It’s been a big year for revivals, screen-to-stage adaptations, and . . . sponges. It’s hard to cover all there is to know about the awards ceremony, but consider this a preshow primer of some highlights.

The year that Hollywood came to Broadway . . . All four of the productions nominated for Best Musical, Frozen, SpongeBob SquarePants: The Broadway Musical, Mean Girls, and The Band’s Visit (based on a 2007 art house film) originated on the small or silver screen.

Laurels for Laurie . . . Laurie Metcalf is having quite a year (or two). Not only was she nominated for an Oscar for her performance in Ladybird, she’ll be entering this awards ceremony with a Tony under her belt for last year’s performance in A Doll’s House, Part 2 and a nomination for her performance in Three Tall Women.

Parliament to proscenium . . . Glenda Jackson, nominated this year for her performance in Three Tall Women, took a 23-year hiatus from acting, during which the 82-year-old actress served in the British Parliament (and also ran for mayor of London in 1999).

All grown up . . . When black actress Noma Dumezweni, nominated for Best Featured Actress in a Play, was cast as the adult Hermione in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child in London, there was some controversy over her skin tone. J.K. Rowling came to the actress’s defense, and clarified that Hermione’s skin tone was never specified.

The Iceman Cometh and cometh . . . Denzel Washington is nominated this year for his performance as “Hickey” in The Iceman Cometh; Nathan Lane, also nominated in an acting category for his performance in Angels in America, played the same role in Iceman in an acclaimed 2015 production at BAM.

The cast of Angels in America

Photographed by Annie Leibovitz, Vogue, February 2018
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Drama club . . . Tina Fey, responsible for this year’s stage adaptation of Mean Girls, is, as Adam Green reported, a “self-described theater nerd” who landed parts as Frenchy in Grease and Sally Bowles in Cabaret in her youth. (“That was a mistake,” she told Green.)

Tina Fey

Photographed by Annie Leibovitz, Vogue, March 2018

Try, try again . . . British Actress Denise Gough, who wowed audiences Off Broadway with her recent performance in People, Places & Things at St. Ann’s warehouse, and is nominated for her performance in Angels in America, almost gave up on acting just before she was cast in the British production of People, Places & Things; She had gone a year without getting a part.

All in the family . . . Claire van Kampen’s Farinelli and the King, nominated for Best Play, stars her real-life husband, Mark Rylance (also nominated for his performance in the play).

Speak softly and carry a big mic . . . The Tony category for sound design was eliminated in 2014, ostensibly because too few voters understood what it entailed. It returns this year, with nods for Travesties, Angels in America, 1984, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, and The Iceman Cometh. (Only those deemed sufficiently knowledgeable will be allowed to vote.)

Unsung hero . . . Perhaps the awardee with the lowest profile is Ernest Winzer Cleaners, which will be awarded the Honors for Excellence in the Theater for its 110 years of dedicated costume care.