2019 Tony Awards eligibility rulings (Round 2): ‘Network,’ ‘The Cher Show,’ and more

The 2019 Tony Awards may be months away, but the Tony Awards Administration Committee is busy determining category placement for shows from the 2018-2019 Broadway season.

The committee met for the second time this season to determine Tony Award eligibility for ten Broadway productions. The shows discussed were: “American Son,” “The Cher Show,” “The Lifespan of a Fact,” “The Ferryman,” “To Kill a Mockingbird,” “The New One,” “Network,” “The Prom,” “Torch Song,” and “The Waverly Gallery.”

Here is the full list of decisions made by the committee:

Paddy Considine and Laura Donnelly will be eligible for Lead Actor/Actress in a Play for “The Ferryman.”

Joan Allen, Michael Cera, and David Cromer will be eligible for Featured Actress/Actor in a Play for “The Waverly Gallery.”

Mercedes Ruehl will be eligible for Featured Actress in a Play for “Torch Song.”

Brooks Ashmanskas, Beth Leavel, and Caitlin Kinnunen will be eligible for Lead Actor/Actress in a Musical for “The Prom.”

Larry Hochman and John Clancy will be considered jointly eligible for Best Orchestrations for “The Prom.”

Stephanie J. Block will be eligible for Lead Actress in a Musical for “The Cher Show.”

Christine Jones (scenic designer), Brett J. Banakis (scenic designer), and Darrel Maloney (video & projection designer) will be considered jointly eligible for Scenic Design of a Musical for “The Cher Show.”

Jan Versweyveld (lighting designer) and Tal Yarden (video designer) will be considered jointly eligible for Lighting Design of a Play for “Network.”

All other decisions were consistent with opening night billing.

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As a reminder, The Tony Awards Administration Committee only makes determinations when they differ from the official billing of each show. So, performers billed above the title are considered “Lead” while those billed below the title are considered “Featured,” unless otherwise noted above.

Several productions did not merit any decision to change an actors eligibility, meaning they will compete according to their billing. This means that for “American Son,” Kerry Washington and Steven Pasquale will be eligible for Lead Actress/Actor in a Play, while Jeremy Jordan and Eugene Lee compete for Featured Actor. Daniel Radcliffe, Cherry Jones, and Bobby Cannavale will all vie for the Lead Actor/Actress categories for “The Lifespan of a Fact.” Bryan Cranston will fall under Lead Actor in a Play for “Network” while the rest of his cast-mates (including Tony Goldwyn and Tatiana Maslany) are eligible for Featured Actor/Actress. Mike Birbiglia will be eligible for Lead Actor in a Play for “The New One.”

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The most drastic change to the Tony race is the lack of rulings on Aaron Sorkin’s stage treatment of “To Kill a Mockingbird.” Star Jeff Daniels is the only performer billed above the title, so Celia Keenan-Bolger will be eligible for Featured Actress in a Play for her performance as Scout. Many insiders assumed she would be bumped up to Lead, but the size of her role should make this previous Tony nominee a formidable contender in the Featured category.

With several high profile names in “The Waverly Gallery” moved to the featured acting categories, Oscar nominees Lucas Hedges and Elaine May will be the only two actors from the Kenneth Lonergan revival to compete as Leads.

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Over in the musical races, Christopher Sieber is the one high profile name still eligible for Featured Actor for “The Prom.” His co-star Brooks Ashmanskas is out of the way in Lead, which should help the men avoid dreaded vote splitting. The women were not so lucky, with Caitlin Kinnunen and Beth Leavel both vying for Lead Actress.

The rulings for “The Cher Show” mimic the results for last seasons’ “Summer: The Donna Summer Musical.” Stephanie J. Block is eligible for Lead while Teal Wicks and Michaela Diamond, who play younger versions of Cher, are both eligible for Featured. “Summer” nabbed two acting nominations by splitting up their three Donna Summers in the same manner (Lead Actress for LaChanze and Featured Actress for Ariana DeBose). “The Cher Show” will certainly hope to repeat those results.

The Tony Awards Administration Committee will meet two more times during the season to determine eligibility for the 73rd Annual Tony Awards.

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