Aaron Sorkin’s Stage Version of “To Kill a Mockingbird” Snubbed in Tony Nominations

The adaptation of Harper Lee’s book is the highest grossing American play in Broadway history

Jeff Daniels in Broadway’s "To Kill a Mockingbird," which was snubbed for best play.
Jeff Daniels in Broadway’s "To Kill a Mockingbird," which was snubbed for best play.
Slaven Vlasic/Getty

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On Sunday, Aaron Sorkin’s stage adaptation of Harper Lee’s beloved book To Kill a Mockingbird broke its own one-week box office record on Broadway — for the fourth time. It’s currently the highest grossing American play in Broadway history, and remains one of the hottest tickets in New York.

The critical and popular acclaim — not to mention the star power of Jeff Daniels, who plays Atticus Finch — wasn’t enough for the Tony Awards. The nominations, announced Tuesday, did not include To Kill a Mockingbird in the best play category.

That wasn’t the only high-profile show that was shut out of the race. Network, which stars Bryan Cranston, was also snubbed, notes the New York Times. And while both were nominated in other categories (Mockingbird in nine, Network in five), just like the Academy Awards, the two main categories of best play and best musical are most important for prestige and ticket sales.

If those shows didn’t get the nominations, what did? For best play there’s Choir Boy (written by Tarell Alvin McCraney who co-wrote Oscar-winning Moonlight), Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus (starring Nathan Lane), as well as The Ferryman, Ink and What the Constitution Means to Me.

While the New York Times says the worry “that the industry is being swallowed by big brand blockbuster musicals” is quelled by plays, the best musical category begs to differ. The nominees are Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of the Temptations (a jukebox musical), Tootsie (a movie adaptation), Beetlejuice (another movie adaptation), as well as Hadestown (which leads the pack with 14 nominations) and The Prom.

Potentially the biggest snub of all, though, is one acknowledged neither by the Tony Awards nor the New York Times. The new musical Be More Chill only received one nomination, which went to composer and lyricist Joe Iconis for best original score. While many theatrical productions close in the wake of negative reviews from the paper, Be More Chill defied critics (and three bad reviews from the Times alone) and rode to Broadway on popular appeal.

Want to see how it plays out? The Tony Awards screen at 8 p.m. Eastern on Sunday, June 9th from Radio City Music Hall, with James Corden hosting once again.

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