Mark Rylance and Jim Lichtscheidl in "Nice Fish" at the Guthrie in 2016. Rylance earned his fifth Tony nomination this year for "Farinelli and the King." /Teddy Woolf
Congratulations on your Tony nominations (full list is here), everybody, but what have you done for us lately, Tony? What do the nominations mean for us in the Twin Cities?
Since many of the nominees, which were announced May 1, just opened on Broadway, we don't know yet when any of them will make it here. Some could be announced within the year (after "Dear Evan Hansen" cleaned up at last June's Tony Awards, its tour dates were announced eight months later) while some will probably make a vague announcement of a tour and never show up at all.
Which is which? We can make a few educated guesses.
"Mean Girls," which is a big hit, is based on a well-liked movie, earned a tied-for-the-lead 12 nominations and has Tina Fey's name attached as the (Tony-nominated) book writer, seems like the surest bet to make it to the Twin Cities within the next couple seasons. "Frozen" also has a strong marketing hook -- the Disney animated movie's "Let It Go" number was inescapable for a while -- but critics didn't like it, sales have been slow while kids are still in school in New York and it only earned three nominations. Still, the Disney name should assure it of a chance to turn theaters around the country into icy kingdoms.
Another good bet is "The Band's Visit," the most acclaimed musical of the year and a near-certain winner of the best musical Tony, which will be handed out June 10. "Band's Visit" is a small show (comparable to "Fun Home," which played here last season) but it would be very unusual for a musical that wins the top prize not to tour. A few other musicals that might have a future on the road are the revival of "My Fair Lady," the struggling-but-kid-friendly "SpongeBob SquarePants: The Musical" and "Summer: The Donna Summer Musical," which has been greeted like a cake left out in the rain by critics but could attract ticketgoers because of its beloved songs.
After that, it gets dicey. Straight plays rarely hit the road, with this season's "The Humans" and next season's "The Play That Goes Wrong" being exceptions. None of this year's crop of Tony-nominated plays seems likely to tour, although it'd be swell if the Guthrie could work its connections with Mark Rylance (who has appeared at the G several times, most recently in his "Nice Fish") to convince him to bring to town multiple nominee "Farinelli and the King," which earned him another shot at a Tony this year (he already has three).
Not many local folks are up for 2018 Tonys but Barlett Sher is known to longtime theater buffs. Nominated for directing "My Fair Lady," Sher was company director of the Guthrie in the 1990s and directed several productions there, including "The Good Hope."