“The Book of Mormon,” the scabrous musical from the creators of “South Park” and “Avenue Q,” won 14 Tony nominations, the most of any production this year. The shows that will compete for Broadway’s top honors were announced this morning in New York.
“Jerusalem,” Jez Butterworth’s comic drama about a former daredevil biker whose bosky trailer-home is a drugs-and-alcohol- infused refuge in the English countryside, won six nominations. They included best play and lead actor, Mark Rylance.
A revival of Shakespeare’s “The Merchant of Venice,” starring a feral Al Pacino as the moneylender Shylock, took seven nominations, the most of any play, including a best performance nod for its star.
Four more high-profile actors taking the stage this season -- comedians Robin Williams and Chris Rock, James Earl Jones and “Harry Potter” star Daniel Radcliffe -- were snubbed by the nominating committee.
“Mormon” follows the misadventures of two young church missionaries in Africa. The actors in those parts, Josh Gad and Andrew Rannells, were nominated. In addition, “Mormon” was nominated for best book, score, director, featured performance by an actor and actress, choreographer, set, costumes, sound and lighting design, and orchestrations.
The other best-musical nominees are “Catch Me If You Can,” “Sister Act” and “The Scottsboro Boys,” which closed in the fall. The final show by the “Chicago” and “Cabaret” team of John Kander and Fred Ebb, “Scottsboro” received 12 nominations, the second-most after “Mormon.”
Competing for best play are “Good People,” “The Motherf**ker With the Hat” and “War Horse,” an import from England’s National Theatre.
Pacino and Rylance will vie for the best-actor award with Brian Bedford, Bobby Cannavale and Joe Mantello. The latter stars in a late-season production of Larry Kramer’s 1985 AIDS drama, “The Normal Heart,” which has become one of the year’s most-acclaimed shows.
The other nominees for best play revival are “Arcadia,” “The Importance of Being Earnest” and “Merchant.”
The nominees for best actress are Vanessa Redgrave, Jones’s co-star in a revival of “Driving Miss Daisy”; Frances McDormand, Lily Rabe and Hannah Yelland.
Cole Porter’s 1934 “Anything Goes,” presented by the Roundabout Theatre Company, was nominated for nine awards, including best revival of a musical and best actress for its star, Sutton Foster. Its only competition will be Frank Loesser’s 1961 spoof of the business world, which presented Radcliffe in his first Broadway role as a song-and-dance man.
Notably absent from the announcement was any mention of the season’s most talked about, most reported on and, by most critics’ accounts, most misbegotten musical, the $70 million “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark.” That show is currently being revamped for an announced June 14 opening after several postponements.
The nominations were voted by a committee of 26 people, including actors Andre de Shields and Alice Playten, director Michael Greif and theater historian Robert Kimball.
The Tony Awards are co-produced by the Broadway League, a trade organization of producers and theater owners, and the American Theatre Wing, a service group. The approximately 750 voters include members of the League, representatives from the Wing, Broadway unions representing actors, directors, writers, designers and offstage personnel, as well as members of the New York Drama Critics’ Circle.
CBS will telecast the 65th annual Tony Awards on Sunday, June 12 from 8 to 11 p.m. New York time.
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