Tony Awards 2020: Jagged Little Pill and Slave Play Lead Nominations

Tony Awards: ‘Jagged Little Pill,’ ‘Slave Play’ Lead Nominations


Jagged Little Pill Production Still - Publicity - H 2020
Matthew Murphy

Celia Rose Gooding (center) in Broadway’s Jagged Little Pill.

The nominations were revealed on the YouTube Channel.

Jagged Little Pill, the musical based on Alanis Morissette’s 1995 album of the same name, scored a leading 15 nominations, followed by 14 nods for Moulin Rouge!

The Musical and 12 nominations each for Slave Play and Tina — The Tina Turner MusicalThe Inheritance landed 11 nominations, with A Christmas Carol, Betrayal, Sea Wall/A Life and Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune among other prominent shows landing multiple nominations.

Jagged Little Pill, Moulin Rouge! and Tina are all nominated for best musical and the best direction and best book of a musical categories. Inheritance, Slave Play and Sea Wall/A Life are all up for best play alongside The Sound Inside and Grand Horizons.

Betrayal, Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune and A Soldier’s Play are up for best revival of a play.

Oscar-winning screenwriter Diablo Cody earned a best book nomination for her first musical-theater undertaking on Jagged Little Pill, and other Hollywood stars among this year’s nominees include Sea Wall/A Life stars Jake Gyllenhaal and Tom Sturridge, Betrayal‘s Tom Hiddleston, A Soldier’s Play‘s Blair Underwood and David Alan Grier, My Name is Lucy Barton‘s Laura Linney, Frankie and Johnny‘s Audra McDonald, The Inheritance‘s John Benjamin Hickey and Stephen Daldry and Moulin Rouge!‘s Aaron Tveit, who is the only nominee in the best performance by an actor in a leading role in a musical category.

Even though the last night of Broadway theater was March 11, the Tony Awards committee determined that the abbreviated 2019-2020 season ran from April 26, 2019 to Feb. 19, 2020, ending the season roughly a month before what ended up being the final Broadway performances of the year.

Only 18 shows were eligible this year, roughly half the usual field. Two shows that opened before the March 12 shutdown, the new Bob Dylan musical Girl From the North Country and the West Side Story revival, both were excluded since they opened too close to the cutoff for a sufficient number of Tony nominators to see them.

Two acclaimed, category-defying shows, David Byrne’s American Utopia and Freestyle Love Supreme, showcasing the hip-hop improv troupe co-founded by Lin-Manuel Miranda, chose not to invite Tony nominators. Expect at least one of those productions to pick up a special Tony Award at the still-undated virtual ceremony, which pundits say is likely to take place in December.

Just four new musicals and four play revivals were eligible, meaning those categories were cut down to three nominees apiece, while new play contenders were drawn from a more robust field of 10. With no musical revivals in the running, that category has been eliminated.

The truncated season led to such anomalies as a best score category made up entirely of original music from plays. Not one musical was included, given that the frontrunners in that category — Jagged Little PillMoulin Rouge! The Musical, which mashes up pop hits from across the decades; and Tina: The Tina Turner Musical, which uses the vast back catalog of its subject — all had scores made up of pre-existing material.

While Adrienne Warren has long been considered a frontrunner for lead actress in a musical for her titanic performance in the title role of Tina: The Tina Turner Musical, the strong showing for Jagged Little Pill and Moulin Rouge! will likely make for a face-off between those two shows for best musical.

Other favorites include Danny Burstein, who scored his seventh nomination and will likely see his first win, for featured actor in a musical in Moulin Rouge! And Lois Smith seems a strong bet to take home her first Tony after a long and distinguished stage and screen career for her role in The Inheritance.

High-profile shut-outs included Charlie Cox and Zawe Ashton for Betrayal, James Cromwell for Grand Horizons, Michael Shannon for Frankie and Johnny and Campbell Scott for A Christmas Carol, the latter a holiday engagement that scored a robust five nominations. Perhaps the most surprising snub was the omission of The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical, given that it was the sole musical with an original score eligible for a Tony this season.

The Tony Awards were initially postponed indefinitely after the Broadway closure.  It was announced last week that Broadway productions would continue to remain closed through May of 2021, the latest in a series of shutdown extensions as the U.S. continues to grapple with the pandemic and New York keeps movie theaters and other performance venues closed amid concerns about the disease being spread in crowded indoor spaces.

In his opening remarks as he announced this year’s nominations, Iglehart, himself a Tony Award winner who showed off his trophy, referenced the uncertainty around this year’s show, musing, “You thought we weren’t going to have the Tonys?”

“Theater has always and will always survive,” he added. “Theater is constant.”

“Don’t worry Broadway will be back and it’ll be worth the wait,” he said in closing.

A complete list of this year’s nominees follows.

