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2012 Tony Award Nominations

May 1st, 2012

Jeremy Jordan & Cast of "Newsies". Photo by Deen van Meer.

[Fully updated as of 9:50am] Extra! Extra! Those Newsies have something to shout about…that they got beat! In a surprise, it’s their main competition Once that took the most 2012 Tony nominations with a pack leading 11 nods. But Newsies is still an odds-on favorite with strong support in major categories.

One of the most competitive seasons in recent memory has finally come to a close so let’s take a look (including my two cents on most of the categories):

Best Play

Clybourne Park 

Other Desert Cities 

Peter and the Starcatcher 

Venus in Fur

[Biggest Snub: The Lyons from longtime Off-Broadway favorite Nicky Silver and the British farce sensation One Man, Two Guvnors. I think it’s a two way race between first two choices but Peter showed surprising strength across the board. They love them some theater-y theater.]


Best Musical

Leap of Faith


Nice Work If You Can Get It 


[Biggest Snub: Some were pulling mighty hard for Spider-Man to get a nod for surviving the worst preview period in Broadway history. Biggest Save: This just might help keep Leap of Faith from closing early. It’s a two show race though between Once and Newsies — and as in year’s past it’s rousing tourable show vs. arty underdog.]


Best Revival of a Play

Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman

Don’t Dress for Dinner

Gore Vidal’s The Best Man

Master Class


[Biggest Snub: A Streetcar Named Desire. Um…can we just give the award to Death of a Salesman now and do an extra musical number on the awards show?]


Best Revival of a Musical



The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess

Jesus Christ Superstar

[Biggest Snub: Godspell lost the Jesus battle. And people say New York is full of a bunch of heathens…]


Best Actor in a Leading Role, Play

James Corden – One Man, Two Guvnors

Philip Seymour Hoffman – Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman

James Earl Jones – Gore Vidal’s The Best Man

Frank Langella – Man and Boy

John Lithgow – The Columnist

[Biggest Snub: Alan Rickman for Seminar…which is surprising since this is a pretty rote category full of Tony favorites and he’d have fit right in. Langella and Lithgow seemingly could read the proverbial phone book and get a nod. Sorry to see Hugh Dancy ignored for Venus in Fur.]


Best Actress in a Leading Role, Play

Nina Arianda – Venus in Fur

Tracie Bennett – End of the Rainbow

Stockard Channing – Other Desert Cities

Linda Lavin – The Lyons

Cynthia Nixon – Wit

[Biggest Snub: Tyne Daly for Master Class…but doesn’t that feel like two seasons ago now? This is a blockbuster category where a strong case could be made for every single actress. But my gut says its Bennett for shear exhaustion with Arianda close behind.]

Best Actor in a Leading Role, Musical

Danny Burstein – Follies

Jeremy Jordan – Newsies

Steve Kazee – Once

Norm Lewis – The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess

Ron Raines – Follies

[Biggest Snub: Raul Esparza for Leap of Faith or Matthew Broderick for Nice Work…but not the biggest surprise which is soap stalwart Raines sneaking in (and making Bernadette the only lead of Follies not nominated.) I’d vote Kazee or Burstein.]


Best Actress in a Leading Role, Musical

Jan Maxwell – Follies

Audra McDonald – The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess

Cristin Milioti – Once

Kelli O’Hara – Nice Work If You Can Get It

Laura Osnes – Bonnie & Clyde

[Biggest Snub: See no Bernadette above…though announcing that she’s getting a special humanitarian Tony saves face in a big way. Laura Osnes!! Probably one of the biggest surprises of the morning over Evita‘s Elena Roger. Maxwell or McDonald for the win.]


Best Actor in a Featured Role, Play

Tom Sedden, One Man, Two Guvnors

Andrew Garfield, Death of a Salesman

Christian Borle, Peter and the Starcatcher

Michael Cumpsty, End of the Rainbow

Jeremy Shamos, Clybourne Park

[Biggest Snub: Dick Latessa from The Lyons…they really didn’t love this great play other than Lavin’s leading role. I hope it finds an audience anyway. Surprise nod for Cumpsty honors his longtime work in the industry and his lovely Act 2 scene with Bennett. Count on publicity for Smash next season to be able to trumpet “Tony Winner Christian Borle”.)


Best Actress in a Featured Role, Play

Linda Emond, Death of a Salesman

Spencer Kayden, Don’t Dress For Dinner

Celia Keenan Bolger, Peter and the Starcatcher

Judith Light, Other Desert Cities

Condola Rashad, Stick Fly

[Biggest Snub: No knee jerk nomination for the always wonderful and legendary Angela Lansbury in The Best Man. Thrilled to see Keenan-Bolger but Light is the boss on this one unless Emond rides Salesman wave.]


Best Actor in a Featured Role, Musical

Philip Boykin, Porgy and Bess

Michael Cerveris, Evita

David Alan Grier, Porgy and Bess

Michael McGrath, Nice Work…

Paul Young, Jesus Christ Superstar

[Biggest Snub: Patrick Paige for Spider-Man had been considered a shoe-in to represent the show and to acknowledge his galvanizing work (heck, when they rewrote the show they added a ton of new material for him). Either Grier or Young snagged the spot. And there will be no Sutton/Hunter Foster sibling repeat for the Keenan-Bolger duo with no nod for cutie Andrew in Newsies.  Tough to call winner in this one!]
Best Actress in a Featured Role, Musical

Elizabeth A. Davis, Once

Jane Houdyshell, Follies

Judy Kaye, Nice Work

Jessie Mueller, On a Clear Day

Da’Vine Joy Randolph, Ghost

[Biggest Snub: Elaine Paige for Follies. Davis’s surprise nod shows the depth of support for Once…you don’t see Newsies cast members do you other than the leading man.]


