Never Neverland: Who Didn't Get Nominated for a 2015 Tony Award?
You wouldn't want to be anywhere near Harvey Weinstein's office today. The legendary Hollywood mogul has poured gobs of time and money into making a success of Finding Neverland (his debut as a lead producer on Broadway). While the show is doing steady box office, Weinstein won't be able to print "Tony Winner" on the marquee above the ticket line. In fact, he won't even be able to print "Tony Nominee," as the show received not one nomination.
Weinstein and Neverland have been dogged all year by controversy, starting with the highly publicized January departure of respected Broadway press rep Rick Miramontez. The two have since made amends, with Weinstein rehiring Miramontez to handle Neverland's awards season campaign. Apparently, his services will no longer be necessary. Finding Neverland received only two Drama Desk nominations last week (for Outstanding Actor and Featured Actress in a Musical), following a wave of negative reviews.
Neverland wasn't the only musical completely shut out of the running: The Tony nominators turned their noses up at Doctor Zhivago (the Russian novel-turned-mega-musical that opened last week to near universal pans from critics) and It Shoulda Been You (the David Hyde Pierce-helmed musical comedy). They also completely ignored Jason Robert Brown's Honeymoon in Vegas, which closed early this month after failing to attract an audience.
The remounting of Gigi, starring Vanessa Hudgens, is the only musical revival presently running on Broadway not to be nominated for Best Revival of a Musical. Victoria Clark snagged the show's only nomination, in the category of Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role.
Lisa D'Amour's Airline Highway is one of the few new American plays to open on Broadway this season, but it won't be considered for a Best Play Tony. That aside, it did received four other nominations (for lighting, costumes, featured actor, and featured actress). The nominators also passed up Larry David's Fish in the Dark and Joe DiPietro's Living on Love, two new American comedies. Closed shows The Country House and The River were given no Tony love at all, not even for perennial Tony favorite Hugh Jackman, who starred in the latter.
In a year flush with big celebrities on Broadway, some fairly notable names were snubbed by Tony, including Glenn Close, John Lithgow, Matthew Morrison, Kelsey Grammer, James Earl Jones, Ewan McGregor, Tony Danza, Stockard Channing, Nathan Lane, and Matthew Broderick. Out of the entire star-studded cast of Terrence McNally's It's Only a Play, only Broadway newcomer Micah Stock was nominated.
Ayad Akhtar's Disgraced received one nomination in the coveted Best Play category, but none of its actors will be considered. Nick Payne's Constellations also got a single nomination: for Ruth Wilson in the category of Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role. Her costar in the two-hander, Jake Gyllenhaal, will not be considered for an award for his Broadway debut.
Bryce Pinkham (who was nominated in 2014 for A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder) was widely expected to pick up another one for his startling performance in the revival of Wendy Wasserstein's The Heidi Chronicles. Unfortunately, that show garnered only one nomination: Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role for Elisabeth Moss. The revival is slated to close this coming Sunday, May 3.
Even more than in previous years, the nominators seem to have focused their attention on productions that could benefit from the added luster of a Tony Award. Eighty-seven percent of all the nominations doled out this morning went to shows that are currently running (this proportion is up from the previous two years). This is great news for producers looking to give their shows a promotional boost and theatergoers wanting to see the nominated performances.
It should be noted, however, that only two currently running shows from the fall season received multiple Tony nods (The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time and On the Town). We shouldn't be surprised to see lighter and lighter autumn seasons on Broadway as producers continue to bunch Broadway openings right before the April Tony Award cutoff, looking to extend the lives of their shows with the Tony stamp of approval. Tony nominators may have short memories, but Broadway producers never forget.