‘Hamilton’ stars join illustrious group of Tony nominees to contend at Emmys too

Half a decade has passed since Lin-Manuel Miranda finished his Broadway run as the star of “Hamilton,” but the adulation for his work just keeps coming. The Tony-winning smash, which Miranda also wrote, experienced a surge in popularity after a filmed version featuring the entire original cast premiered on Disney+ last July. Miranda and six of his castmates have been recognized for their acting, which makes most of them part of an exclusive group of performers who have earned Tony and Emmy bids for the same role.

Just as they did at the 2016 Tonys, leading men Miranda and Leslie Odom Jr. face each other directly in this year’s Best Movie/Limited Actor Emmy race. Nominated for their supporting turns are Daveed Diggs, Renée Elise Goldsberry, Jonathan Groff, Anthony Ramos, and Phillipa Soo. Ramos is the only one to have not originally competed at the Tonys, as that slot was instead filled by Christopher Jackson. The club to which the rest belong boasts almost three dozen other members covering every possible category with admissions dating back over six decades.

The first man to achieve this feat was José Ferrer, who reprised his Tony and Oscar-winning role as Cyrano de Bergerac on a 1955 episode of “Producers Showcase.” Fifteen more lead actors have since followed, with those preceding Miranda and Odom being Hal Holbrook (“Mark Twain Tonight!,” 1967), Henry Fonda (“Clarence Darrow,” 1975), Jason Robards (“A Moon for the Misbegotten,” 1976), Philip Anglim (“The Elephant Man,” 1982), Roger Rees (“The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby,” 1983), Robert Morse (“Tru,” 1993), Charles S. Dutton (“The Piano Lesson,” 1995), Alec Baldwin (“A Streetcar Named Desire,” 1996), Brian Dennehy (“Death of a Salesman,” 2000), Paul Newman (“Our Town,” 2003), Laurence Fishburne (“Thurgood,” 2011), Joe Mantello (“The Normal Heart,” 2014), and Bryan Cranston (“All the Way,” 2016). Morse remains the only male star to win both awards.

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Although she is currently up for a supporting prize, Soo joins a group of 10 women who have leveraged lead Tony nominations into Emmy bids, beginning with Mary Martin (“Peter Pan,” 1956). The only other musical performances in this group are those of Lauren Bacall (“Applause,” 1973) and Angela Lansbury (“Sweeney Todd,” 1985). Julie Harris (“The Last of Mrs. Lincoln,” 1977) was the first leading lady to earn these double bids for a straight play and its adaptation, followed by Colleen Dewhurst (“A Moon for the Misbegotten,” 1976), Jessica Tandy (“Foxfire,” 1988), Lily Tomlin (“The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe,” 1993), Phylicia Rashad (“A Raisin in the Sun,” 2008), Cicely Tyson (“The Trip to Bountiful,” 2014), and Audra McDonald (“Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill,” 2016). All except Soo won for their stage performances, but only Martin and Tandy went on to collect the corresponding TV trophies.

Diggs and Groff have brought the featured male total to seven, with Martin’s costar, Cyril Ritchard, having been the first entrant. Next came Ed Begley (“Inherit the Wind,” 1966), Ed Flanders (“A Moon for the Misbegotten,” 1976), David Threlfall (“The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby,” 1983), and Jeffrey Wright (“Angels in America,” 2004). If Diggs triumphs over his two costars at the Emmys as he did at the Tonys, he will follow Flanders and Wright as the third man to score both secondary acting prizes for the same part.

Soo’s current competitor, Goldsberry, won the Best Musical Featured Actress Tony and is looking to become the second supporting female to pull off this double act, after Nell Carter (“Ain’t Misbehavin’,” 1982). Just three other women belong to this subset of nominees: Judith Anderson (“Medea,” 1983), Elizabeth Franz (“Death of a Salesman,” 2000), and McDonald (“A Raisin in the Sun,” 2008). Franz and McDonald won Tonys but not Emmys, while Anderson lost twice as Medea’s nurse but had already been honored for her stage work as Medea herself in 1948. 

Regardless of whether any of the “Hamilton” actors end up taking home any hardware this year, they can all take pride in being part of history, as no other single-part program has ever amassed as many acting Emmy nominations. The only limited or anthology series to surpass it in general are multi-episodic shows “Rich Man, Poor Man” (13), “Roots” (13), “Fargo” (11), “American Crime” (nine), “Angels in America” (eight), “Holocaust” (eight), and “When They See Us” (eight). While it has no shot (outside of ties) at breaking the record set by “Angels in America” for most Movie/Limited acting wins (four), it could tie “Holocaust” and “Roots” for second place.

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