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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 19 September 2018

Tony awards nominees a little off broadway

This year’s celebration of the best of the American stage is not big on originality or high-profile productions from NYC

A performance of SpongeBob SquarePants, in New York. The Tony Awards race is dominated by big established brands, including Disney's Frozen, J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter franchise, Tina Fey's Mean Girls and Nickelodeon's SpongeBob SquarePants. The nominations for the 72nd Tony Awards will be announced on Tuesday, May 1. Joan Marcus / Boneau / Bryan-Brown via AP
A performance of SpongeBob SquarePants, in New York. The Tony Awards race is dominated by big established brands, including Disney's Frozen, J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter franchise, Tina Fey's Mean Girls and Nickelodeon's SpongeBob SquarePants. The nominations for the 72nd Tony Awards will be announced on Tuesday, May 1. Joan Marcus / Boneau / Bryan-Brown via AP

There seemed a distinct lack of genuinely original content among the musical nominees for this year’s Tony Awards, which celebrate the best in Broadway theatre, when nominations were announced on Tuesday evening.

The two-most nominated shows, Mean Girls, based on the Tina Fey-penned 2004 movie that starred Lindsey Lohan, Rachel McAdams and Fey herself, and SpongeBob SquarePants: The Musical, from the long-running animated TV show, earned a dozen nominations each, including Best Musical.

Boneau/Bryan-Brown shows a scene from the production of 'Harry Potter and the Cursed Child', in New York. Matthew Murphy / Boneau / Bryan-Brown via AP
Boneau/Bryan-Brown shows a scene from the production of 'Harry Potter and the Cursed Child', in New York. Matthew Murphy / Boneau / Bryan-Brown via AP

The Best Musical category itself, meanwhile, didn’t feature a single entirely original idea, with the other nominees being Frozen, adapted from the much-loved Disney animation, and The Band’s Visit, based on Eran Kolirin’s 2007 movie, which was refused as Israel’s entry to the Best Foreign Language Film nomination on account of being mostly in English.

Best Play fared better for original content – all the nominated plays were original, rather than adaptations of existing works, including Harry Potter and The Cursed Child, a new, two-part work co-written by J K Rowling. What was a little surprising in this category this year, however, was that not a single nominee premiered on Broadway, or even off-Broadway, with three of this year’s nominees (The Children, Farinelli and the King and Harry Potter...) debuting in London, and the other two (Junk and Latin History for Morons) in California. Is there a lack of high quality work from the hotbed of US theatre?

Elsewhere, there were nominations of revivals of Eugene O’Neill’s classic The Iceman Cometh and Lerner and Loewe’s My Fair Lady, and nods for Hollywood favourites taking to the stage including Mark Rylance (Farinelli and the King), Denzel Washington (The Iceman Cometh), Andrew Garfield (Angels of America), Glenda Jackson (Three Tall Women) and Amy Schumer (Meteor Shower).

One man who won’t be taking home a competitive award this year is Bruce Springsteen. The songwriter didn’t invite the Tony judges to his “once-in-a-lifetime” one-man show on Broadway last year, but he will be presented with a Special Achievement Award for his efforts. This year’s awards take place on June 10.

Key nominees

Best Play

The Children

Farinelli and The King

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Junk

Latin History for Morons

Best Musical

The Band’s Visit

Frozen

Mean Girls

SpongeBob SquarePants: The Musical

Best Revival of a Play

Angels in America

Three Tall Women

The Iceman Cometh

Lobby Hero

Travesties

Best Revival of a Musical

My Fair Lady

Once On This Island

Carousel

Best Actor (Play)

Andrew Garfield, Angels in America

Tom Hollander, Travesties

Jamie Parker, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child,

Mark Rylance, Farinelli and The King

Denzel Washington, The Iceman Cometh

Best Actress (Play)

Glenda Jackson, Three Tall Women

Condola Rashad, Saint Joan

Lauren Ridloff, Children of a Lesser God

Amy Schumer, Meteor

Shower

Best Actor (Musical)

Harry Hadden-Paton, My Fair Lady

Joshua Henry, Carousel

Tony Shalhoub, The Band’s Visit

Ethan Slater, SpongeBob SquarePants: The Musical

Best Actress (Musical)

Lauren Ambrose, My Fair Lady

Hailey Kilgore, Once On This Island

LaChanze, Summer: The Donna Summer Musical

Katrina Lenk, The Band’s Visit

Taylor Louderman, Mean Girls

Jessie Mueller, Carousel

Best Design of a Play

Miriam Beuther, Three Tall Women

Jonathan Fenson, Farinelli and the King

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