As Broadway’s recovery from the pandemic lockdown picks up pace, Tony nominees have grabbed needed attention in a variety of shows, from dazzling scenes to outlandish adventures.
In the category with the biggest financial impact—Best New Musical—the nominees have chosen five very different contenders: “And Juliet,” which combines pop ballads with an alternative narrative arc for star-crossed Shakespeare lovers; “Kimberly Akimbo”, about a high school student with a life-altering genetic condition and a criminally dysfunctional family; “New York, New York,” a dance-driven smash about a young musician couple pursuing success and love in a post-war city; “Shucked,” a country comedy full of play about a rural community facing a corn crisis; and “Some Like It Hot”, a jazz-era rendition about two entertainers who witness a gang kill and dress as women to escape the mob.
Two of those musicals — “New York, New York” and “Some Like It Hot” — are big-budget film adaptations. One, “& Juliet,” is fueled by pre-existing pop hits written by Max Martin, one of the most successful contemporary hitmakers, while another, “Shucked,” features a fresh score from acclaimed Nashville songwriters Brandi Clark and Shane McNally. And “Kimberly Akimbo”, considered by many in the industry as a leading contender for the win based on its originality and strong reviews, was adapted from the play of the same name.
The best music category was one of six nominees announced Tuesday morning on “CBS Mornings.” The network was allowed to break the news because of its longtime role as anchor of the Tony Awards.
Famous performers who have scored nominations include Sara Bareilles, Jessica Chastain, Jodie Comer, Josh Groban, Sean Hayes, Ben Platt, and Wendell Pierce, as well as perennial Broadway favorite Audra McDonald.
To compete in another prestigious category, for best play, the nominees chose “Ain’t No Mo,” Jordan E. Cooper’s wild comedy that imagines a moment when America decides to solve its race problems by offering one-way tickets to all black residents. Africa; Between Riverside and Madness, Stephen Adly Gerges’ play about a retired police officer trying to hold on to his apartment; Cost of Living, Martina Majoc’s drama about caregiving and disability; “Fat Ham,” sung by James Ijams in “Hamlet,” is set in the North Carolina backyard of a family that runs a barbecue restaurant; and “Leopoldstadt,” Tom Stoppard’s inspired biographical drama about a European Jewish family before, during, and after World War II. Three of his Tony-nominated plays, “Between Riverside and the Madman,” “The Cost of Living” and “Fat Ham,” have already won Pulitzer Prizes in drama.
The full list of nominations will be announced at 9 a.m. on Tony Awards YouTube page. Check back here throughout the day for more Tony Awards news, including nominees’ reactions, as well as reporters’ analyzes and critics’ commentary.
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