Tony Awards nominations 2016: ‘Hamilton’ with record 16, ‘Eclipsed’ & ‘The Humans’ at 6 each

Hamilton” set a new Tony Awards record, earning 16 bids when nominations for the 70th annual edition of these kudos were announced Tuesday morning. That eclipses the benchmark set by “The Producers” in 2001 and equalled by “Billy Elliot” in 2009. Of the new plays, two off-Broadway transfers — “Eclipsed” and “The Humans” — reaped six nominations each. The revival of the musical “She Loves Me” picked up eight nods while the remounting of the play “Long Day’s Journey Into Night” claimed seven. (See the full list of nominees here).

A wrinkle in the rules allowed for five (rather than the standard four) nominees in both play and Best Musical as each race was packed with more than nine contenders. However, the vote tally from the 47 members of the nominating committee was close enough to merit such an increase only in Best Musical and Best Play Revival; two years ago, this happened only in the Best Play category. And with only five musical revivals eligible, that could have had just three nominees but ended up with four due to a tight race.

All five Best Musical nominees are American made: the off-Broadway transfer “Hamilton,”  the stage version of the films “School of Rock” and “Waitress,” and the original productions of “Bright Star” and “Shuffle Along.”

Best Play is a showdown between four works that chronicle troubled lives. Danai Gurira‘s “Eclipsed” explores war-torn Liberia. Florian Zeller‘s “The Father” examines the effects of Alzheimer’s on a family. “The Humans,” is a daring new domestic drama by Stephen Karam, who had to recuse himself from the nominating committee when his play transferred to Broadway. And Mike Bartlett‘s “King Charles III” imagines the reign of the Prince of Wales.

Two Arthur Miller classics — “A View From the Bridge” and “The Crucible” — are among the five play revivals in contention, along with David Harrow‘s “Blackbird,” Michael Frayn‘s “Noises Off” and Eugene O’Neill‘s  “Long Day’s Journey Into Night.”

The four remountings of tuners in that race are two Best Musical champs — “Fiddler on the Roof” (1966) and “Spring Awakening” (2007) — and two that were nominated for their original runs: “She Loves Me” lost to “Hello, Dolly!” in 1964 and “The Color Purple” was bested by “Jersey Boys” in 2006.

Unlike last year, there are no clear frontrunners in the races for leading performances in plays. Among those in contention are three-time Tony champ Frank Langella (“The Father”) and two-time Oscar winner Jessica Lange (“Long Day’s Journey Into Night”).

Best Actor (Musical) is shaping up to be a battle between the two “Hamilton” co-stars (Lin-Manuel Miranda and Leslie Odom) and five-time Tony also-ran Danny Burstein (“Fiddler on the Roof”).

While the Best Actress (Musical) line-up includes a pair of past Tony winners — Laura Benanti (“She Loves Me”) and Jessie Mueller (“Waitress”)  — the frontrunner is newcomer Cynthia Ervio (“The Color Purple”).

Among the shows all but shut out were three new musicals — “Disaster,” “On Your Feet” and “Tuck Everlasting” — that had to make do with one nomination apiece.

The 70th annual edition of these top theater kudos will be handed out on Sunday, June 12 at New York’s Beacon Theater and air live on CBS. Winners will be voted on by 846 members of the Broadway community.

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