Tony Awards 2019 nominations: Surprises, snubs and speculations


The Tony Awards 2019 nominations have been announced. In the field of contenders, there were a few surprises, snubs and plenty of speculation.

Early today, the Tony Awards announced the 2019 nominees for the current theater season. While a few names were expected, the snubs and surprises were many. With just 37 production up for consideration, some of the categories were predictable while other choices were a little unexpected.

Here is a list of the complete nominees the 2019 Tony Awards for each of the major categories with a little commentary regarding potential winners, unfortunate snubs and a few surprises to keep theater fans guessing.

Best Play

Choir Boy Author: Tarell Alvin McCraney
The Ferryman Author: Jez Butterworth
Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus Author: Taylor Mac
Ink Author: James Graham
What the Constitution Means to Me Author: Heidi Schreck

Considering the publicity surrounding To Kill A Mockingbird, it is seemed like a strong bet for a Best Play nomination. While the play takes a slightly modernized approach to the iconic book, audiences have responded strongly to the Aaron Sorkin adaptation. It is disappointing that it was left off this list.

Another snub was Network staring Brian Cranston. Given the timely nature of this adaptation, it also had wide appeal. Still, the critics rewarded Choir Boy, a show that closed a long time ago. Maybe the bigger name stars drive box office sales, but not the award season praise.

Given this list of nominees, the Ferryman is clearly the frontrunner. The ensemble cast is quite powerful. Plus, who wouldn’t want to see a goose get a Tony Award.

Best Musical

Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Times of the Temptations
The Prom

With several movies turned musicals and jukebox musicals in consideration, one popular musical was sadly left off the list. Be More Chill, loved by younger audiences, understood how to convey the voices in young people’s heads. While the musical did get a nod for its score, it deserved to be in the Best Musical Category.

Hadestown will win this category. It has been praised by critics and has been the frontrunner. Blending the myths of Orpheus and Eurydice, this musical is part love story and part expression of fate. In a way, it is nice to see some classic stories getting a new life.

While Prom has its moments, it is definitely an underdog. In a way, humor might overshadow the story, itself. If this musical earns the Tony Award, it will be the story of redemption.

Best Revival of a Play

Arthur Miller’s All My Sons
The Boys in the Band by Mart Crowley
Burn This
Torch Song by Fierstein
The Waverly Gallery by Kenneth Lonergan

Several of these plays have long since closed. Looking at this list, it might be difficult to predict. While Adam Driver was wonderful in Burn This and the iconic Elaine May delivered in The Waverly Gallery, this category might belong to The Boys in the Band.

Best Revival of a Musical

Kiss Me, Kate
Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!

With only two musicals eligible in this category, it seems likely that Oklahoma will earn the Tony Award, even though it is slightly dark. It is only the second time that just two musicals were nominated in this category.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play

• Paddy Considine, The Ferryman
• Bryan Cranston, Network
• Jeff Daniels, To Kill a Mockingbird
• Adam Driver, Burn This
• Jeremy Pope, Choir Boy

This category celebrates several actors for their work when the plays, themselves, were overlooked. In a very crowded field, the frontrunner cannot be determined. All of these performances are worthy of the Tony Award.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play

• Annette Bening, Arthur Miller’s All My Sons
• Laura Donnelly, The Ferryman
• Elaine May, The Waverly Gallery
• Janet McTeer, Bernhardt/Hamlet
• Laurie Metcalf, Hillary and Clinton
• Heidi Schreck, What the Constitution Means to Me

Like the Best Actor category, this list of contenders is equally powerful. Still, the frontrunner status goes to Elaine May. Her moving portrayal of a woman with dementia was astonishing. Although the play has since closed, her performance is definitely remembered.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical

• Brooks Ashmanskas, The Prom
• Derrick Baskin, Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Times of the Temptations
• Alex Brightman, Beetlejuice
• Damon Daunno, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!
• Santino Fontana, Tootsie

In the dual Tootsie role, Fontana will probably earn the award. This musical has been a hit with both critics and audiences. Sometimes critics appreciate the “dual” roles.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical

• Stephanie J. Block, The Cher Show
• Caitlin Kinnunen, The Prom
• Beth Leavel, The Prom
• Eva Noblezada, Hadestown
• Kelli O’Hara, Kiss Me, Kate

While several iconic musical actresses fill this field, the frontrunners would be Block and Leavel. There performances have been meet with a lot of praise. Still, Broadway darling, Kelli O’Hara, should never be counted out.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play

• Bertie Carvel, Ink
• Robin De Jesús, The Boys in the Band
• Gideon Glick, To Kill a Mockingbird
• Brandon Uranowitz, Burn This
• Benjamin Walker, Arthur Miller’s All My Sons

Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play

• Fionnula Flanagan, The Ferryman
• Celia Keenan-Bolger, To Kill a Mockingbird
• Kristine Nielsen, Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus
• Julie White, Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus
• Ruth Wilson, King Lear

Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical

• André De Shields, Hadestown
• Andy Grotelueschen, Tootsie
• Patrick Page, Hadestown
• Jeremy Pope, Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Times of the Temptations
• Ephraim Sykes, Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Times of the Temptations

Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical

• Lilli Cooper, Tootsie
• Amber Gray, Hadestown
• Sarah Stiles, Tootsie
• Ali Stroker, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!
• Mary Testa, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!

With the nomination just released, the frontrunner status might change greatly as campaigns begin. Since several shows have since closed, it is unfortunate that audiences may never get to see some of the nominated performances.

Unlike last year’s Tony Awards, there are less huge names and draws. For example, last year’s Harry Potter play and the SpongeBob Square Pants musical drew large audiences due to their ties to pop culture. This year’s list of nominees and even eligible performances didn’t necessarily have that name recognition.

The 2019 Tony Awards will air on CBS on Sunday, June 9.

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Did you feel that certain performances or productions got snubbed? Who do you think deserves a Tony Award for this theater season?