2018 Tony Awards: 'Mean Girls,' 'SpongeBob SquarePants' are the leading nominees
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With 12 nominations each, the musicals “Mean Girls” and “SpongeBob SquarePants: The Musical” are the leading contenders for the 72nd Annual Tony Awards, which will be presented at New York’s Radio City Music Hall on June 10, 2018. CBS will have the U.S. telecast of the show, which will be hosted by Sara Bareilles and Josh Groban. The nominations were announced May 1 in New York by “Scorpion” star Katharine McPhee (who was an “American Idol” finalist in 2006) and “Hamilton” Tony winner Leslie Odom Jr.

Following close behind in this year's Tony nominations, with 11 each, are “Angels in America,” “The Band’s Visit” and “Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Carousel.”  Meanwhile, “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Parts One and Two” and “My Fair Lady” earned 10 nominations each.

“Mean Girls” is based on the Tina Fey-written 2004 comedy film of the same name. Fey has received a Tony nomination for writing the “Mean Girls” musical book. “SpongeBob SquarePants: The Musical” is based on Nickelodeon's "SpongeBob SquarePants" animated series that has been on the air since 1999. “SpongeBob SquarePants: The Musical” features songs written by a variety of hitmakers, including John Legend, Cyndi Lauper, Panic! At the Disco, Bareilles, T.I.Lady Antebellum and Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler and Joe Perry. They and several other "SpongeBob SquarePants: The Musical" songwriters are nominated for Best Original Score.

The sheer number of Tony nominations collected by “Mean Girls” and “SpongeBob SquarePants” clearly indicates how much pop culture has become an increasingly influential force in Broadway shows.

What stands out about the Tony nominees for Best Musical this year is that all of them are based on a movie or a TV series: “The Band’s Visit,” “Frozen,” “Mean Girls” and “SpongeBob SquarePants.”

The nominees for Best Play are “The Children,” “Farinelli and the King,” “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Parts One and Two,” “Junk” and “Latin History for Morons.”

Stars who are best known for their work in film and/or television are among this year's Tony nominees for their leading or featured roles. They include Denzel Washington (“Eugene O’Neill’s The Iceman Cometh”), Glenda Jackson (“Edward Albee’s Three Tall Women”), Andrew Garfield (“Angels in America”), Amy Schumer (“Meteor Shower”), Michael Cera ("Lobby Hero"), Diana Rigg ("My Fair Lady"), "Roseanne" and "Lady Bird" co-star Laurie Metcalf (“Edward Albee’s Three Tall Women”), former “Monk” star Tony Shalhoub and former “Six Feet Under” star Lauren Ambrose (“My Fair Lady”). 

Two other famous names who made the Tony nominees list this year are Mark Rylance and Nathan Lane, who have each made the transition from theater to movies. Rylance has long been a well-respected theater actor (he’s won three Tonys so far), but in recent years, he’s become an Oscar-winning movie star, with high-profile roles in Christopher Nolan’s “Dunkirk” and Steven Spielberg films, such as “Ready Player One,” “The BFG” and “Bridge of Spies.” Rylance is nominated for his leading role in “Farinelli and the King.” Lane, who has won two Tonys so far, has starred in movies such as "The Birdcage" and the big-screen version of "The Producers." Lane is Tony-nominated this year for his featured role in "Angels in America."

"Jukebox musicals" on Broadway (musicals based on a catalogue of previous hit songs) show no signs of slowing down, and the recent trend has been bringing the life stories of female pop stars to the stage, such as Carole King for "Beautiful: The Carole King Musical" and Gloria Estefan for "On Your Feet! The Musical." This year,  "Summer: The Donna Summer Musical" earned two Tony nominations: LaChanze (who plays Summer in her post-disco career) is up for Best Performance for a Leading Actress in a Musical, while Ariana DeBose (who plays Summer during the height of her disco fame) is nominated for Best Performance for a Featured Actress in a Musical. "Tina: The Tina Turner Musical," which has been getting rave reviews since its April 2018 debut on London's West End, is expected to come to Broadway, so don't be surprised if it gets Tony nominations in 2019 or 2020.

