Fun Home the Musical Snags 12 Tony Award Nominations

The 2015 Tony Award nominations were announced this morning. Fun Home, the musical based on Alison Bechdel‘s celebrated graphic memoir, led the way with 12 nominations, including the coveted Best Musical trophy. (An American in Paris tied Fun Home with 12 nods, as well.) Is it a coincidence that a musical about a lesbian artist and her gay father received a nomination for Broadway’s biggest award the same morning the Supreme Court of the United States began hearing arguments about same-sex marriage? Yeah, but it feels serendipitous to pull up the New York Times home page and see the stories sitting side-by-side.

The fact that Fun Home is up for 12 Tonys is just another bit of happiness in a steady stream of good fortune the musical. It was also nominated for the Edward M. Kennedy Prize for Drama Inspired by American History, nine Lucille Lortel Awards (of which it won three, including Outstanding Musical), the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, seven Outer Critics Circle Award, and two Drama League Awards. It also won an Off-Broadway Alliance Award for Best Musical and an Obie for Best Musical. It opened on Broadway to sell-out crowds last weekend and received the kind of glowing reviews NYT theater critics usually reserve for Neil Patrick Harris.

And it’s the first mainstream musical about a young lesbian. It’s a really good time to be Alison Bechdel, is what I am saying.

Here is a full list of Tony nominees.

Best Leading Actor in a Play
Steven Boyer, Hand to God
Bradley Cooper, The Elephant Man
Ben Miles, Wolf Hall Parts One & Two
Bill Nighy, Skylight
Alex Sharp, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

Best Leading Actress in a Play
Geneva Carr, Hand to God
Helen Mirren, The Audience
Elisabeth Moss, The Heidi Chronicles
Carey Mulligan, Skylight
Ruth Wilson, Constellations

Best Leading Actor in a Musical
Michael Cerveris, Fun Home
Robert Fairchild, An American in Paris
Brian d’Arcy James, Something Rotten!
Ken Watanabe, The King and I
Tony Yazbeck, On the Town

Best Leading Actress in a Musical
Kristin Chenoweth, On the Twentieth Century
Leanne Cope, An American in Paris
Beth Malone, Fun Home
Kelli O’Hara, The King and I
Chita Rivera, The Visit

Best Revival of a Play
Skylight
The Elephant Man
This Is Our Youth
You Can’t Take It With You

Best Revival of a Musical
On the Town
On the Twentieth Century
The King and I
Best Featured Actor in a Play
Matthew Beard, Skylight
K. Todd Freeman, Airline Highway
Richard McCabe, The Audience
Alessandro Nivola, The Elephant Man
Micah Stock, It’s Only a Play

Best Featured Actress in a Play
Annaleigh Ashford, You Can’t Take It With You
Patricia Clarkson, The Elephant Man
Lydia Leonard, Wolf Hall Parts One & Two
Sarah Stiles, Hand to God
Julie White, Airline Highway

Best Featured Actress in a Musical
Victoria Clark, Gigi
Judy Kuhn, Fun Home
Sydney Lucas, Fun Home
Ruthie Ann Miles, The King and I
Emily Skeggs, Fun Home

Best Musical
An American in Paris
Fun Home
Something Rotten!
The Visit

Best Play
Disgraced by Ayad Akhtar
Hand to God by Robert Askins
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Simon Stephens
Wolf Hall Parts One & Two by Hilary Mantel and Mike Poulton

Best Book
Karey Kirkpatrick and John O’Farrell, Something Rotten!
Lisa Kron, Fun Home
Craig Lucas, An American in Paris
Terrence McNally, The Visit

Best Score
John Kander and Fred Ebb, The Visit
Wayne Kirkpatrick and Karey Kirkpatrick, Something Rotten!
Sting, The Last Ship
Jeanine Tesori and Lisa Kron, Fun Home

Best Scenic Design of a Musical
Bob Crowley and 59 Productions, An American in Paris
David Rockwell, On the Twentieth Century
Michael Yeargan, The King and I
David Zinn, Fun Home

Best Orchestrations
Christopher Austin, Don Sebesky and Bill Elliott, An American in Paris
John Clancy, Fun Home
Larry Hochman, Something Rotten!
Rob Mathes, The Last Ship

Best Scenic Design of a Play
Bunny Christie & Finn Ross, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
Bob Crowley, Skylight
Christopher Oram, Wolf Hall Parts One & Two
David Rockwell, You Can’t Take It With You

Best Costume Design of a Play
Bob Crowley, The Audience
Jane Greenwood, You Can’t Take It With You
Christopher Oram, Wolf Hall Parts One & Two
David Zinn, Airline Highway

Best Lighting Design of a Play
Paule Constable, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
Paule Constable and David Plater, Wolf Hall Parts One & Two
Natasha Katz, Skylight
Japhy Weideman, Airline Highway

Best Director of a Musical
Sam Gold, Fun Home
Casey Nicholaw, Something Rotten!
John Rando, On the Town
Bartlett Sher, The King and I
Christopher Wheeldon, An American in Paris

Best Scenic Design of a Play
Bunny Christie & Finn Ross, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
Bob Crowley, Skylight
Christopher Oram, Wolf Hall Parts One & Two
David Rockwell, You Can’t Take It With You

Best Director of a Play
Stephen Daldry, Skylight
Marianne Elliott, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
Scott Ellis, You Can’t Take It With You
Jeremy Herrin, Wolf Hall Parts One & Two
Moritz von Stuelpnagel, Hand to God

Best Lighting Design of a Musical
Donald Holder, The King and I
Natasha Katz, An American in Paris
Ben Stanton, Fun Home
Japhy Weideman, The Visit

Best Choreography
Joshua Bergasse, On the Town
Christopher Gattelli, The King and I
Scott Graham & Steven Hoggett, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
Casey Nicholaw, Something Rotten!
Christopher Wheeldon, An American in Paris

The awards ceremony will be hosted by Alan Cumming and Kristin Chenoweth on June 7 at Radio City Music Hall, and broadcast live on CBS.

