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‘Hamilton’ earns a record-breaking 16 Tony Award nominations

🕐 7 min read

Winner-take-all may be a term more commonly associated with primary elections. But if the Tony Award nominations announced on Tuesday in New York are any indication, that phrase could very well apply on the night of the awards ceremony in June – to the musical that has dominated this Broadway season like no other show in history.

To no one’s surprise, “Hamilton,” with advance sales heading toward $100 million and rows of accolades already lining its creators’ shelves, was the favorite of the Tony nominators, scooping up a total of 16 nods, including those for best musical, best score, best book and best direction. An astonishing seven cast members – including the show’s creator, Lin-Manuel Miranda – made the Tony cut as well.

The musical beat the existing record for most nominations, 15, set by “The Producers” in 2001 and “Billy Elliot the Musical” in 2009. The fact that no one is particularly surprised about that suggests how massive “Hamilton’s” presence has grown on Broadway in the months since it opened at the Richard Rodgers Theatre on August 15, 2015.

Though “Waitress,” “Bright Star,” “School of Rock” and “Shuffle Along, or the Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and all that Followed” were also named in the best-musical category, don’t expect to hear those titles uttered too often when the envelopes are opened on Tony night. The 70th annual ceremony is scheduled to take place June 12 at 8 p.m. ET on CBS.

The mega-success of “Hamilton,” with music, book and lyrics by Miranda – who personally racked up three nominations, including for one best actor in a musical, all his own – has tended to muffle the fact that this has been a strong season for non-musicals, both new and in revival. The nominees in both best-play categories reflect this fact. The race for best new play among Stephen Karam’s “The Humans,” Danai Gurira’s “Eclipsed,” “King Charles III” and “The Father” should be a lively one (although “The Humans” would be my early favorite).

And the five nominees for best revival of a play set up an equally intriguing contest: They are Arthur Miller’s “The Crucible” and “A View From the Bridge, ” both directed by Ivo van Hove; David Harrower’s “Blackbird”; Michael Frayn’s “Noises Off”; and Eugene O’Neill’s “Long Day’s Journey Into Night,” starring Jessica Lange.

In the acting categories, the handicapping would make the “Hamilton” entries early favorites, with Leslie Odom Jr., Rene Elise Goldsberry, Phillipa Soo and Daveed Diggs all early favorites to sweep the musical actor contests. Miranda himself might even sneak past Odom as best actor.

Other interesting acting nominations: Lange as best actress in a play, for “Long Day’s Journey Into Night” and Lupita Nyong’o, for “Eclipsed.” The toughest race may be for best actress in a musical, in which the nominees are Laura Benanti for “She Loves Me”; Carmen Cusack in “Bright Star”; Cynthia Erivo for “The Color Purple”; Jessie Mueller in “Waitress” and Phillipa Soo, in “Hamilton.”

Maybe the biggiest surprise: no nomination for Audra McDonald in “Shuffle Along.” Then again, she’s won six Tonys already.

The list of nominees:

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 Musical: “The Color Purple” “Fiddler on the Roof” “She Loves Me” “Spring Awakening”

Best Play: “Eclipsed” “The Father” “The Humans” “King Charles III”

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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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”

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, New Jersey

Isabelle Stevenson Tony Award: Brian Stokes Mitchell

Tony Honors for Excellence in the Theatre: Seth Gelblum, Joan Lader, Sally Ann Parsons

Tony Nominations by Production: “Hamilton” — 16; “Shuffle Along, Or the Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed” — 10; “She Loves Me” — 8, “Long Day’s Journey Into Night” — 7; “Eclipsed” — 6; “The Humans” — 6; “Arthur Miller’s A View from the Bridge” — 5; “Bright Star” — 5; “King Charles III” — 5; “Noises Off” — 5; “Arthur Miller’s The Crucible” — 4; “The Color Purple” — 4; “School of Rock-The Musical” — 4; “Waitress” — 4; “Blackbird” — 3; “Fiddler on the Roof” — 3; “Spring Awakening” — 3; “American Psycho” — 2; “The Father” — 2; “Dames at Sea” — 1; “Disaster!” — 1; “Hughie” — 1; “Misery” — 1; “On Your Feet! The Story of Emilio and; Gloria Estefan” — 1; “Thérèse Raquin” — 1; “Tuck Everlasting” — 1

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