1947: No official Tony, but a Special Award to Kurt Weill, presumably for Street Scene (and in any case well deserved).
1948: No award for Best Score or Best Musical.
1949: "Composer and Lyricist" award to Cole Porter, for Kiss Me, Kate (would that he were eligible this year).
1950, 1951: "Outstanding Score" awards, respectively, to Richard Rodgers (South Pacific) and Irving Berlin (Call Me Madam).
Aha! Already, the anomalies are creeping in. First, the award is for composer only (sorry, Mr. Hammerstein). Second, winners are announced, but nominees aren't--a practice that endured in all categories until 1956. Third, Call Me Madam over Guys and Dolls? It's terrific late-career Berlin, but Guys and Dolls is...Guys and Dolls.
From here, we enter a black hole: Until 1962 there was no award for Best Score. I checked three different sources to verify this stunning fact. The best score was implicitly the one contained in the Outstanding Musical (or, after 1959, the Best Musical Play, to bring up another Tony category-naming nitpick). Songwriters were awarded within the Outstanding Musical citation--which means, for example, that Alexander Borodin picked up a Tony for Kismet, which at least kept the acceptance speech time down that year. So throughout the 1950s, an astonishingly rich decade for American musicals, we are denied the pleasure of dishing the Tonys for their Best Score choices.
However, we can make up our own hypothetical nominees and winners, which is nearly as big a kick. For example: 1958, the year in which The Music Man notoriously trumped West Side Story for Best Musical (the other nominees were New Girl in Town, Jamaica, and Oh, Captain!). The imaginary nominees for Best Score are: West Side Story, The Music Man, New Girl in Town, and Say, Darling (sorry, Mr. Arlen, but you'll have to do better than Jamaica). And the award goes to...West Side Story! This is fun, so let's do one more: for the legendary 1959-60 season, when Fiorello! and The Sound of Music tied for Best Musical Play, and a little item called Gypsy was shut out. The Best Score nominees: The Sound of Music, Take Me Along, Fiorello!, and Gypsy. And the winner is...Gypsy! We could go on, but I'll let you make up your own lists. Collect 'em. Trade 'em.
In 1962, the committee finally comes to its senses and splits the Outstanding Musical and Outstanding Composer categories. Lyricists are still left out in the cold but, as it happens, all four Best Composer nominees that year wrote their own words: winner Richard Rodgers (No Strings), Jerry Herman (Milk and Honey), Frank Loesser (How to Succeed...), and Richard Adler (Kwamina, a gratifying instance of the committee acknowledging a noble flop).
The following year is a high-water mark for Tony stupidity, in that Stephen Sondheim isn't nominated in what is now, at last, the "Composer and Lyricist" category even though.A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum is named Outstanding Musical! The winner in the Composer and Lyricist category was Lionel Bart for Oliver! and the other nominated scores were Little Me, Stop the World, I Want to Get Off, and Bravo Giovanni. Bravo What? That Milton Schafer/ Ronny Graham musical comedy, a pleasant early-'60s flopperoo, did yield a fleeting hit song, the fake-Italian "Ah! Camminare," while Sondheim's work was thought at the time to be clever but not especially distinguished or notably tuneful. This is not to defend the committee's choices, merely to attempt an explanation of them. Posterity corrects many mistakes, and these days any kid can recognize "Comedy Tonight," while who but the most blighted buff can recall "Ah! Camminare"?
After 1964, the category names just become too quixotic to bother with year by year. The designations, briefly, are Musical Play, Outstanding Musical, Best Musical Play, Best Musical, Best Broadway Musical (as if the Tonys would dream of honoring anything else), Musical, and Best Musical again; and, in the writers' corner, Composer and Lyricist (Musical Play), Outstanding Composer and Lyricist, Best Composer and Lyricist, Best Score of a Musical (as opposed to Best Score of a Nonmusical?), Best Score of a Broadway Musical, Score of a Musical, Outstanding Original Score, Original Score, Original Musical Score, Best Original Score for a Musical, Best Original Score Written for the Theatre... I give up. It's as if the award appellations were being managed by the Jack Nicholson character in As Good As It Gets.