You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Tony Nominations: The 9 Biggest Snubs and Surprises

The nominations for the 2019 Tony Awards were announced April 30 — and leave it to the nominators to upend everyone’s expectations and best-laid plans. Here are the nine biggest snubs and surprises.

SNUB: “To Kill a Mockingbird
This one came early in the Tony nominations announcement, and it was a doozy. The hit adaptation of one of America’s most beloved novels is one of the strongest selling entries of the season, and it seemed a surefire contender in top categories. But while “To Kill a Mockingbird” did plenty well with a total of nine nominations (including one for star Jeff Daniels), Aaron Sorkin’s Broadway return didn’t make the cut for the biggest prize for new play. Chalk it up to an unusually crowded slate that gave “Mockingbird” a lot of competition, and to nominators who took things in a direction no one expected them to.

SURPRISE: “Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus”
That new-play nomination that everyone thought would go to “Mockingbird”? It went to “Gary,” the brash, bloody, smarter-than-it-looks Broadway debut from award-winning downtown experimentalist Taylor Mac. The show mostly baffled critics, but nominators rewarded it with a total of seven nods (including acting noms for Kristine Nielsen and Julie White). Not bad for a play that most of Broadway seemed to believe nobody likes.

SNUB: Glenda Jackson in “King Lear”
Jackson is acting royalty, and just last season she took home a Tony Award for “Three Tall Women,” her Broadway return after 30 years. This season she’s playing the title character in “King Lear,” which is the kind of massive role that cries out for awards recognition. But this production of “Lear” was widely disliked by critics and industry types, and mostly ignored by nominators, leaving Jackson out of the competition for lead actress in a play. (In the end, “Lear” earned only one nod, for Ruth Wilson in the featured actress race.)

SURPRISE: “Beetlejuice”
Broadway’s musical adaptation of the iconic Tim Burton comedy got a mixed bag of reviews — including a high-profile, dismissive pan in the New York Times — and some in the industry thought nominators would ignore it, too. They didn’t: “Beetlejuice” scored a nod for best musical, the night’s biggest prize, among a total of eight noms overall.

SNUB: Some of this season’s biggest stars
Sure, there are plenty of big-name actors among this year’s pool of nominees: Annette Bening, Bryan Cranston, Jeff Daniels, Adam Driver, Elaine May, Laurie Metcalf. But that still left other notables out in the cold, including the aforementioned Jackson (“King Lear”) as well as John Lithgow (“Hillary and Clinton”), Jonny Lee Miller (“Ink”), Keri Russell (“Burn This”), Kerry Washington (“American Son”) and Tony favorite Nathan Lane (“Gary”), the only member of his three-person cast not to make the cut.

SURPRISE: Janet McTeer in “Bernhardt/Hamlet”
McTeer always grabs attention when she shows up on Broadway, where she won a Tony for “A Doll’s House” in 1997. Still, few thought nominators would remember her muscular performance as Sarah Bernhardt in “Bernhardt/Hamlet,” which came and went in the fall after earning mixed reviews. But with a category expanded to six nominees, they found a spot for her.

SNUB: “Network”
This cleverly staged adaptation of the 1976 movie seemed like a good bet for a best play nomination, thanks to its unexpectedly timely take on the news business and a stellar lead performance by Bryan Cranston (who scored an acting nom). The show got a total of five nods, but in a competitive season, it was nudged off the list for best play.

SURPRISE: Jeremy Pope
It’s been a breakout season (and his first on Broadway) for Pope, and a nomination seemed likely. He didn’t get one, though — he surprised awards watchers by racking up two: one for lead actor in a play in “Choir Boy,” and another for featured actor in Temptations bio “Ain’t Too Proud.”

SNUB: “Be More Chill”
This musical comedy — about high school, fitting in and an ingestible microcomputer that makes you cool — has a legion of young fans, thanks to the score’s viral popularity online. The show has yet to win over the theater-snob demo, though, so its partisans were hoping to score an attention-getting spot in the race for best musical. No luck on that front, although nominators did give a nod to fan-fave composer Joe Iconis for his score.

The 73rd Annual Tony Awards, hosted by James Corden, will be broadcast live from Radio City Musical Hall June 9 on CBS.

Popular on Variety

More Legit

  • The Sound Inside review

    Broadway Review: 'The Sound Inside' Starring Mary-Louise Parker

    Mary-Louise Parker will take your breath away with her deeply felt and sensitively drawn portrait of a tenured Yale professor who treasures great literature, but has made no room in her life for someone to share that love with. The other thesp in this two-hander is Will Hochman, endearing in the supportive role of a [...]

  • Little Shop of Horrors review

    Off Broadway Review: 'Little Shop of Horrors'

    With its strains of kitschy doo-wop and its sci-fi B-movie inspirations, the quaint 1982 musical “Little Shop of Horrors” hardly seems a thing of modern-day revivalism, even despite its touches of S&M. Yet this year alone, not only is there an Off Broadway production of the blackly comic “Little Shop” featuring Jonathan Groff of Netflix’s [...]

  • The Lightning Thief review musical

    Broadway Review: 'The Lightning Thief,' The Musical

    “It’s a lot to take in right now,” says Percy Jackson, the teen hero of “The Lightning Thief,” the kid-centric fantasy musical (based on the popular Y.A. novel) that’s now on Broadway after touring the country and playing an Off Broadway run. You could say that’s a bit of an understatement from contemporary teen Percy [...]

  • The Rose Tattoo review

    Broadway Review: 'The Rose Tattoo' Starring Marisa Tomei

    “The Rose Tattoo” is what happens when a poet writes a comedy — something strange, but kind of lovely. The same might be said of director Trip Cullman’s production: Strange, if not exactly lovely. Even Marisa Tomei, so physically delicate and expressively refined, seems an odd choice to play the lusty and passionate protagonist, Serafina [...]

  • Obit-Roy-B

    Former NATO President Roy B. White Dies at 93

    Roy B. White, former president and chairman of the National Association of Theater Owners, died of natural causes Oct. 11 in Naples, Fla. He was 93. White ran the 100-screen independent theater circuit, Mid–States Theaters Inc. In addition to his career, he did extensive work on behalf of charities and non-profits. He was vice president [...]

  • Soft Power review

    Off Broadway Review: 'Soft Power'

    The “culture-clash musical” is a familiar template, in which a white American protagonist — waving the flag of individuality, optimism and freedom — trumps and tramps over the complexities of that which is foreign, challenging or “other.” David Henry Hwang and Jeanine Tesori’s “Soft Power,” the new “play with a musical” at Off Broadway’s Public [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content