Did They Like It Better the First Time Around?

Spring Awakening, Fiddler on the Roof and The Color Purple, three of this season’s re-imagined revivals, fell short when it came to Tony Award nominations as compared to their original productions. Did the nominators like it better the first time around?

Although revivals can’t be honored again for categories such as Best Book and Best Original Score—limiting a revival’s nomination count—the following productions scored particularly low with voters as compared to their originals.

The original 2006 production of Spring Awakening was nominated for 11 Tony Awards in 2007, winning eight for Best Book ( Steven Sater), Best Choreography (Bill T. Jones), Best Direction ( Michael Mayer), Best Featured Actor in a Musical (John Gallagher, Jr.), Best Lighting Design ( Kevin Adams), Best Orchestrations ( Duncan Sheik), Best Original Score (Sheik and Sater) and Best Musical.

This time, however, it only received three nominations for Best Lighting Design (Ben Stanton), Best Direction ( Michael Arden) and Best Revival of a Musical. None of its performers were nominated, including the breakout Deaf actors who performed the entirety of the show in American Sign Language.

The original 1964 production of Fiddler on the Roof was nominated for 10 Tony Awards in 1965, winning nine for Best Actor in a Musical (Zero Mostel), Best Author of a Musical ( Joseph Stein), Best Choreography ( Jerome Robbins), Best Composer and Lyricist ( Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick), Best Costume Design (Patricia Ziprodt), Best Direction (Robbins), Best Featured Actress in a Musical (Maria Karnilova), Best Producer of a Musical ( Harold Prince) and Best Musical.

This time, however, Fiddler only received three nominations for Best Leading Actor in a Musical ( Danny Burstein), Best Choreography (Hofesh Shechter) and Best Revival of a Musical. Other than Burstein, its leading players and its director were not recognized.

The original 2005 production of The Color Purple was nominated for 11 Tony nominations in 2006, winning one for Best Actress in a Musical ( LaChanze).

This production received four nominations, including Best Leading Actress in a Musical ( Cynthia Erivo), Best Featured Actress in a Musical (Danielle Brooks), Best Direction ( John Doyle) and Best Revival of a Musical. Academy Award winner Jennifer Hudson was not recognized.

Two revivals, The Gin Game and Old Times—whose original productions received four and five Tony nominations, respectively—were shut out by Tony voters this season.

On the flip side, two revived productions did better than their originals. The Roundabout Theatre Company’s revival of She Loves Me, which led this year’s Drama Desk Award nominations, received eight nominations (as compared to the original’s five nominations in 1964); and the star-studded Long Day’s Journey Into Night received seven nominations (as compared to the original’s six nominations in 1957).


Did They Like It Better the First Time Around?

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