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5 Tony-Worthy Performances That Didn’t Get Nominated

Category Broadway

|by Matthew Wexler |

Check out these Broadway performances worth celebrating

No harsh feelings: We all know Broadway is a tough business. But when Christopher Jackson and Jane Krakowski announced the 2017 Tony Award nominations on May 2, 2017, we imagine there were a few disheartened sighs.                                                         

Landing a Broadway gig is hard enough. Landing a principal role is even more elusive. And when you’re putting your blood, sweat and tears on the stage eight times a week, there’s undoubtedly hope that your peers will recognize your work. But alas, there are only five nominated actors in each category, so somebody is going to get the short end of the stick… until now.

Although we don’t have the power to bestow an official nomination on the following five performers, we will say that they’re delivering what Broadway dreams are made of and entertaining thousands of audience members each night—nomination or not. Consider checking out their performances while you still can!

Jon Jon Briones

Jon Jon Briones from the London production of 'Miss Saigon' (Photo: Michael Le Poer Trench and Matthew Murphy)

Christy Altomare as Anya in Anastasia
From the end of the Russian Empire to the glittering lights of Paris, Anastasia follows the trials and tribulations of young Anya, who suspects that she might be Anastasia Romanov, daughter of Nicholas II, the last Russian czar. Altomare, who has appeared on Broadway in Mamma Mia! and toured nationally with Spring Awakening, must transform from a street sweeper to royalty

“As the young woman who finds not only her identity but sense of self, Altomare takes the spotlight with the same assured conviction with which Anya takes the crown,” wrote Frank Rizzo for Variety, while Broadway World described her as “as a hearty adventurer with a stirring soprano.”

Jon Jon Briones as The Engineer in Miss Saigon
It’s been a fascinating journey for Jon Jon Briones as well as Miss Saigon’s creative team, as recounted in a terrific exploration of the role of The Engineer in The New York Times. Jonathan Pryce won the Tony Award for his portrayal of the Eurasian wheeler and dealer during the end of the Vietnam War. Briones was in the ensemble of the original London production, and the show has been close to his heart for more than two decades. The comedic spitfire brings gravitas and magnetism to the role, keeping audiences members in the palm of his hand in the massive Broadway Theatre.

“Briones brings sleaze and sly humor to the role that won Jonathan Pryce a Tony 25 years ago. His gritty take on “American Dream,” a fantasy of feathers, dollars and fancy cars, is a highlight,” wrote Joe Dziemianowicz in The New York Daily News.

Laura Osnes as Julia Trojan in Bandstand
She’s come a long way since Grease: You’re the One That I Want!, the American Idol-style reality show that catapulted Osnes to Broadway stardom when she earned the lead role in the 2007 revival. Now in her sixth Broadway show and in true leading lady form, Osnes once again delivers a heartfelt performance with seemingly effortless top-notch vocals, described by Samuel L. Leiter for The Broadway Blog as “lovely as ever.”

Following a group of American soldiers as they attempt to rebuild their lives after returning from the front lines of World War II, by forming a music group, Bandstand was certified by Got Your 6, an organization committed to crafting “more thoughtful narrative around veterans and military families.”

Nick Cordero as Sonny in A Bronx Tale
As mob leader Sonny in the musical adaptation of Chazz Palminteri’s one-man play, Cordero is as lovable as he is threatening. You can almost smell the red sauce simmering on the stovetop on Beowulf Boritt’s Arthur Avenue-inspired set, but it's Cordero's hard-hitting and vulnerable performance that exemplifies the charm and daily life of the Italian-American experience. 

Charles Isherwood wrote in The New York Times that Cordero “radiates a cool charisma that mixes a surface geniality with shrugging ruthlessness.”

The cast of Indecent
Sometimes it’s the sum of the parts that makes a particular show extra special, as is the case with Indecent. No, there’s isn’t a Tony Award for best ensemble, but if there was, we’d be giving it to this stellar cast led under the direction of Rebecca Taichman (who is nominated, along with the play itself). Based on events surrounding Sholem Asch’s play The God of Vengeance, the play resonates with today’s audiences and asks the question of how much artists are willing to sacrifice for their craft.

“Rebecca Taichman's direction, blending dance, movement and music, all with a sparse set, is a thing of beauty,” wrote David Cote for Time Out New York. “Add to it a wonderfully versatile seven-actor ensemble effortlessly juggling roles and live klezmer music, and you have 100 minutes of potent theatrical magic.”

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