Surprises and Snubs in Tony Nominations: ‘The Wiz’ Excluded, Steve Carell and Michael Imperioli Overlooked, while ‘Stereophonic’ Breaks Tony Record

The annual announcement of the Tony nominations never fails to bring a mix of excitement and disappointment, as the theater community eagerly anticipates the recognition of their favorite shows. This year, the 2024 Tony nominations were no exception, with a season filled with late openers and fierce competition. As the list was unveiled, there were certainly some unexpected twists and turns that caught everyone by surprise. Let’s take a look at the 10 biggest snubs and surprises that emerged from this year’s nominations.

“The Wiz” was a highly anticipated musical making its return to Broadway after a 30-year hiatus. Despite the excitement from audiences, the critics were not as impressed. However, the production had enough noteworthy elements that many expected it to receive at least a few nominations. Unfortunately, that was not the case, and “The Wiz” was completely snubbed in the nominations. This could pose a challenge for the producers of the Tony telecast, as they would want to feature such a prominent and well-liked show. However, they may face limitations due to time constraints and the need to include performances from all the nominated shows.

Surprisingly, “Stereophonic” received even more love than anticipated. As a last-minute addition to Broadway, this play quickly gained the adoration of both critics and audiences. It was expected to be the new play to beat, but the nominators proved to be even more generous. In a season filled with new musical scores, one nomination slot in the category of best score written for the theater, which is typically reserved for musicals, went to the addictive, 70s-infused rock tunes composed by Will Butler for “Stereophonic.” Despite being a play, the songs are performed live by the show’s cast. Furthermore, the crowded season led many to believe that only one or two members of the tight ensemble would secure an acting nomination. However, the nominators made room for five out of the seven actors in the show. Juliana Canfield and Sarah Pidgeon are both competing for the featured actress in a play category, while Will Brill, Eli Gelb, and Tom Pecinka are all nominated for featured play actor. In total, “Stereophonic” garnered an impressive 13 nominations, surpassing Jeremy O. Harris’ “Slave Play” to become the most-nominated play in Tony history.

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MICHAEL IMPERIOLI MISSES OUT: SNUB IN THE FEATURED ACTOR CATEGORY

In a surprising turn of events, Michael Imperioli, known for his role in “The Sopranos,” was overlooked for a nomination in the featured actor in a play category. Despite his attention-getting performance in the recent season of “White Lotus,” Imperioli’s well-received portrayal in “An Enemy of the People” alongside “Succession” star Jeremy Strong did not receive the recognition many had anticipated. Instead, the nominators’ overwhelming enthusiasm for “Stereophonic” left little room for other notable performances on the theatrical stage.

SURPRISE: “CABARET AT THE KIT KAT CLUB” TAKES ON NEW YORK CRITICS

In the West End, director Rebecca Frecknall’s highly anticipated revival of “Cabaret” received widespread acclaim and won seven Olivier Awards. However, when the show made its debut on Broadway, it received mixed reviews from the majority of New York’s critics. Despite this, the Tony Award nominators recognized the production’s merits with nine nominations, including nods for Best Musical Revival and outstanding performances by Gayle Rankin, Steven Skybell, and Bebe Neuwirth. Eddie Redmayne’s polarizing portrayal of the Emcee also garnered a nomination, despite receiving a lukewarm reception from critics. Unfortunately, Rebecca Frecknall was not included in the race for Best Director of a Musical.

Snub: Steve Carell Doesn’t Make the Cut

While Lincoln Center Theater’s revival of “Uncle Vanya” received mixed reviews from critics, one aspect that stood out was Steve Carell’s effortless performance as the leading man. Despite being a well-known star making his Broadway debut, Carell didn’t receive a nomination. Surprisingly, the sole recognition from the production went to William Jackson Harper (“The Good Place”), who earned a leading actor nod for his performance in one of the more attention-grabbing roles in the subtly nuanced production.

