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What Was 5th/6th Place for Best Musical?

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    Jeffrey Kare
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    What show do you think came in 5th (or in some cases, 6th) place for a Tony nomination for Best Musical? Below, I’ve listed rankings of other musicals from their respective seasons as well as nominations they actually did receive (or in some cases, good will they might’ve had) in order from most likely to least likely. For this post, I’m focusing on the 2010s. I’ll get to more later.

    2019:
    1. The Cher Show – Three nominations, two wins for Lead Actress and Costume Design
    2. Be More Chill – Best Original Score nominee
    3. King Kong – Three design nominations

    2018:
    1. Summer: The Donna Summer Musical – Two acting nominations
    2. Prince of Broadway – Revue about a giant of the theater
    3. Escape to Margaritaville – The only other new musical of that season…

    2017:
    1. Bandstand – Two nominations, won Best Choreography
    2. War Paint – Four nominations, two for Lead Actress
    3. Anastasia – Two nominations, including Featured Actress
    4. Holiday Inn – Best Choreography nominee

    2016:
    1. On Your Feet! – Best Choreography nominee
    2. Disaster! – Best Featured Actress nominee
    3. American Psycho – Two design nominations
    4. Tuck Everlasting – Best Costume Design nominee

    2015:
    1. Honeymoon in Vegas – Well reviewed by critics
    2. The Last Ship – Two nominations, including Best Original Score
    3. It Shoulda Been You – Maybe?

    2014:
    1. The Bridges of Madison County – Four nominations, won Best Original Score
    2. Bullets Over Broadway – Six nominations, including Best Book of a Musical
    3. If/Then – Two nominations for Best Lead Actress and Best Original Score
    4. Rocky – Four nominations, won Best Scenic Design
    5. A Night with Janis Joplin – Best Lead Actress nominee

    2013:
    1. Hands on a Hardbody – Two acting nominations, plus Best Original Score
    2. Motown: The Musical – Four nominations, two for acting
    3. Chaplin – Best Lead Actor nominee
    4. Scandalous – Best Lead Actress nominee

    2012:
    1. Bonnie & Clyde – Two nominations for Lead Actress and Original Score
    2. Lysistrata Jones – Best Book of a Musical nominee
    3. Ghost the Musical – Three nominations, including Best Featured Actress
    4. Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark – Two design nominations

    2011:
    1. Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson – Two nominations, including Best Book
    2. Priscilla, Queen of the Desert – Two nominations, including Best Lead Actor, won Best Costume Design
    3. Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown – Two acting nominations, plus Best Original Score
    4. Baby It’s You!/The People in the Picture – Best Lead Actress nominees

    2010:
    1. Everyday Rapture – Two nominations for Best Lead Actress and Best Book
    2. The Addams Family – Two nominations for Featured Actor and Original Score
    3. Six By Sondheim – Two nominations, including Best Featured Actress
    4. Come Fly Away – Two nominations for Featured Actress and Choreography

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    Anton Spivack
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    I’d guess:

    2010: The Addams Family
    2011: Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson
    2012: Lysistrata Jones
    2013: Motown
    2014: The Bridges of Madison County
    2015: The Last Ship
    2016: On Your Feet!
    2017: Bandstand
    2018: Prince of Broadway
    2019: Be More Chill

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    Jeffrey Kare
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    Now onto the 2000s…

    2009:
    1. 9 to 5 – Four nominations, all in major categories
    2. (title of show) – Best Book of a Musical nominee
    3. White Christmas – Two nominations, including Best Choreography

    2008:
    1. A Catered Affair – Three nominations, two for acting*
    2. Young Frankenstein – Three nominations, two for acting
    3. The Little Mermaid – Two nominations, including Best Original Score

    *In Michael Riedel’s coverage of the 2008 Tony nominations, he reported that at first, there was a tie for the fourth slot in Best Musical. So the nominators had to take a second ballot where Cry-Baby ended up taking the fourth slot by just one or two votes ahead of A Catered Affair.

    2007:
    1. Legally Blonde – Seven nominations, six of them in major categories
    2. LoveMusik – Four nominations, three for acting
    3. Martin Short: Fame Becomes Me – Best Featured Actor nominee
    4. High Fidelity – Best Scenic Design nominee

    2006:
    1. Chita Rivera: The Dancer’s Life – Best Lead Actress nominee
    2. The Woman in White – Best Original Score nominee
    3. Lestat – Two nominations, including Best Featured Actress
    4. Tarzan – Best Lighting Design nominee

    2005:
    1. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang – Five nominations, three for acting
    2. Little Women – Best Lead Actress nominee

    2004:
    1. Taboo – Four nominations, three of them in major categories
    2. Never Gonna Dance – Two nominations for Best Featured Actress and Best Choreography
    3. Bombay Dreams – Three nominations, including Best Choreography

    2003:
    Urban Cowboy – Two nominations for Best Original Score and Best Choreography

    2002:
    Thou Shalt Not – Two nominations for Best Featured Actor and Best Original Score

    2001:
    1. Seussical – Best Lead Actor nominee
    2. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer – Two design nominations

    2000:
    1. Aida – Five nomination, four wins, including Best Lead Actress and Best Original Score
    2. Marie Christine – Five nominations, three of them in major categories
    3. Putting It Together – Best Lead Actor nominee

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    Awardsfan1990
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    If I had to take a guess for the 2010s, I’d assume:

    2010: The Addams Family
    2011: Women On The Verge Of A Nervous Breakdown
    2012: Bonnie & Clyde
    2013: Motown: The Musical
    2014: The Bridges Of Madison County
    2015: Honeymoon In Vegas
    2016: On Your Feet!
    2017: Bandstand
    2018: Prince Of Broadway
    2019: Be More Chill

    Not going to bother trying with the 2000s; I don’t know enough background information to make guesses.

