5 Actors Who Are Long Overdue for a Tony Nomination

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Tony nominations were announced last week, and the list is chock-full of first-time contenders; if you can believe it, accomplished actors like Sarah Paulson, Jim Parsons, and Daniel Radcliffe all scored their first-ever nods this year. Since, on average, only about 40 Broadway shows open per year, the pool of possible nominees is small.

Here are five stage stalwarts who, shockingly, have yet to receive a Tony nomination.

Angela Bassett

This longtime cinema staple won an honorary Oscar this year for her remarkable film legacy, in projects ranging from John Sayles indies to MCU blockbusters. But she also has a history on Broadway. Though she cut her teeth in a pair of August Wilson classics—“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” in 1984 and “Joe Turner’s Come and Gone” in 1988—it would be years before she made her big return to the Great White Way.

It came in 2011 with the Broadway premiere of Katori Hall’s “The Mountaintop,” in which she starred opposite Samuel L. Jackson (who didn’t get his first Tony nomination until last year). Bassett performs a maelstrom of a monologue at the end of the play that would have twisted the tongue of nearly any other actor; but she reigned supreme. Unfortunately, because the production had a limited run in the early fall, it wasn’t remembered by Tony voters the following year. 

Tituss Burgess

Tituss Burgess

Before he delighted TV audiences as fledgling actor Titus Andromedon on Netflix’s “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt,” Burgess already had a notable history as a Broadway belter. He reliably lifted audience spirits in buoyant musicals like “Jersey Boys,” “The Little Mermaid,” and “Guys and Dolls.” But despite his pedigree, he’s never gotten the chance to strut his stuff in a major stage role. Perhaps he should bring the Andromedon classic “Spider-Man Too: 2 Many Spider-Men (The Musical)” into the real world? 

Megan Mullally

Megan MullallyMullally gave us one of sitcomland’s greatest creations in “Will & Grace”: the sassy, boozy Karen Walker. She honed her comic gifts on the stage, going all the way back to her 1994 Broadway debut in “Grease.” She starred in the Matthew Broderick and Nathan Lane–led revival of “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying” in 1995 and Mel Brooks’ “Young Frankenstein” in 2007; she reunited with Broderick and Lane in 2014 for Terrence McNally’s daffy industry comedy “It’s Only a Play.”

Despite all this, Tony recognition remains elusive for the multihyphenate. Mullally does have two Emmys to her name for “Will & Grace,” so at least hardware isn’t in short supply. (Her husband, Nick Offerman, picked up his own Emmy this year.)

Sarah Jessica Parker

Sarah Jessica ParkerParker’s is one of the most shocking names on this list, considering her stage career first took off all the way back in 1979 when she was just a Broadway baby, playing the title role in the original production of “Annie” on the Great White Way. She went on to find incredible success onstage in “Once Upon a Mattress” (1996), “How to Succeed” (1995), and “Plaza Suite” (2022)—the latter two opposite her husband, Matthew Broderick—and onscreen in everything from “Footloose” (1984) to “Sex and the City” (1998) to “The Family Stone” (2005). (Her “Family Stone” costar Rachel McAdams nabbed a Tony nomination this year for her first role on Broadway.)

Like Mullally, Parker has also won two acting Emmys; but (spoken in Carrie Bradshaw cadence, with background keyboard clicking): I couldn’t help but wonder—what will it take for Tony voters to recognize this enduring star?

Anthony Rapp

Anthony RappThe original 1995 production of “Rent” launched the careers of so many stars that you’d need an astronomer to count them. Tony noms went to Rapp’s costars Adam Pascal, Daphne Rubin-Vega, Idina Menzel, and Wilson Jermaine Heredia (who won for featured actor in a musical). But how on earth did Tony voters leave out Rapp for his turn as Mark, the moral center of Jonathan Larson’s sprawling, emotional musical?

Rapp’s theater legacy goes back to his childhood, when he made his Broadway debut in George Furth’s “Precious Sons” (1986). But just like the titular character he played in the 1999 revival of “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown,” Rapp always seems to have the proverbial football pulled away from him come Tony nomination time. (Incidentally, the actor’s brother, playwright Adam Rapp, picked up a best book nod this year for “The Outsiders.”)

Jason Clark
Jason Clark (he/him) has over 25 years in the entertainment and media industry covering film, television, and theater. He comes to Backstage from TheWrap, where he’s worked as an awards reporter since 2021. He also has bylines in Entertainment Weekly, TV Guide, Vulture, the Village Voice, AllMovie, and Slant Magazine, among many others. He received his Bachelor of Fine Arts in cinema studies from New York University.
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