 

 

 

Heather Hogan is an Autostraddle managing editor who lives in New York City with her partner, Stacy, and their cackle of rescued pets. She's a member of the Television Critics Association, the Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and a Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer critic. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Heather has written 883 articles for us.

14 Comments

  1. I am a HUUUGE musical nerd, and Fun Home is one of my favourite books of all time, so needless to say, when I first found out it was being made into a musical, I was PSYCHED. And then I found out who the creative team was going to be, and then I found out Alison Bechdel was on board and loved the show, and then I bought and listened to the soundtrack, and I just have to say, I am so in love with this musical.

    If you have not yet done so, you need to listen to “Ring of Keys”, asap, because it will make you sob big, beautiful tears. And then go listen to “Changing My Major”, because it will make you feel better, and laugh your ass off. And then, just go listen to the whole damn thing, because it is INCREDIBLE.

    Ring of Keys: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0uM1Yl-vE0Q

    Changing My Major: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pxlXn4mHLg4

  2. So many feelings. Fun Home has been such a big part of my life, both personally and professionally. I’m so honored to have worked on the production at The Public and have so many friends in the show. How important and timely this show is! Written by two women! (One of them queer.) It’s not only the first mainstream musical about a young lesbian- it’s the first mainstream (Broadway) with a lesbian protagonist, not to mention a butch lesbian protagonist.

    Also, just a head’s up: the photo you have as the main image is actually of the Off-Broadway run, and 2/3 of the actors pictured are not in the Broadway production. I don’t know if that matters to you, but I just thought I’d put it out there.

    • I love Fun Home, and it’s so awesome you worked on it! I just saw the show a few weeks ago and it was amazing. I’ve been confused why everyone is saying this is the first Broadway musical about a lesbian though–what about The Color Purple? I think it’s pretty clear that Celie is a queer woman. Or does that not “count” because the character’s sexuality isn’t defined? Just genuinely curious about the dialogue around this.

      • As someone who studies and researches drama I think (and not to be inflammatory because as a butch lesbian who loves musical theatre I am so pleased that this has happened) that when women of colour are queer or lesbian on stage or in film break new ground it gets passed over as a ‘first’, because accepting new representations tends to happen with the white characters because the mainstream understanding of identity tends to rely on non-intersectional definitions. The character of Alison Bechdel is ‘just’ a lesbian, whereas Celie’s character has multiple layers at play. It’s not right but I think it happens quite frequently in dialogues and portrayals about minority identities.

  3. When I saw the show, and “Ring of Keys” began, I cried so hard I lost a contact lens. Beautiful.

    There’s a butch woman as the lead character in a Broadway show. I’m still overwhelmed by the whole scenario.

    Also, although it is not explicitly stated, it is implied that Sissy Na Na – the character K. Todd Freeman played in AIRLINE HIGHWAY and received a Tony nom for – is trans*. Pretty cool.

  4. When I saw Fun Home at the Public, I cried the moment the lights came up on the first scene. I’ve been working in theatre all my life, and never have I ever seen a butch lesbian onstage in a musical. It’s the most amazing thing.

  5. I hope this comes to Toronto, though if it does, it probably won’t be for a few years, still. The book is one of my favourites. It was so intense. I actually felt emotionally drained and weak after I finished it, but I immediately wanted to re-read it the second I closed it.

  6. I had the pleasure of seeing Fun Home on Broadway last Friday. It was incredible. I laughed, I cried, I was captivated. I am not a fan of musicals, and this one I could see over and over again. If you guys have the change to check it out, it’s worth every penny to watch these epic thespian lesbians.

  7. I sat down to dinner tonight with many of the gay men in my musical theatre program, and one of them looked across the table at me and said “So, Fun Home, Alethea–you must be thrilled.” I said “This is one of the most heartwarming, validating things I have ever experienced.” I feel so connected to this show, even though I haven’t personally worked on it.

    In a community that claims to be so inclusive, it’s remarkable how ostracized I can sometimes feel being a queer woman in musical theatre. I love musical theatre more than I love anything in this world. I uprooted my entire life to move to the United States so I can get my degree in Musical Theatre. And I love it. And yet. And yet. Despite all that, there are times where I feel like I don’t belong. When I am asked time and again to seduce a man in studio classwork, and I wonder when my substitution will be a valid narrative that is allowed to exist anywhere except in my subtext.

    This show makes me feel like that narrative has a place, that I have a place. Finally (this show is no Legally Blonde), being a lesbian is not a trope played for laughs.

    I saw this show off-Broadway at the Public when I was really struggling with my sexuality, when I knew I was queer but didn’t want to admit it, because I didn’t want it define me–especially not as a performer, where you are already inherently defined by so many things that you can’t control. I didn’t need another thing to add to that laundry list. This show was transformative: it made me feel more a part of this musical theatre community that I have chosen to make my life in than I have ever felt before. Legally Blonde this is not: being a lesbian in musical theatre is finally not a joke. And that was so important to me, that this form that I love and that I fundamentally UNDERSTAND took feelings and experiences that I have had and CELEBRATED them. And in watching this show, I learned how to celebrate my own feelings and experiences for myself.

    I will be forever indebted to this show.

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