Several big names from the recorded music world received 2023 Tony nominations. Josh Groban received his second best actor (musical) nod for Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. Sara Bareilles received her first best actress (musical) nod for Into the Woods. Brandy Clark and Shane McAnally received their first Tony nods – best original score (music and/or lyrics) written for the theatre for Shucked.
Several more record veterans were nominated as producers of best musical contenders. Max Martin, Dr. Luke, Shellback and veteran music executive Barry Weiss are among the nominated producers of & Juliet. Mariah Carey is among the nominated producers of Some Like It Hot. Jason Owen, Gary Gersh and Sony Music Entertainment are among the nominated producers of Shucked.
In addition, Interscope and Immersive Records are among the nominated producers of Parade, which is nominated for best revival of a musical.
John Gore is assured of winning a Tony this year for best musical. He’s nominated as a producer of all five nominated shows – on his own in the case of Kimberly Akimbo and as part of the John Gore Organization on the other four nominees – & Juliet, New York, New York, Shucked and Some Like It Hot.
Three people received two nominations each in musical craft categories. Jennifer Weber is nominated for best choreography for both & Juliet and KPOP. Scott Pask is nominated for best scenic design of a musical for both Shucked and Some Like It Hot. Natasha Katz is nominated for best lighting design of a musical for both Some Like It Hot and Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.
For the most part, the 2023 Tony nominations went about as expected. All five of the nominees for best musical and all four of the nominees for best revival of a musical were picked by pundits as the likely nominees. But there were also some surprises.
Here are some of the most notable snubs and surprises in the musical categories 2023 Tony nominations.
Surprise: Cameron Crowe
Almost Famous, the Broadway adaptation of Cameron Crowe’s beloved 2000 film, was “almost” shut out in the nominations. It picked up just one nod, best original score for Crowe and Tom Litt. Crowe won both an Oscar and a Grammy for the film and its soundtrack. Now he’s a Tony nominee for the Broadway adaptation of that same work. Now if they can just figure out a way to turn it into a TV show, Crowe could get an Emmy nod for his masterwork too.
Snub: ‘A Beautiful Noise’
The Neil Diamond jukebox musical failed to land a single nomination. Last year, MJ, the Michael Jackson jukebox musical, was nominated for 10 Tonys, including best musical, and won four, including best actor in a musical for its star, Myles Frost. Will Swenson, the star of A Beautiful Noise, was a 2009 Tony nominee for his featured role in Hair. Diamond and Jackson are both pop music icons, but the shows were greeted very differently by Tony voters.
KPOP was passed over for a nomination in the marquee category of best musical, but it received three nods, including best original score for Helen Park and Max Vernon. This mirrors K-pop’s mixed Grammy track record. K-pop acts have yet to crack the closely-watched “Big Four” categories, but BTS has received five Grammy nominations in other categories. This is a classic case of “is the glass half empty or half full?”
Surprise: ‘Some Like It Hot’
The Broadway adaptation of director Billy Wilder’s 1959 film received 13 nominations, more than any other show this year. The film, by comparison, received just six Oscar nominations, including two for Wilder (directing and adapted screenplay) and one for lead actor Jack Lemmon.
The revival of this show was shut out in the nominations. The original 1969 production won best musical, beating two powerhouse shows – Hair and Promises, Promises, as well as Zorba, a musical adaptation of Zorba the Greek. Two other high-profile shows – Bad Cinderella and a revival of Bob Fosse’s Dancin’ – were shut out in this year’s nominations.