Just in case there was any doubt that the 2017-18 Broadway season will be remembered as one dominated by ubiquitous corporate brands and lackluster quality, the new musicals Mean Girls (based on the 2004 teen film comedy) and SpongeBob SquarePants (based on the kid-friendly animated TV series) dominated Tuesday morning’s Tony nominations announcement, each landing 12 nominations. Interestingly, both of these shows received only mixed-to-somewhat-positive reviews, which points to this year’s overall lack of competition (especially with regard to musicals). Following close behind with 11 nominations each were Angels in America, Carousel and The Band’s Visit. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Parts One and Two and My Fair Lady each scored 10 nominations.
As widely expected, Bruce Springsteen will receive a Special Tony Award for his hugely successful solo show Springsteen on Broadway. (Had the producers of Springsteen on Broadway decided to make it eligible in the competitive categories by inviting the Tony voters to attend, it probably could have landed nominations for Best Musical, Best Actor in a Musical and Best Direction of a Musical.) Less expected, but no less welcome, was the announcement that John Leguizamo (who returned to Broadway this season with Latin History for Morons, which received a single nomination for Best Play) will receive the same sort of noncompetitive honor for “his body of work” and “bringing diverse stories and audiences to Broadway.”
The Jimmy Buffett jukebox musical Escape to Margaritaville was (rightfully) shut out of the nominations. The similarly brainless Donna Summer jukebox musical Summer managed to snag two nominations for two of the three actresses who jointly portray Donna Summer (LaChanze and Ariana DeBose).
The most interesting results lay in which actors from Angels in America got nominated (Andrew Garfield, Nathan Lane, Susan Brown, Denise Gough) and which did not (Amanda Lawrence, James McArdle, Lee Pace, Nathan Stewart-Jarrett). A similar result lies with Mean Girls (with Taylor Louderman, Ashley Park and Grey Henson scoring nominations over Erika Henningsen, Kate Rockwell, Kerry Butler and Barrett Wilbert Weed). And while Denzel Washington and David Morse were recognized for their performances in The Iceman Cometh, members of the ensemble cast who were not recognized include Colm Meaney, Tammy Blanchard and Michael Potts.
Assuming no dramatic changes occur over the next few weeks, many of the winners can be predicted right here and now: The Band’s Visit (Best Musical), Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Parts One and Two (Best Play), Angels in America (Best Revival of a Play), David Yazbek (Best Score for The Band’s Visit), Glenda Jackson (Best Actress in a Play for Three Tall Women), and Katrina Lenk (Best Actress in a Musical for The Band’s Visit).