Coasting to Glory
Tom Stoppard's epic trilogy The Coast of Utopia (2007) earned seven Tony Awards, more than any other play in Tony history. It also received a record 10 nominations, tied with the 2010 revival of August Wilson's Fences for the most nominations for a play production.
Hamilton (2016) holds the record as the most-nominated production in Tony history, with 16. In second place are The Producers, the new Mel Brooks musical (2001) and Billy Elliot, The Musical (2009) with 15 each. The Producers is the most-winning show, triumphing in 12 categories including Best Musical.
The Prince of Broadway
Director/Producer Harold Prince has received 21 Tonys, including eight for directing, eight for producing, two as producer of the year's Best Musical, and three special Tony Awards.
Send in the Tonys
Stephen Sondheim has received eight Tony Awards, more than any other composer. He has won seven times: Best Music and Best Lyrics for Company (1971); and Best Score for Follies (1972), A Little Night Music (1973), Sweeney Todd (1979), Into the Woods (1988) and Passion (1994). His eighth honor was a 2008 Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre.
Bob Fosse is the choreographer with the most Tony Awards, with an unprecedented eight Tony Awards for choreography, as well as one for direction. Choreography: The Pajama Game (1955), Damn Yankees (1956), Redhead (1959), Little Me (1963), Sweet Charity (1966), Pippin (1973), Dancin' (1978), and Big Deal (1986). Direction: Pippin (1973).
The Hostess with the Mostess
Angela Lansbury has hosted or co-hosted more Tony telecasts than any other individual, with five telecasts (1968, 1971, 1987, 1988, and 1989). In second place, with four telecasts each, are Neil Patrick Harris (2009, 2011, 2012, and 2013) and Hugh Jackman (2003, 2004, 2005, and 2014).
Eight is Great
Jason Robards Jr. received more Tony Award nominations than any other male actor. His eight nominations were for Long Day's Journey Into Night (1957), The Disenchanted (1959), Toys in the Attic (1960), After the Fall (1964), Hughie (1965), The Country Girl (1972), A Moon for the Misbegotten (1974), and A Touch of the Poet (1978). Out of all of those nominations, he only won one Tony Award, for The Disenchanted.
Boyd Gaines and Raúl Esparza are the only men to have been nominated in all four performance categories in which an actor may be eligible: Best Actor in a Play, Best Actor in a Musical, Best Featured Actor in a Play, and Best Featured Actor in a Musical. Three women have been nominated in all four corresponding performance categories: Angela Lansbury, Jan Maxwell, and Audra McDonald.
The revival that won the most Tony Awards was South Pacific (2008), with seven. Kiss Me, Kate (2000) received 12 nominations, the most for any revival, but it only won five Tonys.
0 for 12
The musical that fared most poorly on Tony night was The Scottsboro Boys in 2011. The show received 12 nominations but won no awards.
0 for 9
The play that fared the worst on Tony night was Indiscretions (1995), which won no awards despite having received nine nominations.
The Best Musical with the longest Broadway run to date is the 1988 winner, The Phantom of the Opera, which opened on January 26, 1988 and is still going strong.
Michael Blakemore is the only director to win Tony Awards as Best Director of a Play and Best Director of a Musical in the same year. He won for Copenhagen (play) and Kiss Me, Kate (musical) in 2000.
Bob Fosse was the only director to win a Tony, an Oscar, and an Emmy in the same year (1973). He won two Tonys (direction and choreography) for Pippin, an Oscar for Cabaret and an Emmy for "Liza with a Z."
At the Helm
Mike Nichols has won more Tony Awards for Best Direction of a Play than any other individual. His six nods were for Barefoot in the Park (1964), Luv and The Odd Couple (1965), Plaza Suite (1968), The Prisoner of Second Avenue (1972), The Real Thing (1984), and Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman (2012). He has also won in other categories for directing the musical Monty Python's Spamalot (2005), and for producing Annie (1977) and The Real Thing (1984). That makes a total of nine Tonys.
Three pairs of performers have shared a single nomination for playing separate roles. Donal Donnelly and Patrick Bedford were jointly nominated as Best Actor for Philadelphia, Here I Come! (1966). John Kani and Winston Ntshona won jointly as Best Actor in a Play for the double bill Sizwe Banzi is Dead and The Island (1975). Emily Skinner and Alice Ripley (playing a set of Siamese twins) were nominated as Best Actress in a Musical for Side Show (1998).
