Oprah Winfrey, Harry Connick Jr. and Ralph Fiennes are in the running for Broadway’s biggest prize – the Tony Award – while other famous names of the current theater season, including Julia Roberts and David Schwimmer, have been left out in the cold.
“The Color Purple,” which Winfrey helped produce, is up for 11 Tonys – including best musical. The show, based on Alice Walker’s novel, was also a 1984 Steven Spielberg movie that gave Winfrey her launching pad to stardom.
Connick earned a nod for his role in the revival of the 1950’s musical “The Pajama Game,” which garnered a total of nine nominations.
Fiennes’s nomination, for best leading actor in a drama, is for “Faith Healer.” He’ll be competing against, among others, Huff actor Oliver Platt, up for his performance in “Shining City.”
Roberts, however, was bypassed for her work in the critically panned Richard Greenberg drama “Three Days of Rain,” as were her costars Paul Rudd and Bradley Cooper. The show was nominated, however, for its set design.
Also overlooked: Schwimmer, who stars in “The Caine Mutiny Court Martial.”
Other top nominees include the 1920s pastiche “The Drowsy Chaperone,” which leads the musical field with 13 nods. The other best musical nominee is “The Wedding Singer,” based on the 1998 movie that starred Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore.
Tied at eight nods are the musical “Jersey Boys,” the gritty show-biz tale of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, and the revival of the Clifford Odets drama “Awake and Sing!”
“The History Boys,” Alan Bennett’s drama about a group of boisterous students trying to get into Oxford or Cambridge, received seven nominations, including for best play.
The Tonys will be presented live on CBS June 11.