There’s a brewing turf war between blockbuster shows and critical successes on Broadway this season. With only 30 productions up for awards, the smallest amount in over a decade, this year’s Tony Awards take a magnifying glass to Broadway’s trend towards popular musical adaptations. Mean Girls and Spongebob Squarepants lead the nominations with 12 nods and, as a result, growing critical credibility.
The competition is most apparent in the nominees for Best New Musical, with the The Band’s Visit up against brand name shows Frozen, Spongebob Squarepants, and Mean Girls. Meanwhile, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, a union between the two dueling categories, came out with 10 nominations, including Best Play and Best Leading Actor.
Broadway revivals did well this season, with Angels in America and Carousel garnering 11 nominations and My Fair Lady 10.
Bruce Springsteen will receive a special, noncompetitive Tony Award for his one-man show Springsteen on Broadway. The show received both commercial and critical success and was heralded as “a once-in-a-lifetime theater going experience for the Broadway stage, allowing fans an intimate look at a music idol.”
Other celebrities who secured nominations include Denzel Washington (The Iceman Cometh), Andrew Garfield (Angels in America), Amy Schumer (Meteor Shower), Michael Cera (Lobby Hero) and Tina Fey (Mean Girls). A Best Original Score nomination carried artists like T.I., John Legend, and Panic! At the Disco to this year’s Tony’s for their original songs in Spongebob Squarepants.
Sara Bareilles and Josh Groban host the 72nd Tony Awards airing Sunday, June 10 on CBS.