All My Children
Lauri Peters shared a single 1960 nomination as Best Featured Actress in a Musical with Kathy Dunn, Evanna Lien, Mary Susan Locke, and Marilyn Rogers-and two boys, William Snowden, and Joseph Stewart. They played various younger Von Trapp children in the original production of The Sound of Music.
David Alvarez, Trent Kowalik, and Kiril Kulish are the only performers to have jointly won a Tony Award for their alternating performances of a single role: the title character of Billy Elliot, The Musical (2009).
In Her Genes
Amanda Plummer is the only Tony Award winner whose parents have both won Tonys. She won as Best Featured Actress in a Play for Agnes of God (1982). Her father, Christopher Plummer, won as Best Actor in a Musical for Cyrano (1974) and Best Actor in a Play for Barrymore (1997). Her mother, Tammy Grimes, won as Featured Actress in a Musical for The Unsinkable Molly Brown (1961) and Best Actress in a Play for Private Lives (1970).
A Very Good Year
Five actresses have won a Tony and an Oscar in the same year. Shirley Booth won a Tony for The Time of the Cuckoo and an Oscar for Come Back, Little Sheba (1953). Audrey Hepburn won a Tony for Ondine and an Oscar for Roman Holiday (1954). Ellen Burstyn won a Tony for Same Time, Next Year and an Oscar for Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore (1975). Mercedes Ruehl won a Tony for Lost in Yonkers and an Oscar for The Fisher King (1991). Judi Dench won a Tony for Amy's View and an Oscar for Shakespeare in Love (1999).
Audra McDonald has won six Tony Awards for performance, more than any other individual. She is the only person to have won Tony Awards in four different acting categories. Julie Harris also earned six Tony Awards. She won five competitive awards for performance, and received a Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre.
Boyd Gaines and Frank Langella are the male performers with the most Tony Awards in acting categories. Both have won four to date. Gaines won for performances in The Heidi Chronicles (1989); She Loves Me (1994); Contact (2000) and Gypsy (2008). Langella was honored for Seascape (1975); Fortune's Fool (2002); Frost/Nixon (2007) and The Father (2016).
Diva! Diva! Diva!
Angela Lansbury and Gwen Verdon have each won four Tony Awards in the musical categories, more than any other actress. Ms. Lansbury won for Mame (1966), Dear World (1969), Gypsy (1975), and Sweeney Todd (1979). She earned a fifth Tony for her work in the Noël Coward play Blithe Spirit in 2009. Ms. Verdon won for Can-Can (1954), Damn Yankees (1956), New Girl in Town (1958) and Redhead (1959).
Nine performers have won a Tony and later an Oscar for the same role (plus a tenth who did it the other way around):
- José Ferrer in Cyrano de Bergerac (Tony: 1947/Oscar: 1950)
- Shirley Booth in Come Back, Little Sheba (1950/1953)
- Yul Brynner in The King and I (1952/1956)
- Rex Harrison in My Fair Lady (1957/1964)
- Anne Bancroft in The Miracle Worker (1960/1962)
- Paul Scofield in A Man for All Seasons (1962/1966)
- Jack Albertson in The Subject Was Roses (1965/1968)
- Joel Grey in Cabaret (1967/1973)
- Viola Davis in Fences (2010/2017)
- Lila Kedrova did it backwards. She won an Oscar for Zorba the Greek, and 20 years later earned a Tony for the same role in Zorba (Oscar: 1964/Tony: 1984).
You Can Say That Again
The Tony Award-winning play with the longest title was The Persecution and Assassination of Jean-Paul Marat as Performed by the Inmates of the Asylum of Charenton Under the Direction of the Marquis de Sade (1966). That's 151 letters, 26 words, 44 syllables (and four Tonys). It was known as Marat/Sade for short.
In 2015, Fun Home became the first show written entirely by women to win the Tony Award as Best Musical. Its authors are Lisa Kron (Best Book, Best Score - lyrics) and Jeanine Tesori (Best Score - music); the show’s source material is a graphic memoir by Alison Bechdel.
