It's nail-biting time on Broadway ahead of Tony nominations

Staff Writer
Columbus Monthly

NEW YORK (AP) — Will the list include a musical set in a funeral home of all places? Or one set in Paris? Is there room for a brand-new show that makes William Shakespeare look like Mick Jagger? Can a dark, sinister show led by an 82-year-old sneak in?

Tony Award nominations are revealed Tuesday and the top prize — best musical — has plenty of varied candidates. The field for best lead actress in a musical also proves to be very strong for a second year.

Top musical candidates are "Fun Home," a show based on Alison Bechdel's coming of age graphic novel; "Something Rotten!" a big, bawdy show about the birth of the first musical; a dance-heavy stage adaptation of the 1951 musical film "An American in Paris"; and the Chita Rivera-led "The Visit."

One of the most buzzed-about shows this season — "Hamilton," Lin-Manuel Miranda's musical about founding father Alexander Hamilton — will not get a nod since it is running off-Broadway; it transfers later this summer.

The nominations will be announced from The Paramount Hotel in a televised event co-hosted by Tony winner Mary-Louise Parker and Bruce Willis, who will make his Broadway debut in the upcoming "Misery."

There were about 40 nominators this year, selecting candidates for 24 competitive categories of Tony Awards, which will be handed out at Radio City Music Hall on June 7.

Some 870 Tony voters — members of professional groups such as the American Theatre Wing, The Broadway League, Actors' Equity Association, the Dramatists Guild and the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society — will decide the final awards. Only Broadway shows that opened in the 12 months ending on April 23 are eligible.

Other top musicals hoping to secure one of the four slots include the flashy "Finding Neverland" and the sweet "It Shoulda Been You." More distant possibilities are "Doctor Zhivago," which was roasted by critics, and the already-closed "Honeymoon in Vegas," ''The Last Ship" and "Holler If Ya Hear Me."

The best new play category will include the candidates "Wolf Hall, Parts One & Two," ''Airline Highway," ''The River," ''Hand to God," ''Disgraced," ''The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time ," ''The Audience" and "Constellations."

The best play revival category has plenty of options to fill its four spots: "A Delicate Balance," ''The Elephant Man," ''The Heidi Chronicles," ''It's Only a Play," ''Love Letters," ''The Real Thing," ''Skylight," ''This is Our Youth" and "You Can't Take It With You."

The musical revival category has five potential candidates looking for four openings: "Gigi," ''The King and I," ''On the Town," ''On the Twentieth Century" and "Side Show."

A rule allows for a fifth nominee in the four major production categories — best musical and play and best revivals for each — if at least nine shows are eligible and the fifth-highest vote-getter finishes close enough to the fourth.

The best actress in a musical category is very competitive again this year. Those expected to compete for the five slots are Kristin Chenoweth for "On the Twentieth Century," Kelli O'Hara for "The King and I," Rivera for "The Visit," Leanne Cope from "An American in Paris," Lisa Howard in "It Shoulda Been You" and Laura Michelle Kelly in "Finding Neverland."

The top candidates for the five openings for best actor in a musical are Brian d'Arcy James for "Something Rotten!", Michael Cerveris in "Fun Home," Matthew Morrison from "Finding Neverland," Roger Rees in "The Visit," Ken Watanabe in "The King and I," Tony Yazbeck in "On the Town," Robert Fairchild in "An American in Paris" and Peter Gallagher in "On the Twentieth Century."

Leading candidates for the five best actor in a play spots include Bradley Cooper for "The Elephant Man," Nathan Lane in "It's Only a Play," Ben Miles for "Wolf Hall, Parts One & Two," Alex Sharp in "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time ," Steven Boyer in "Hand to God," Jake Gyllenhaal in "Constellations" and Bill Nighy for "Skylight."

The top five likely picks for best actresses in a play will include Carey Mulligan in "Skylight," Helen Mirren in "The Audience," Ruth Wilson in "Constellations," Glenn Close in "A Delicate Balance" and Elisabeth Moss in "The Heidi Chronicles."


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