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A Look At The Youngest And Oldest Tony Award Nominees

The 2015 Tony Award nominations include several very exciting nominations. Among them, 82-year-old Broadway legend Chita Rivera, who is nominated for her role in Terence McNally’s “The Visit,” and 11-year-old Sydney Lucas, who is up for her performance in “Fun Home.” It’s fascinating to see the broad age range of the nominees this year, and it’s a very close race to see just who will be taking home the coveted statues on June 7.

Sydney Lucas, age 11

Sydney Lucas
(Photo by Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images)

Sydney Lucas, at the age of 11, could end up tying with the previous youngest female actress ever to win a Tony Award. In 1991 the Tony for Best Performance by A Featured Actress in a Musical went to Daisy Eagan, who was appearing in “The Secret Garden.” However, the record for the youngest person to ever win a Tony is still held by Frankie Michaels, who took home the award for “Mame” in 1966. He was just 10 years old.

Lucas is nominated for Best Performance by an Actress in Featured Role in a Musical for her work as Small Alison. It’s a role shared by three actresses, as they all play the character of Alison at three different ages (and all three have been nominated for the Tony this year.) As the youngest of the three, Lucas explores the challenges of feeling different while dealing with issues regarding her relationship with her father. She’s made a huge splash on Broadway for this, her debut performance, and she’s one young actress who has a very bright future ahead of her.

Chita Rivera, age 82

Chita Rivera
(Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Songwriters Hall Of Fame)

On the other end of the age spectrum is Broadway legend Chita Rivera, who has been appearing on Broadway since her debut in 1950. At the age of 82, she’s been nominated for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play in “The Visit” by Terrence McNally. She plays a rich widow who returns to her home town seeking revenge. Rivera is among the oldest actresses to ever be nominated for a Tony Award, which ranks her among people like Cicely Tyson, who won the Tony at the age of 88 for her role in “A Trip to Bountiful” in 2013.

Rivera has won the Tony twice before, for her work in 1984’s “The Rink” and 1993’s “Kiss of the Spider Woman.” She has also been nominated for the award six other times, including performances in “Chicago,” “Bye, Bye Birdie,” “Bring Back Birdie,” “Merlin,” “Jerry’s Girls,” “and “Nine.” This nomination for “The Visit” takes her total to nine nominations, making her the second most nominated actress in Tony history, behind Julie Harris, with 10 Tony nominations. Rivera’s impact on the Broadway world is undeniable. She’s originated some of the most memorable roles in theater history, and she proves that you can still shine on stage, no matter what your age may be.

The Tony Awards will be presented on Sunday, June 7 on CBS, so mark your calendars and tune in to this exciting event. Seventy-one years separate the youngest and oldest Tony Award nominee this year, and both are up for some very exciting new shows. Sydney Lucas may just be 11 years old, but she has to start somewhere, and who knows? She may just end up beating out Chita Rivera for the most Tony Nominations ever, though she’ll need a few years to catch up.

Deborah Flomberg is a theater professional, freelance writer and Denver native. Her work can be found at

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