The Soul of Wit
The Tony Award-winning play with the shortest title was Da (1978).
Five individuals in Tony history have been nominated in two different performance categories in the same year.
Amanda Plummer was the first in 1982, when she was nominated as Best Actress in a Play for A Taste of Honey and Best Featured Actress in a Play for Agnes of God. She won for Agnes of God.
Dana Ivey made history in 1984 as an acting nominee for both a play and a musical. She was nominated as Best Featured Actress in a Play for Heartbreak House and Best Featured Actress in a Musical for Sunday in the Park with George.
Kate Burton was nominated for two plays in 2002: Hedda Gabler (leading role) and The Elephant Man (featured).
Jan Maxwell was nominated twice in 2010, for the plays The Royal Family (lead) and Lend Me a Tenor (featured).
Mark Rylance snagged two nominations in 2014, for Shakespeare's Twelfth Night (featured) and Richard III (lead). He won for Twelfth Night.
Ben Vereen and Patina Miller are the only pair of individuals of different genders to win a Tony Award for portraying the same character. They were honored for their performances as "Leading Player" in Pippin, he in 1973 for the original Broadway production (Best Actor in a Musical); she for the 2013 revival (Best Actress in a Musical).
All in the Family
Three sets of family members have been nominated for Tonys in the same category in the same year: Richard Rodgers and daughter Mary Rodgers were both nominated as the composer of the Best Musical in 1960; he for The Sound of Music and she for Once Upon a Mattress. He won. Lynn Redgrave and niece Natasha Richardson were both nominated for Best Actress in a Play in 1993; Ms. Redgrave for Shakespeare for My Father and Ms. Richardson for Anna Christie. Jennifer Ehle and her mother, Rosemary Harris, were both nominated for Best Actress in a Play in 2000. Ms. Ehle won for her performance in The Real Thing. Harris had appeared in Waiting in the Wings.
Adam Guettel is the only Tony winner who is both the grandson of another winner and the son of a Tony nominee. Guettel earned two Tonys in 2005: Best Score and Best Orchestrations for The Light in the Piazza. His grandfather, Richard Rodgers, won six Tonys as a composer and producer of such shows as South Pacific, The King and I, No Strings, and The Sound of Music. He also received three Special Tony Awards. Guettel's mother, Mary Rodgers (Richard's daughter) was a 1960 Tony nominee as the composer of Once Upon a Mattress.
At This Performance...
Only one cast replacement has ever been nominated for a Tony Award in a competitive category. Larry Kert was nominated for Best Actor in a Musical for his performance in Company (1971). Dean Jones originated the role (and can be heard on the cast album) but left the production soon after the opening.
Tommy Tune, Harvey Fierstein and Trey Parker have each received Tony Awards in four different categories. Tune won as Best Actor in a Musical for My One and Only; Best Featured Actor in a Musical for Seesaw; Best Choreography for A Day in Hollywood/A Night in the Ukraine, My One and Only, Grand Hotel: The Musical, and The Will Rogers Follies; and Best Director of a Musical for Nine, Grand Hotel: The Musical, and The Will Rogers Follies. Fierstein received Tonys as Best Actor and as the author of the Best Play for Torch Song Trilogy; he also won Best Book of a Musical for La Cage aux Folles and Best Actor in a Musical for Hairspray. Parker won his four on a single night, for The Book of Mormon: Best Book, Best Score, Best Direction, and (as a producer) Best Musical.
On the Alley
The Tony Awards ceremony has been presented at the Shubert Theatre eight times, more than at any other Broadway house.
House of Hits
The Richard Rodgers Theatre (formerly the 46th Street Theatre) has housed the most Tony Award-winning Best Plays and Best Musicals: 11, including Guys and Dolls (1951), Damn Yankees (1956), Redhead (1959), How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying (1962), 1776 (1969), Raisin (1974), Nine (1982), Fences (1987), Lost in Yonkers (1991), In The Heights (2008) and Hamilton (2016).
Short but Sweet
Passion (1994) was the Tony Award winning Best Musical with the shortest run (280 performances), and Rags (1987) was the Tony-nominated Best Musical with the fewest regular performances (it closed after only four).