The Tony Awards are presented by the Broadway League and the American Theatre Wing. The 2017-2018 Broadway season debuted 33 productions: 20 plays, 10 musicals and three special performances.

As previously reported, Andrew Lloyd Webber and Chita Rivera will receive Lifetime Achievement Awards at the 2018 Tony Awards. It was announced on May 1 that Bruce Springsteen (“Springsteen on Broadway”) and John Leguizamo (star/writer of “Latin History for Morons”) will receive Special Tony Awards at the ceremony.

Here is the complete list of nominees for the 2018 Tony Awards:

Best Musical
“The Band’s Visit”
“Frozen”
“Mean Girls”
“SpongeBob SquarePants: The Musical”

Best Play
“The Children”
“Farinelli and The King”
“Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Parts One and Two”
“Junk”
“Latin History for Morons”

Best Revival of a Play
“Angels in America”
“Eugene O’Neill’s The Iceman Cometh”
“Lobby Hero”
“Travesties”

Best Revival of a Musical
“My Fair Lady”
“Once on This Island”
“Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Carousel”

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play
Andrew Garfield, “Angels in America”
Tom Hollander, “Travesties”
Jamie Parker, “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Parts One and Two”
Mark Rylance, “Farinelli and The King”
Denzel Washington, “Eugene O’Neill’s The Iceman Cometh”

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play
Glenda Jackson, “Edward Albee’s Three Tall Women”
Condola Rashad, “Saint Joan”
Lauren Ridloff, “Children of a Lesser God”
Amy Schumer, “Meteor Shower”

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical
Harry Hadden-Paton, “My Fair Lady”
Joshua Henry, “Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Carousel”
Tony Shalhoub, “The Band’s Visit”
Ethan Slater, “SpongeBob SquarePants: The Musical”

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical
Lauren Ambrose, “My Fair Lady”
Hailey Kilgore, “Once on This Island”
LaChanze, “Summer: The Donna Summer Musical”
Katrina Lenk, “The Band’s Visit”
Taylor Louderman, “Mean Girls”
Jessie Mueller, “Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Carousel”

Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play
Anthony Boyle, “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Parts One and Two”
Michael Cera, “Lobby Hero”
Brian Tyree Henry, “Lobby Hero”
Nathan Lane, “Angels in America”
David Morse, “Eugene O’Neill’s The Iceman Cometh”

Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play
Susan Brown, “Angels in America”
Noma Dumezweni, “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Parts One and Two”
Deborah Findlay, “The Children”
Denise Gough, “Angels in America”
Laurie Metcalf, “Edward Albee’s Three Tall Women”

Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical
Norbert Leo Butz, “My Fair Lady”
Alexander Gemignani, “Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Carousel”
Grey Henson, “Mean Girls”
Gavin Lee, “SpongeBob SquarePants: The Musical”
Ari’el Stachel, “The Band’s Visit”

Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical
Ariana DeBose, “Summer: The Donna Summer Musical”
Renée Fleming, “Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Carousel”
Lindsay Mendez, “Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Carousel”
Ashley Park, “Mean Girls”
Diana Rigg, “My Fair Lady”

Best Direction of a Play
Marianne Elliott, “Angels in America”
Joe Mantello, “Edward Albee’s Three Tall Women”
Patrick Marber, “Travesties”
John Tiffany, “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Parts One and Two”
George C. Wolfe, “Eugene O’Neill’s The Iceman Cometh”

Best Direction of a Musical
Michael Arden, “Once on This Island”
David Cromer, “The Band’s Visit”
Tina Landau, “SpongeBob SquarePants: The Musical”
Casey Nicholaw, “Mean Girls”
Bartlett Sher, “My Fair Lady”

