Tony Losing Broadway Musicals

This poster for John C. Fisher's 1902 production of the Broadway musical "The Silver Slipper" is in the public domain in the United States because it was published (or registered with the U.S. Copyright Office) before January 1, 1923.
This poster for John C. Fisher's 1902 production of the Broadway musical "The Silver Slipper" is in the public domain in the United States because it was published (or registered with the U.S. Copyright Office) before January 1, 1923. | Source

What are the Tony Awards?

The Tony Awards—the Antoinette Perry Awards for Excellence in Theatre—are the stage performance equivalents of the Oscars, the annual awards for excellence presented in the film industry. They are presented annually in New York City’s Theatre District (Broadway) in what are currently more than two dozen categories.

The Tony Awards were first presented in 1947. Some sources state that the award for Best Musical was first presented in 1950, and some state it was 1955. The most recent Best Musical award was presented in June 2012.

When I wrote History of the Tony Awards, I began thinking about all the musical productions which had been nominated for Tony Awards…and lost.

This article lists every production which has been nominated for a Best Musical Tony Award on Broadway from 1955 to the present. Enjoy the videos clips of the fantastic musicals which did not win.

1955 TO 1960 Tony Awards

AWARD-WINNING BEST MUSICAL
MUSICALS WHICH DID NOT WIN
1955: THE PAJAMA GAME
 
 
Fanny
 
Peter Pan
 
Plain and Fancy
 
Silk Stockings
 
 
1956: DAMN YANKEES
 
 
Pipe Dream
 
 
1957: MY FAIR LADY
 
 
Bells Are Ringing
 
Candide
 
The Most Happy Fella
 
 
1958: THE MUSIC MAN
 
 
West Side Story
 
New Girl in Town
 
Oh, Captain!
 
Jamaica
 
 
1959: REDHEAD
 
 
Flower Drum Song
 
La Plume de Ma Tante
 
 
1960: THE SOUND OF MUSIC
 
1960: FIORELLO!
 
 
Gypsy
 
Once Upon a Mattress
 
Take Me Along

Which 1958 musical theatre production do you like better?

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1958: West Side Story LOST to The Music Man

1961 TO 1970 Tony Awards

AWARD-WINNING BEST MUSICAL
MUSICALS WHICH DID NOT WIN
1961: BYE BYE BIRDIE
 
 
Do Re Mi
 
Irma La Douce
 
 
1962: HOW TO SUCCEED IN BUSINESS WITHOUT REALLY TRYING
 
 
Carnival!
 
Milk and Honey
 
No Strings
 
 
1963: A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE FORUM
 
 
Little Me
 
Oliver!
 
Stop the World—I Want to Get Off
 
 
1964: HELLO, DOLLY!
 
 
Funny Girl
 
High Spirits
 
She Loves Me
 
 
1965: FIDDLER ON THE ROOF
 
 
Golden Boy
 
Half a Sixpence
 
Oh,What a Lovely War!
 
 
1966: MAN OF LA MANCHA
 
 
Mame
 
Skyscraper
 
Sweer Charity
 
 
1967: CABARET
 
 
I Do! I Do!
 
The Apple Tree
 
Walking Happy
 
 
1968: HALLELUJAH, BABY!
 
 
The Happy Time
 
How Now, Dow Jones
 
Illya Darling
 
 
1969: 1776
 
 
Hair
 
Promises, Promises
 
Zorba
 
 
1970: APPLAUSE
 
 
Coco
 
Purlie

1971 TO 1980 Tony Awards

AWARD-WINNING BEST MUSICAL
MUSICALS WHICH DID NOT WIN
1971: COMPANY
 
 
The Me Nobody Knows
 
The Rothschilds
 
 
1972: TWO GENTLEMEN OF VERONA
 
 
Ain't Supposed to Die a Natural Death
 
Follies
 
Grease
 
 
1973: A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC
 
 
Don't Bother Me, I Can't Cope
 
Pippin
 
Sugar
 
 
1974: RAISIN
 
 
Over here!
 