The 21st Time’s a Charm
When she won a Tony Award for Best Costume Design of a Play in 2017, Jane Greenwood ended a record-breaking streak of nominations without a win. The designer received her first nomination in 1965, and her 21st nomination (and first win) 52 years later. Along the way she also received a Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre, in 2014.
What a Scene!
Oliver Smith is the scenic designer with the most Tony Awards. He collected eight Tonys, all within a nine-year period: My Fair Lady (1957), West Side Story (1958), The Sound of Music (1960), Becket (1961), Camelot (1961), Hello, Dolly! (1964) and Baker Street (1965), as well as a special Tony Award (1965).
Light the Lights!
Jules Fisher has won nine Tony Awards, more than any other lighting designer. He won for Pippin (1973), Ulysses in Nighttown (1974), Dancin' (1978), Grand Hotel: the Musical (1990), The Will Rogers Follies (1991), Jelly's Last Jam (1992), and, with Peggy Eisenhauer, Bring in 'da Noise, Bring in 'da Funk (1996), Assassins (2004), and Lucky Guy (2013). He has received a total of 20 nominations as a lighting designer and one as a producer, of Dancin’.
Ties in Tony History
There have been a number of ties in Tony Awards history, including:
Actress in a Musical (1958): Gwen Verdon, New Girl in Town and Thelma Ritter, New Girl in Town
- Featured Actor in a Musical (1959): Russell Nype, Goldilocks, and Leonard Stone, Redhead
Musical (1960): The Sound of Music and Fiorello!
Actress in a Musical (1962): Anna Maria Alberghetti, Carnival! and Diahann Carroll, No Strings
Actress in a Musical (1968): Patricia Routledge, Darling of the Day and Leslie Uggams, Hallelujah, Baby!
Costume Design (1977): Theoni V. Aldredge, Annie and Santo Loquasto, The Cherry Orchard
Actress in a Play (1979): Constance Cummings, Wings and Carole Shelley, The Elephant Man
Scenic Design (1980): John Lee Beatty, Talley's Folly and David Mitchell, Barnum
Score (1993): John Kander/Fred Ebb, Kiss of the Spider Woman and Pete Townshend, The Who's Tommy
Orchestrations (2009): Martin Koch, Billy Elliot, The Musical and Michael Starobin and Tom Kitt, Next to Normal
Did You Catch That?
Dolores Gray performed the shortest-lived Tony Award-winning role. She won a Tony Award for her performance in Carnival in Flanders (1953), a musical that ran only six performances.
His and Hers
Some of the husbands-and-wife couples who have both won Tony Awards:
Hume Cronyn won for featured actor in a play for Hamlet (1964). His wife, Jessica Tandy, won three Tony Awards for Best Actress in a Play: for A Streetcar Named Desire (1948), The Gin Game (1978), and Foxfire 1983.
Phyllis Newman won for Best Featured Actress in a Musical for Subways Are for Sleeping (1962). Her husband, Adolph Green, won Tony Awards for the book and/or lyrics for Wonderful Town (1953), Hallelujah, Baby! (1968), Applause (1970), On The Twentieth Century (1978), and The Will Rogers Follies (1991).
Actress Anne Bancroft won Tony Awards for Two for the Seesaw (1958) and The Miracle Worker (1960). Her husband, Mel Brooks, won three Tonys in 2001 for The Producers, the new Mel Brooks musical. He took home medallions for Best Book of a Musical, Best Score, and Best Musical (as a producer).
In 1996, Zoe Caldwell won the Tony (her fourth) as Best Actress in a Play for her work in Master Class. The production was honored as that year's Best Play, which earned her husband, Robert Whitehead, his third Tony Award, as one of its producers.
Director, choreographer, and nine-time Tony-winner Bob Fosse was married to four-time Tony-winning performer Gwen Verdon.
Multiple Tony-winning director/choreographer Kathleen Marshall (Wonderful Town, The Pajama Game, Anything Goes) is married to Scott Landis, a Tony-winner for producing The Pajama Game (2006).
Shaffer x 2
Twin brothers Peter Shaffer and Anthony Shaffer both won Tony Awards in the Best Play category. Anthony was honored for Sleuth (1971). Peter earned Tony Awards for Equus (1975) and Amadeus (1981).
Our One and Only
The only one-person play to win the Best Play Tony Award was I Am My Own Wife by Douglas Wright (2004). Its star, Jefferson Mays, also won a Tony that year, as Best Actor in a Play.
