Since it it opened on Broadway last summer, Lin-Manuel Miranda‘s musical “Hamilton” has been one for the history books.
On Tuesday, the hip-hop retelling of founding father Alexander Hamilton also entered the record books by landing 16 Tony Awards nominations. The previous record was shared by “Billy Elliot” and Mel Brooks‘ earlier crossover phenomenon “The Producers.”
But the odds are stacked against “Hamilton” actually topping “The Producers” as the winningest show in Tony Awards history when the spinning statuettes are handed out on June 12.
Like “The Producers,” which scored a record 12 Tonys, “Hamilton” is competing against itself in several acting categories.
Back in 2001, Nathan Lane won over his co-star Matthew Broderick for the lead musical acting prize. And Gary Beach, who played the gay theater director, won the featured actor award over his castmates Roger Bart and Brad Oscar.
This time, Miranda’s Alexander Hamilton is up against Leslie Odom Jr. as Aaron Burr. Miranda was also nominated but did not win for his leading role in his own Tony-winning 2008 musical “In the Heights,” but voters may want to reward Odom and spread the wealth a little since Miranda is likely to win for both book and score.
And this year’s featured actor category also has a trio of performers from the frontrunner: “Hamilton” stars Daveed Diggs, Jonathan Groff and Christopher Jackson all threaten to divide the vote among themselves.
The one category where “Hamilton” earned a nomination that eluded “The Producers” was Phillipa Soo’s nod for leading actress in a musical. Mel Brooks‘ show didn’t have a female lead.
But Soo faces stiff competition in her category, particularly from Cynthia Erivo in the hit revival of “The Color Purple.” The British-born Erivo has earned raves for a much showier and more prominent role.
And that means that “Hamilton” may have to settle for a tie with “The Producers” as Tony’s winningest show.
Still, Renée Elise Goldsberry is considered the favorite for featured actress for her star turn as Hamilton sister-in-law Angelica Schuyler — much as Cady Huffman triumphed in that category as the bombshell Ulla in “The Producers.”
You can also expect “Hamilton” to sweep most of the other musical and design categories, likely picking up prizes for Thomas Kail’s direction, Miranda’s book and score and Alex Lacamoire’s orchestrations.
The biggest challenge “Hamilton” faces in tying “The Producers” record may be in choreography, where Andy Blankenbuehler’s dance moves could be upset by the tap-tastic foot work of Savion Glover in the 1920s-set musical “Shuffle Along.”
A win for Glover, who last earned a Tony 20 years ago for his work in “Bring in ‘Da Noise, Bring in ‘Da Funk,” would bring the “Hamilton” tally down to 11, still an impressive achievement.