After an exciting day of hearing the overjoyed reactions from this year’s newly minted Tony nominees, Broadway.com is taking a deeper look at the 2012 nominations. This year’s roster includes a historic first as well as some intriguing coincidences and trends. Below, we uncover 10 fun facts about the Tony contenders.
The One and Only: Leap of Faith is the first musical since 1996's Swinging on a Star to receive a Best Musical nod as its sole nomination.
Linda Lavin Has the Tony Touch: After originating the roles of Silda Grauman in the off-Broadway run of Other Desert Cities and Hattie Walker in the Kennedy Center revival of Follies, Linda Lavin opted not to follow the shows to Broadway in favor of starring in the Vineyard Theatre's off-Broadway premiere of The Lyons. Things worked out just fine for all parties! Lavin not only scored a Best Actress Tony nomination for The Lyons' transfer, but her Broadway replacements Judith Light (Other Desert Cities) and Jayne Houdyshell (Follies) also earned nods.
Off and On: All four of this year's Best Play nominees are transfers from off-Broadway venues: Clybourne Park (Playwrights Horizons, 2010), Other Desert Cities (Lincoln Center Theater, 2011), Peter and the Starcatcher (New York Theatre Workshop, 2011) and Venus in Fur (Classic Stage Company, 2010).
True to Life: Four of this year's nominated performers are portraying real life figures: The Columnist's John Lithgow (political writer Joseph Alsop), End of the Rainbow's Tracie Bennett (iconic actress/singer Judy Garland), Bonnie & Clyde's Laura Osnes (infamous bank robber Bonnie Parker) and Evita's Michael Cerveris (Argentine president Juan Peron).
Whoopi Goldberg Gives Good Roles: Ghost star Da'Vine Joy Randolph is the third actress to receive a Tony nomination for a role originally played on film by Tony winner Whoopi Goldberg. Patina Miller nabbed a nomination for Sister Act in 2011, and LaChanze took home a Tony for The Color Purple in 2006. Another film character voiced by Goldberg, the sassy hyena Shenzi, is also currently represented on Broadway in The Lion King.
Double the Fun: Alan Menken is the first composer to have two of his shows (Leap of Faith and Newsies) nominated for Best Musical in the same year. Andrew Lloyd Webber also joins Stephen Sondheim as the only other composer to have two shows (Evita and Jesus Christ Superstar) nominated for Best Revival of a Musical in the same year.
Veterans' Day: If this year's Tony-nominated actors look familiar, it's because so many of them are headed to the ceremony for the third, fourth, fifth, sixth and even seventh (!) time. Total nomination counts include Stockard Channing (7), Audra McDonald (7), Frank Langella (6), Linda Lavin (6), John Lithgow (6), Michael Cerveris (5), Jan Maxwell (5), Kelli O'Hara (4), James Earl Jones (4), Judy Kaye (4), Danny Burstein (3), David Alan Grier (3), Philip Seymour Hoffman (3) and Cynthia Nixon (3).
A Star is Born: On the other hand, the 2012 Tonys also recognize new blood, with nine performers nominated for their Broadway debuts: Tracie Bennett (End of the Rainbow), Phillip Boykin (Porgy and Bess), Elizabeth A. Davis (Once), Tom Edden (One Man, Two Guvnors), Andrew Garfield (Death of a Salesman), Jessie Mueller (On a Clear Day...), Da'Vine Joy Randolph (Ghost), Condola Rashad (Stick Fly) and Josh Young (Jesus Christ Superstar).
Play the Music: This is only the second time (after 2010) that two plays (One Man, Two Guvnors and Peter and the Starcatcher) are included in the Best Score category.
Snub City: In a very competitive season, with 18 shows opening in the spring alone, seven shows ended up completely shut out: Godspell, The Mountaintop, Relatively Speaking, Chinglish, Seminar, Private Lives, and Magic/Bird received zero nominations.