Tony and Oscar
Tony Award-winning Best Plays and Best Musicals that were turned into Academy Award-winning Best Pictures include My Fair Lady (Tony, 1957; Oscar, 1964), The Sound of Music (Tony 1960; Oscar 1965), A Man for All Seasons (Tony, 1962; Oscar, 1966), and Amadeus (Tony, 1981; Oscar, 1984). Though they were both based on the same notorious shipwreck, the 1997 Best Musical Titanic is not otherwise connected with the film of the same title that won the Best Picture award in the same year. The original Broadway production of Chicago didn't win any Tony Awards in 1976, but in 1997 a new production won the Tony as Best Revival, and an Oscar-winning Best Picture followed in 2002.
EGOTS: They're the Top
Only a few artists have won all four of the entertainment industry's top competitive honors: Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony Awards. The list of these multi-talented "EGOTs" includes:
- Performers John Gielgud, Helen Hayes, Audrey Hepburn, and Rita Moreno
- Director/producer/performer Mike Nichols
- Composers Marvin Hamlisch, Robert Lopez (won daytime Emmys), and Richard Rodgers
- Orchestrator Jonathan Tunick
- Performer/writer/composer/producer Mel Brooks
- Performer/producer Whoopi Goldberg (won daytime Emmys)
- Producer Scott Rudin
- Harry Belafonte, James Earl Jones, Quincy Jones, Liza Minnelli, and Barbra Streisand have each won three of these awards and received a special, non-competitive version of the fourth.
- Andrew Lloyd Webber has won Tony, Oscar, and Grammy Awards, while his production company, Really Useful Films, has received an International Emmy Award.
Worth Waiting For
Barbara Cook received her first Tony Award and nomination in 1958, for creating the role of Marian (the Librarian) Paroo in The Music Man. She was next nominated in 2010 for her performance in Sondheim on Sondheim. That’s a 52-year gap, the longest any individual has had to wait between nominations (though in the interim, she starred in the 2002 revue Barbara Cook in Mostly Sondheim, which earned a nomination as Best Special Theatrical Event for the show’s producers). Cook beat out Jane Fonda, who received her first nomination in 1960 and her second 49 years later, in 2009.
Children and Art
The youngest performer to win a Tony Award is Frankie Michaels, who was honored in 1966 for his work in Mame, shortly after he turned 11. The youngest actress is Daisy Eagan, who was 11 when she won for The Secret Garden in 1991. The youngest nominee was an 8-year-old Evanna Lien, as the original Gretl in The Sound of Music (1960). The four girls who created the title character of Matilda The Musical on Broadway—Sophia Gennusa (9), Oona Laurence (10), Bailey Ryon (11) and Milly Shapiro (10)—are the youngest individuals to receive Tony Honors for Excellence in the Theatre.
Life Imitates Art
Past Tony-winners Michael Cerveris and Donna Murphy were both Tony-nominated in 2007 for playing a pair of past Tony-winners. They starred in the musical LoveMusik, in which Cerveris played composer Kurt Weill (Best Score for Street Scene in 1947) and Murphy portrayed his wife, performer Lotte Lenya (Featured Actress in a Musical for Threepenny Opera, 1956).
Back for More
The only play to have won a Best Revival Tony in three different productions is Death of a Salesman, in 1984, 1999, and 2012. In addition, the original production of Arthur Miller's drama won the Best Play award in 1949.
What a Bargain!
Tickets to the first Tony Awards ceremony in 1947 cost $7.00 each. Given the event's overwhelming success, the price shot up the very next year, to $10.
When Broadway Babies Say Goodnight...
The first Tony ceremony began with supper at 9:00 p.m. at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel. Entertainment and dancing continued until midnight, at which time the awards were announced live over the radio.
Way Back When
During the first two years of the Tonys (1947 and 1948), there was no official Tony Award. The winners were presented with a scroll and, in addition, a money clip, a cigarette lighter (for the men) or a compact (for the women).
The Tony Award itself is a disk-shaped silver medallion with the masks of comedy and tragedy on one side and the name of the winner, the category, and year on the other. Since 1967 the medallion has been mounted on a curved armature atop a black pedestal.