Broadway musical 'Hamilton' does what it always does _ stuns
NEW YORK (AP) -- The Tony Awards are being nicknamed this year the "Hamil-Tonys" in recognition that "Hamilton" is the show to beat. That was proven again Tuesday.
Lin-Manuel Miranda's hip-hop-flavored biography about the first U.S. treasury secretary earned 16 Tony Award nominations, breaking the 15-nominations record held jointly by "The Producers" and "Billy Elliot the Musical." "Hamilton" earned nods in all 13 categories it was eligible.
"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."
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 Tonys 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."
The other top nominees Tuesday were "Shuffle Along," a show that explores a groundbreaking 95-year-old musical starring, written and directed by African-Americans, which got 10 nominations, and the revival of "She Loves Me," which earned eight.
"Hamilton" earned seven acting nominations - Miranda, Leslie Odom Jr., Phillipa Soo, Daveed Diggs, Jonathan Groff, Christopher Jackson and Renee Elise Goldsberry. It also earned nominations for best musical, scenic design, costumes, lighting design, direction, choreography, orchestrations, best book and best original score.
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 loudest screams in Miranda's house Tuesday morning were for the announcement of Jackson, who plays George Washington. Jackson was one of the first people to audition for the show in New York in 2002. "To see him get recognized got a particularly loud scream from my parents and my wife and I," Miranda said, laughing.
Goldsberry earned her first Tony nomination after appearing in four previous Broadway shows and said she will go to the theater Tuesday night holding aloft the banner of "Hamilton."
"The 16 of us represent every single person that worked on this show and we're really grateful to get to do that," she said. But first, the mother of two will celebrate with a nap. "I'm going to nap with the happiest smile on my face."
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.
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.
"Waitress ," a musical 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, earned four nominations.
"I'm so grateful to have found my way back toward the theater community. I grew up doing theater. It's how I learned to listen to music," said Bareilles, who got a nod for music and lyrics. "This experience of working on 'Waitress' has so changed my life in personal ways and professional ways."
"School of Rock ," the adaptation by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Julian Fellowes of the Jack Black-led movie about a wannabe rocker who enlists fifth-graders to form a rock group, earned four nominations, including best musical, book, original score and best leading man in Alex Brightman.
"It's a funny season this one, isn't it," said Lloyd Webber from London. "As you know, it's the 'Hamil-Tonys.' We've gotten everything we could have hoped for - and that's all we'll get. But it's lovely in this season of all seasons to get score and musical and book. We're terribly pleased."
"Bright Star ," a complex love story set against the American South by comedy god Steve Martin and Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Edie Brickell, earned five nominations and few were more pleased than Martin, who earned his first Tony nod.
"This is very, very exciting to me. It's almost, like your emotions betray you, you don't allow yourself to know how excited you are but then when it happens, the body just takes over and you think, 'Gee, I must have really been nervous about this!' So I am so pleased," he said.
The best play category is composed of Danai Gurira's "Eclipsed," Floria Zeller's "The Father," Stephen Karam's "The Humans" and Mike Bartlett's "King Charles III."
Liesl Tommy, making her Broadway debut as a director, won a nomination for helming "Eclipsed ," which takes place in a Liberian rebel camp where women are held as sexual captives.
Calling from a taxi on her way to her next theater assignment downtown, Tommy said her phone blew up with calls from well-wishers. The most important one she had was with her brother and parents in South Africa.
"It was a very emotional phone call because it's not anything I thought, when I emigrated to this country, would ever, ever happen," she said. "There was a lot of feelings of vindication that all of that hard work and sacrifices could lead to something like this."
Late Tuesday, the first casualty of the nomination process was revealed: "Disaster!" - a spoof of 1970s disaster movies - will close on Sunday after getting only one nomination.
Zachary Levi , former star of NBC's "Chuck" making his second Broadway appearance, earned a leading man nomination for "She Loves Me." The one-time theater geek who was lured away by TV said it was surreal to be embraced by Broadway.
"This makes me feel like Ariel in 'The Little Mermaid' - a part of their world," said Levi. "I'm gobsmacked. I never use that word but I'm gobsmacked."
"Shuffle Along ," which late last week was declared a new musical, earned nominations for best musical, best book, scenic design, lighting and costumes, direction by George C. Wolfe, choreography by Savion Glover, orchestrations, and acting turns by Adrienne Warren and Brandon Victor Dixon. (Audra McDonald, who was eligible as a lead actress in a musical, wasn't nominated and so won't be able to chase her seventh Tony.)
Dixon said he was surprised some of his co-stars - including Brian Stokes Mitchell, Billy Porter, Joshua Henry and McDonald - didn't get nods. "I was pretty shocked," he said. "But I'm honored to represent them and we're going to go into this Tony season and we're going to take a number of those awards." He added: "I'm happy to stand toe-to-toe with 'Hamilton.'"
The revival of Eugene O'Neill's "Long Day's Journey Into Night ," starring Jessica Lange and Gabriel Byrne, earned seven nominations, including a first for Lange for her third Broadway role. She played the same part - the drug-addled mother Mary - in London 16 years ago.
"This is really a thrill," she said. "It's one of those parts, if you were insane enough and had the stamina, you could continue to play for the rest of your life and never come to the end of it."
The Roundabout Theatre Company earned 27 nominations for its revivals of "She Loves Me," ''Thérèse Raquin," ''Noises Off" and "Long Day's Journey Into Night," as well as "The Humans." The Almeida Theatre company in London got seven with its "American Psycho" and "King Charles III."
In a twist, Miranda will face off in the best leading actor category with Odom, who plays Aaron Burr, a part he wrote. The two shared a dressing room when the play was off-Broadway and are close friends.
"I wouldn't have it any other way. I look in Lin's eyes every single night and I see the truth and the vulnerability that he comes to the stage with. And so I am obviously thrilled to be included, but it wouldn't have made sense to me any other way," Odom said.
Soo, nominated for best leading actress in a musical for "Hamilton," will face off against Laura Benanti, a previous Tony winner, who was enjoying her first-time nomination in a leading actress category. They face competition from Carmen Cusack in "Bright Star," Cynthia Erivo in "The Color Purple" and Jessie Mueller in "Waitress."
"I think that there is room for so many different types of shows on Broadway and that's what I'm loving about this particular Broadway season," said Benanti. "You can go to a show and be educated. You can go to a show and be entertained. Our particular show feels like putting on the most comfortable pajamas you've ever owned."
Visionary director Ivo van Hove , who had two Arthur Miller revivals this season of "The Crucible" and "A View from the Bridge," got a nod only for "A View from the Bridge," although both plays got nominated for best revivals.
Some Hollywood stars didn't do so well on Tuesday, 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.
Daniels compared his and Williams' work to the film "The Defiant Ones" starring Tony Curtis and Sidney Poitier, who appeared onscreen chained together.
"That's what it feels like because there's such a yin and a yang, act-react to it. I told her in February, 'Half my performance is in you,'" he said. "So I was thrilled for her as I was for me."
Associated Press National Writer Jocelyn Noveck in New York contributed to this report.
Mark Kennedy on Twitter at http://twitter.com/KennedyTwits