Special Reports

Who Didn't Get Nominated for a 2016 Tony Award?

Benjamin Walker, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, and Bruce Willis are among this season’s snubs.

Omar Lopez-Cepero, Josh Segarra and Lee Zarrett star in Broadway's On Your Feet!
Omar Lopez-Cepero, Josh Segarra, and Lee Zarrett in Broadway's On Your Feet!
(© Matthew Murphy)

On Your Feet! is a musical about one of the most popular recording artists in the country, Gloria Estefan, occupying one of the most prominent theaters on Broadway, the Marquis. It seems to have everything going for it, but following the nominations announcement this morning, one thing it doesn't have is a very good chance of winning a Tony Award. On Your Feet! was only nominated for one: Best Choreography for Sergio Trujillo. While Trujillo's salsa-and-rumba-infused dances are dazzling, On Your Feet! faces stiff competition in the category from Shuffle Along and this year's clear favorite, Hamilton, which garnered a record-breaking 16 nominations.

The producers of On Your Feet! can commiserate with their colleagues at Tuck Everlasting and American Psycho: All three were snubbed in the coveted Best Musical category. Seth Rudetsky's campy jukebox musical Disaster! was also shut out of the top award (garnering a surprise nom for Jennifer Simard as featured actress), but no one really expected the show to be recognized. Tuck only received one nod (for Gregg Barnes' costumes) and Psycho got two (lighting design for Justin Townsend and scenic design for Es Devlin and Finn Ross). It looks like getting a reservation at Dorsia just got a little bit harder.

Benjamin Walker plays Patrick Bateman in American Psycho on Broadway.
Benjamin Walker plays Patrick Bateman in American Psycho on Broadway.
(© Jeremy Daniel)

This comes as particularly disappointing news for Benjamin Walker, the star of American Psycho. While the show received mixed notices, critics roundly lauded Walker's performance as the steely-eyed Patrick Bateman, and it looked like he might have a shot at a nomination. Unfortunately, there will be no date with Tony this June for him, but the newly minted Drama Desk nominee still has the potential to win an award for his performance.

The new musical Shuffle Along touts this season's biggest collection of Tony alumni in its cast and creative team. While the show is the second most decorated this year (10 nods), that doesn't include any nominations for Tony-winning stars Billy Porter, Audra McDonald, or Brian Stokes Mitchell (although Mitchell is this year's recipient of the Isabelle Stevenson Award, making him, in a sense, the first Tony winner of 2016). Instead, the show's two acting nods went to Brandon Victor Dixon (featured actor) and Tony newbie Adrienne Warren (featured actress). For her part, McDonald is probably not that torn up about it: A six-time Tony Award winner, she is still the most decorated stage actress in American history.

Jesse Tyler Ferguson stars in the Broadway debut of Becky Mode's Fully Committed.
Jesse Tyler Ferguson stars in the Broadway debut of Becky Mode's Fully Committed.
(© Joan Marcus)

The nominators continued a recent tradition of snubbing solo performance by passing over Jesse Tyler Ferguson in the Broadway debut of Becky Mode's Fully Committed, a one-man show in which he plays 40 different characters. The star of ABC's Modern Family joins the ranks of Bette Midler, John Leguizamo, and Alan Cumming, whose past solo efforts have also been ignored by Tony.

Several big stars made their Broadway debuts this season, including Keira Knightley in Thérèse Raquin, Bruce Willis in Misery, and Forest Whitaker in Hughie. While all three of those now-closed shows received one nomination apiece, they didn't go to these fresh-faced stars; Laurie Metcalf was nominated for her terrifying and hilarious portrayal of Annie Wilkes opposite Willis in Misery. Willis and Whitaker reportedly had trouble memorizing their lines, which may explain their lack of Tony recognition: Two-time Tony winner and teleprompter king Al Pacino was also passed over for his performance in David Mamet's new work China Doll.

The children were the big losers at this year's Tony nominations: Not a single actor under the age of 18 was nominated for a Tony Award in 2016, despite the fact that there are five new musicals running on Broadway that prominently feature child actors, and such nominations have become a regular occurrence (see Fun Home, Matilda, Billy Elliot). While a Tony Award can do a lot to jump-start a Broadway career, a lesson in humility is probably a more valuable asset in the long run.

Alex Brightman leads a cast of child actors in Broadway's School of Rock.
Tony nominee Alex Brightman leads a cast of child actors in Broadway's School of Rock.
(© Matthew Murphy)

As in years past, recognition was disproportionately heaped on currently running productions. Eighty percent of all nominations went to shows that are playing on Broadway right now. The most recognized closed shows are A View From the Bridge, King Charles III, and Noises Off, which each got five nominations. Remarkably, a whopping 15 percent of all nominations went to a show that opened last August: Hamilton.

The most sensational new musical in decades, Hamilton is widely expected to sweep this year's Tonys, but we've got a long month to go between now and the June 12 awards ceremony, which will be broadcast live on CBS. Even if an upset seems unlikely, anything can happen.