Best Play

Grand Horizons

The Inheritance

Sea Wall/A Life

Slave Play

The Sound Inside

Best Musical

Jagged Little Pill

Moulin Rouge! The Musical

Tina – The Tina Turner Musical

Best Revival of a Play


Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune

A Soldier’s Play

Best Book of a Musical

Jagged Little Pill, Diablo Cody

Moulin Rouge! The Musical, John Logan

Tina – The Tina Turner Musical, Katori Hall, Frank Ketelaar and Kees Prins

Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics) Written for the Theatre

A Christmas Carol

Music: Christopher Nightingale

The Inheritance

Music: Paul Englishby

The Rose Tattoo

Music: Fitz Patton and Jason Michael Webb

Slave Play

Music: Lindsay Jones

The Sound Inside

Music: Daniel Kluger

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play

Ian Barford, Linda Vista
Andrew Burnap, The Inheritance
Jake Gyllenhaal, Sea Wall/A Life
Tom Hiddleston, Betrayal
Tom Sturridge, Sea Wall/A Life
Blair Underwood, A Soldier’s Play

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play

Joaquina Kalukango, Slave Play
Laura Linney, My Name is Lucy Barton
Audra McDonald, Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune
Mary-Louise Parker, The Sound Inside

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical

Aaron Tveit, Moulin Rouge! The Musical

**From The Tony Awards Rules: If the Tony Awards Nominating Committee has determined that if there is only one nominee in a category listed, such category shall be submitted to the Tony Voters which may, by the affirmative vote of sixty (60%) percent of the total ballots cast, grant an Award in that category.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical

Karen Olivo, Moulin Rouge! The Musical
Elizabeth Stanley, Jagged Little Pill
Adrienne Warren, Tina – The Tina Turner Musical

Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play

Ato Blankson-Wood, Slave Play
James Cusati-Moyer, Slave Play
David Alan Grier, A Soldier’s Play
John Benjamin Hickey, The Inheritance
Paul Hilton, The Inheritance

Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play

Jane Alexander, Grand Horizons
Chalia La Tour, Slave Play
Annie McNamara, Slave Play
Lois Smith, The Inheritance
Cora Vander Broek, Linda Vista

Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical

Danny Burstein, Moulin Rouge! The Musical
Derek Klena, Jagged Little Pill
Sean Allan Krill, Jagged Little Pill
Sahr Ngaujah, Moulin Rouge! The Musical
Daniel J. Watts, Tina – The Tina Turner Musical

Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical

Kathryn Gallagher, Jagged Little Pill
Celia Rose Gooding, Jagged Little Pill
Robyn Hurder, Moulin Rouge! The Musical
Lauren Patten, Jagged Little Pill
Myra Lucretia Taylor, Tina – The Tina Turner Musical

Best Scenic Design of a Play

Bob Crowley, The Inheritance
Soutra Gilmour, Betrayal
Rob Howell, A Christmas Carol
Derek McLane, A Soldier’s Play
Clint Ramos, Slave Play

Best Scenic Design of a Musical

Riccardo Hernández and Lucy Mackinnon, Jagged Little Pill
Derek McLane, Moulin Rouge! The Musical
Mark Thompson and Jeff Sugg, Tina – The Tina Turner Musical

Best Costume Design of a Play

Dede Ayite, Slave Play
Dede Ayite, A Soldier’s Play
Bob Crowley, The Inheritance
Rob Howell, A Christmas Carol
Clint Ramos, The Rose Tattoo

Best Costume Design of a Musical

Emily Rebholz, Jagged Little Pill
Mark Thompson, Tina – The Tina Turner Musical
Catherine Zuber, Moulin Rouge! The Musical

Best Lighting Design of a Play

Jiyoun Chang, Slave Play
Jon Clark, The Inheritance
Heather Gilbert, The Sound Inside
Allen Lee Hughes, A Soldier’s Play
Hugh Vanstone, A Christmas Carol

Best Lighting Design of a Musical

Bruno Poet, Tina – The Tina Turner Musical
Justin Townsend, Jagged Little Pill
Justin Townsend, Moulin Rouge! The Musical

Best Sound Design of a Play

Paul Arditti & Christopher Reid, The Inheritance
Simon Baker, A Christmas Carol
Lindsay Jones, Slave Play
Daniel Kluger, Sea Wall/A Life
Daniel Kluger, The Sound Inside

Best Sound Design of a Musical

Jonathan Deans, Jagged Little Pill
Peter Hylenski, Moulin Rouge! The Musical
Nevin Steinberg, Tina – The Tina Turner Musical

Best Direction of a Play

David Cromer, The Sound Inside
Stephen Daldry, The Inheritance
Kenny Leon, A Soldier’s Play
Jamie Lloyd, Betrayal
Robert O’Hara, Slave Play

Best Direction of a Musical

Phyllida Lloyd, Tina – The Tina Turner Musical
Diane Paulus, Jagged Little Pill
Alex Timbers, Moulin Rouge! The Musical

Best Choreography

Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, Jagged Little Pill
Sonya Tayeh, Moulin Rouge! The Musical
Anthony Van Laast, Tina – The Tina Turner Musical

Best Orchestrations

Tom Kitt, Jagged Little Pill
Katie Kresek, Charlie Rosen, Matt Stine and Justin Levine, Moulin Rouge! The Musical
Ethan Popp, Tina – The Tina Turner Musical