Young ‘Matilda’ Stars Ruled Ineligible for Best Actress Tony Award, Will Receive Honorary Award Instead


MAtilda-girlsWhen it comes to the Oscar and Emmy acting awards, decisions are pretty cut and dry on the eligibility requirements.  When it comes to Tony Awards, the rigorous schedule of Broadway sometimes disqualifies certain performers from categories.  Case in point: administrators of the awards have ruled that the four girls, ages 9 and 10, who rotate the role of Matilda on Broadway in the popular adaptation of Roald Dahl’s children’s novel are not eligible for the Tony Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Musical category.  Tony nominees will be announced Tuesday, April 30.

The actresses were ruled ineligible because each one portrays Matilda twice a week and administrators decided that added up to too few performances each when compared to actors who perform their roles eight times a week themselves. However, the four young actresses — Sophia Gennusa, Oona Laurence, Bailey Ryon and Milly Shapiro — will not go home empty-handed because they will be awarded non-competitive Tony Honors for Excellence in the Theatre for their starring roles.  All the girls made their Broadway debuts in the musical.

Nonetheless, the decision is not without some controversy.  The four actresses portraying Matilda in the West End production were not only ruled eligible for the Best Actress in a Musical Olivier Award, but they also won the awards.  Likewise, in 2006 the three young actors who portrayed Billy Elliot in Billy Elliot: The Musical were in consideration and later won the Tony Award for Best Actor in a musical. 

In a statement, the producers of Matilda thanked the administration committee for its decision to give the actresses an honorary award and offered no protest for not including them in the main category.

via The Associated Press

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