With the coronavirus pandemic causing New York’s Broadway theatre district to shutdown, the 2019-2020 award season has had to make dramatic changes to its eligibility criteria. This implies that traditionally, each category would have between four to five nominees, but this year, they were indeed, limited to only three.
Aaron Tveit, Tony nominee and… Tony Winner ?
No yet! As the only nominee is in category – BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE IN A MUSICAL – Aaron is supposedly a soon-to-be Tony Winner. But according to the Tony rules, if a category only has one nominee – in this case, Aaron Tveit – the nominee still need to earn 60 percent of Tony voters’ total ballots.
This situation occurred before in 1995 with “Sunset Boulevard” being the only nominee and winner of the Tony for best book and best original score. Ten years before that, the Leading Actor in a Musical wasn’t presented due to the lack of nominees. But, whether he wins or not, Aaron Tveit already made history by being the the first actor nominated alone in the Leading Actor in a Musical category.
A win for the actor as it’s also his first tony nomination after starring in several productions such as Next To Normal or Catch Me If You Can.
Jukebox musicals for the win!
Whether it’s Moulin Rouge! The Musical with its Lady Gaga medley and The Police reprise, Tina – The Tina Turner Musical featuring the queen of rock’s entire catalog like “Proud Mary” and “River Deep, Mountain High.” or Jagged Little Pill using songs from Alanis Morissette’s album of the same name, jukebox musicals were huge hits this year.
In consequences, for the first time in Tony Awards history, only jukebox musicals were nominated for Best Musical, Best Book of a Musical and Best Orchestrations. This also means that, for the first time in the ceremony’s history, only straight plays has been nominated for Best Original Score, including A Slave Play, A Christmas Carol, the Inheritance, The Rose Tattoo and The Sound Inside.
Kind of a loss when The Lightning Thief was one of the only four Musicals eligible this year. Makes you wonder what kind of a message it conveys to not recognize and give a nod to the only musical with an original score that opened this year. For many fans – who followed the shows achievement from the very beginning – this reminded them of the sad Reeve Carney move that happened last year, when he was the only actor not nominated in his category.
18 productions… minus three.
18 productions were eligible for a Tony Award this year – in comparison with last years 34 eligible productions – but three still didn’t make the cut. This include the plays The Great Society and The Height Of The Storm, and the new shinning musical The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical.
So why only those three when The Lightning Thief could, at least, earned a nomination for Best leading Actor or Best Original Score? Due to the shortened season as the Tony Administration Committee said in statement: “Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the rules have been adjusted for one-time only to ensure broad recognition of excellent work that occurred during the abbreviated Broadway season while also protecting the integrity of the Award. Performances and creative categories will be handled in a similar manner to how show categories have been handled in the past few years.”.
Maybe next year?
Due to the pandemic, many productions that had been schedules for the 2019-2020 season didn’t manage to open before February 19, leaving them ineligible for this year’s ceremony. But maybe next year?
Still, some shows managed to be in previews or catch the eye -and ears!- of many theatre fans. This includes West Side Story which was already in previews since December 10, 2019 and opened on February 20. The show could have been eligible for Best Revival of a Musical.
Six the Musical, coming straight from the West End, was also set to open on March 12, the very day that Broadway shut down, and began previews on February 13. As of yet, no dates or statement has been officially released as to whether or not the production will return. 6 leading actress nominees, maybe?
Sing Street, another fan favorite, was set to begin previews on March 26 and open on April 19 but its run was unfortunately cancelled due to the pandemic. Producers have said that the production will return on Broadway for the 2021-2022. See you next year for that Best Musical Tony nomination!
Mrs Doubtfire was to have an opening date on April 5 after beginning previews on March 5. While we don’t know yet if the production will return, Rob McClure could be eligible for a Best leading Actor Tony.
Many more were set to open this season including Diana, Caroline, Or Change and Company. Let’s hope they’ll be back once Broadway opens its doors once again!
What are you thoughts one this year’s tony nominations? Let us know in a comment below!