14 Stage Stars Who Have Never Won Tony Awards

Article Image
Photo Source: Joan Marcus / Paul Kolnik

The Antoinette Perry Awards for Excellence in Theatre, better known among Broadway aficionados as the Tonys, have been around since 1947. How is it, then, that these 14 terrifically talented actors—some multi-hyphenate megastars, some hard-working regulars on the Great White Way—have never claimed theater’s top competitive award? Check out the list of Tony-less stars below...and imagine what role might finally clinch them the gold!

READ: ‘SpongeBob,’ ‘Mean Girls’ Lead 2018 Tony Award Nominations

Daniel Radcliffe
What’s an international movie star with talent and an obvious passion for the stage got to do to win theater’s biggest prize? Radcliffe has not only played leading roles in three Broadway shows (four, counting the 2018 season’s “The Lifespan of a Fact”) and not received a Tony, he’s never even been nominated. If somebody on the Tony committee could wave their wand and cast a spell to rectify this, that would be much appreciated.

Brandon Victor Dixon
With superlative, scene-stealing work in both his Tony-nominated roles, for “The Color Purple” and “Shuffle Along, or, the Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed,” Dixon is already fully deserving of taking home a win. It’s even more true after his breakout performance before a much bigger audience: in this year’s NBC telecast concert of “Jesus Christ Superstar,” Dixon had ample opportunity to show off his triple threat bona fides, and more than delivered.

Kerry Butler
“Mean Girls” star Butler may have only one Tony nomination to her name, but it’s a good one: she played the leading role in 2008’s roller-skating-heavy musical comedy “Xanadu.” From her Hillary Clinton in the outrageous “Clinton: The Musical” to the even more outrageous “Disaster!” it’s clear a shiny, swiveling medallion-statue is in her future. Butler just needs the charismatic, sexy, and especially zany role that will carry her all the way to musical theater royalty.

Raúl Esparza
When it comes to versatility onstage, few have Esparza beat. And yet, despite being only the second actor (after Boyd Gaines) to be nominated in all four Tony acting categories—for “Taboo,” “Company,” “The Homecoming,” and “Speed the Plow,” an impressive and varied list—he has yet to win!

Sarah Paulson
The first actor on this list to have no Tony nominations to her name, Paulson is nevertheless the kind of immensely talented actor you might believe already has a statue. The multiple TV award-winning performer got her start in New York theater, working Off-Broadway at Signature Theatre Company and MCC Theater, at one point starring opposite future “American Horror Story” co-star Jessica Lange in “The Glass Menagerie” in 2005, her Broadway debut. Somebody give her a juicy stage role, already!

Danny Burstein
What Amy Adams and Annette Bening are now for the Oscars, Burstein is for the Tony Awards. His six nominations—that’s right, six!—chronicle some of the best New York productions of the last decade: “The Drowsy Chaperone,” “South Pacific,” “Follies,” “Golden Boy,” and “Cabaret,” plus a recent, inspired “Fiddler on the Roof.” His eventual win will be a long-awaited and much-deserved triumph for one of Broadway’s best.

Condola Rashad
As far as track records go, it doesn’t get much better than Rashad’s: with “Stick Fly,” “The Trip to Bountiful,” last year’s “A Doll’s House, Part 2,” and now “Saint Joan,” she’s earned Tony nominations for four out of five Broadway appearances! At this rate, we don’t even have to worry about the statue that will be engraved with this luminous actor’s name—it’s a question of when, not if.

Meryl Streep
You didn’t think we’d neglect the most Oscar-nominated actor of all time, did you? Streep may be best known for her film work, but she got her training onstage, even nabbing a Tony nomination in 1976 for “27 Wagons Full of Cotton.” There’s no doubt that with the right role, Streep could light the stage ablaze—and then add a different award to her already crowded mantle.

Judy Kuhn
At the 2015 Tony Awards, Kuhn shared the featured actress in a musical category with her “Fun Home” co-stars Emily Skeggs and Sydney Lucas, ultimately losing to Ruthie Ann Miles of “The King and I.” It’s yet another near-miss for a veteran actor whose stellar work onstage extends to the big screen with her spectacular vocal performance in Disney’s “Pocahontas” (her big solo, “Colors of the Wind,” won Stephen Schwartz and Alan Menken an Oscar). Kuhn has four Tony nominations to her name, including “Les Misérables,” “Chess,” and “She Loves Me.”

Victor Garber
Guess how many Broadway credits Garber has. Just guess...16! Including this year’s “Hello, Dolly!” gig, thats 16 Broadway appearances since his debut as a standby in 1977’s “The Shadow Box.” The longtime favorite has played everything from Jesus in “Godspell” to John Wilkes Booth in “Assassins,” all while earning a reputation as one of the friendliest and most dedicated actors of both stage and screen. It’s high time Garber, a four-time Tony nominee, is recognized for his contributions.

Saycon Sengbloh
Like Burstein, Sengbloh was nominated for a 2016 Tony Award, although her recognition felt overdue for a different reason; the actor has been steadily turning in beautiful performances on the Broadway stage, often in supporting roles in original works. From her debut in “Aida” to “Fela!” to “Holler If Ya Hear Me,” Sengbloh has wracked up an impressive number of credits, even becoming the first black actor to play Elphaba in “Wicked.” When will she finally win?

Tituss Burgess
No, the “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” star doesn’t have any Tony nominations. But shouldn’t that be rectified immediately? The Emmy nominee worked exclusively in musical theater before landing his career-propelling guest role on “30 Rock,” bringing Broadway audiences to their feet in “Jersey Boys,” “The Little Mermaid,” and “Guys and Dolls.” Face it: His singing voice is undeniable, the sign of a total pro who honed his talent on stage.

Laura Linney
Four nominations and no wins! Sounds a lot like Linney’s track record with the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, where, despite widespread acclaim, she holds only three nominations to her name. On Broadway in 2002’s “The Crucible,” 2005’s “Sight Unseen,” 2010’s “Time Stands Still,” and last year’s “The Little Foxes” opposite Cynthia Nixon, Linney time and again has commanded the stage. Often by doing very little, she provides vivid and unmissable details about her characters. It’s about time Tony voters recognized her level of craft.

Andrew Rannells
Up-and-coming leading men abound on Broadway, but Rannells is a cut above: a fearless triple threat with a certain knack for quirk that makes him inexplicably magnetic on stage. He earned a Tony nomination for “The Book of Mormon,” after all, and transitioned effortlessly to the title role in “Hedwig and the Angry Inch,” then heard his name called again for last year’s “Falsettos,” all while building up an enviable on-camera résumé as well. We can’t wait to see what Rannells does next. Which role will clinch his inevitable Tony?

BONUS: Barbra Streisand
Yes, she technically has a Tony Award to call her own. But although she received an honorary “Star of the Decade” statue, Streisand has never won a competitive Tony, a fact that seems downright impossible. The diva made Fanny Brice an instant icon in Broadway’s “Funny Girl” from 1964 to 1967, and lost the prize for leading actress in a musical to Carol Channing in “Hello, Dolly!” Of course, she went on to win (in a tie with Katharine Hepburn) an Academy Award in the film version, but we wish she would grace the Broadway stage with her presence again. Nobody would rain on her parade.

Inspired? Check out our Broadway audition listings! And check out acting advice from some Tony-nominated actors here:



This post was originally published on June 6, 2016. It has since been updated.