And the Tony didn’t go to…

It’s a heated race in many of the musical categories this year with a lot of Kinky Boots vs. Matilda vs. Pippin going on. Some of these races are neck and neck, creating actual suspense – which is rare for any entertainment awards these days. For some perspective, here’s a look at just some of the shows that have lost top prize at the Tony Awards, as well as a list of actors who’ve never been honored. It’s not a complete list, by any means but shows some of the races that I find more interesting. Some years show losing plays and musicals that have had more staying power than the winners, other years it’s a highly successful production that has been pitted against a juggernaut (eg: 1987, 1988 Best Musical). Awards fever seems to take us by storm every April through June, but the one thing I know year in and year out: Awards are weird.

From the beginning of the Tony Awards in 1947 until 1955, there were no announced nominees in any categories, just winners. Some of the more notable titles not honored in this period but presumably considered include: A Streetcar Named Desire, Picnic, Inherit the Wind, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Call Me Madam, and Menotti’s The Consul (which I include because it swept up at the long-defunct Donaldson Awards).


1956: Bus Stop & Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (winner: The Diary of Anne Frank)
1958: Look Back in Anger (winner: Sunrise at Campobello)
1959: A Touch of the Poet (winner: J.B.)
1960: The Best Man & A Raisin in the Sun (winner: The Miracle Worker)
1961: The Caretaker (winner: A Man for All Seasons)
1964: Barefoot in the Park (winner: Luther)
1965: The Odd Couple & Tiny Alice (winner: The Subject Was Roses)
1967: A Delicate Balance (winner: The Homecoming)
1968: A Day in the Death of Joe Egg & Plaza Suite (winner: Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead)
1973: Butley & The Sunshine Boys (winner: That Championship Season)
1975: Same Time, Next Year & Seascape (winner: Equus)
1978: Deathtrap & The Gin Game (winner: Da)
1979: Whose Life Is It Anyway? & Wings (winner: The Elephant Man)
1980: Talley’s Folly (winner: Children of a Lesser God)
1983: ‘night, Mother (winner: Torch Song Trilogy)
1984: Glengarry Glen Ross & Noises Off (winner: The Real Thing)
1988: Joe Turner’s Come and Gone & Speed-the-Plow (winner: M. Butterfly)
1990: Prelude to a Kiss & The Piano Lesson (winner: The Grapes of Wrath)
1991: Six Degrees of Separation (winner: Lost in Yonkers)
1995: Arcadia (winner: Love! Valour! Compassion!)
1998: The Beauty Queen of Leenane (winner: Art)
1999: Closer (winner: Side Man)
2005: The Pillowman (winner: Doubt)
2006: The Lieutenant of Inishmore & Rabbit Hole (winner: The History Boys)
2009: Reasons to Be Pretty (winner: God of Carnage)
2011: Jerusalem & The Motherfucker with the Hat (winner: War Horse)


1955: Peter Pan (winner: The Pajama Game)
1957: Bells Are Ringing, Candide, & The Most Happy Fella (winner: My Fair Lady)
1958: West Side Story (winner: The Music Man)
1959: Flower Drum Song (winner: Redhead)
1960: Gypsy (winners: Fiorello! & The Sound of Music)
1962: Carnival (winner: How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying)
1963: Oliver! (winner: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum)
1964: Funny Girl & She Loves Me (winner: Hello, Dolly!)
1966: Mame & Sweet Charity (winner: Man of La Mancha)
1969: Hair & Promises, Promises (winner: 1776)
1972: Follies & Grease (winner: Two Gentlemen of Verona)
1973: Pippin (winner: A Little Night Music)
1976: Chicago (winner: A Chorus Line)
1978: On the Twentieth Century (winner: Ain’t Misbehavin’)
1979: Ballroom & The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas (winner: Sweeney Todd)
1980: Barnum (winner: Evita)
1982: Dreamgirls (winner: Nine)
1984: Sunday in the Park with George (winner: La Cage Aux Folles)
1987: Me and My Girl (winner: Les Miserables)
1988: Into the Woods (winner: The Phantom of the Opera)
1990: Grand Hotel (winner: City of Angels)
1991: Miss Saigon, Once on This Island & The Secret Garden (winner: The Will Rogers Follies)
1992: Falsettos (Crazy for You)
1993: Blood Brothers & Tommy (winner: Kiss of the Spider Woman)
1994: Beauty and the Beast (winner: Passion)
1998: Ragtime (winner: The Lion King)
1999: Parade (winner: Fosse)
2001: The Full Monty (winner: The Producers)
2002: Mamma Mia & Urinetown (winner: Thoroughly Modern Millie)
2004: Wicked (winner: Avenue Q)
2005: Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, The Light in the Piazza & The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (winner: Spamalot)
2006: The Color Purple The Drowsy Chaperone (Jersey Boys)
2007: Curtains, Grey Gardens & Mary Poppins (winner: Spring Awakening)
2009: Next to Normal & Rock of Ages (winner: Billy Elliot)

The following actors have not won a Tony (as of June 2015):

Julie Andrews (0-3)
Danny Burstein (0-6)
Carolee Carmello (0-3)
Lee J. Cobb (never nominated)
Gregg Edelman (0-4)
Raul Esparza (0-4)
Tovah Feldshuh (0-4)
Victor Garber (0-4)
Katharine Hepburn (0-2)
Philip Seymour Hoffman (0-3)
Dana Ivey (0-5)
Raul Julia (0-4)
Rebecca Luker (0-3)
Jan Maxwell (0-5)
Marin Mazzie (0-3)
John McMartin (0-5)
Laurence Olivier (0-1)
Geraldine Page (0-4)
Martha Plimpton (0-3)
George C. Scott (0-5)
Kim Stanley (0-2)

3 thoughts on “And the Tony didn’t go to…”

  1. I can remember feeling surprised when “The Drowsy Chaperone” lost to “Jersey Boys,” but I guess both “Follies” and “Grease” losing out to “Two Gentlemen of Verona” tops that for surprises.

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