2017 Tony Award nominations shock fans with snubs and surprises

Josh+Groban+and+the+cast+of+the+Tony-nominated+musical+%22Natasha%2C+Pierre%2C+and+the+Great+Comet+of+1812%22.+
Josh Groban and the cast of the Tony-nominated musical

Josh Groban and the cast of the Tony-nominated musical "Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812".

Photo courtesy of The Hollywood Reporter

Photo courtesy of The Hollywood Reporter

Josh Groban and the cast of the Tony-nominated musical "Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812".

Kaitlyn Riggio, Reporter

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   The nominations for the 2017 Tony Awards were released on May 2, and the 2016-2017 season on Broadway saw the premiere of 37 outstanding new plays and musicals. But, because of this staggering number of excellent new shows, some shows that were highly anticipated or considered to be fan-favorites failed to receive the recognition they deserved from the American Theatre Wing.

   Nominating shows for the Tony Awards is a multi-step process, and the Tony Awards website summarizes the process. For 2017, shows needed to have opened in “an eligible Broadway theatre” on or before April 27. Additionally, shows could only be nominated in the season they opened, no matter how long they ran after. A nominating committee of around 50 theatre professionals went to see the new shows. Afterwards, the committee voted on nominations. A multitude of voters from a variety of different theatre organizations then voted on these nominees to choose the winners.

  Only three to five nominees could be chosen for each category, so it’s inevitable that some shows would be left out, especially in a season like this one. But even with this fact in mind, some devoted theatre fans were shocked to find that some of their favorites had been snubbed.

  “Anastasia,” a new musical inspired by the 1997 animated film, had a devoted fan base even before the show officially opened on Broadway on April 24. But, despite the musical’s popularity, “Anastasia” failed to receive a nomination for Best Musical. It did, however, receive two nominations for Best Featured Actress and Best Costume Design.

  Many fans were upset to see “Anastasia” receive so few nominations. A fan by the name of Shannen Banzhoff commented on Facebook that “Anastasia was jipped!”, complete with an angry face emoji.

  “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” starring fan-favorite Christian Borle as Willy Wonka, was snubbed entirely and received no Tony Award nominations. This was another shock for fans, considering the fact that the show has been highly anticipated since the show’s world premiere on the West End in London.

  According to Matt Windman, a reporter from amNewYork, “Anastasia” and “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” being left out of the nominations for Best Musical is surprising considering how well they are faring in the box office. In other words, the public seems to be enjoying these shows; the Nominating Committee, not so much.

  Despite some of the snubs that might have occurred, the 2017 Tony nominations also included some surprises. “Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812,” a musical adaptation of “War and Peace,” received the greatest number of Tony nominations out of any show this season with a whopping 12 nominations, including all of the coveted “Big Six” awards: Best Musical, Best Score, Best Book, Best Actor (Josh Groban for the role of Pierre), Best Actress (Denee Benton for the role of Natasha), and Best Direction. It edged out the immensely popular “Dear Evan Hansen,” which only received 9 nominations.

  Another surprise came in the category of Best Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical. Eva Noblezada, a Broadway newcomer, was nominated for her performance as Kim in the revival of “Miss Saigon” (which happens to be nominated for Best Revival). Her performance knocked Broadway veterans such as Phillipa Soo (“Amelie”) and Laura Osnes (“Bandstand”) out of being nominated. Other nominees for this award include Patti LuPone and Christine Ebersole for “War Paint”, Bette Midler for “Hello, Dolly!”, and Denee Benton (also making her Broadway debut!) for the aforementioned “Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812”.

  So far, this Tony Award season can be summed up in one word: unexpected. And we haven’t even gotten to the actual awards yet. It’s possible we could be in for even more surprises come June 11, the night of the Tony Awards.

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