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Tony Awards: Aaron Tveit makes history as only nominee for best lead actor in a musical

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Tony Awards: Aaron Tveit makes history as only nominee for best lead actor in a musical

, USA TODAY
Published 7:53 p.m. ET Oct. 15, 2020

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New York’s governor ordered all Broadway theaters to shut their doors in the face of ongoing coronavirus concerns, plunging into darkness one of the city’s most popular tourist attractions and causing turmoil in the run-up to the Tony Awards. (March 12)

AP Domestic

This year’s Tony Awards is already making history.

The Tony Awards nominations were announced Thursday, and for the first time ever, only one person is nominated for best performance by an actor in a leading role in a musical: Aaron Tveit.

Shawn Purdy, a representative for the Tony Awards, told USA TODAY in an email that this is the first time an acting category has had just one nominee. It’s also a first for Tveit, who has never been nominated for a Tony before.

Tveit celebrated his nomination, which he earned for his role in “Moulin Rouge! The Musical,” in a statement to USA TODAY.

“It’s a huge honor and I am so grateful to be nominated!” he said. “It’s also vitally important to highlight that this recognition represents, collectively, thousands of hours of work by hundreds of individuals working on Moulin Rouge! The Musical. All the brilliant craftspeople, technicians, stagehands, and crew that run our show night to night, those in the front and back of the house, inside and outside our stage doors, our incredible audience and fans, and of course the cast, creative team, and producers.”

“Moulin Rouge! The Musical” opened on Broadway in July 2019, but suspended performances in March, along with the rest of Broadway, in the wake of shutdowns due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“A day hasn’t gone by since the shutdown began that I haven’t missed the theatre and I look forward to when we can all return,” Tveit continued. “I hope this can be a positive lift amidst an industry shut down with an ever-changing timeline, as well as a reminder of power of live theatre, and what it can do for us as individuals. And for our world.”

‘Jagged Little Pill’ leads Tony Awards nominations with 15

So since Tveit’s the only nominee, that means he wins by default… right? Not exactly.

In order to win the category, Tveit will need to be affirmed by at least 60% of ballots cast by Tony voters, according to a press release announcing this year’s nominees.

According to Purdy, the only other time a Tonys category has had just one nominee was in 1995, when “Sunset Boulevard” was the only contender for both best book and best original score. In order to win, “Sunset Boulevard” needed to get a majority of affirmative votes from the Tony nominating committee, which it did in both categories.

The 2020 Tony Awards ceremony will be broadcast digitally and take place later this year, at a date still to be announced. It’s one of few bright spots for theater fans — Broadway will be shut down until at least May 30.

Broadway extends shutdown to May 30 amid coronavirus pandemic

Contributing: Mark Kennedy, Associated Press

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