The 2022 Tony Award nominations are full of A-list nudges

And so ends the feel-good return of the Broadway season — with snubs and signals of virtue!

When the 2022 Tony Award nominations were announced on Monday morning, many of the Great White Way’s most famous and bankable names were shunned.

Daniel Craig, star of the critically loathed but lucrative “Macbeth”, Debra Messing in “Birthday Candles” and husband and wife team Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick (their old-fashioned “Plaza Suite” prints money but was ridiculed by the aloof New York Times ) everyone was told by the nominating committee, “We’re just not that into you.”

If I were SJP I would add an evening show on Sunday 12th June – and stream it live.

No luck for the people’s princess either. A minute’s silence for poor Diana the Musical (just a name for William Ivey Long’s grandiose costumes). The “Thrilla in Manila, but with Diana and Camilla” brought us so much joy… for all the wrong reasons.

Over at the August Wilson Theater, Beanie Feldstein and her revival of Funny Girl were almost completely ruled out, save for a single nod for Jared Grimes as Eddie.

Sarah Jessica Parker and Mathew Broderick "Plaza Suite."
Sarah Jessica Parker and Mathew Broderick in Plaza Suite.
Johanna Marcus

If anyone spilled, it was her, not Hugh.

Hugh Jackman marched into the Best Actor category for playing Harold Hill in The Music Man. The revival — which has included a Best Revival from a Musical nomination and a Best Actress nomination for Sutton Foster — has gained admirers and momentum since its lethargic opening night, when cranky critics and graciously invited viewers alike received 76 winks. He is portrayed by Billy Crystal in “Mr. Saturday Night”, Myles Frost as Michael Jackson in “MJ: The Musical”, Rob McClure in “Mrs. Doubtfire” and Jaquel Spivey in “A Strange Loop”. The likeable newcomer Spivey will take over.

Best Actress in a Musical goes to Sharon D. Clarke for Caroline, or Change.

For a season that arguably didn’t have enough good new musicals to fill the requisite five Best Musical spots, the Crazy Tonys sort of nominated six.

They are “Girl From the North Country” (Snore), “A Strange Loop” (Admirable, Overrated), “Six” (Fun! Short!), “Mr. “Saturday Night” (funny book. Songs? What songs?), “MJ: The Musical” (low key, evasive)…

And – hold your applause indefinitely – “Paradiesplatz”!

The luckiest man who once wore an orange jumpsuit is now Canadian ex-con Garth Drabinsky. The ‘Paradise Square’ producer, who was jailed in the North for swindling investors at his old Broadway company Livent out of millions of dollars, has garnered a shocking number of nominations for his bombastic new musical, which focuses on the unenlightened and indecisive way to fight racism. (The ticket price is so low it’s practically pay-what-you-can). Tip on the hat to Drabinsky: He made his comeback by going broke and waking up, and now the convicted felon is up for 10 Tonys, including Best Musical.

Jaquel Spivey stars in the lead role "A strange loop" On Broadway.
Jaquel Spivey stars in Broadway’s A Strange Loop, which is nominated for 11 Tony Awards.
Marc J Franklin

He’ll be eating donuts at Tim Horton’s again soon though. “A Strange Loop” (11 nods total) is the preferred winner of the night’s top prize, although some of the adult material might freak older Tony voters. “MJ,” which has the most distinctive and familiar structure of any nominee, also has a chance. And “Six”, the pop show about Henry VIII’s spurned and sometimes executed ex-wives, wants to be beheaded itself.

However, “Six” needs a Tony about as much as wives needed a Henry. While other shows are desperate for the likely small increase in ticket sales that would come with a Best Musical win in 2022 (it used to be a lot more important to put Best Musical on a marquee than Best Picture was on a Cinema poster ), “Six” is already a huge box office success without awards. Win or lose, it’s run longer than any single show on the list.

Adam Godley, Simon Russell Beale and Adrian Lester play countless roles in it "The Lehman Trilogy."
“The Lehman Trilogy,” starring Tony nominees Adam Godley and Simon Russell Beale, and Adrian Lester (left to right), is likely to go home as the best play.
Juliet Cervantes

The plays and revivals of plays are a far better crop. The Lehman Trilogy will emerge more successful than its fallen subjects Lehman Bros. and Best Play win. (I have a soft spot for Martin McDonagh’s excellent Hangmen.)

And while “Revival of a Play” is likely to go to Richard Greenberg’s “Take Me Out,” fellow nominees “American Buffalo” and “Trouble in Mind” were also top notch.

Patti LuPone
The revival of “Company,” starring Patti LuPone, is nominated for nine Tonys, including Best Musical Revival.
Brinkhoff/Mögenburg

Undoubtedly the best musical production of the season was the revival of Company, which received nine nominations, including Best Musical Revival. Its legendary composer, Stephen Sondheim, died days before the show opened, and at a ceremony sure to be filled with tributes to him, voters will see a Company victory as the ultimate path, one of the greatest of all time to honor. Its stars Patti LuPone and Matt Doyle will also be leading lady and actress (nominee Jennifer Simard is wonderful at it, too), and its director Marianne Elliott has a great chance of lifting a trophy as well.

Now let’s enjoy the next five weeks in which many shows struggling to gain a foothold at the box office will do whatever it takes to win and get some PR at the bar as in Arts & Leisure) is always the best show of the year

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