The Tony Awards are no exception to the strangeness of 2020.
For the first time in Tony Award history, there is only one nominee for Lead Actor in a Broadway Musical, Aaron Tveit, for his performance in Moulin Rouge! The Musical.
“The annual awards, typically held in June, were delayed due to the pandemic, which closed Broadway theaters in early March. Since the season was so short, just 18 shows were eligible for Tony awards, leading to smaller categories than usual,” according to the Today Show website.
Tveit starred as Christian in Moulin Rouge! The Musical, which has garnered 14 Tony Award nominations this season.
Moulin Rouge! The Musical received rave reviews, with many critics marveling at Tveit’s performance. “The wide-eyed Mr. Tveit covers the “gee-whiz” part of the equation with appealing exuberance and a gleaming voice,” The New York Times said.
Other than his role as Christian, Tveit is most notably recognized as Danny Zuko from Grease: Live, Enjolras in Les Misérables, and as Tripp from Gossip Girl.
Though Tveit remains the only nominee, he is not guaranteed to win. “In order to win the category, Tveit will need to be affirmed by at least 60% of ballots cast by Tony voters, according to a press release announcing this year’s nominees,” said USA Today.
So, if Tveit does not receive 60% of the votes, there will be no winner, which would most likely result in theatre goers’ confusion and anger.
Strangely enough, this is not the first time a category has only had one nominee. “In 1995, ‘Sunset Boulevard’ was the only contender for both best book and best original score. In order to win, ‘Sunset Boulevard’ needed to get a majority of affirmative votes from the Tony nominating committee, which it did in both categories,” said USA Today.
Hopefully, like Sunset Boulevard, the odds will be in Tveit’s favor.
People have had mixed responses to the announcement of Tveit’s nomination. Some fans think it is well- deserved and are proud of Tveit’s work. “[I’m] very happy for Aaron and glad he finally gets the win he truly deserves,” said one user in an October 15th tweet.
Many lead actors- who did not have the opportunity to showcase their talent- lost their chance at a Tony nomination because Broadway shut down due to the coronavirus, leading many to believe that actors were snubbed. Many theatre fans were outraged that another actor, Chris McCarrell, star of The Lightning Thief and the only other actor qualified for a nomination, was not recognized.
One user on Twitter said, “Wow, I guess Lightning Thief didn’t exist. Why snub one of the only other plays eligible? Really supporting the theater community right now.”
This is the first time Tveit has been nominated for a Tony, and unfortunately, his hard work is being undermined by people’s opinions and the rarity of the situation. However, criticism will not stand in the way of Tveit celebrating his nomination.
“It’s a huge honor and I am so grateful to be nominated! It’s also vitally important to highlight that this recognition represents, collectively, thousands of hours of work by hundreds of individuals working on Moulin Rouge! The Musical,” said Tveit in a statement to USA Today.
Though fans and nominees alike are anxious for the ceremony, the 74th Annual Tony Awards are postponed and are being rescheduled for a later date, while Broadway remains closed.
“I hope this can be a positive lift amidst an industry shut down with an ever-changing timeline, as well as a reminder of power of live theatre, and what it can do for us as individuals and for our world,” said Tveit.