Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Hamilton's Record Breaking Tony Nominations

Photo by broadwayinchicago.com
By now, I think almost everyone on the planet has at least heard of Lin-Manuel Miranda's latest musical masterpiece, Hamilton. If you haven't, where have you been for the past year? Hamilton is a musical centered around the life of, you guessed it, Alexander Hamilton. The musical follows his life, his successes, his failures, and just about everything in between. Not only is the storyline enthralling, but the music is the kind of music that sticks in your brain, at least for me it did. I haven't always been into musical theatre and a year ago, if you told me I would be listening to a Broadway rap about history, I would have laughed in your face. Now, being a self-proclaimed "theatre nerd," I now know just about all of the lyrics to the entire Hamilton soundtrack. Why the change of heart? I discovered that I had always been wrong about what I thought musical theatre was. In my head, I had always imagined a group of cliquey people singing over the top, cheesy songs about something I had no interest in. Don't get me wrong, I loved to sing, dance, and act, but I could never bring myself to do theatre. Not until this year. Once I made the choice to finally give theatre a try, I absolutely loved it. When all my friends said, "Hey August, you should listen to Hamilton," you better believe that I went home and bought the entire album that same day. Having experienced just the music of Hamilton, I can definitely understand how this musical snagged a record breaking sixteen (yes 16) Tony nominations.

The nominations are as follows:
Best Musical
• Hamilton
Best performance by an actor in a leading role in a musical
• Lin-Manuel Miranda, “Hamilton”
• Leslie Odom Jr., “Hamilton”
Photo by hamiltonbroadway.com
Best performance by an actress in a leading role in a musical
• Phillipa Soo, “Hamilton”
Best performance by an actor in a featured role in a musical
• Daveed Diggs, “Hamilton”
• Jonathan Groff, “Hamilton”
• Christopher Jackson, “Hamilton”
Best performance by an actress in a featured role in a musical
• RenĂ©e Elise Goldsberry, “Hamilton”
Best book of a musical
• “Hamilton,” Lin-Manuel Miranda
Best original score
• “Hamilton,” Music and Lyrics: Lin-Manuel Miranda
Best direction of a musical
• Thomas Kail, “Hamilton”
Best scenic design of a musical
• David Korins, “Hamilton”
Best costume design of a musical
• Paul Tazewell, “Hamilton”
Best lighting design of a musical
• Howell Binkley, “Hamilton”
Best choreography
• Andy Blankenbuehler, “Hamilton”
Best orchestrations
• Alex Lacamoire, “Hamilton”

Wow. Not only was Hamilton nominated in 13 categories (see a complete list of all nominations here), but multiple cast members from the show were nominated for the same role. Both Lin-Manuel Miranda (Alexander Hamilton) and Leslie Odom Jr. (Aaron Burr) are up for best performance by an actor in a leading role in a musical. I personally find it funny how even long after his death, Burr is still competing with Hamilton for what he wants. I think that this one is going to be a tough decision because on one hand, you have Odom Jr., whose vocals are outstanding and who is someone that truly developed the character of Burr and brought him back to life. On the other hand, you have Miranda, who takes you on a journey through Hamilton's life and makes you love him and hate him at the same time. I'm interested to see the results on that.

GIF by giphy.com
The other category that has competition within Hamilton is best performance by an actor in a featured role in a musical. The three people nominated from Hamilton, Daveed Diggs (Marquis de Lafayette and Thomas Jefferson), Jonathan Groff (King George III), and Christopher Jackson (George Washington) all play diverse characters. I can barely bring myself to think about who I would choose over the others because I love all of these characters so much. Lafayette, first of all, raps with a French accent, which I find amazing! Not only that, but his character brings an element to the musical (and to history) that really completes the story of Hamilton and I think that he is a very important character to the storyline. Jefferson, especially during the cabinet battles, brings a sort of opposing force against Hamilton that I think is really important and adds more layers to the musical and makes the storyline even that more intricate. King George, might be in my top three favorite characters in the show. Despite the fact that he has little interaction with anyone, every scene and song that he is in is so memorable. To me, he provides a little break from Hamilton's life and shows something fresh and new, especially with his song You'll Be Back. I would say that Groff would have my vote for the Tony award. Despite that fact, Washington, to me, also plays an important role in this show. I feel like he is the closets thing to a father figure that Hamilton can get to in this show and I feel like he is the one who really helps shape Hamilton into the man that he is near the middle of the show. I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if any of these men won this award.

Now that I've told you all about one of my favorite musicals this year, I want to know about yours. What's your favorite musical? And who do you predict the awards will go to this year? Don't forget to tune in to the Tony Awards Sunday, June 12, 2016!

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