown. Bette Midler (“Hello, Dolly!”) is surely the most favored. But she is up against Patti LuPone and Christine Ebersole (both “War Paint”—as warring cosmetic titans, so that should be fun backstage the next few weeks), Denée Benton (“Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812”) and Eva Noblezada (“Miss Saigon”). Missing out are Christy Altomares (“Anastasia”), Phillipa Soo (from the critically badly received “Amelie”) and Laura Osnes (“Bandstand”).
Best Revival (Play)
All four are worthy, brilliantly performed adversaries: August Wilson's “Jitney,” Lillian Hellman's “The Little Foxes,” “Present Laughter,” and “Six Degrees of Separation.” But—ouch—look at what missed out. No nods for Sam Gold's critic-splitting production of “The Glass Menagerie,” and the star-packed productions of Arthur Miller's “The Price,” “The Front Page,” “The Cherry Orchard,” and “Les Liaisons Dangereuses.”
Best Revival (Musical)
Wow, what did “Sunset Boulevard” do to piss off the Tony nominating committee? “Falsettos,” “Hello, Dolly!” (which will surely win), and “Miss Saigon” are nominated. But no “Sunset Boulevard.” And no “Cats”—well, the latter was to be expected. But approach Glenn Close with care today.
This is a lovely, variety-stuffed quartet: Lucas Hnath's Ibsen sequel, “A Doll's House, Part 2” is up against Paula Vogel's “Indecent,” about sexuality, repression and oppression, J.T. Rogers's “Oslo” about Middle East power-play, and Lynn Nottage's “Sweat” about the decline of an American town and its residents. Only missing for a bit of light relief would have been a nod for Henry Lewis, Jonathan Sayer, and Henry Shields' “The Play That Goes Wrong.”
Will it be a feelgood 9/11-themed musical (“Come From Away”), teen suicide (“Dear Evan Hansen”), misanthropic meteorologist (“Groundhog Day The Musical”) or crazy Russians falling in love with who knows who (“Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812”)? Whatever it is, it won't be warring divas (“War Paint”) or Russian royal mystery (“Anastasia”), both of which were snubbed.
Best Original Score
This category follows on from the last: an exact mirror image of nominees and snubs, with an added snub for the plucky-but-unloved “In Transit.”
Finally, some love for “Bandstand” here, and for “Holiday Inn: The New Irving Berlin Musical,” with “Come From Away”, and “Natasha, Pierre…” also included. Snubs surprisingly for both “Hello, Dolly!” and “Anastasia,” both of which feature lovely choreography.
“Bandstand,” “Dear Evan Hansen,” “Hello, Dolly!,” “Natasha, Pierre…” all score nominations—but no nods for “Sunset Boulevard” (someone send that musical a big case of wine, NOW), “Anastasia,” “In Transit” (which certainly featured the most inventive orchestration), and “Falsettos.”
Best design (Play)
Deserved nods for the evocative and cluttered cab office of August Witney's “Jitney,” the dramatic heights and angles of “The Front Page,” the cleverness of “Oslo” in the round, and the forcibly dilapidated “The Play That Goes Wrong.” But no nods for the distinctiveness of “The Encounter,” “The Glass Menagerie,” and “The Present.”
Best Design (Musical)
Something had to give in this hard-fought category. “Groundhog Day,” “Hello, Dolly!,” “Natasha, Pierre…” and “War Paint” get nods. But the luxe “Anastasia,” the busy, tree-surrounded “Come From Away,” and tech-savvy “Dear Evan Hansen” score none.
Costume design (Play)
Note: all vintage, and all very beautiful. The seventies duds of August Wilson's “Jitney” contrast with 19th-century severity in “A Doll's House, Part 2,” and edging the early 20th- with Lillian Hellman's “The Little Foxes,” and “Present Laughter.” (Kevin Kline's dressing gowns are *everything*.) Missing out are the ink-stained wretches of “The Front Page,” and “Six Degrees of Separation's” sleek 80s power dressing.
Costume design (Musical)
Anastasia finally gets some love here, as do “Hello, Dolly!,” “Natasha, Pierre…” and “War Paint.” But, oh dear, no love again for Glenn Close's duds in “Sunset Boulevard” (perhaps because they have been seen before).
Lighting design (Play)
August Wilson's “Jitney,” “A Doll's House, Part 2,” “Indecent,” and “Oslo.” All feature lighting and shadow used so beautifully and cleverly; “Indecent” takes particular risks—and may win. Missing out were “The Encounter” and “The Glass Menagerie,” which both also served brilliantly inventive lighting design.
Lighting design (Musical)
No surprises here: “Come From Away,” “Dear Evan Hansen,” “Hello, Dolly!” and “Natasha, Pierre…” vie yet again. Missing out was “Anastasia,” which maybe proved just a little too conservative alongside the boxes of tricks of the others.
Best Director (Play)
A very strong field: the directors of August Wilson's “Jitney,” “A Doll's House, Part 2,” “Indecent,” “The Little Foxes,” and “Oslo” do battle here. Missing out: Sam Gold again for “The Glass Menagerie,” as well as “Heisenberg” and the “The Play That Goes Wrong.”
Best Director (Musical)
Again, this is a strongly contested category: “Come From Away,” “Dear Evan Hansen,” “Groundhog Day The Musical,” “Hello, Dolly!” and “Natasha, Pierre…” do battle, which means no “Anastasia.”
Featured actor (Play)
Michael Aronov's “Oslo” swagger goes up against the fantastic Danny DeVito (“The Price”), Nathan Lane's monstrous villain in “The Front Page,” Richard Thomas in Lillian Hellman's “The Little Foxes,” and John Douglas Hamilton in August Wilson's “Jitney.” All worthy candidates, but it means that John Benjamin Hickey misses out for “Six Degrees of Separation.”
Featured actress, Play
Excellent series of performances represented here. Extremely pleased that both Johanna Day and Michelle Wilson are both nominated for their roles as embattled best friends in “Sweat.” Also: the marvelous Jayne Houdyshell and Condola Rashad in “A Doll's House, Part 2” (meaning all four actors in the show received deserved nominations), and Cynthia Nixon (Lillian Hellman's “The Little Foxes”). Missing out: sadly, the brilliant Kristine Nielsen for “Present Laughter.”
Featured actor (Musical)
All deserving, and a tough category to call: Gavin Creel (“Hello, Dolly!”), Mike Faist (“Dear Evan Hansen”), Andrew Rannells (“Falsettos”), Lucas Steele (“Natasha, Pierre…”), and Brandon Uranowitz (“Falsettos”). Missing out: both from “Anastasia,” John Bolton and Ramin Karimloo.
Featured actress (Musical)
All lovely performances: Kate Baldwin (“Hello, Dolly!”), Stephanie J. Block (“Falsettos”—we hope she wins for managing to sing and smash a stage up at the same time), Jenn Colella (“Come From Away”), Rachel Bay Jones (“Dear Evan Hansen”), and Mary Beth Peil (“Anastasia”). That means no nominations for Jackie Hoffman for “Charlie and The Chocolate Factory,” Kristolyn Lloyd (“Dear Evan Hansen”), and Caroline O'Connor (“Anastasia”).