One thing not lacking on Broadway this season was star power – with such marquee names as Hugh Jackman, Daniel Craig, Scarlett Johansson, Liev Schreiber, Denzel Washington, Justin Bartha, Alicia Silverstone, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Christopher Walken, Jude Law, Sienna Miller Sean Hayes, Kelsey Grammer, Laura Linney and even Uncle Fester from The Addams Family packing in the crowds.
As for who among them will take home the Tony, the selection process narrowed Tuesday morning with the announcement of nominations by the American Theatre Wing, with the stirring musical Fela!, about Nigerian Afrobeat legend Fela Anikulapo Kuti, and the moving revival of La Cage Aux Folles, featuring pitch-perfect performances from Kelsey Grammer and British actor Douglas Hodge, outdistancing all other shows – with 11 nominations each.
Hot on their heels was the revival of August Wilson’s Fences, starring nominees Denzel Washington and Viola Davis. It received 10 nominations.
In the field of leading actor in a play, besides Washington, are Jude Law in Hamlet; Alfred Molina, as the artist Mark Rothko, in Red, Liev Schreiber in the revival of Arthur Miller’s A View from the Bridge and Christopher Walken in Martin McDonaugh’s A Behanding in Spokane.
In addition to Viola Davis, the nominated leading actresses in a play are Valerie Harper as the late legend Tallulah Bankhead in Looped; Linda Lavin as a New York author in Donald Margulies’s Collected Stories; Laura Linney as a disillusioned journalist in Time Stands Still and Jan Maxwell as a member of a theatrical dynasty in the classic The Royal Family
Best play nominations went to In the Next Room, Next Fall, Red and Time Stands Still.
Sorry, Morticia and Gomez
In the best musical category, while the critically wounded The Addams Family managed to gain two nods, for supporting actor Kevin Chamberlain (who plays Fester) and for its score, it was basically shut out, with its stars, Nathan Lane and Bebe Neuwirth, ignored.
Also glaringly overlooked, in the straight play category, was Hugh Jackman in A Steady Rain, despite the box office – and sexual heat – both he and costar Daniel Craig generated during its limited run.
On happier notes, the best musical nominees are Green Day’s American Idiot, Fela!, Memphis and Million Dollar Quartet, about a 1956 jam session starring Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, and Elvis Presley.
Lead actor in a musical nods went to Kelsey Grammer, La Cage Aux Folles; Sean Hayes, Promises, Promises; Douglas Hodge, La Cage Aux Folles; Chad Kimball, Memphis; and Sahr Ngaujah, Fela!
Lead actress in a musical nominees: Kate Baldwin, Finian’s Rainbow; Montego Glover, Memphis; Christiane Noll, Ragtime; Sherie Rene Scott, Everyday Rapture; and Catherine Zeta-Jones, A Little Night Music.
Other nominations worth noting are Scarlett Johansson’s for featured actress in A View from the Bridge and two nominated musical featured actresses who long ago earned the stars on their dressing room doors (and already have Tonys on their mantles): Barbara Cook, the original Marian the Librarian in 1957’s The Music Man, now in the running for her contribution to the new musical compendium Sondheim on Sondheim, and everybody’s favorite, Angela Lansbury, who plays Catherine Zeta-Jones’s mother in the revival of Sondheim’s A Little Night Music.
For a complete list of nominations, go to the Tony Awards Web site.
The 64th annual Tony Awards will be telecast on CBS, live from Radio City Music Hall, on Sunday, June 13, in a three-hour show beginning at 8 p.m. ET. No host has been announced as yet, though past emcees have included Jackman, Lansbury and Neil Patrick Harris.
In related news, the lights in Times Square will darken at 8 p.m. Tuesday, in tribute to actress Lynn Redgrave, who died Sunday at her Connecticut home.