Broadway’s Tony Awards handed 13 nominations Monday to the campy musical “Hairspray,” based on John Waters’s1988 comedy about an “American Bandstand”-like show in ’60s Baltimore and a young girl’s attempt to integrate it racially.
The show received the most nominations of any this past season, picking up a nod for best musical, while stars Marissa Jaret Winokur and Harvey Fierstein — who actually plays a woman — also received nominations for lead actress and actor in a musical.
Fierstein’s chief competition on Tony night June 8 (CBS will air the 57th annual show live) is expected to be Antonio Banderas, who stars as a Fellini-esque Italian movie director in the revival of “Nine, the Musical.”
“Movin’ Out,” a dance-musical assembled by choreographer Twyla Tharp and made up entirely of Billy Joel songs, received 10 nominations, while “Nine” (which is loosely based on Fellini’s 1963 film, “8 1/2”) nabbed eight.
“Hairspray”‘s Winokur — who plays the role created by Ricki Lake in the original Waters movie — is nominated in a category that includes Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio for “Man of La Mancha” and perennial Broadway favorite Bernadette Peters, in the revival of “Gypsy.”
Despite some negative word of mouth prior to the opening, Peters scored overwhelmingly positive reviews for her performance. The bad news: the star, 55, then went on to miss nearly a week’s worth of performances, reportedly due to a respiratory infection.
In the drama department, the revival of Eugene O’Neill’s classic epic “Long Day’s Journey Into Night” led the field with seven nominations. This included one for each of its four principals: Brian Dennehy, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Robert Sean Leonard and Vanessa Redgrave, considered a virtual shoo-in for outstanding actress in a drama.
“La Boheme,” an opulent staging of the Puccini opera by Baz Luhrmann (“Moulin Rouge”), was admired by the critics, is doing only so-so business — and received six nominations, including best director of a musical for Luhrmann.
In addition, a special Honor for Excellence in the Theater award will be given to the 10-member ensemble cast of “La Boheme,” which rotates its leading roles.