Seesaw
 
 
1975: THE WIZ
 
 
Mack & Mabel
 
The Lieutenant
 
Shenandoah
 
 
1976: A CHORUS LINE
 
 
Bubblin Brown Sugar
 
Chicago
 
Pacific Overtures
 
 
1977: ANNIE
 
 
Happy End
 
I Love My Wife
 
Side by Side by Sondheim
 
 
1978: AIN'T MISBEHAVIN'
 
 
Dancin'
 
On the Twentieth Century
 
Runaways
 
 
1979: SWEENEY TODD: THE DEMON BARBER OF FLEET STREET
 
 
Ballroom
 
The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas
 
They're Playing Our Song
 
 
1980: EVITA
 
 
A Day in Hollywood / A Night in the Ukraine
 
Barnum
 
Sugar Babies

1981 TO 1990 Tony Awards

AWARD-WINNING BEST MUSICAL
MUSICALS WHICH DID NOT WIN
1981: 42ND STREET
 
 
Sophisticated Ladies
 
Tintypes
 
Woman of the Year
 
 
1982: NINE
 
 
Dreamgirls
 
Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat
 
Pump Boys and Dinettes
 
 
1983: CATS
 
 
Blues in the Night
 
Merlin
 
My One and Only
 
 
1984: LA CAGE AUX FOLLES
 
 
Baby
 
Sunday in the Park with George
 
The Tap Dance Kid
 
 
1985: BIG RIVER
 
 
Grind
 
Leader of the Pack
 
Quilters
 
 
1986: DROOD
 
 
Big Deal
 
Sing and Dance
 
Tango Argentino
 
 
1987: LES MISÉRABLES
 
 
Me and My Girl
 
Rags
 
Starlight Express
 
 
1988: THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
 
 
Into the Woods
 
Romance/Romance
 
Sarafina!
 
 
1989: JEROME ROBBINS' BROADWAY
 
 
Black and Blue
 
Starmites
 
 
1990: CITY OF ANGELS
 
 
Aspects of Love
 
Grand Hotel
 
Meet Me in St. Louis

1991 TO 2000 Tony Awards

AWARD-WINNING BEST MUSICAL
MUSICALS WHICH DID NOT WIN
1991: THE WILL ROGERS FOLLIES
 
 
Miss Saigon
 
Once on This Island
 
The Secret Garden
 
 
1992: CRAZY FOR YOU
 
 
Falsettos
 
Five Guys Named Moe
 
Jelly's Last Jam
 
 
1993: KISS OF THE SPIDER WOMAN
 
 
Blood Brothers
 
The Goodbye Girl
 
The Who's Tommy
 
 
1994: PASSION
 
 
A Grand Night for Singing
 
Beauty and the Beast
 
Cyrano: The Musical
 
 
1995: SUNSET BOULEVARD
 
 
Smokey Joe's Café
 
 
1996: RENT
 
 
Bring in 'da Noise, Bring in 'da Funk
 
Chronicle of a Death Foretold
 
Swinging on a Star
 
 
1997: TITANIC
 
 
Juan Darien
 
Steel Pier
 
The Life
 
 
1998: THE LION KING
 
 
Side Show
 
The Scarlet Pimpernel
 
Ragtime
 
 
1999: FOSSE
 
 
The Civil War
 
It Ain't Nothin' But the Blues
 
Parade
 
 
2000: CONTACT
 
 
James Joyce's The Dead
 
Swing!
 
The Wild Party

1994: These selections from Beauty and the Beast, which LOST to Passion, were performed at the Tony Awards

2001 TO 2010 Tony Awards

AWARD-WINNING BEST MUSICAL
MUSICALS WHICH DID NOT WIN
2001: THE PRODUCERS
 
 
A Class Act
 
The Full Monty
 
Jane Eyre
 
 
2002: THOROUGHLY MODERN MILLIE
 
 
Mamma Mia!
 
Sweet Smell of Success
 
Urinetown The Musical
 
 
2003: HAIRSPRAY
 
 
Amour
 
A Year with Frog and Toad
 
Movin' Out
 
 
2004: AVENUE Q
 
 
The Boy from Oz
 
Caroline, or Change
 
Wicked
 
 
2005: MONTY PYTHON'S SPAMALOT
 
 
The Light in the Piazza
 
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
 
The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee
 
 
2006: JERSEY BOYS
 
 
The Color Purple
 
The Drowsy Chaperone
 
The Wedding Singer
 
 
2007: SPRING AWAKENING
 
 
Curtains
 
Grey Gardens
 
Mary Poppins
 
 
2008: IN THE HEIGHTS
 
 
Cry-Baby
 
Passing Strange
 
Xanadu
 
 
2009: BILLY ELLIOT THE MUSICAL
 
 
Next to Normal
 
Rock of Ages
 
Shrek the Musical
 
 
2010: MEMPHIS
 
 
American Idiot
 
Fela!
 
