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Wasted in Margaritaville: Who Didn't Get Nominated for a 2018 Tony Award?

Jimmy Buffett and Donna Summer are among the big losers of this morning's Tony nominations.

Jimmy Buffett (center) leads the Broadway cast of Escape to Margaritaville in a carefree sing-a-long.
(© David Gordon)

Hamilton, one of the most acclaimed musicals of the decade, has two far-less-celebrated neighbors: Across the street from the Richard Rodgers Theatre is Summer: The Donna Summer Musical, which only walked away with two Tony nominations this morning (Best Leading Actress for LaChanze, and Best Featured Actress for Ariana DeBose). Next door to the Rodgers is Escape to Margaritaville, an apt description of what the producers might want to do this month since there will be no reason to stick around New York: The Jimmy Buffett jukebox musical received no Tony nominations. Better find that shaker of salt, because the drinking starts now.

Margaritaville is the only currently running new Broadway production to be completely shut out of the running. The other totally snubbed titles are long shuttered. That includes the Beau Willimon political thriller (read: snooze fest) The Parisian Woman, which marked Uma Thurman's Broadway debut (but clearly not her Tony debut). It's not a lost cause for all Broadway debutantes, though: Amy Schumer picked up a nomination for her performance in Steve Martin's Meteor Shower (yes, that Steve Martin, and no, he was not nominated for his mildly funny script).

Uma Thurman will not pick up a Tony nomination for her Broadway debut, but Amy Schumer got one for hers.
(© David Gordon/Matthew Murphy)

The nominators turned their noses up at two of this season's three solo performances: Neither John Lithgow: Stories by Heart nor Michael Moore's monologue The Terms of My Surrender will appear on the Tony ballot. John Leguizamo's Latin History for Morons will be considered in the Best Play category (the show's only nod). It seems unlikely to win, but Leguizamo will still walk away with a Special Award this year for his three-decade body of work.

This year saw a crop of excellent play revivals, so it's no surprise that some notable names were left off the list: Julie Taymor's revival of David Henry Hwang's M. Butterfly walked away with nothing; same goes for the Roundabout Theatre Company revivals of Time and the Conways (starring Elizabeth McGovern) and Marvin's Room (starring Lili Taylor). The current revival of George Bernard Shaw's Saint Joan was rightly passed over in the Best Revival category, although leading lady Condola Rashad received her fourth Tony nomination for her performance as the Maid of Orleans (the only nod for the production). Similarly, the revival of Children of a Lesser God received a single nomination, for Lauren Ridloff in the Best Actress in a Leading Role category.

The Tony nominators didn't think that Michael Moore's The Terms of My Surrender was all that and a bag of chips.
(© Joan Marcus)

The last completely snubbed production of the season was the Harold Prince revue Prince of Broadway, which opened to chilly reviews in August before closing in October. The show featured a talented cast and some truly standout performances, but they were not enough to earn the love of nominators in April. As for Prince, he will be fine: The winner of 21 previous Tonys, he is the most decorated individual in the history of the Awards.

The exclusion of Frozen stars Caissie Levy and Putti Murin is sure to raise eyebrows. Male lead Jelani Alladin was also left off the list, although he is up for a Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actor in a Musical. Frozen did receive three nominations: Best Book, Best Score, and the all-important Best Musical. Shockingly, none of the design elements were nominated, a huge snub for a producer like Disney with a reputation for spectacle. Overall, it's a disappointing showing for a major new musical (by comparison, Mean Girls and SpongeBob received 12 nominations each).

Caissie Levy and Patti Murin of Frozen will have to "Let It Go''. Neither was nominated for a 2018 Tony Award.
(© Deen var Meer)

After a season in which it looked like 1984 would be shut out of consideration because of a conflict between producers and the nominating committee, the producers of the George Orwell stage adaptation must be glad the nominators came around: The show received one nomination, for Tom Gibbons's aggressive sound design, which was apparently so effective it had some patrons puking in the aisles. That's an honor all on its own.

As usual, it pays to have a show that is open for voters to see: 90 percent of today's nominations are for shows currently running on Broadway (Farinelli and the King is this season's most-nominated closed production, with five nods). Recognizing that, the producers of SpongeBob SquarePants (12 noms) and Once on This Island (eight noms) deserve a lot of credit for shepherding their shows through the dismal winter months. Should they pick up any awards, it could be a boon for the box office.

The Awards won't be announced until June 10, which means a whole month of campaigning that starts right now. A lot can happen between now and then. Stay tuned.