Period musical sets Tony record

Hamilton's creator, Lin-Manuel Miranda, also stars in the title role.
Hamilton's creator, Lin-Manuel Miranda, also stars in the title role. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Hamilton, about America's first Treasury Secretary, has been nominated for 16 prizes

NEW YORK • Hamilton is already a sold-out smash hit, that rare piece of theatre to cross over into American popular culture, showered with prizes and accolades, celebrated by artists and politicians, memorised by children and late-night talk-show hosts.

On Tuesday, the hip-hop musical about America's first Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton was nominated for 16 Tony Awards, more than any other show in Broadway history.

Tony nominators deemed the show prize-worthy in every category of theatre-making - acting, writing, directing, dance, music and design.

Hamilton broke the record shared by The Producers (2001) and Billy Elliot (2009), each nominated for 15 prizes.

With 12 Tonys, The Producers is the winning show of all time. Hamilton is unlikely to surpass that, partly because it earned multiple nominations in two categories.

We call it the HamilTonys and we know this is as far as we can go, but it's great to have got this far.

SCHOOL OF ROCK COMPOSER ANDREW LLOYD WEBBER on the awards. School Of Rock - The Musical is a nominee in the Best Musical category

The show's 36-year-old creator, Lin-Manuel Miranda, who was nominated for three awards himself - for his book, his music and his performance in the title role - said: "It's unbelievable - it's absolutely humbling and incredible."

Miranda, who has attained star status, composed a segment of music for last year's Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Hamilton deftly uses contemporary music and a multi-ethnic cast to suggest that the revolutionary impulses of the nation's founding generation are as relevant and riveting today as they were in the 18th century.

The current theatre season, led by Hamilton, has been the most diverse in Broadway history and the Tony nominations reflect that: Of the 40 acting nominations, 14 went to black, Hispanic and Asian-American actors.

The nominee diversity is a particular point of pride for Broadway this year, when Hollywood has been convulsed with controversy over the lack of Oscar nominations for non-white performers.

Hamilton is the overwhelming favourite to win the most coveted Tony Award this year, the prize for Best Musical.

But four others hope to benefit simply from being nominated in that category: Bright Star, Waitress, School Of Rock - The Musical and Shuffle Along, Or, The Making Of The Musical Sensation Of 1921 And All That Followed.

"We call it the HamilTonys and we know this is as far as we can go, but it's great to have got this far," said Andrew Lloyd Webber, composer and lead producer of School Of Rock, which is an adaptation of the 2003 Jack Black film.

The nominees for Best Play are Eclipsed by Danai Gurira, about a group of Liberian women kept captive by a warlord; The Father by Florian Zeller, about a man's struggle with dementia; The Humans by Stephen Karam, about a close-knit family grappling with disappointment; and King Charles III by Mike Bartlett, imagining a crisis that might ensue after Queen Elizabeth II's death.

The Best Play Revival nominees are Blackbird, Long Day's Journey Into Night, Noises Off and two plays by Arthur Miller, The Crucible and A View From The Bridge.

Several emotionally gruelling plays scored multiple acting nominations, including Long Day's Journey Into Night (Gabriel Byrne, Jessica Lange and Michael Shannon); Eclipsed (Lupita Nyong'o, Pascale Armand, Saycon Sengbloh); and Blackbird (Jeff Daniels and Michelle Williams).

The Best Musical Revival nominees are The Color Purple, Fiddler On The Roof, She Loves Me and Spring Awakening.

The winners will be announced at a ceremony on June 12, hosted by talk-show host and past Tony winner James Corden.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 05, 2016, with the headline 'Period musical sets Tony record'. Print Edition | Subscribe