At The Tony Awards This Year, It Will Be Hamilton Vs. Burr (Again)

CREDIT: JOAN MARCUS
CREDIT: JOAN MARCUS

Hamilton, the musical you may be tired of hearing about because it is literally impossible to get tickets to see it until 2047, made Tony history Tuesday morning, scoring a record-breaking 16 nominations.

Lin-Manuel Miranda — official genius, Pulitzer Prize winner, also a Grammy winner, buddies with Barack Obama, etc., etc., — is nominated in three categories, for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical, Best Book of a Musical, and Best Original Score. In a thematically-appropriate twist, Miranda will be competing against co-star Leslie Odom, Jr., who plays narrator/fatal-frenemy Aaron Burr.

The sweet 16 feat is all the more impressive considering the fact that previous Tony nominee record holders, Billy Elliot and The Producers, which earned 15 nominations apiece, were contenders when there was still a sound design category.

It is incredible to see how the Tony Award nominees this year reflect an astonishingly diverse and diversity-minded season on Broadway. Hamilton famously casts actors of color as our nation’s founders but it is just part of a phalanx of musicals and plays to be so inclusive.  Shuffle Along, nominated 10 times, explores one of the first all-black musicals on Broadway; The Color Purple, which focuses on the lives of black women in the American South in the 1930s, earned four nominations. Waitress is one of the first musicals on Broadway to feature an all-female creative team — music and lyrics by Sara Bareilles, book by Jessie Nelson, and directed by Diane Paulus, and based on a film written and directed by Adrienne Shelly — and it took home four nominations Tuesday morning, including Best Musical.

In Deaf West’s Spring Awakening, which got three Tony nominations, about half of the cast is deaf or hard of hearing; sign language is utilized throughout the performance. (Also noteworthy: The cast includes Ali Stroker, the first actor in a wheelchair to perform on Broadway.)

How Deaf West’s ‘Spring Awakening’ Gets At The Heart Of The Show: Everyone Wants To Be HeardIt is hard to put into words what is so extraordinary about the Deaf West Theatre Company’s Spring Awakening. Which is…thinkprogress.orgAs for plays, Eclipsed, set in the midst of the Liberian civil war, tells the story of captured “wives” who are forced into sexual slavery; it stars Oscar winner and now-Tony nominee Lupita Nyong’o, who shares the stage with an entirely black female cast. It is the first play on Broadway with not just an all-female cast but a woman playwright (Danai Gurira) and director (Liesl Tommy) as well. Sophie Okonedo is nominated for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a play for her starring turn in Arthur Miller’s The Crucible.

All this, in the same year that the Academy Awards managed to nominate an all-white acting slate for the second year in a row, (Worst Revival of an Awards Show?) sparking the resurgence of the #OscarsSoWhite hashtag and widespread calls for reform, both within the Academy’s ranks and Hollywood at large. Theater: 1, Film: 0.

The Tony Awards air live on Sunday, June 12, at 8:00 p.m. on CBS.