The Journal Gazette
Thursday, October 15, 2020 1:20 pm

'Jagged Little Pill' leads Tony Awards nominations with 15

MARK KENNEDY | Associated Press


NEW YORK – The sobering musical “Jagged Little Pill,” which plumbs Alanis Morissette’s 1995 breakthrough album to tell a story of an American family spiraling out of control, earned a leading 15 Tony Award nominations Thursday, as the Broadway community took the first steps to celebrate a pandemic-shortened season that upended the theater world.

There are three best musical nominees: “Jagged Little Pill,” “Moulin Rouge: The Musical” and “Tina – The Tina Turner Musical.” And there are five best play nominees: “Grand Horizons,” “The Inheritance,” “Sea Wall/A Life,” “Slave Play” and “The Sound Inside.”

“The Inheritance” by Matthew Lopez nabbed 11 nominations. It's a two-part, seven-hour epic that uses “Howards End” as a starting point for a play that looks at gay life in the early 21st century.

In a statement, the playwright mourned the fact that the pandemic has left people without a vital resource to gather together and examine themselves and the nation.

“Theater, at its best, helps call us to those better instincts of our nature. I look forward to the day we can all return safely, joyfully to those sacred spaces and to tell each other stories of our lives and of our nation,” Lopez said.

Nipping on the heels of “Jagged Little Pill” for overall numbers of nominations is “Moulin Rouge!,” a jukebox adaptation of Baz Luhrmann’s hyperactive 2001 movie about the goings-on in a turn-of-the-century Parisian nightclub, that got 14 nods.

Two very different offerings are tied with 12: “Slave Play," Jeremy O. Harris’ ground-breaking, bracing work that mixes race, sex, taboo desires and class, exploring the legacy of slavery in interracial sexual dynamics, and “Tina — The Tina Turner Musical,” which tells the rock icon’s life with songs that include “Let’s Stay Together” and “Proud Mary.”

The nominations were pulled from just 18 eligible plays and musicals, a fraction of the 34 shows the season before. During most years, there are 26 competitive categories; this year there are 25 with several depleted ones.

The category for best performance by an actor in a leading role in a musical had just one actor – Aaron Tveit from “Moulin Rouge!” One category – best musical revival – had no eligible shows at all and was cut.

In another sign of a strange season, the best score category – an honor for the music and lyrics that is usually dominated by musicals – is filled this year with five plays.

In the performance categories, Adrienne Warren got a best leading actress in a musical nomination for inhabiting the lead character in “Tina – The Tina Turner Musical.” She is joined by Elizabeth Stanley for playing a woman battling addiction in “Jagged Little Pill” and Karen Olivo for bringing down the house with Katy Perry’s “Firework” in “Moulin Rouge! The Musical.”

In the best actress in a drama category, Mary-Louise Parker won a nod with “The Sound Inside” and is joined by Laura Linney, who is looking for her first Tony win with the solo show “My Name Is Lucy Barton,” and Joaquina Kalukango, who gave a wrenching performance in “Slave Play.” Six-time Tony winner Audra McDonald wasn't denied a spot because her revival of “Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune” closed early.

Some Hollywood actors got to celebrate Thursday, with Blair Underwood, David Alan Grier, Jake Gyllenhaal, Tom Hiddleston and Tom Sturridge all getting nominations. Broadway mainstays like Danny Burstein and John Benjamin Hickey also were recognized.

Broadway theaters abruptly closed on March 12, knocking out all shows – including 16 that were still scheduled to open in the spring. The cutoff for eligibility for all shows was set at Feb. 19.

The nominations came from 10 new plays, four new musicals and four play revivals. Two high profile shows – “Freestyle Love Supreme” and “David Byrne’s American Utopia” – did not accommodate Tony voters and weren’t eligible.

The 2020 Tony Awards ceremony will be broadcast digitally and take place later this year, at a date still to be announced. It’s one of few bright spots for theater fans – Broadway will be shut down until at least May 30.

"Theater will survive," James Monroe Iglehart, the Tony-winning nominations host, promised during Thursday's announcement.


Mark Kennedy is at

Select list of nominees for 2020 Tony Awards

NEW YORK (AP) – Select nominations for the 2020 Tony Awards, announced Thursday.

Best Musical: “Jagged Little Pill”; “Moulin Rouge: The Musical”; “Tina – The Tina Turner Musical”

Best Play: “Grand Horizons”; “The Inheritance”; “Sea Wall/A Life”; “Slave Play”; “The Sound Inside”

Best Book of a Musical: “Jagged Little Pill,” Diablo Cody; “Moulin Rouge: The Musical," John Logan; “Tina – The Tina Turner Musical,” Katori Hall, Frank Ketelaar and Kees Prins

Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics) Written for the Theater: “A Christmas Carol,” Christopher Nightingale; “The Inheritance,” Paul Englishby; “The Rose Tattoo,” Fitz Patton and Jason Michael Webb; “Slave Play,” Lindsay Jones; “The Sound Inside,” Daniel Kluger

Best Revival of a Play: “Betrayal”; “Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune”; “A Soldier's Play”

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play: Ian Barford, “Linda Vista”; Andrew Burnap, “The Inheritance”; Jake Gyllenhaal, “Sea Wall/A Life”; Tom Hiddleston, “Betrayal”; Tom Sturridge, “Sea Wall/A Life”; Blair Underwood, “A Soldier’s Play”

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play: Joaquina Kalukango, “Slave Play”; Laura Linney, “My Name is Lucy Barton”; Audra McDonald, “Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune”; Mary-Louise Parker, “The Sound Inside”

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical: Aaron Tveit, “Moulin Rouge! The Musical”

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical: Karen Olivo, “Moulin Rouge! The Musical”; Elizabeth Stanley, “Jagged Little Pill”; Adrienne Warren, “Tina - The Tina Turner Musical”

Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play: Ato Blankson-Wood, “Slave Play”; James Cusati-Moyer, “Slave Play”; David Alan Grier, “A Soldier’s Play”; John Benjamin Hickey, “The Inheritance”; Paul Hilton, “The Inheritance”

Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play: Jane Alexander, “Grand Horizons”; Chalia La Tour, “Slave Play”; Annie McNamara, “Slave Play”; Lois Smith, “The Inheritance”; Cora Vander Broek, “Linda Vista”

Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical: Danny Burstein, “Moulin Rouge! The Musical”; Derek Klena, “Jagged Little Pill”; Sean Allan Krill, “Jagged Little Pill”; Sahr Ngaujah, “Moulin Rouge! The Musical”; Daniel J. Watts, “Tina – The Tina Turner Musical”

Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical: Kathryn Gallagher, “Jagged Little Pill”; Celia Rose Gooding, “Jagged Little Pill”; Robyn Hurder, “Moulin Rouge! The Musical”; Lauren Patten, “Jagged Little Pill”; Myra Lucretia Taylor, “Tina - The Tina Turner Musical”



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