The Tony Awards Administration Committee made short work of the season’s outstanding eligibility questions, officially clearing the way for a crowd of actors — including David Hyde Pierce, Laurie Metcalf, Laura Linney, Christian Borle and Phillipa Soo — to join the competition for lead acting nominations.
Most of the decisions fell out as expected, with Pierce deemed a lead in “Hello, Dolly!” as were actors who played his role in prior Broadway productions. Bette Midler, who toplines the revival, was already assured leading actress eligibility, and is one of the frontrunners to win. Behind the scenes at “Dolly,” orchestrator Larry Hochman will be eligible in the orchestrations category, but Warren Carlyle, whose work draws heavily on the pre-existing choreography of original director Gower Champion, won’t be eligible in choreography.
Linney will be considered eligible for a lead actress nomination for her role in “The Little Foxes,” but Cynthia Nixon, who alternates roles with Linney from night to night, will be eligible for featured. Linney played the leading role of Regina on the opening night of the Lillian Hellman play, whereas Nixon played the secondary character of Birdie.
Also in the lead acting races for plays are Metcalf, fresh off glowing notices for “A Doll’s House, Part 2,” with co-stars Jayne Houdyshell and Condola Rashad in the running for the featured actress category. Allison Janney and Corey Hawkins are considered leads for “Six Degrees of Separation,” while co-star John Benjamin Hickey is featured. Jefferson Mays and Jennifer Ehle were deemed leads of “Oslo.”
Also eligible for musical lead acting races, as decided during the admin committee’s fourth and final meeting of the season: Andy Karl for “Groundhog Day,” Soo for “Amelie,” Borle for “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” Jon Jon Briones and Eva Noblezada for “Miss Saigon,” Corey Cott and Laura Osnes for “Bandstand” and Christy Altomare for “Anastasia.” For the latter musical, Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty will be eligible for original score, since their pre-existing songs from the 1997 movie are bolstered by nearly 20 new tunes written specifically for the new musical adaptation.
The 2016-17 Tony nominations will be decided by the nominators in a May 1 meeting, with nominations announced in the morning May 2.