2016 Tony Awards: ‘Hamilton’ Nabs Record 16 Nominations

2016 Tony Awards Nominations
Joan Marcus

Hamilton” dominated the 2016 Tony Awards nominations, with Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Broadway juggernaut notching a record 16 noms for the theater industry’s 70th annual awards ceremony.

Also doing well at the May 3 nominations announcement were “Shuffle Along,” the starry musical that opened last week, with 10 nominations, and the Roundabout Theater Company’s well-received revival of “She Loves Me” (eight nominations). The Roundabout’s “Long Day’s Journey Into Night,” starring Jessica Lange, led the season’s plays with seven nods, while the two biggest new-play contenders, “The Humans” and “Eclipsed,” scored six apiece.

The question of whether “Hamilton” would set a new record was among the most closely watched at the nominations announcement. Since the awards-season domination of the top-selling buzzmagnet had seemed like a sure thing since the production began Broadway performances in July, the horserace became whether the show would top the record of 15 nominations set by “The Producers” in 2001 and matched in 2009 by “Billy Elliot.”

In that regard, “Hamilton” was hampered by the lack of a sound design category, which existed in 2009 (and for which “Billy Elliot” was nominated and subsequently won), but was discontinued in 2014. The musical, however, made up for that one missing category when nominators went deep into the show’s acting pool.

In the featured musical actor race, three of the five spots are filled with “Hamilton” actors: Daveed Diggs, Jonathan Groff and Christopher Jackson. As expected, creator-star Lin-Manuel Miranda and co-star Leslie Odom Jr. took spots in the best actor in a musical category, while Phillipa Soo notched a lead actress nod and Renee Elise Goldsberry took a featured actress slot.

Otherwise, the full list of nominations saw “Hamilton” tick off the expected array of creative and design awards (score, book, direction, choreographer, etc.). It’s also, of course, in the running for best musical, largely considered to be the most important Tony Award in terms of its profile and its measurable effect at the box office. (Not that “Hamilton” needs the latter at the moment.)

The show competes in a category that expanded this year to encompass five instead of the usual four candidates (as has been a possibility, on a year-by-year basis, following a 2014 rules change). “Hamilton” will go head-to-head against “Shuffle Along,” “Waitress” and  “School of Rock,” as many had anticipated — but the twist came in the addition of the Steve Martin-Edie Brickell musical “Bright Star,” which was among the titles that were largely expected to be left out of the musical competition in a competitive season.

The play revival category was also upped to five slots this year, with two going to revivals of American classics staged by director Ivo van Hove, “The Crucible” and “A View From the Bridge.” Those two compete with “Blackbird,” “Long Day’s Journey Into Night” and “Noises Off.”

In addition, the nominations list assures that the Tony ceremony, broadcast live on CBS, will be a starry one, with Lange (“Long Day’s Journey Into to Night”), Lupita Nyong’o (“Eclipsed”) and Michelle Williams (“Blackbird”) all vying for the lead actress in a play trophy. Other notable nominated names includes Jeff Daniels (“Blackbird”), Zachary Levi and Jane Krakowski (both of “She Loves Me”), Frank Langella (“The Father”), Danielle Brooks (“The Color Purple”), and Michael Shannon and Gabriel Byrne (both for “Long Day’s Journey”).

The 2016 Tony Awards are set for June 12 at Manhattan’s Beacon Theater. The full list of 2016 Tony Awards nominations follows.

2016 TONY AWARDS NOMINATIONS

Best Play

Eclipsed

The Father

The Humans

King Charles III

Best Musical

Bright Star

Hamilton

School of Rock—The Musical

Shuffle Along, Or the Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed

Waitress

Best Revival of a Play

Arthur Miller’s The Crucible

Arthur Miller’s A View from the Bridge

Blackbird

Long Day’s Journey Into Night

Noises Off

Best Revival of a Musical

The Color Purple

Fiddler on the Roof

She Loves Me

Spring Awakening

Best Book of a Musical

Bright Star

Steve Martin

Hamilton

Lin-Manuel Miranda

School of Rock—The Musical

Julian Fellowes

Shuffle Along, Or the Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed

George C. Wolfe

Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics) Written for the Theatre

Bright Star

Music: Steve Martin and Edie Brickell
Lyrics: Edie Brickell

Hamilton

Music & Lyrics: Lin-Manuel Miranda

School of Rock—The Musical

Music: Andrew Lloyd Webber
Lyrics: Glenn Slater

Waitress

Music & Lyrics: Sara Bareilles

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play

Gabriel Byrne, Long Day’s Journey Into Night
Jeff Daniels, Blackbird
Frank Langella, The Father
Tim Pigott-Smith, King Charles III
Mark Strong, Arthur Miller’s A View from the Bridge

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play

Jessica Lange, Long Day’s Journey Into Night
Laurie Metcalf, Misery
Lupita Nyong’o, Eclipsed
Sophie Okonedo, Arthur Miller’s The Crucible
Michelle Williams, Blackbird

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical

Alex Brightman, School of Rock—The Musical
Danny Burstein, Fiddler on the Roof
Zachary Levi, She Loves Me
Lin-Manuel Miranda, Hamilton
Leslie Odom, Jr., Hamilton

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical

Laura Benanti, She Loves Me
Carmen Cusack, Bright Star
Cynthia Erivo, The Color Purple
Jessie Mueller, Waitress
Phillipa Soo, Hamilton

Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play

Reed Birney, The Humans
Bill Camp, Arthur Miller’s The Crucible
David Furr, Noises Off
Richard Goulding, King Charles III
Michael Shannon, Long Day’s Journey Into Night

Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play

Pascale Armand, Eclipsed
Megan Hilty, Noises Off
Jayne Houdyshell, The Humans
Andrea Martin, Noises Off
Saycon Sengbloh, Eclipsed

Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical

Daveed Diggs, Hamilton
Brandon Victor Dixon, Shuffle Along, Or the Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed
Christopher Fitzgerald, Waitress
Jonathan Groff, Hamilton
Christopher Jackson, Hamilton

Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical

Danielle Brooks, The Color Purple
Renée Elise Goldsberry, Hamilton
Jane Krakowski, She Loves Me
Jennifer Simard, Disaster!
Adrienne Warren, Shuffle Along, Or the Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed

Best Scenic Design of a Play

Beowulf Boritt, Thérèse Raquin
Christopher Oram, Hughie
Jan Versweyveld, Arthur Miller’s A View from the Bridge
David Zinn, The Humans

Best Scenic Design of a Musical

Es Devlin & Finn Ross, American Psycho
David Korins, Hamilton
Santo Loquasto, Shuffle Along, Or the Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed
David Rockwell, She Loves Me

Best Costume Design of a Play

Jane Greenwood, Long Day’s Journey Into Night
Michael Krass, Noises Off
Clint Ramos, Eclipsed
Tom Scutt, King Charles III

Best Costume Design of a Musical

Gregg Barnes, Tuck Everlasting
Jeff Mahshie, She Loves Me
Ann Roth, Shuffle Along, Or the Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed
Paul Tazewell, Hamilton

Best Lighting Design of a Play

Natasha Katz, Long Day’s Journey Into Night
Justin Townsend, The Humans
Jan Versweyveld, Arthur Miller’s The Crucible
Jan Versweyveld, Arthur Miller’s A View from the Bridge

Best Lighting Design of a Musical

Howell Binkley, Hamilton
Jules Fisher & Peggy Eisenhauer, Shuffle Along, Or the Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed
Ben Stanton, Spring Awakening
Justin Townsend, American Psycho

Best Direction of a Play

Rupert Goold, King Charles III
Jonathan Kent, Long Day’s Journey Into Night
Joe Mantello, The Humans
Liesl Tommy, Eclipsed
Ivo Van Hove, Arthur Miller’s A View from the Bridge

Best Direction of a Musical

Michael Arden, Spring Awakening
John Doyle, The Color Purple
Scott Ellis, She Loves Me
Thomas Kail, Hamilton
George C. Wolfe, Shuffle Along, Or the Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed

Best Choreography

Andy Blankenbuehler, Hamilton
Savion Glover, Shuffle Along, Or the Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed
Hofesh Shechter, Fiddler on the Roof
Randy Skinner, Dames at Sea
Sergio Trujillo, On Your Feet! The Story of Emilio and Gloria Estefan

Best Orchestrations

August Eriksmoen, Bright Star
Larry Hochman, She Loves Me
Alex Lacamoire, Hamilton
Daryl Waters, Shuffle Along, Or the Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed

* * *

Recipients of Awards and Honors in Non-competitive Categories

Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre

Sheldon Harnick

Marshall W. Mason

Special Tony Award

National Endowment for the Arts

Miles Wilkin

Regional Theatre Tony Award

Paper Mill Playhouse

Millburn, NJ

Isabelle Stevenson Tony Award

Brian Stokes Mitchell 

Tony Honors for Excellence in the Theatre

Seth Gelblum

Joan Lader

Sally Ann Parsons

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  1. Mike S says:

    Your articles keep opening JUNK SITES that kill our Safari and shut down Variety. Backing up is not an option I have to close my Safari and start again. This happens to all of us ALOT. Sorry :-/

  2. Jacques Strappe says:

    Is Hamilton the best Broadway musical ever or is the hip hop influenced music just attracting a new audience who would ordinarily pass up something like Les Miserables? Big fan of Broadway musicals here, both the old traditional ones and newer ones but I HATE, HATE, HATE hip hop/rap music entirely which I don’t consider even remotely music (yeah, it’s a generational thing)–urban poetry, maybe but not music. That being said, would I really like Hamilton since everyone is falling all over themselves heaping praise on it? I have seen Les Miserables 15 times in various American cities, including New York, Chicago and San Francisco and own 5 different cast recordings of it. Historical plays put to music can hold major appeal for me but I’m skeptical of Hamilton. Are there any respected critics who have not liked it for its music or lack thereof? I don’t want to waste a couple hundred bucks to sit through something that I will not like. Is there something other than the soundtrack that is so fantastic about Hamilton or is that the main appeal here?

    • Talia says:

      I personally hate rap and hip hop music as well, but Hamilton is different. Though I have never seen the musical, I do listen to the soundtrack daily. If you’re not sure if you’ll enjoy the music, why not listen to a song or two before deciding whether to go see it?

    • publius2000 says:

      Hamilton is a case where the hype is real! I was also once skeptical of hip-hop (also generational), but this play has other styles as well: R&B, Jazz, Soul. Plus, having seen it live, I can vouch for the liveliness of the choreography and storyline. I’m a history buff, so there’s that, but the way the story unfolds draws the audience in, plus the songs are well-integrated with the plot. You cheer when you need to cheer, and you weep when you’re expected to weep (which is a lot). If you’re lucky to see the original cast, then more power to you. Otherwise, I expect the travelling shows and the post-OBC productions to be just as professional. Yes, the cast recording is catchy, but the live show should not be missed.

    • IanRousseault says:

      I so agree with you. I also HATE, HATE, HATE hip hop! It’s vile, violent, disgusting, demeaning, demoralizing and gutter! Therefore I will NEVER, EVER go see Hamilton the play.

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