Wednesday, May 23, 2018
Stage

'Hamilton' leads Tony nods, sets record with 16 nominations

NEW YORK — The megahit musical Hamilton has grabbed a record-breaking 16 Tony Award nominations, the biggest haul in Broadway history and another notch in the show's march into theatrical history.

Lin-Manuel Miranda's hip-hop-flavored biography about the first U.S. treasury secretary on Tuesday broke the 15-nominations record held by The Producers and Billy Elliot. Hamilton was nominated in virtually every category it could compete in, from acting to scenic design.

Next month, it will fight for Broadway's biggest crown — best new musical — with Bright Star, School of Rock, Shuffle Along and Waitress.

School of Rock, Andrew Lloyd Webber and Julian Fellowes' adaptation of the Jack Black movie about a wannabe rocker who enlists fifth-graders, earned four nominations, including best musical, book, original score and best leading man in Alex Brightman.

"It's a funny season this one, isn't it," Lloyd Webber said from London. "As you know, it's the 'Hamil-Tonys.' We've gotten everything we could have hoped for and that's all we'll get. But it's lovely in this season of all seasons to get score and musical and book. We're terribly pleased."

The best play category is composed of Eclipsed, The Father, The Humans and King Charles III.

The awards will be handed out June 12, with James Corden playing host from the Beacon Theatre.

After Hamilton, the other top nominations went to new musical Shuffle Along, with 10 nods for a show that explores a groundbreaking 95-year-old musical starring, written and directed by African-Americans, and the revival of She Loves Me, which earned eight.

Audra McDonald, eligible as a lead actress in a musical, was not nominated and will not be able to win her seventh Tony.

Hamilton earned seven acting nominations — Miranda, Leslie Odom Jr., Phillipa Soo, Daveed Diggs, Jonathan Groff, Christopher Jackson and Renee Elise Goldsberry. It also earned nominations for scenic design, costumes, lighting design, direction, choreography, orchestrations, best book and best original score.

Soo, nominated for best leading actress in a musical, will face off against Laura Benanti, a previous Tony winner who stars in She Loves Me, the 1963 romantic musical by Sheldon Harnick and Jerry Bock about two star-crossed co-workers at a perfume store. Benanti and Soo also face competition from Carmen Cusack in Bright Star, Cynthia Erivo in The Color Purple and Jessie Mueller in Waitress.

"It feels like in this political climate and what's happening in our nation as well as so much violence happening all over the world that to have two hours and 45 minutes to just sit in a theater and smile and laugh and be transported to a sweeter, softer place feels really necessary to me right now," said Benanti, who was enjoying her first-time nomination in a leading actress category.

"I think that there is room for so many different types of shows on Broadway and that's what I'm loving about this particular Broadway season. You can go to a show and be educated. You can go to a show and be entertained. Our particular show feels like putting on the most comfortable pajamas you've ever owned."

Hamilton has burst into pop culture like few shows. U.S. presidential candidates have tweeted about it, the show has influenced the debate over the nation's currency, and it has been referenced on Saturday Night Live.

Hollywood stars didn't do so well Tuesday, with Clive Owen, Al Pacino, Bruce Willis, Keira Knightley, Saoirse Ronan and George Takei all missing out on nods.

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