Surprisingly, Tony insiders have expressed their overwhelming admiration for Danya Taymor’s beautifully staged production of “The Outsiders”. Despite the fierce competition among shows vying for awards this season, it wasn’t necessarily expected that “The Outsiders” would receive as many nominations as it did. However, this new musical managed to secure an impressive twelve nominations, coming in second only to “Hell’s Kitchen” and “Stereophonic”, which each received thirteen. Some observers, including those of us here at Variety, had anticipated that the more traditional musical theater score of “Suffs”, combined with its historical ambitions, would pose a stronger competition for “The Outsiders”. Surprisingly, “Suffs” found itself further down the list with only six nominations.

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Broadway fans have something to look forward to as the talented Bebe Neuwirth makes her highly anticipated return to the stage. The Emmy and Tony Award-winning actress is set to star in the iconic musical “Cabaret.” Neuwirth’s latest role is a thrilling homecoming, igniting excitement among theater enthusiasts.

Neuwirth’s exceptional talent and captivating performances have made her a beloved figure in the entertainment industry. Her portrayal of the enigmatic Velma Kelly in the hit musical “Chicago” earned her critical acclaim and a Tony Award. Now, she is ready to take on the role of Sally Bowles in “Cabaret,” a character known for her complex emotions and compelling story.

With her impressive resume and undeniable stage presence, Neuwirth is sure to bring a fresh and exciting energy to the iconic production. Audiences can expect a captivating performance from the actress as she immerses herself in the world of 1930s Berlin.

The return of “Cabaret” to Broadway is a highly anticipated event, and Bebe Neuwirth’s involvement only adds to the excitement. The musical, set against the backdrop of a changing society on the brink of World War II, is known for its powerful storytelling and memorable songs. Neuwirth’s portrayal of Sally Bowles is bound to be a highlight of the production.

Fans of Bebe Neuwirth and Broadway alike can rejoice as they witness the return of a true star to the stage. Neuwirth’s talent and dedication to her craft make her the perfect choice for this high-stakes role. As the curtains rise, audiences can expect an unforgettable performance that will transport them to a world of glamour, passion, and intrigue.

WILL KEEN’S PUTIN GETS LEFT OUT OF THE BALLOT
“The Crown” creator Peter Morgan’s latest play, “Patriots,” had a mixed reception, but one aspect that stood out was Will Keen’s impressive portrayal of Vladimir Putin. Many anticipated a nomination for his performance, but unfortunately, Keen was overlooked in favor of the popular show “Stereophonic.” However, Keen’s co-star Michael Stuhlbarg did receive a nomination for lead actor in a play.

“Surprise: “The Notebook” Receives Some Love”

Critics were harsh towards “The Notebook,” but despite this, the show is slowly gaining popularity at the box office. While it didn’t receive a large number of nominations, the fact that it received any feels like a victory. Out of the three nominations the production received, Maryann Plunkett’s nomination for lead actress in a musical was expected, but it was a pleasant surprise to see Dorian Harewood also recognized. The show’s book, written by Bekah Brunstetter, who cleverly retells the story through different time periods with three different casts for the central couple, also received a nomination.

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“Back to the Future” Fails to Impress Nominators

The innovative musical version of “Back to the Future” may have received favorable reviews in the West End, earning seven Olivier Award nominations and winning the coveted title of best new musical. However, its reception in New York was not as favorable. The Broadway production of “Back to the Future” secured only two nominations, one for featured actor Roger Bart and another for the intricate set and projection design crafted by Tim Hatley and Finn Ross.

Snubbed: “Spamalot,” “The Great Gatsby,” “Tommy,” and “Gutenberg!” Receive Only One Nomination Each

In the world of large-scale musicals, where numerous creative elements and contributors come together, receiving just one nomination can be quite disappointing. This sentiment holds true for “The Great Gatsby,” which only received a single nod for its exceptional costume design, while its stars, prior Tony nominees Jeremy Jordan and Eva Noblezada, were left unrecognized. Similarly, the lively revival of “Spamalot” also managed to secure just one nomination for Leslie Kritzer’s show-stopping performance as Lady of the Lake. On the other hand, the well-received “Gutenberg!” did receive a nomination for Best Musical Revival, but its leading men, Andrew Rannells and Josh Gad, failed to make the cut. As for “Tommy,” despite generating buzz after its successful run in Chicago, it only earned a nomination for Musical Revival, not recognizing its highly acclaimed lead actor, Ali Louis Bourzgui.

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