Best Original Score

Frank Wildhorn & Don Black, Bonnie & Clyde

Alan Menken & Jack Feldman, Newsies

Grant Olding, One Man, Two Guvnors

Wayne Barker & Rick Elice, Peter and the Starcatcher

[Biggest Snub: To the world of musical theater. Two of the four nominees are plays. Menken can finally add that Tony to his shelf…and we should all say a little prayer to Howard Ashman, who should be there by his side.]


Best Book of a Musical

Douglas Carter Beane, Lysistrata Jones

Harvey Fierstein, Newsies

Nice Work If You Can Get It, Joe DiPeitro

Enda Walsh, Once

[Biggest Snub: Leap of Faith needed more love to run and this was another spot they could have snuck in. Underdog Lysistrata steals the slot thanks to the very popular Carter Beane. I mean, who wouldn’t want him dropping delicious jokes at Tony parties?]


Best Choreography

Rob Ashford, Evita

Christopher Gattelli, Newsies

Steven Hoggett, Once

Kathleen Marshall, Nice Work If You Can Get It

[Pretty on the nose list with Hoggett being an interesting entry given that his expressive, non-dancer choreography breaks the mold of expected dance in a musical. But this one is Gattelli’s for making Broadway boys leap again.]


Best Director, Play

Nicholas Hytner, One Man, Two Guvnors

Pam MacKinnon, Clybourne Park

Mike Nichols, Death of a Salesman

Roger Rees & Alex Timbers, Peter and the Starcatcher

[Biggest Snub: Joe Mantello for Other Desert Cities…which suggest that Clybourne is the one to beat for best play. And what did I tell you about the strength of Peter?]


Best Director, Musical

Jeff Calhoun, Newies

Kathleen Marshall, Nice Work If You Can Get It

Diane Paulus, Porgy and Bess

John Tiffany, Once

[Biggest Snub: Michael Grandage for Evita…which makes Bess look awfully strong in revival category. But I think Tiffany is the one to beat here given it feels like a director’s show and his Black Watch Off-Broadway was a tour de force seen by many voters.]


Best Scenic Design, Play

John Lee Beatty, Other Desert Cities

Daniel Ostling, Clybourne Park

Mark Thompson, One Man, Two Guvnors

Donyale Werle, Peter and the Starcatcher

[How dead on is that set for Desert Cities? Seriously, you can feel a hot Palm Springs’ breeze wafting off the stage.]


Best Scenic Design, Musical

Bob Crowley, Once

Rob Howell & Jon Driscoll, Ghost

Tobin Ost & Sven Ortel, Newsies

George Tsypin, Spider-Man

[Crowley should get some points for just letting audience members get drunk on his set. I’m just saying…]


Best Lighting  Design, Play

Jeff Croiter, Peter and the Starcatcher

Peter Kaczorowski, The Road to Mecca

Brian MacDevitt, Death of a Salesman

Kenneth Posner, Other Desert Cities

[Great to see young up and comer Croiter break through with this nod.  Fun fact: his wife is Kate Weatherhead, the star and writer of the hit web series Submissions Only. Now you know.]


Best Lighting Design, Musical

Christopher Akerlind, Porgy and Bess

Natasha Katz, Follies

Natasha Katz, Once

Hugh Vanstone, Ghost

[Biggest Snub: Evita. That lighting was amazing! Will this be where they acknowledge the magic tricks of Ghost?]


Best Costume Design, Play

William Ivey Long, Don’t Dress for Dinner

Paul Tazewell, A Streetcar Named Desire

Mark Thompson, One Man, Two Guvnors

Paloma Young, Peter and the Starcatcher

[I believe Long has now been nominated 6,438 times. I could be off by a few.]
Best Costume Design, Musical

Gregg Barnes, Follies

ESosa, Porgy and Bess

Eiko Ishioka, Spider-Man

Martin Pakledinaz, Nice Work

[Will they honor the recently passed fashion icon Ishioka?]


Best Sound Design, Play

Paul Arditti, One Man, Two Guvnors

Scott Lehrer, Death of a Salesman

Gareth Owen, End of the Rainbow

Darron L. West, Peter and the Starcatcher


Best Sound Design, Musical

Acme Sound Partners, Porgy and Bess

Clive Goodwin, Once

Kai Harada, Follies

Brian Ronan, Nice Work


Best Orchestrations

William David Brohn Y Christopher Jahnke, Porgy and Bess

Bill Elliott, Nice Work…

Martin Lowe, Once

Danny Troob, Newsies

[Loved Chenoweth’s call out to the recent Drama Desk controversy in canceling this category only to have it reinstated by popular demand. Sondheim may be muttering under his breathe about Bess and its inclusion given his vocal distaste for the editing of the original opera.]

So, there you have it. Big winners: Once, Peter and the Starcatcher, Porgy and Bess show surprising depth in all categories and promise quite an interesting Tony night. Biggest snub: The Lyons getting only one nomination, very sadly left out thanks to an unusually strong field of plays.

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