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'Hamilton' expected to win big at Sunday's Tony Awards ceremony

By
Karen Butler
Hamilton is expected to win big at Sunday's Tony Awards ceremony. Lin-Manuel Miranda, creator and star of the show is seen here in 2012 at a CD signing at Barnes & Noble in New York. File Photo by Laura Cavanaugh/UPI
"Hamilton" is expected to win big at Sunday's Tony Awards ceremony. Lin-Manuel Miranda, creator and star of the show is seen here in 2012 at a CD signing at Barnes & Noble in New York. File Photo by Laura Cavanaugh/UPI | License Photo

NEW YORK, June 10 (UPI) -- Broadway's blockbuster rap musical Hamilton is expected to win big at Sunday's Tony Awards ceremony, but multiple mentions in some categories means it can't win all 16 prizes for which it is nominated.

Creator and star Lin-Manuel Miranda's American history-themed show is widely regarded as a lock for the Best Musical prize, as well as additional prestigious awards. Its other nods include Best Direction in a Musical, Best Actress in a Musical, Best Choreography, Best Book of a Musical, Best Lighting Design, Best Orchestrations, Best Original Score, Best Featured Actress in a Musical, Best Costume Design for a Musical and Best Scenic Design.

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The production -- which features a predominantly African-American and Latino cast of actors playing America's founding fathers, who were white -- is the most nominated Broadway show in history, beating The Producers and Billy Elliott by one nod. The Producers won a record-setting 12 Tonys in 2001.

The accolades for Hamilton -- and other nominated 2015-16 shows like Shuffle Along, Eclipsed, School of Rock and The Color Purple, which also feature diverse ensembles -- come just months after the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences was roundly criticized for nominating only Caucasian actors for its Oscars for a second year in a row, suggesting the New York theater community is doing a better job than Hollywood at reflecting the rich and varied cultural fabric of the United States.

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RELATED Tonys ceremony to feature musical performances by 'Hamilton,' 'Waitress' casts

Also competing for the Best Musical Tony this year are Bright Star, School of Rock, Shuffle Along and Waitress.

Shuffle Along won the Drama Desk Award for Best Musical earlier this week, but Hamilton wasn't eligible because it grabbed the prize in 2015 before it transferred from off-Broadway to Broadway. The Drama Desk Awards honor both Broadway and off-Broadway stagings, while the Tonys recognize excellence on Broadway only.

The best chances the stars of other musicals have in derailing the Hamilton Tony train Sunday is in the categories of Best Actor and Featured Actor in a Musical. Hamilton co-stars and Best Actor contenders Leslie Odom, Jr. and Lin-Manuel Miranda could split the support of Tony voters, paving the way for Alex Brightman from School of Rock, Danny Burstein from Fiddler on the Roof or Zachary Levi from She Loves Me to take home the statuette.

The Best Featured Actor in a Musical race has three Hamilton cast members. Co-stars Daveed Diggs, Jonathan Groff and Christopher Jackson are all competing for that crown, along with Brandon Victor Dixon from Shuffle Along and Christopher Fitzgerald from Waitress.

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Favorites in the Best Actress in a Musical category are Cynthia Erivo from The Color Purple and Phillipa Soo from Hamilton. Also shortlisted for the honor are Laura Benanti from She Loves Me, Carmen Cusack from Bright Star and Jessie Mueller from Waitress.

The nominees for Best Featured Actress are Danielle Brooks from The Color Purple, Renée Elise Goldsberry from Hamilton, Jane Krakowski from She Loves Me, Jennifer Simard from Disaster! and Adrienne Warren Shuffle Along.

Without the Hamilton leads in contention, Burstein was recognized with the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actor in a Musical, Erivo won for Outstanding Actress in a Musical, Fitzgerald won for Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical and Krakowski won for She Loves Me. Should the critical and fan adoration for Hamilton for some reason fail to translate into Tony votes, Burstein, Erivo, Fitzgerald and Krakowski could repeat their wins.

The most suspense Sunday will likely come from the Tony competitions for which Hamilton is not eligible to challenge.

Up for Best Play are Eclipsed, The Father, The Humans and King Charles III. Running for Best Revival of a Musical are The Color Purple, Dames at Sea, Fiddler on the Roof, She Loves Me and Spring Awakening. The nominees for Best Revival of a Play are Blackbird, The Crucible, Long Day's Journey Into Night, Noises Off and A View From the Bridge.

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The Humans was declared Outstanding Play at the Drama Desk Awards, while A View From the Bridge won the prize for Outstanding Revival of a Play and She Loves Me was named Outstanding Revival of a Musical.

The Tonys ceremony at New York's Beacon Theatre will feature musical numbers from the nominated shows Shuffle Along, She Loves Me, School of Rock, Fiddler on the Roof and The Color Purple. Also slated to sing at the gala are cast members from Hamilton, Waitress, Bright Star, Spring Awakening and On Your Feet.

Previously announced presenters include Uzo Aduba, Cate Blanchett, Claire Danes, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Jake Gyllenhaal, Neil Patrick Harris, Sean Hayes, James Earl Jones, Daniel Dae Kim, Carole King, Diane Lane, Nathan Lane, Angela Lansbury, Lucy Liu, Marlee Matlin, Audra McDonald, Patina Miller, Andrew Rannells, Saoirse Ronan, Blair Underwood, Oprah Winfrey, Steve Martin, Edie Brickell and Barbra Streisand.

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James Corden is hosting the event, which will air on CBS.

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