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The 2016 Tony Award nominations were announced this morning, and I’m both happy and perplexed. No surprise, with 16 nominations, “Hamilton” is now the record-holder for the most Tony nominations ever held by a show. The previous record was held by “The Producers” and “Billy Eliot” with 15 each.

Next up was “Shuffle Along,” the musical starring Audra McDonald, with ten nominations. The celebrated actress was not nominated for her performance, however. She probably would have been in a season less heavy with great performances.

The play “Eclipsed” took six nominations, the most for any new play – written and directed by women and performed entirely by a cast of African American women, including Lupita Nyong’o in her Broadway debut. “The Humans” and “King Charles III” each came in second with five nominations.

Of the revivals, “Long Day’s Journey Into Night” starring Jessica Lange garnered seven nominations, and the revival of “She Loves Me” received eight. One of the big winners was the Roundabout Theatre Company, which received a total of 27 nominations for a combination of current and past shows. (Incidentally, Roundabout’s Off-Broadway musical revival, “The Robber Bridegroom” is winning quite a few Off-Broadway awards, too.)

Of course, the Public Theater was a big winner as well since “Hamilton” began there, as did “Eclipsed,” resulting in 22 nominations between them. Deceased playwright Arthur Miller’s work received nine nominations for the season’s revivals of “The Crucible” and “A View From the Bridge.”

So, why am I perplexed? I didn’t like “Bright Star,” Steve Martin and Edie Brickell’s new musical. I can understand acknowledging the music itself, but to give it a nomination for Best Musical or Best Book is indeed a puzzle to me. I thought Martin’s book was downright terrible. Meanwhile, “American Psycho” and “Tuck Everlasting” were practically shut out entirely with only design nominations. I haven’t yet seen “American Psycho” (will be seeing it shortly), but I thought “Tuck Everlasting” was a fine show.

George Takei’s “Allegiance” didn’t receive any nominations, and I have to say that this is just. While it was an important story about keeping Japanese-Americans in internment camps during WWII, the musical was not well-executed. Meanwhile, “The School of Rock” earned Andrew Lloyd-Webber his first nomination for a new score in a decade.

In a year without “Hamilton,” the great Terrence Mann would have been nominated for “Tuck Everlasting,” and you can almost be certain that Sara Bareilles would win for her stunning “Waitress” score. But against Lin-Manuel Miranda’s score for “Hamilton,” she hasn’t got a chance.

Also shut out were Broadway newcomers Keira Knightley for her performance in “Therese Raquin,” Clive Owen for “Old Times” (he was great), and Forest Whitaker for his performance in “Hughie,” although I heard the latter wasn’t very good. I hope their first Broadway experiences don’t prevent them from trying again. Veterans James Earl Jones, Cicely Tyson, Jim Parsons, and Jesse Tyler Ferguson were also passed over. Meanwhile, “On Your Feet!” and “Dames At Sea” received nominations only for choreography.

I was particularly happy about nominations for two of the season’s funniest performances: Christopher Fitzgerald for “Waitress” and Jennifer Simard for “Disaster!

Actress Nikki M James and actor Andrew Rannells announce the 2016 Tony Awards Nominations Announcement at the Paramount Hotel on May 3, 2016 in New York City | Photo by Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for Tony Awards Productions
Actress Nikki M James and actor Andrew Rannells announce the 2016 Tony Awards Nominations Announcement at the Paramount Hotel on May 3, 2016 in New York City | Photo by Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for Tony Awards Productions

Due to “Hamilton’s” many nominations, actors in the show are running against each other in the lead and featured actor categories. Two women from the show are nominated, but in separate categories. Philippa Soo, who is nominated for “Hamilton,” just might lose to Cynthia Erivo for “The Color Purple.” I believe Renee Elise Goldsberry will win in her category for featured actress in a musical, however, and I’ll bet that Leslie Odom, Jr. will take the lead actor in a musical award from Lin-Manuel Miranda, who will surely win for his book and score. (Read my 2013 interview with Leslie Odom, Jr.)

With three actors from “Hamilton” vying for the featured actor award, they just might cancel each other out and give the award to one of the other contenders. I wouldn’t venture to guess winners for most of the other categories. “Hamilton” is really the only show that’s definitely going to take home the majority of prizes. In the straight play categories, the competition is not nearly as cut and dry, although I do think Mark Strong will take the lead actor in a play award for his performance in “A View From the Bridge.”

Below is a list of all nominees. The Tony Awards will be on June 12, 2016 and will air on CBS at 8/7c, hosted by James Corden. Will you watch?

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

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