Tony Award nominations rich in Chicago connections

SHARE Tony Award nominations rich in Chicago connections

Members of the Broadway cast of “Hamilton,” including Daveed Diggs (from left), Okieriete Onaodowan, Anthony Ramos and Lin-Manuel Miranda. (Photo: Joan Marcus)

The nominations for the 2016 Tony Awards were announced Tuesday morning in New York and at least when it came to one show — Lin-Manuel Miranda’s groundbreaking Broadway musical sensation, “Hamilton” — there were few surprises.

The hip-hop-infused, racially flipped chronicle of founding father Alexander Hamilton (which already received this year’s Pulitzer Prize for Drama) received  a total of 16 nominations, including those for best musical, director, original score, book, choreography and orchestrations, as well as for two leading actors and one leading actress in a musical, three featured actors, and one featured actress. In addition, there were nominations for “Hamilton’s” set design, costume design and lighting design.

The show, which is headed for an extended stay at Chicago’s PrivateBank Theatre, 18 W. Monroe beginning Sept. 27, beat the record for 15 nominations held by “The Producers” and “Billy Elliot.”

Jessie Mueller received a 2016 Tony Award nomination for her leading role in the musical “Waitress.” | Joan Marcus

Evanston’s Jessie Mueller received a Tony Award nomination for her leading role in the new musical “Waitress.” (Photo: Joan Marcus)

“I feel really grateful that they kind of spread the wealth,” Miranda told The Associated Press. “Theater requires collaboration and I’m lucky to be working with some of the best people in their respective fields alive right now.” “Hamilton” earned seven acting nominations — Miranda, Leslie Odom Jr., Phillipa Soo, Daveed Diggs, Jonathan Groff, Christopher Jackson and Renee Elise Goldsberry.  The musical has already won the Pulitzer Prize for drama, a Grammy, the Edward M. Kennedy Prize for Drama Inspired by American History and a MacArthur Foundation “genius” grant.

The awards will be handed out June 12, with James Corden playing host from the Beacon Theatre. “Hamilton” will be hoping to break another record: The musical with the most Tony wins is “The Producers” with 12. At that ceremony, “Hamilton” will compete for Broadway’s biggest crown — best new musical — with “Bright Star,” ”School of Rock,” ”Shuffle Along” and “Waitress.”

Closer to home — and to the hearts of Chicago audiences — was the nomination of Jessie Mueller for her leading role in the new musical, “Waitress,” with songs by singer-songwriter Sara Bareilles that is adapted from a 2007 film about a waitress trapped in a small-town diner and a loveless marriage. The Evanston-bred Mueller received the 2014 Tony Award for best leading actress in a musical for her portrayal of Carol King in “Beautiful: The Carole King Musical.” “Waitress” also garnered nominations for best musical and score, as well as for featured actor.

There was a major Chicago presence when it came to the best plays category, too.

Steppenwolf’s Laurie Metcalf received a nomination for best leading actress in a play (“Misery”). And actor Michael Shannon was nominated in the best supporting actor category for his work in the revival of Eugene O’Neill’s “Long Day’s Journey Into Night.”

Stephen Karam’s contemporary family drama, “The Humans,” which received its world premiere here by the American Theater Company in 2014 – and was subsequently mounted Off Broadway and on Broadway (in a different production) — was among the nominees for best play of the 2015-16 season.

In addition to “The Humans,” the best play category is composed of Danai Gurira’s “Eclipsed,” Floria Zeller’s “The Father” and Mike Bartlett’s “King Charles III.”

Jennifer Hudson, shown during a curtain call for the Broadway production of “The Color Purple, did not receive a Tony Award nomination for her role in the musical.| MARK SAGLIOCCO/GETTY IMAGES

Jennifer Hudson, shown during a curtain call for the Broadway production of “The Color Purple, did not receive a Tony Award nomination for her role in the musical.| MARK SAGLIOCCO/GETTY IMAGES

There were a few surprises Tuesday, including Jennifer Hudson being overlooked in “The Color Purple” and only a costume design nomination for “Tuck Everlasting,” a well-received musical based on the 1975 book by Natalie Babbitt. Also, the hit show “On Your Feet!,” which follows the lives of Gloria and Emilio Estefan, earned just a choreography nod. The musical had its pre-Broadway world premiere last summer in Chicago.

And “American Psycho,” an adaptation of the novel by Bret Easton Ellis about a materialistic serial killer, only captured nominations for scenic design and lighting. Its actors and songs by Duncan Sheik were snubbed.

Some Hollywood stars didn’t do so well on Tuesday, either, with Clive Owen, Al Pacino, Bruce Willis, Keira Knightley, Saoirse Ronan and George Takei all missing out on nods.

But Michelle Williams and Jeff Daniels got ones for the revival of “Blackbird,” David Harrower’s unsettling play that centers on an older man, a much younger woman and what happens when they meet 15 years after their brief relationship has ended.

A complete list of Tony nominations is available

Contributing: Associated Press

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