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‘Hadestown’ and ‘Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of the Temptations’ lead Tony nominations

Ephraim Sykes and the cast of “Ain’t Too Proud.” (Matthew Murphy)
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“Hadestown,” a musical set in hell, and the jukebox musical “Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of the Temptations” led the field of nominees for the 2019 Tony Awards, announced Tuesday in New York. In a bit of a stunner, Aaron Sorkin’s acclaimed “To Kill a Mockingbird” was left off the list of best-play nominees, with Jez Butterworth’s IRA play, “The Ferryman,” garnering nine nominations, including best play.

The nominations in more than two dozen categories, read by actors Bebe Neuwirth and Brandon Victor Dixon, amounted to a portrait of two Broadways, vying for the favor of the more than 800 Tony voters. One you might call Traditional Broadway, embodied by such contenders as the stage version of “Tootsie” (11 nominations, including best musical); “Kiss Me, Kate” (four nods, including best musical revival); and the British import “The Ferryman.”

Here are some of the main nominations for the 2019 Tony Awards. (Video: The Tony Awards)

The other could be deemed Upstart Broadway, represented by a more unconventional and even experimentalist set of nominees: for best musical, Anaïs Mitchell’s blues and jazzy “Hadestown” (which got 14 nominations, followed by “Ain’t Too Proud,” with 12); the wildly deconstructed revival of “Oklahoma!” (eight nominations, including best musical revival); and Taylor Mac’s morbid black comedy “Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus” (seven nominations).

Perhaps the most bizarre demonstration of the split personality of this year’s nominations is the case of “To Kill a Mockingbird,” which was greeted with critical huzzahs at its official opening last fall but was left off the list for best play. In addition to “Gary” and “The Ferryman,” the others competing in that category, when the Tonys are given out June 9 at Radio City Music Hall, are Tarell Alvin McCraney’s “Choir Boy”; James Graham’s “Ink”; and Heidi Schreck’s “What the Constitution Means to Me.”

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“Mockingbird” collected nine nominations, the same number as “Ferryman,” including one for its star, Jeff Daniels, as best actor in a play, and for two of its supporting actors, Gideon Glick and Celia Keenan-Bolger. The omission for best play may be an indication of the increased depth of this year’s roster of new plays on Broadway, among the 34 shows that were eligible for the Tonys. But it also might suggest the shifting artistic power players on Broadway and the evolving taste of the Tony nominators — a cadre of several dozen theater professionals who see every new production in a Broadway season and winnow down the Tony contenders.

Some other noteworthy results: Elaine May was nominated for best actress in a play for her astonishing work in the revival of Kenneth Lonergan’s now-shuttered “The Waverly Gallery”; Glenda Jackson, a Tony winner last year for “Three Tall Women,” who returned to play the title role in “King Lear,” was not recognized this time around. The hot race for best actor in a play will feature Daniels (who plays Atticus Finch in “Mockingbird”); Bryan Cranston, creating a stage version of Howard Beale in Ivo van Hove’s adaptation of “Network”; Adam Driver, in Lanford Wilson’s “Burn This”; Paddy Considine of “The Ferryman”; and Jeremy Pope in “Choir Boy.”

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Extraordinarily, Pope is also nominated for best featured actor in a musical, for his role as Temptations member Eddie Kendricks in “Ain’t Too Proud.” Tony historians will have to scour the archives for other examples of an actor being nominated for a Tony in both a play and a musical in the same season.

Female artists still are struggling for equitable representation in the many categories, most notably, direction of plays and musicals: Only one woman, Rachel Chavkin, was chosen in either category, for her staging of “Hadestown.” (She previously was nominated for her work on “Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812.”) One director of color, the veteran and former head of the Public Theater, George C. Wolfe, received a nod (for “Gary”). Among writers, Dominique Morisseau was nominated for her book of “Ain’t Too Proud,” Mitchell, for her book and score of “Hadestown,” and Heidi Schreck, for her play “What the Constitution Means to Me,” also nominated for best new play.

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Watch, too, for the head-to-head matchup in the musical-revival category, between director Scott Ellis’s “Kiss Me, Kate” — he’s nominated for best director for his work on “Tootsie” — and director Daniel Fish’s “Oklahoma!” They are the only two shows in that race, and if any category showed in stark contrast the two divergent styles Broadway is trying to cultivate these days, it’s this one.

The full list:

Best musical

“Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of the Temptations”



“The Prom”


Best play

“Choir Boy” by Tarell Alvin McCraney

“The Ferryman” by Jez Butterworth

“Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus” by Taylor Mac

“Ink” by James Graham

“What the Constitution Means to Me” by Heidi Schreck

Best revival of a musical

“Kiss Me, Kate”

“Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!”

Best revival of a play

Arthur Miller’s “All My Sons”

“The Boys in the Band” by Mart Crowley

“Burn This”

“Torch Song” by Harvey Fierstein

“The Waverly Gallery” by Kenneth Lonergan

Best performance by an actor in a leading role in a musical

Brooks Ashmanskas, “The Prom”

Derrick Baskin, “Ain’t Too Proud”

Alex Brightman, “Beetlejuice”

Damon Daunno, “Oklahoma!”

