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Tony Awards confirm eligibility placement of ‘Gutenberg! The Musical!’

The musical will be considered a revival.

(L-R) Andrew Rannells and Josh Gad in the Broadway production of “Gutenberg! The Musical,” 2023 (Credit: Matthew Murphy)

Broadway News has learned that the Tony Awards Administration Committee has ruled that “Gutenberg! The Musical” will be eligible in the Best Revival of a Musical category. While this was discussed at the committee’s November 2023 meeting, the information was not included in the initial eligibility rulings announcement.

While “Gutenberg!” has never appeared on Broadway before, it has had numerous productions prior to its October 2023 Main Stem premiere. Initially developed at Upright Citizens Brigade, “Gutenberg!” was presented at the 2005 New York Musical Theatre Festival. An Off-West End production at London’s Jermyn Theatre followed in 2006, and the show subsequently played Off-Broadway at 59E59 Theatres from November to December 2006, before transferring to the now-shuttered Actors’ Playhouse in January 2007. The show was performed regionally before landing on Broadway in 2023.

According to the Tonys’ rules and regulations, a show that has never appeared on Broadway can be deemed a revival if the committee rules the show is considered a “‘classic’ or in the historical or popular repertoire.” Past examples include 2003’s “Little Shop of Horrors,” 2004’s “Assassins,” 2014’s “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” and 2021’s “Trouble in Mind,” all of which were deemed revivals despite being their initial Broadway mounting. The ruling is at the sole discretion of the administration committee; “Here Lies Love,” which premiered on Broadway this season, will be eligible as a new musical, although it played Off-Broadway in 2013 and London in 2014.

This means the “Gutenberg!”’s co-composers and book writers Scott Brown and Anthony King will not be eligible in the Best Book of a Musical or Best Original Score Written for the Theatre categories; however, Brown and King still have an opportunity to be acknowledged. Should “Gutenberg!” be nominated for Best Revival of a Musical, the duo will also be nominated alongside the producers. This comes from a rule established in 2019 allowing authors of plays or musicals that are considered revivals, but have never been produced on Broadway, to share the nomination with the show’s producers.

This is the rule that allowed Mart Crowley to win a 2019 Tony for the Broadway mounting of his comic drama “The Boys in the Band.” The play was deemed a revival, despite never having played Broadway before—the play’s original 1968 Off-Broadway run and film adaptation helped place the work under the “classic” ruling. 

The rule also allows for authors of revivals that have previously appeared on Broadway to be eligible for a Tony if the administration committee deems that the work has been substantially reworked. In 2023, Amy Herzog was nominated for Best Revival of a Play for her adaptation of Henrik Ibsen’s “A Doll’s House.”

If “Gutenberg!” is nominated for Best Revival of Musical, it will be the first time the 2019 rule has gone into effect for a musical (all applications so far have been for plays). All nominated musical revivals since 2019 have indeed appeared previously on Broadway.

This means there are currently six musicals eligible for Best Revival of a Musical come Tony time: “Cabaret,” “Gutenberg!,” “Merrily We Roll Along,” “Spamalot,” “The Who’s Tommy” and “The Wiz.” Per Tony rules, if there are six eligible candidates in a category, there will be four nominees, unless there is a two- or three-way tie for the final slot, in which case there could potentially be five or six nominees.

Revivals have had an evolving place among the Tony Awards. The category didn’t exist until 1977—the Tonys’ 31st ceremony. At the time, the category was called “Most Innovative Production of a Revival,” and encompassed both plays and musicals. The creation of two separate categories for revival plays and musicals came along in 1994.