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Tony Awards 2020: UK shows to watch out for at this year's event

The awards will be held later this year

Adrienne Warren in Tina – The Tina Turner Musical
© Manuel Harlan

The Tony Awards are coming! After an exciting reveal last week, it was confirmed that the New York celebration will be going digital for the Covid era, with everything being presented online.

While nominations have not yet been announced, we have a cheat-sheet for any UK stage fan wanting to root for a show that was born this side of the Atlantic and now competing on the Great White Way.

Shows to keep an eye on

Tina – The Tina Turner Musical – Will the jukebox show about the rock 'n' roll icon prove to be "Simply the Best"? Leading lady Adrienne Warren is a big hit on Broadway and wowed when she opened the show in the West End, so we have high hopes she can repeat the affair in New York.

My Name Is Lucy Barton by Rona Munroe – The Bridge Theatre enters the Tony Awards fray for the first time with owners London Theatre Company producing this hit solo play led by Laura Linney. It got a five-star write-up when it was first here too!

Laura Linney in My Name is Lucy Barton
© Manuel Harlan

A Christmas Carol by Jack Thorne – Thorne's delightfully sweet and perfectly wrought version of the Dickens classic has become a festive stalwart at the Old Vic, and is expected to return there this festive season (pandemic permitting). It was a resounding success on Broadway last Christmas too, so we have mince pies at the ready for when it (hopefully) gets some nominations.

The Inheritance by Matthew Lopez – Lopez's soaring two-part play is a brilliant masterstroke in original storytelling, crafting a world out of a flat white space and minimal props. It won big in the UK after appearing first at the Young Vic before transferring to the West End.

Samuel H Levine and Michael Walters in The Inheritance
© Marc Brenner

Sea Wall/A Life by Simon Stephens and Nick Payne – Here's a funny one – nominated as part of a pair, Stephens and Payne's short plays will be competing together in the Best New Play category. Considering Sea Wall was a resounding success in the UK when it was recently staged with excruciating power by Andrew Scott at the Old Vic, we wouldn't be surprised if it gets a nomination here.

The Height of the Storm by Florian Zeller, translated by Christopher Hampton – Jonathan Pryce and Eileen Atkins lead Zeller's heartwrenching play, tackling, as Zeller often does, the nature of family life in all its knotty intricacies. It was nominated for a variety of awards in the UK so may be set to do the same in the US.

Betrayal by Harold Pinter – After a dazzling stay in the West End at the Harold Pinter Theatre (where else!), Jamie Lloyd's production of Betrayal, featuring Tom Hiddleston, Zawe Ashton and Charlie Cox, went and repeated the affair (pun intended) on Broadway. Cox, Ashton and Hiddleston will likely be vying for the acting slots, while Lloyd makes a strong case for a director nod.

Zawe Ashton, Charlie Cox and Tom Hiddleston in Betrayal
© Marc Brenner

Shows that missed out (but should be around for next time)

With the Tony Awards having to cut off their season early, a number of shows will sadly not be eligible in 2020 (but should be able to compete next time around if they're able to reopen).

Company – Marianne Elliott's revival of the iconic Sondheim and Furth musical, which won big in the UK at the WhatsOnStage and Olivier Awards, had just commenced previews when lockdown closed down the Great White Way. But it should be back in action next year.

Six – If Company was a bit gutted then Six really had it bad – it had to shut down mere hours before opening night following rulings from the state governor.

Girl from the North Country – Conor McPherson's musical won two Olivier Awards when it was first staged at the Old Vic and in the West End, losing none of its power when it returned at the start of 2020. But, given it opened just before Broadway closed, it didn't have enough time to invite enough voters. Only one Old Vic show will therefore be participating this year.

Simon Russell Beale, Adam Godley and Ben Miles
© Mark Douet

The Lehman Trilogy – Sam Mendes and Ben Power's stage show about the (in)famous family that soared to financial success before, like Icarus, sinking fast, wasn't able to open on Broadway in time to be eligible for the Best Play categories, so will have to wait.

Caroline, or Change – Sharon D Clarke gave a powerhouse performance in this hit musical, winning an Olivier Award in the process. The show was still in late rehearsals when Broadway closed, so the piece sadly won't be competing this time around.

Sharon D Clark in Caroline or Change
© Marc Brenner