Ten Things You May Not Know About The Tony Awards

The day’s not over yet, but we already know it’s a winner! That’s because the 2016 Tony Award nominations were announced today!

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Congratulations to all the nominees, with a special shout-out to Eclipsed for pulling in a whopping (and much deserved) 6 nominations, including Best Play!!! #yaaasss

Now that nominations are out, you’ve got exactly 40 days to plan your ballot picks and find something fabulous to wear. After all, whether you’ll be shining with the stars at the Beacon Theatre or sipping champagne at home, the Tony Awards are the perfect reason for theatre lovers to party!

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We’re celebrating early with this list of 10 things you may not know about the Tony Awards:

1. There really was a Tony!

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Tony, aka Antoinette Perry, was an actress, director, and producer who co-founded the American Theatre Wing, where she was chairman of the board and secretary throughout World War II. She died in 1946 and when the awards began in 1947, there was no better namesake than the woman who truly embodied excellence in theatre.

2. The longest Tony-winning show title doesn’t even fit in a tweet.

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With a 150 character-long title, we wouldn’t want to be the digital managers for 1966’s Tony Award-winning play The Persecution and Assassination of Jean-Paul Marat as Performed by the Inmates of the Asylum of Charenton Under the Direction of the Marquis de Sade. That didn’t stop audiences though: the show took home 4 Tonys including Best Play.

3. Angela Lansbury is the hosting queen.

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Sure we all love Neil Patrick Harris and Hugh Jackman, who have each hosted 4 times, and we can’t wait to watch James Corden take the reigns (fingers crossed for a Broadway-themed Carpool Karaoke). But, Angela Lansbury holds the title (and our hearts), having hosted or co-hosted five ceremonies (1968, 1971, 1987, 1988, and 1989)!

4. The actual award has gone through a few changes.

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Today’s award is a spinning medallion with drama masks on one side, and the award title and our girl Antoinette Perry on the flip side (see fun fact #1). But for the first two years, the award was a scroll given out with a compact for women and a cigarette lighter or money clip for men. So things have changed a bit, both for the award and for gender equality…

5. $7 bought you a ticket to the Tonys in 1947.

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That $7 included dinner at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel beginning at 9pm with dancing and entertainment until midnight, while the winners were played live over the radio. The event was so successful that the price shot up to $10 in 1948 (#Ham4Tonys). Today, it’s just slightly more expensive…

6. This year, The Producers will face off with Hamilton to be the most-winning show.

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Hamilton just made Tony history with a record-breaking 16 nominations. Up until this morning, Mel Brooks’ The Producers and Billy Elliot held that record with 15 noms each. But the big question is, will Hamilton trump The Producers’ 12 wins and become Broadway’s most-winning show?

7. Audra McDonald is the champion of Broadway.

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Audra may not have gotten a nod this year, but we all know she’s Broadway’s ultimate leading lady. With 6 Tonys to her name, Audra has won the most competitive awards for performance, beating Angela Lansbury (who has 5) and Julie Harris (who has 5, plus an additional Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre).

8. Women are telling their stories on stage . . . and Broadway loves it!

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Last year, Fun Home became the first show written entirely by women to win the Tony Award for Best Musical (Lisa Kron wrote the book and lyrics, Jeanine Tesori wrote the music, and the show was based on Alison Bechdel’s graphic memoir). With the response and nominations for Waitress and Eclipsed, it’s pretty clear that the world is ready for what women have to say.

9. Bob Fosse took 3 steps towards the EGOT in just one year…

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Talk about a triple threat! In 1973, Bob Fosse won two Tonys (Direction & Choreography) for Pippin, an Oscar for Cabaret, and an Emmy for Liza with a Z. He may not have a Grammy, but he certainly had the world of theatre in the palm of his jazz hands.

10. Sometimes . . . it’s a tie!

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Over the years, the Tonys have had 10 ties! The most recent was in 2009 for Orchestrations where Martin Koch of Billy Elliot and Michael Starobin and Tom Kitt of Next to Normal split the vote. Maybe we’ll get an 11th this year?

The 70th Annual Tony Awards are on Sunday, June 12 at the Beacon Theatre in New York City, or in your living room on CBS. We can’t wait!

Learn more fun facts about the Tonys here!