Tony Awards 2020 slugfest: Reacting to the surprises and snubs that are shaping the race [VIDEO AND AUDIO PODCAST]


Hours after the nominations for the 2020 Tony Awards were finally unveiled on October 15, I sat down with another Broadway buff, David Buchanan, to dish all the surprises and snubs. We also predict how this year’s races will play out. We are still waiting on a confirmed date for this year’s ceremony. Watch the full video above.

As I note, “there are famous A-Lister names but they also celebrate these hardworking theater actors who aren’t necessarily household names, who are nevertheless doing incredible work.” We were both pleased to see the likes of Paul Hilton (“The Inheritance”) and “Slave Play” standouts like Ato Blankson-Wood and James Cusati-Moyer. I was particularly overjoyed to that Cora Vander Broek, the unsung hero of “Linda Vista,” reaped a bid. I note that her final line in the play marked “one of the few times this season where I experienced an entire audience start cheering in the middle of a play for a character.”

SEE 2020 Tony Awards full list of nominations: Every show and performer in the running at the 74th annual Tonys

Of course not every performer was so lucky. “I’m a huge fan of this show right here,” says David as he lifts his coffee mug with the logo for “The Sound Inside.” While Adam Rapp‘s play performed well across the board, David laments that the love did not extend to featured actor Will Hochman. “Speaking of two handers,” David adds, “I thought Michael Shannon could have gotten in for ‘Frankie and Johnny.’ He was really terrific.”

“The Lightning Thief” was snubbed across the board over on the musical side, leaving “Moulin Rouge!,” “Jagged Little Pill,” and “Tina: The Tina Turner Musical” facing one another in each category. Well, almost every category. A play will take home the Best Score trophy for the first time since those three jukebox musicals were ineligible for that award (David and I think “A Christmas Carol” will win for its prominent use of music, but watch out for “The Inheritance” and “The Rose Tattoo”).

SEE ‘Slave Play’ breaks Tony nominations record for a play with a staggering 12 bids

“I think we’re on the same page that ‘Moulin Rouge!’ is probably out front for Best Musical,” suggests David. It makes sense that the sumptuous spectacle of that show would appeal to voters during this dreary pandemic. Still, “Jagged Little Pill” wrangled a massive nomination haul with 15 bids, the most of any production. I note that this Alanis Morissette tuner is “the show with a lot of heart…it feels very urgent and immediate.”

Both of those musicals should pick up an acting trophy thanks to Danny Burstein and Lauren Patten. However, “Tina” won’t go home empty-handed either. Adrienne Warren is widely predicted to prevail in Lead Actress in a Musical for her seismic star turn as Tina Turner.

For our thoughts on all the main categories (including who will take home that tricky Lead Actor in a Play trophy. Andrew Burnap? Tom Hiddleston?), make sure to watch our full video slugfest.

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Below: Listen to the audio podcast version of our chat. Or listen at iTunes, Spotify, Libsyn, Google Play or Stitcher where you can subscribe to our channel.

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