Also notable, three out of four solo performers on Broadway this season were not nominated for acting awards. Alan Cumming (Macbeth) and Bette Midler (I'll Eat You Last), both Tony winners from previous shows and huge names in the theater world, were left without Tony recognition. Solo performer Fiona Shaw also walked away empty-handed, although her show, The Testament of Mary, did receive a Best Play nomination. Holland Taylor, the fourth solo performer of the season, was nominated for her play Ann.
The much maligned Jekyll & Hyde was the only musical revival this season not nominated in that category, which includes the now-closed Roundabout Theatre Company production of The Mystery of Edwin Drood. In fact, Jekyll & Hyde received no nominations whatsoever.
In choosing candidates for Best Play, the nominating committee opted for shows that are all currently running, leaving out plays from the fall season including Grace and Dead Accounts. The exclusion of Douglas Carter Beane's The Nance — currently running at the Lyceum — from this category is most surprising, although that show garnered five other nominations including Best Performance by An Actor in a Leading Role for Nathan Lane.
Emmy winner Alec Baldwin won't be contending with Lane in that category this year. His Orphans castmate Tom Sturridge, however, will.
The popular and extended revival of David Mamet's Glengarry Glen Ross received not one nomination — not for Best Revival, not even for the performances of the cast of heavy hitters including Tony winner Al Pacino, Drama Desk winner Bobby Cannavale, and Emmy winner Richard Schiff.
Mamet's newest play The Anarchist, Richard Greenberg's Breakfast at Tiffany's, the Scarlett Johansson revival of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Manhattan Theatre Club's revival of An Enemy of the People, Roundabout Theatre Company's revival of Harvey, and Roundabout's revival of Picnic are among the list of shows with no Tony nominations this year.
While it is clear that the Tony nominating committee wasn't afraid to pick a closed show — Lincoln Center's revival of Clifford Odets' Golden Boy, which ran only two months this winter, was nominated eight times, more than any other play — it seems that they heaped most of their love on currently running productions. 71% of all nominations announced today went to shows that are currently playing on Broadway, and of that group, only one, Annie, opened in the fall.
With a primetime telecast scheduled for Sunday, June 9 on CBS, the Tony Awards are essentially Broadway's biggest showcase to a widespread American audience. Producers are eager to highlight their shows and performers at the awards, since that could translate to ticket sales from summer travelers to the Big Apple. A warm Tony reception also bodes well for the future life of a show, both for touring productions and in selling the rights for amateur productions further down the road. So these awards are not just a formality: They could potentially be a make-or-break business proposition for a show.
Unfortunately, for some shows like The Testament of Mary, which was nominated for Best Play just hours before it announced an early closing date, a Tony nomination is not enough to keep the show afloat.