Million Dollar Quartet

2004: This song from Wicked, which LOST to Avenue Q, was performed at the Tony Awards

2011 TO 2012 Tony Awards

AWARD-WINNING BEST MUSICAL
MUSICALS WHICH DID NOT WIN
2011: THE BOOK OF MORMON
 
 
Catch Me If You Can
 
The Scottsboro Boys
 
Sister Act
 
 
2012: ONCE
 
 
Leap of Faith
 
Newsies
 
Nice Work If You Can Get It

2012: Newsies LOST to Once

Have you ever attended a musical theatre production, whether on Broadway or elsewhere?

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Comments 32 comments

Jools99 profile image

Jools99 4 years ago from North-East UK

Daisy, great hub - amazing to see some of the losers on this list - quite shocking in fact! 'Chicago' losing out to 'A Chorus Line' (of which I am not a fan to be honest) and Miss Saigon And Five Guys Named Mo also losing out - phew! I think some of the winners have not stood the test of time enjoyed by some of the losers. I suppose it's all down to more than just the songs but I was still a bit shocked.


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 4 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Julie (Jools99),

Thanks for reading my article and being the first person to add a comment. I appreciate your continued support of my performing arts and museum / art history Hubs.

In some of the years, the Best Musical winners were productions I must admit I had never heard of, while the productions which didn't win were quite well-known to me.

Three of the years in which I don't agree with the winning musical are 1958, 1972, and 1982. The Music Man being "better" than West Side Story really surprised me.


rcrumple profile image

rcrumple 4 years ago from Kentucky

Daisy -

Another winning hub. I'm sure 1958 was the year many will discuss as West Side Story and Music Man were both winners in my book. The one that truly surprises me is in 1969 with the waste of time 1776 winning over Hair, definitely a play of the times. My guess is the nudity turned off some of the more traditional theater visitors, as well as its anti establishment views. So sad. Was much better. Great Hub!


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 4 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Rich (rcrumple),

Thanks, once again, for reading one of my articles and adding another inciteful comment. I appreciate your continued support of my writing and your very kind words.

I knew someone who saw both 1776 and Hair on Broadway. He much preferred Hair, but he observed that some of the people in the audience seemed a bit uncomfortable.

The productions were nominated in the year of the Woodstock music festival. I wonder whether some of the people who voted were thinking about Woodstock when they cast their votes against Hair.


suzettenaples profile image

suzettenaples 4 years ago from Taos, NM

I saw many of these shows. I don't consider any of them to have lost the Tony. They were all fine finalists and the Tony just went to one of them - I don't consider the rest to be losers. All of them were great musicals and so professionally done and they don't belong in the "lost" column. Very interesting and informative. This brought back a lot of wonderful memories for me.


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 4 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Suzannah (suzettenaples),

Thanks for reading my article and adding your inciteful comment. Of the musicals that you saw, which were your favorites?


alocsin profile image

alocsin 4 years ago from Orange County, CA

In general, I agree with the Tony selections. But I certainly would have preferred "Gypsy," "Falsettos" and "Hair" to win. Voting this Up and Interesting.


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 4 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Aurelio (alocsin),

Thanks for reading my article and commenting in it. I was surprised at how many of the musicals I've seen...in Los Angeles, Orange County, New York, and London.

I would have voted for West Side Story rather The Music Man (1958) and Hair rather than 1776 (1969). I would not have nominated Kiss of the Spider Woman (1993). The production I saw in Orange Country was the worst show I have ever seen.


Vinaya Ghimire profile image

Vinaya Ghimire 4 years ago from Nepal

Daisy, I have watched some movies adapted from Broadway musicals, and my favorite is Nine. Thanks for Recommending Phantom of Opera. I'm planning to watch tonight.


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 4 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Vinaya,

I'm glad you bought the DVD of The Phantom of the Opera movie version. If you can't get to London's West End or New York's Broadway any time soon, watching the movie adaptation is a great idea. Enjoy it!


rcrumple profile image

rcrumple 4 years ago from Kentucky

Still like this. Happy to help you out! Voted again. Up & interesting!


