Tony Awards 2017: Nominations–Disappointments

Broadway’s busy 2016-2017 season was packed with potential for the Tony Award nominations.  There is too much competition for very few slots, so there were bound to be surprises as well as snubs and disappointments.

The 71st Tony Awards will be handed out in a June 11 ceremony emceed by Kevin Spacey at Radio City Music Hall.

DISAPOINTMENT: War Paint
The real-life story of feuding cosmetics titans, “War Paint” comes from a formidable team: songwriters Scott Frankel and Michael Korie, whose “Grey Gardens” was a Tony contender in 2007; Pulitzer and Tony-winning playwright Doug Wright (“I Am My Own Wife,” “Grey Gardens”) and “Dear Evan Hansen” director Michael Greif (“Rent,” “Next to Normal”).

In another, less crowded season, the show would have vied for a lot more awards. But this year, with the best musical category sticking at four (rather than a possible five), “War Paint” was left out of the big race, as well as competitions for score and book (which went to the new musical nominees). “War Paint” claimed the two nominations of which it was assured — acting nods for Patti LuPone and Christine Ebersole — plus design slots for set (David Korins) and costumes (Catherine Zuber).

DISAPOINTMENT: Sunset Boulevard
The biggest award contender for the current revival of “Sunset Boulevard,” Glenn Close, wasn’t even eligible, since she’s reprising a role for which she’s already won a Tony.

But the strong-selling staging was also left out of the mix for musical revival when nominators opted to reduce the category from four to three titles. The production was shut out of the nominations entirely.

DISAPPOINTMENT: Allison Janney, Mark Ruffalo, and Gideon Glick
Janney, a famous stage actor before she was an Emmy winner, is a favorite in the theater community, and she’s perfectly cast in “Six Degrees of Separation,” playing the role originated by Stockard Channing. She seemed a shoo-in for an acting nod. Among lead actors, Ruffalo, as the central character in “The Price,” and Glick, playing the charming wallflower who is the protagonist of play “Significant Other,” seemed likely to be celebrating this morning, too. But neither they nor Janney made the cut in formidable fields. The slots for lead actress in a play, for instance, went to five other notable names: Cate Blanchett, Sally Field, Jennifer Ehle, Laura Linney, and Metcalf.

DISAPPOINTMENT: Anastasia
“Anastasia” looked like a real contender for that fifth slot in the musical category.

It’s shaped up into a strong earner at the box office, drawing on a broad fan base, and it comes from a team of Broadway veterans including songwriters Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty (“Ragtime”), playwright Terrence McNally (“Love! Valour! Compassion!”), and director Darko Tresnjak (“A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder”). Lead actress Christy Altomare also seemed to have a shot at lead actress. But nominators made other picks, and the show emerged with two noms, one for featured actress Mary Beth Peil and the other for costume designer Linda Cho.

DISAPPOINTMENT: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
It’s not that “Charlie” had been expected to do well with the nominators in a season jam-packed with new musicals. But it nonetheless seems significant that the high-profile and large-scale musical, a big bet by Warner Bros. Theater Ventures, was shut out completely. (Its lead actor, Borle, did get a nomination — but did it for his performance in another show, “Falsettos.”) On the other hand, “Charlie” probably doesn’t need the awards season love. The title alone is one of the strongest around, and the musical’s box office has only grown in the weeks since it’s started performances.