Best Book of a Musical
Itamar Moses, “The Band’s Visit”
Jennifer Lee, “Frozen”
Tina Fey, “Mean Girls”
Kyle Jarrow, “SpongeBob SquarePants: The Musical”

Best Original Score
“Angels in America” (Music: Adrian Sutton)
“The Band’s Visit” (Music & Lyrics: David Yazbek)
“Frozen” (Music & Lyrics: Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez)
“Mean Girls” (Music: Jeff Richmond. Lyrics: Nell Benjamin.)
“SpongeBob SquarePants: The Musical” (Music & Lyrics: Yolanda Adams, Steven Tyler & Joe Perry of Aerosmith, Sara Bareilles, Jonathan Coulton, Alex Ebert of Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros, The Flaming Lips, Lady Antebellum, Cyndi Lauper & Rob Hyman, John Legend, Panic! at the Disco, Plain White T's, They Might Be Giants, T.I., Domani & Lil'C)

Best Scenic Design of a Play
Miriam Buether, “Edward Albee’s Three Tall Women”
Jonathan Fensom, “Farinelli and The King”
Christine Jones, “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Parts One and Two”
Santo Loquasto, “Eugene O’Neill’s The Iceman Cometh”
Ian MacNeil and Edward Pierce, “Angels in America”

Best Scenic Design of a Musical
Dane Laffrey, “Once on This Island”
Scott Pask, “The Band’s Visit”
Scott Pask, Finn Ross & Adam Young, “Mean Girls”
Michael Yeargan, “My Fair Lady”
David Zinn, “SpongeBob SquarePants: The Musical”

Best Costume Design of a Play
Jonathan Fensom, “Farinelli and The King”
Nicky Gillibrand, “Angels in America”
Katrina Lindsay, “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Parts One and Two”
Ann Roth, “Edward Albee’s Three Tall Women”
Ann Roth, “Eugene O’Neill’s The Iceman Cometh”

Best Costume Design of a Musical
Gregg Barnes, “Mean Girls”
Clint Ramos, “Once on This Island”
Ann Roth, “Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Carousel”
David Zinn, “SpongeBob SquarePants: The Musical”
Catherine Zuber, “My Fair Lady”

Best Lighting Design of a Play
Neil Austin, “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Parts One and Two”
Paule Constable, “Angels in America”
Jules Fisher + Peggy Eisenhauer, “Eugene O’Neill’s The Iceman Cometh”
Paul Russell, “Farinelli and The King”
Ben Stanton, “Junk”

Best Lighting Design of a Musical
Kevin Adams, “SpongeBob SquarePants: The Musical”
Jules Fisher + Peggy Eisenhauer, “Once on This Island”
Donald Holder, “My Fair Lady”
Brian MacDevitt, “Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Carousel”
Tyler Micoleau, “The Band’s Visit”

Best Sound Design of a Play
Adam Cork, “Travesties”
Ian Dickinson for Autograph, “Angels in America”
Gareth Fry, “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Parts One and Two”
Tom Gibbons, “1984”
Dan Moses Schreier, “Eugene O’Neill’s The Iceman Cometh”

Best Sound Design of a Musical
Kai Harada, “The Band’s Visit”
Peter Hylenski, “Once on This Island”
Scott Lehrer, “Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Carousel”
Brian Ronan, “Mean Girls”
Walter Trarbach and Mike Dobson, “SpongeBob SquarePants: The Musical”

Best Choreography
Christopher Gattelli, “My Fair Lady”
Christopher Gattelli, “SpongeBob SquarePants: The Musical”
Steven Hoggett, “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Parts One and Two”
Casey Nicholaw, “Mean Girls”
Justin Peck, “Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Carousel”

Best Orchestrations
John Clancy, “Mean Girls”
Tom Kitt, “SpongeBob SquarePants: The Musical”
Annmarie Milazzo & Michael Starobin, “Once On This Island”
Jamshied Sharifi, “The Band’s Visit”
Jonathan Tunick, “Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Carousel”