Santino Fontana, “Tootsie”

Best performance by an actress in a leading role in a musical

Stephanie J. Block, “The Cher Show”

Caitlin Kinnunen, “The Prom”

Beth Leavel, “The Prom”

Eva Noblezada, “Hadestown”

Kelli O’Hara, “Kiss Me, Kate”

Best performance by an actor in a leading role in a play

Paddy Considine, “The Ferryman”

Bryan Cranston, “Network”

Jeff Daniels, “To Kill a Mockingbird”

Adam Driver, “Burn This”

Jeremy Pope, “Choir Boy”

Best performance by an actress in a leading role in a play

Annette Bening, “All My Sons”

Laura Donnelly, “The Ferryman”

Elaine May, “The Waverly Gallery”

Janet McTeer, “Bernhardt/Hamlet”

Laurie Metcalf, “Hillary and Clinton”

Heidi Schreck, “What the Constitution Means to Me”

Best book of a musical

“Ain’t Too Proud,” Dominique Morisseau

“Beetlejuice,” Scott Brown and Anthony King

“Hadestown,” Anaïs Mitchell

“The Prom,” Bob Martin and Chad Beguelin

“Tootsie,” Robert Horn

Best original score (music and/or lyrics) written for the theatre

“Be More Chill,” Joe Iconis

“Beetlejuice,” Eddie Perfect

“Hadestown,” Anaïs Mitchell

“The Prom,” Matthew Sklar and Chad Beguelin

“To Kill a Mockingbird,” Adam Guettel

“Tootsie,” David Yazbek

Best direction of a musical

Rachel Chavkin, “Hadestown”

Scott Ellis, “Tootsie”

Daniel Fish, “Oklahoma!”

Des McAnuff, “Ain’t Too Proud”

Casey Nicholaw, “The Prom”

Best direction of a play

Rupert Goold, “Ink”

Sam Mendes, “The Ferryman”

Bartlett Sher, “To Kill a Mockingbird”

Ivo van Hove, “Network”

George C. Wolfe, “Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus”

Best performance by an actor in a featured role in a musical

Andre De Shields, “Hadestown”

Andy Grotelueschen, “Tootsie”

Patrick Page, “Hadestown”

Jeremy Pope, “Ain’t Too Proud”

Ephraim Sykes, “Ain’t Too Proud”

Best performance by an actress in a featured role in a musical

Lilli Cooper, “Tootsie”

Amber Gray, “Hadestown”

Sarah Stiles, “Tootsie”

Ali Stroker, “Oklahoma!”

Mary Testa, “Oklahoma!”

Best performance by an actor in a featured role in a play

Bertie Carvel, “Ink”

Robin De Jesús, “The Boys in the Band”

Gideon Glick, “To Kill a Mockingbird”

Brandon Uranowitz, “Burn This”

Benjamin Walker, “All My Sons”

Best performance by an actress in a featured role in a play

Fionnula Flanagan, “The Ferryman”

Celia Keenan-Bolger, “To Kill a Mockingbird”

Kristine Nielsen, “Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus”

Julie White, “Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus”

Ruth Wilson, “King Lear”

Best choreography

Camille A. Brown, “Choir Boy”

Warren Carlyle, “Kiss Me, Kate”

Denis Jones, “Tootsie”

David Neumann, “Hadestown”

Sergio Trujillo, “Ain’t Too Proud”

Best orchestrations

Michael Chorney and Todd Sickafoose, “Hadestown”

Larry Hochman, “Kiss Me, Kate”

Daniel Kluger, “Oklahoma!”

Simon Hale, “Tootsie”

Harold Wheeler, “Ain’t Too Proud”

Best scenic design of a musical

Robert Brill and Peter Nigrini, “Ain’t Too Proud”

Peter England, “King Kong”

Rachel Hauck, “Hadestown”

Laura Jellinek, “Oklahoma!”

David Korins, “Beetlejuice”

Best scenic design of a play

Miriam Buether, “To Kill a Mockingbird”

Bunny Christie, “Ink”

Rob Howell, “The Ferryman”

Santo Loquasto, “Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus”

Jan Versweyveld, “Network”

Best costume design of a musical

Michael Krass, “Hadestown”

William Ivey Long, “Beetlejuice”

William Ivey Long, “Tootsie”

Bob Mackie, “The Cher Show”

Paul Tazewell, “Ain’t Too Proud”

Best costume design of a play

Rob Howell, “The Ferryman”

Toni-Leslie James, “Bernhardt/Hamlet”

Clint Ramos, “Torch Song”

Ann Roth, “Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus”

Ann Roth, “To Kill a Mockingbird”

Best sound design of a musical

Peter Hylenski, “Beetlejuice”

Peter Hylenski, “King Kong”

Steve Canyon Kennedy, “Ain’t Too Proud”

Drew Levy, “Oklahoma!”

Nevin Steinberg and Jessica Paz, “Hadestown”

Best sound design of a play

Adam Cork, “Ink”

Scott Lehrer, “To Kill a Mockingbird”

Fitz Patton, “Choir Boy”

Nick Powell, “The Ferryman”

Eric Sleichim, “Network”

Best lighting design of a musical

Kevin Adams, “The Cher Show”

Howell Binkley, “Ain’t Too Proud”

Bradley King, “Hadestown”

Peter Mumford, “King Kong”

Kenneth Posner and Peter Nigrini, “Beetlejuice

Best lighting design of a play

Neil Austin, “Ink”

Jules Fisher and Peggy Eisenhauer, “Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus”

Peter Mumford, “The Ferryman”

Jennifer Tipton, “To Kill a Mockingbird”

Jan Versweyveld and Tal Yarden, “Network”

The Tonys will be broadcast live on CBS from Radio City Music Hall on June 9 and will be hosted by James Corden.