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 4 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Rich (rcrumple),

Thanks for visiting again. I appreciate your continued support of my writing.


AudraLeigh 4 years ago

I love a Broadway show! I also love this hub! You have put together all of the shows I have seen and that I want to see in one place...fabulous! / I had no idea that 'Wicked lost in 2004! That is just wrong! I love the Defying Gravity' song so much! Thank you for putting it in your hub!, 'Sunday in the Park with George' is new to me. I saw it in a special on PBS last night...I was impressed! Great work for me to read and promote!


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 4 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

AudraLeigh,

Welcome back to HubPages. It's great to see you here.

Thanks for reading my article and commenting in it. I appreciate your support of my work.


MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 3 years ago from South Africa

Wonderful to have a list like this in HubPages!

If I were the judge, I would have chosen Oliver.

Awesome, Daisy!


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 3 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Martie,

Thanks for reading my article and adding your comment. I know some of the music from Oliver, but I can't recall having a full production of the musical.


Jools99 profile image

Jools99 3 years ago from North-East UK

Daisy, back for a revisit and am still astonished that some of these lost a Tony but I suppose it's a crowded market some years in terms of quality?


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 3 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Julie (Jools99),

Thanks for visiting again. I think you're correct...In some years, there are "too many" great Broadway musicals eligible for Tony Awards.


Vinaya Ghimire profile image

Vinaya Ghimire 3 years ago from Nepal

Daisy,

I came back for a second read. I enjoyed this hub as I have enjoyed American performances in Kathmandu.


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 3 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Vinaya,

Thanks for visiting again. In many years, there are several great musicals. It must be very difficult for the people who vote to select the best one.


Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

Gypsy Rose Lee 3 years ago from Riga, Latvia

Fascinating Daisy. I know that some people have said that the Broadway musicals which have been films first are sometimes accepted more than those which begin as musicals but I'm surprised that so many really fine musicals never got awards. Thanks for sharing and passing this on.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York

Hard to believe Music Man beat out West Side Story, but, having written hubs about the Academy Awards, it is always surprising which ones are picked as the winner! We don't always agree but then we don't always get to choose.

Voted up, useful, and interesting.


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 3 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Rasma (Gypsy Rose Lee),

Thanks for reading my article and posting your insightful comment. Perhaps if people are more familiar with the story due to its having been a movie, they are more apt to attend a live musical theater performance of the show.


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 3 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Mary (tillsontitan),

Thanks for reading my article and commenting in it. Music Man beating out West Side Story is the scenario which surprises me the most.

West Side Story, as you know, takes place in New York City. Perhaps the people who voted didn't want to honor a musical having a story which was close to home.


Christy Birmingham 3 years ago

It is interesting to see which shows won and lost against each other - great idea for a hub, Daisy!


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 3 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Christy,

Thank you for reading my article and posting your comment. Looking at a given year's nominees, in some of the years I would imagine the persons who voted would have had an impossible task.


ChitrangadaSharan profile image

ChitrangadaSharan 2 years ago from New Delhi, India

This is a great idea for a hub. Although I am not familiar with every show on the list, but I love the format and idea of your hub.

Very interesting and now I will explore your list.

Thanks!


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 2 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Chitrangada,

Thanks for reading my article and posting your comment. In some years, there were many great Broadway musicals produced. Not all of them could receive the Best Musical award for that year. It's surprising how many well-deserving productions didn't receive a Tony Award.


Mike Nolan profile image

Mike Nolan 20 months ago from Sarasota, FL

I think a lit a times voters will reward nostalgia over mordern, but also the strength of a performance can bolster a show (Robert Preston). Also, a Tony voter will vote A Chorus Line over Chicago any day, because they can relate more to ACL.

Also as someone who has seen both Avenue Q and Wicked, I have to say I felt Wicked has Act Two problems whereas Avenue Q does not.


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 20 months ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Mike,

Thanks for reading my article and commenting in it. I appreciate your sharing your idea about the Tony Award voters. I hadn't thought about their relating to a story line as a reason for voting for a production.


Vellur profile image

Vellur 19 months ago from Dubai

An interesting and well put together list. I have seen Sound of Music and it was pretty awesome, enjoyed the show.


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 19 months ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Nithya (Vellur),

Thanks for reading my article and posting your comment. I enjoy attending musical theatre performances. I have seen musicals in New York City, Los Angeles; London, England; and Orange County, California.

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