There’s almost a month left for the celebration of the Tony Awards. The producers announced just a few weeks ago that the show will be hosted by Kevin Spacey. On Tuesday morning, Tony Award winner Jane Krakowski and nominee Christopher Jackson revealed the list of nominees for the 71st edition of the show that honors the best productions on Broadway.
The 2016-2017 season had a very wide range of plays, with a total of 36 available for eligibility. Only 25 received nominations, including ‘Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812,’ which got 12 nominations. The pop-opera musical inspired by Leo Tolstoy’s ‘War and Peace’ couldn’t reach last year’s record-breaking ‘Hamilton’. Lin-Manuel Miranda’s musical got 16 nominations, earning 11 of them.
The revival of the 1964 musical ‘Hello, Dolly!’ follows with 10 nominations. ‘Dear Evan Hansen,’ a show that follows the story of a teenager that suffers from social anxiety disorder and turns worse after the suicide of a classmate, got 9 nominations.
Other nominees include ‘A Doll House, Part 2,’ which picks up the story left on 1879 Henrik Ibsen’s classic, with 8 nominations, musicals ‘Come from Away’ and ‘Groundhog Day’ with 7 nominations each, as well as ‘Oslo.’
Some actors recalled their experiences at the press reception
As part of the Tony Award protocol, the annual Meet the Nominees Press Reception was held on Wednesday, May 3 at the Sofitel New York Hotel. Almost all of the nominees went and talked a bit about their personal experiences and fun facts of the plays.
Condola Rashad and her accidental debut
Condola Rashad, who is nominated for Best Featured Actress in a Play for her performance in ‘A Doll’s House Part 2,’ recalled her very peculiar stage debut, when she was 8 years all. She told how she crawled into the stage in the middle of the dark during a transition in the play ‘Blues for an Alabama Sky’, in which her mother Phylicia Rashad was acting. “I somehow managed to crawl onto the stage during the blackout and I remember that because I would crawl as far as I possibly could and look out into the audience, and there was nothing more thrilling than knowing that they couldn’t see me but I was there. And I think that’s when I decided that this is what I was supposed to do,” the actress said.
Josh Groban had to prove Broadway he was not fooling around
Josh Groban took the chance to defend himself and state he’s not a gimmick. When the best-selling singer and actor stepped into the role of Pierre in ‘Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812’, some remained a little skeptical about whether he was capable or not of embracing a role on Broadway, since the last time he performed in a play was in high school. “Any time you’re coming in from another world, there’s always going to be the chatter of, ‘Is this a gimmick thing? Is this to sell tickets?’” Groban said. The now nominee for Best Leading Actor in a Musical said that he knew he was going to have to make a great effort to prove himself and the Broadway community that he wasn’t playing around and that is was a real deal to him.
Justin Trudeau is a ‘Come From Away’ fan
Best Featured Actress in a musical nominee Jenn Colella recalled when she met the Canadian prime minister. Trudeau went to Broadway to watch ‘Come From Away’, a Canadian-born musical set in Gander, Newfoundland and its citizens, who opened their arms to around 7,000 passengers diverted there on 9/11. The 45-year-old really enjoyed the show, giving the cast his “stamp of approval.” “He didn’t just come in and watch the show and then leave. He came in. He addressed the audience. He stayed with us afterward. We spent time with him. He really let us know how much he appreciates what we’re doing and how important this show is, not just for Canadians and Americans but for the entire world,” the actress said.
Best play nominees address mostly social issues
Nominees for the best new play Tony are shows with a social problematic core. ‘Sweat’ is about working class angst, ‘Oslo’ tackles Middle East peace negotiations, ‘Indecent’ is a behind-the-scenes look at the controversial 1923 Yiddish play ‘God of Vengeance’, and ‘A Doll’s House, Part 2’ keeps up with the theme of the original play, including women’s rights and female and male roles in society.
As for the other nominations, ‘Come From Away’ will be competing for Best New Musical with ‘Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812’, ‘Dear Evan Hansen’ and ‘Groundhog Day.’ The Best Revival of a Play nominees are ‘Jitney,’ ‘The Little Foxes,’ ‘Present Laughter’ and ‘Six Degrees of Separation.’
The Tony Award committee shared the other 21 nominations through their website. The ceremony will be held at Radio City Music Hall in New York City, on June 11, and televised live on CBS.