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EXCLUSIVE: The Tony Awards to Add Best Performance by a Leading Animal Category

''Cats'', ''The Little Foxes'', and ''Groundhog Day'' are all running on Broadway this season.

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Cats and Groundhog Day are running during the 2016-17 Broadway season.
(© David Gordon)

The Tony Awards Administration Committee has announced a new category for the 2016-17 Tony Awards: Best Performance by a Leading Animal in a Play or Musical.

"We took a look at the list of shows opening this season and realized that Broadway stands on the backs of many hard-working animals," the Tony Awards said in a statement. "With Cats, The Little Foxes, and Groundhog Day all playing concurrently, we felt remiss in ignoring the immeasurable contributions of this underappreciated group any longer."

The committee seems unaware that no actual animals appear in the previously mentioned productions, so the frontrunner is likely to be Jake Gyllenhaal's dog impression in Sunday in the Park With George, making this the only category in which Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine's never-Tony-winning classic will be eligible. However, if Grumpy Cat's appearance during the curtain call of Cats proved memorable enough in the minds of nominators, it could gallop to the front of the pack as a dark horse.

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