Special Reports

What to Expect from Tomorrow’s Tony Nominations Based on Today’s Drama Desk Nominations

Tom Hanks, Billy Porter, and Laura Osnes all received Drama Desk nominations, but will they be graced similarly by Tony?

(© Tristan Fuge)

The 2013 Drama Desk Award nominations are out and Off-Broadway theater is well-represented this year. The Public Theater’s Giant leads the nominations with 9, tied with Broadway’s now-departed Hands on a Hardbody. Other Off-Broadway shows like Classic Stage’s Passion (7 nominations), The Other Josh Cohen (6), and the Public’s Here Lies Love (5) also racked up multiple nominations.

Unlike the Drama Desks however, the American Theatre Wing’s Antoinette Perry Awards (the Tonys) only recognize Broadway, so this leaves ample room for speculation about tomorrow’s Tony nominations.

In reading the following Tony conjecture — and that is exactly what it is (we have no crystal ball here at TheaterMania) — it might be helpful to remember that the Drama Desks like to call their nominees “Outstanding,” while the Tonys opt for simply “Best.”

Out of twelve potential contenders, the Drama Desks only nominated two Broadway shows in the category of Outstanding Play: The Assembled Parties and Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike. Assuming that both plays are also nominated for Tonys (and this is not a sure bet), that leaves two spots open in the Best Play category. The Tony nominating committee might choose to recognize a currently running show like The Nance or Lucky Guy. Or it might nominate a closed show from the fall season, perhaps Grace.

Similarly, the Drama Desks only nominated three Broadway musicals in this year’s Outstanding Musical category: A Christmas Story, Hands on a Hardbody, and Matilda. Kinky Boots and Motown are the obvious snubs, but they both still have a chance to garner a Tony nomination for Best Musical. Also, though its Broadway run is now over, keep an eye on the still-very-eligible Chaplin, which is set to begin a national tour in the fall of 2014.

Katie Finneran with her second Tony Award, for <I>Promises, Promises</I>.
Katie Finneran with her second Tony Award, for Promises, Promises.
(© Tristan Fuge)

Of the three Broadway performances nominated for the Drama Desk category Outstanding Actress in a Musical, only Laura Osnes (Cinderella) is in a show that is still running. (The other two are Carolee Carmello for Scandalous and Stephanie J. Block for The Mystery of Edwin Drood.) Few would deny that Carmello’s herculean performance in Scandalous is worthy of a Tony nomination for Leading Actress in a Musical. However, the Tony nominating committee might choose to recognize actresses who are currently on stage, like Patina Miller in Pippin or pint-sized powerhouse Lilla Crawford in Annie. Broadway’s original Annie, Andrea McArdle, was nominated in the Leading Actress category but ultimately lost to fellow cast member Dorothy Loudon, who played Miss Hannigan. (Take that, little girl!) Such a circumstance cannot possibly happen this year, however, because the Tony Awards administration committee ruled in February that Broadway’s current Miss Hannigan, two-time Tony Award winner Katie Finneran, is eligible for the Featured Actress category.

Anthony Warlow (Annie), Jim Norton (Drood), and Billy Porter (Kinky Boots) were all nominated in the Outstanding Actor in a Musical Drama Desk category. Currently electrifying Broadway as fabulous drag queen Lola, Porter’s name is almost certain to show up in tomorrow’s Leading Actor in a Musical category. He could very likely be joined by a distinctly less-glamorous drag persona, Matilda‘s own Miss Trunchbull, Bertie Carvel, who was nominated in the Featured Actor Drama Desk category but is considered a Leading Actor by The American Theatre Wing as per a ruling handed down by the administration committee last Friday. Will 2013 be the year of Broadway’s Drag Race?

Tom Hanks (Lucky Guy), Nathan Lane (The Nance), and Tracy Letts (Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?) were all nominated in the Outstanding Actor in a Play Drama Desk category. Considering the buzz surrounding their performances, it is not unreasonable to expect at least one of those names to be repeated tomorrow, if not all three.

Amy Morton (Virginia Woolf) and Cicely Tyson (The Trip to Bountiful) were both nominated for Outstanding Actress in a Play. Even if they also receive nominations for Tonys tomorrow, that leaves plenty of room for other standout actresses from the season, including Oscar nominee Jessica Chastain (The Heiress), Tony winner Scarlett Johansson (Cat on a Hot Tin Roof), and Drama Desk winner Fiona Shaw (The Testament of Mary). The latter of the three might especially appreciate a little Tony buzz in light of struggling ticket sales.

However the nominations pan out, this is a season primed for surprises, so expect a few tomorrow.

To find out how you can watch the Tony nominations announcement live tomorrow morning, April 30 at 8:30AM, click here.