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    Jeffrey Kare
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    Here’s my thinking behind some of my guesses:

    2010 – Looking back at Michael Riedel’s coverage prior to the nominations announcement that year, he said that “For Best Musical, Come Fly Away, Fela!, and American Idiot are sure bets. The fourth slot is up for grabs. Believe it or not, a couple of nominators like The Addams Family (a momentary lapse of taste, I guess) and there’s good will toward Sherie Rene Scott and her show, Everyday Rapture, which opened last night. But I think the fourth slot goes to Memphis.” He ended up being so off in his predictions as he thought the eventual Best Musical winner was vulnerable for a nomination, and that Come Fly Away was a lock. He didn’t even consider Million Dollar Quartet (which ended up taking the fourth slot) as a possibility. Still, I’m leaning more towards Everyday Rapture given how that show came in at the last minute and earned quite a bit of good will.

    2011 – When Michael Riedel gave his nomination predictions prior to the announcement that year, he reported that “The fight for the fourth slot is between Catch Me If You Can, which disappointed the nominators, and Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, which gave some of them a disco ball-size headache. It’s a close call, but I’ll tip it to Priscilla, which aims low and succeeds.” I doubt Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown had that much of a shot. The musical was seen as a failure all around both critically and commercially. Though the reason why I’m guessing Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson is because it appeared to have been the more artistically ambitious musical that those snobby nominators would prefer to champion.

    2013 – While the other awards groups don’t overlap with the Tonys, it is worth noting that Hands on a Hardbody did manage to receive Best Musical nominations from the Outer Critics Circle and Drama Desk Awards while Motown did not. It also appears to me that the former show probably had much more snob appeal than the latter.

    2018 – I went with Summer: The Donna Summer Musical simply because it was the only one of the other three new shows that season to have been nominated at all. Though with that being said, I’m guessing that the close race for the fifth slot in Best Lead Actress that year was between LaChanze and Jessie Mueller (for the Carousel revival), which of course was what led to six nominees. Both of those ladies were probably just there as filler as Ariana DeBose and Renée Fleming probably were in Best Featured Actress. Maybe 5th place for Best Musical was close between Summer and Prince of Broadway? Who knows.

    2019 – While a number of people were predicting Be More Chill to take the fifth slot for Best Musical last year, the fact that it way underperformed in nominations gives me doubt that it even came close. It’s also worth noting that the show only received one nod for Best Original Score in a field of six contenders. I’m guessing the fifth slot in that category was a close race between Be More Chill and To Kill a Mockingbird. I’m leaning more towards The Cher Show given how big of a crowd-pleaser that proved to be (throughout the beginning of its run). Michael Riedel even reported in his column prior to the nominations announcement that “two of the people behind it — writer Rick Elice and costume designer Bob Mackie — have a lot of fans around Shubert Alley.” Not to mention that The Cher Show managed to win two out of its three nominations despite not being up for Best Musical. I have this theory where if a certain something was able to overcome a major stat that was not in its favor at any award show, then it must’ve been close to securing the important nomination it needed to get, but didn’t. Like when Ben Affleck famously failed to receive an Oscar nod for directing Argo back in 2012, yet the film itself still managed to win Best Picture, he clearly must’ve been on the cusp of a Best Director nomination given that he was recognized (and awarded) at every major precursor.

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    Anton Spivack
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    My guesses for the Oughts:

    2000: Aida
    2001: Seussical
    2002: Thou Shalt Not
    2003: Urban Cowboy
    2004: Bombay Dreams
    2005: Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
    2006: Chita Rivera: The Dancer’s Life
    2007: Legally Blonde
    2008: A Catered Affair
    2009: [title of show]

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    Anton Spivack
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    How about the 4th/5th shows from the 1970s?

    1970: Minnie’s Boys
    1971: Two By Two
    1972: Jesus Christ Superstar
    1973: Don’t Play Us Cheap
    1974: Gigi
    1975: The Magic Show
    1976: The Robber Bridegroom
    1977: Godspell
    1978: The Act
    1979: The Grand Tour

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    Anton Spivack
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    And the 4th/5th shows from the 1980s?

    1980: Comin’ Uptown
    1981: Bring Back Birdie
    1982: Merrily We Roll Along
    1983: A Doll’s Life
    1984: The Rink
    1985: Harrigan ‘N Hart
    1986: Singin’ in the Rain
    1987: Smile
    1988: The Gospel at Colonus
    1989: Legs Diamond

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    Anton Spivack
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    And for the 1990s:

    1990: Dangerous Games
    1991: Shogun
    1992: Metro
    1993: My Favorite Year
    1994: The Red Shoes
    1995: None, since there were only two new musicals and both were Best Musical nominees
    1996: Big
    1997: Jekyll & Hyde
    1998: Triumph of Love
    1999: Footloose

    And the rest:

    1956: The Vamp
    1957: L’il Abner
    1958: Shinbone Alley
    1959: Goldilocks
    1960: Greenwillow
    1961: Camelot
    1962: All American
    1963: Tovarich
    1964: The Girl Who Came to Supper
    1965: The Roar of the Greasepaint – The Smell of the Crowd
    1966: On a Clear Day You Can See Forever
    1967: A Joyful Noise
    1968: Golden Rainbow
    1969: George M!

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