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Hiran Abeysekera in a scene from Life of Pi.Evan Zimmerman/The Associated Press

Broadway observers were up early on Tuesday morning to watch the Tony Awards nominations be announced.

Some Like It Hot, a tap-filled attempt to musicalize and modernize the classic screwball film of the same name, lead the way with 13 nods. Meanwhile, & Juliet, the pop-hit jukebox musical and Shakespearean sequel of sorts that had its pre-Broadway run in Toronto last summer, wasn’t far behind with nine, including one for its Canadian writer, David West Read.

I’ll personally be rooting for the lovely little musical comedy, Kimberley Akimbo, to win best musical on June 11 – though I haven’t had the opportunity to see the final two nominees in that category, Shucked and New York, New York.

This is the rare year where the awards in the play categories may be more exciting the musical ones, however.

A couple of months ago, I thought this year’s competition might be a big one for CanLit – with plays based on two major Canadian novels set to open on Broadway this spring.

But first, Room, Emma Donoghue’s stage adaptation of her own bestseller, shocked the industry by shutting down in rehearsals. And, now, one of the most surprising snubs in the best new play category is Life of Pi, British playwright Lolita Chakrabarti’s stage adaptation of Canadian Yann Martel popular novel.

It’s very unusual for a drama that won an Olivier Award for best new play – as Life of Pi did in 2022 – to not even get a Tony nomination in its Broadway debut.

But, in fact, it’s happened twice over this year: Prima Facie, a legal drama starring Killing Eve’s Jodie Comer that just won best new play at the 2023 Olivier Awards, also missed out on a nomination in the same category at the Tonys.

Tom Stoppard’s Leopoldstadt – which won the Olivier Award in 2021 – is nominated for best new play, however, so this isn’t a total British backlash by the Tony nominators.

That drama about a Jewish family in the lead up to the Holocaust (which I reviewed in New York last fall) is up against three past Pulitzer Prize for Drama winners: Fat Ham, James Ijames’ Black queer riff on Hamlet; Cost of Living, Martyna Majok’s play about relationships between people with and without disabilities; and Between Riverside and Crazy, Stephen Adly Guirgis’s play about a retired policeman living in a rent-controlled apartment. The three won their Pultizers in 2022, 2018 and 2015.

A season with three Olivier winners and three Pulitzer winners all on Broadway was always going to lead to one snub or another. I think this simply reflects a backlog of good plays competing for attention and awards on Broadway in its first full season since the New York commercial district’s pandemic closure.

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Life of Pi didn’t miss out entirely on Tony nominations, with Max Webster up for best direction of a play – and his puppet-filled production up for four design awards.Matthew Murphy/The Canadian Press

Rounding out the best play category, by the way, is Ain’t No Mo’, Jordan Cooper’s spicy satirical comedy that takes places in an alternate timeline where there’s a government program in place to buy any Black American who wants one a one-way ticket to Africa.

And as for Life of Pi, it didn’t miss out entirely on Tony nominations: Max Webster is up for best direction of a play – and his puppet-filled production is up for four design awards. This is still a spectacle I hope we’ll see up on this side of the border one of these days.

What’s opening this week in Regina and Vancouver

The Birds and the Bees, Mark Crawford’s romance and romp set on a bee farm, hits the stage at Regina’s Globe Theatre this week (to May 21).

The buzz around this Canadian comedy has reached far enough that a tour of the play through England and Scotland was lined up this coming summer. But, unfortunately, that tour was recently cancelled because of what the producers called a “highly challenging” market for drama. Crawford shared that news on Twitter the other day because “it’s important to not pretend like everything’s rosy” in live theatre right now.

Perhaps the Globe Theatre (and Air Canada) can capitalize on Britain’s loss, however, with some targeted online ads to disappointed audiences in Guildford, Southend, Malvern, Norwich, Richmond, Milton Keynes, Glasgow, Swansea, Cheltenham, Barnstaple, Blackpool, Birmingham, Bromley and Darlington?

Alphonse, a magical monologue by Wajdi Mouawad, closes out Carousel Theatre for Young People’s season in Vancouver this week (May 2-7). I’ve previously reviewed this particular Theatreturtle production of the play directed by Alon Nashman, albeit with other cast members performing it; Gabe Maharjan and Evelyn Barber alternate this time around.

A couple other solo shows that The Globe and Mail has previously covered are re-opening in Toronto this week.

True Crime, Stars singer and trumpet player Torquil Campbell’s show about his real-life (?) brush with a convicted conman, is back on stage at Crow’s Theatre through May 7. Brad Wheeler talked to Campbell about the show back in 2017 – and I reviewed it.

Meanwhile, The Land Acknowledgement, Cliff Cardinal’s scorching solo show, is back for five performances at the CAA Theatre from May 4 to 7. I spoke to Cardinal about the sneaky history of the show earlier this year – and then reviewed it.

Both of these shows enjoying return engagements are collaborations with Chris Abraham, artistic director of Crow’s Theatre, where the Canadian premiere of Lloyd Suh’s The Chinese Lady also opens this week in the Studio Theatre at the Streetcar Crowsnest.

This acclaimed play is about the first Chinese woman said to have set foot on American soil. Studio 180 Theatre and fu-GEN Asian Canadian Theatre Company are the main co-producers – and it runs to May 21.