Ian Barford and Cora Vander Broek, who performed in the world premiere of Tracy Letts’ “Linda Vista” at Steppenwolf Theatre in 2017, won Tony nominations Thursday for their work in the play’s Broadway transfer.
It was the first nomination for both Barford, who stars as a self-loathing man in the midst of a messy divorce in the show, and Vander Broek, who plays a life coach he’s begun dating.
In the leading actor in a play category, Barford is competing against three prominent film actors — Jake Gyllenhaal of “Seawall/A Life,” Tom Hiddleston of “Betrayal” and Blair Underwood of “A Soldier’s Play” — as well as Andrew Burnap of “The Inheritance” and Gyllenhaal’s “Seawall” co-star Tom Sturridge.
Among Vander Broek’s rivals for the featured actress in a play trophy is another actress with Steppenwolf credits: Lois Smith, in the running for her work in “The Inheritance.” Also competing are Jane Alexander of “Grand Horizons” and Chalia La Tour and Annie McNamara of “Slave Play.”
“Linda Vista,” which was eligible for a best play nomination, was shut out of the category. One that did make the cut is Adam Rapp’s “The Sound Inside,” which also landed a play direction nod for its director, Chicago’s David Cromer.
In the category of best book for a musical, two of the three nominees come from the Chicago area: Northwestern University grad John Logan for “Moulin Rouge!” and Lemont native Diablo Cody for “Jagged Little Pill.” They’re up against the team from “Tina,” a Tina Turner bio.
“Jagged Little Pill,” which plumbs Alanis Morissette’s 1995 breakthrough album to tell a story of an American family spiraling out of control, leads the Tony nominations with 15. One of those nominations, for featured actor in a musical, goes to Sean Allan Krill, an actor with many Chicago stage credits.
This year’s Tony race is an unusual one, celebrating a pandemic-shortened season that upended the theater world. The nominations were pulled from just 18 eligible plays and musicals, down from 34 shows the season before.
The category for best performance by an actor in a leading role in a musical had just one actor: Aaron Tveit of “Moulin Rouge!” Another category, best revival of a musical, had no eligible shows and was eliminated altogether.
Broadway theaters abruptly closed on March 12, knocking out all shows — including 16 that were still scheduled to open in the spring. The cutoff for eligibility for all shows was set at Feb. 19.
The 2020 Tony Awards ceremony will be broadcast digitally and take place later this year, at a date still to be announced. It’s one of few bright spots for theater fans — Broadway will be shut down until at least May 30.
Contributing: Associated Press