The new Broadway musical â€œKinky Bootsâ€ led the pack with 13 nominations for the 67th annual Tony Awards, including for best musical, director, actor, score, and choreographer, while its chief rival â€œMatildaâ€ had 12 nominations in many of the same categories. The nominations were announced at 8:30 a.m. on Tuesday. The revival of â€œGolden Boyâ€ had the most nominations of any play, 8, with the new Tom Hanks play â€œLucky Guyâ€ close behind with 6 nominations. Lead acting nods went to only a handful of the Hollywood stars performing on Broadway this season â€“ Mr. Hanks, Laurie Metcalf, Holland Taylor, and Cicely Tyson; among those snubbed were Bette Midler, Jessica Chastain, Katie Holmes, Scarlett Johansson, and Al Pacino. Among the surprises were snubs of â€œMotownâ€ for a best musical nomination and its star, Brandon Victor Dixon, for best actor.
Best Musical Horse Race
The race for best musical may have four nominees â€“ â€œBring It On,â€ â€œMatilda,â€ â€œKinky Boots,â€ and â€œA Christmas Storyâ€ â€“ but only two real contenders: â€œMatildaâ€ and â€œKinky Boots,â€ both song-and-dance shows with large casts that center on an underdog storyline. â€œMatilda,â€ created in England and based on a Roald Dahl childrenâ€™s novel, received the best reviews of the season for a new musical; â€œKinky Boots,â€ created by the Broadway veterans Harvey Fierstein and Jerry Mitchell and based on a 2005 British movie, received slightly more mixed reviews â€“ though, importantly, those notices stressed the joyous nature of the show, while â€œMatildaâ€ came off more as a thinking personâ€™s show. Which is to say, â€œKinky Bootsâ€ may have more passionate fans who will help get out the vote among the 868 eligible Tony voters. Still, â€œMatildaâ€ has to be judged as the front-runner: It has the sort of critical acclaim and pedigree (a Royal Shakespeare Company production; the winner of a record seven Olivier Awards, Londonâ€™s version of the Tonys) that tend to appeal to Tony voters. The big surprise in this category is the snub of â€œMotown,â€ which is the best-selling new musical this season â€“ but apparently too much of a jukebox show for many Tony nominators. And who would have expected a Tony nomination for â€œBring It On,â€ a musical about cheerleaders that closed months ago?
Best Actress in a Play
The most competitive Tony Awards race next month, without question, will be best actress in a play. The nominees are Laurie Metcalf (â€œThe Other Placeâ€), Amy Morton (â€œWhoâ€™s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?â€), Kristine Nielsen (â€œVanya and Sonia and Masha and Spikeâ€), Holland Taylor (â€œAnnâ€), and Cicely Tyson (â€œThe Trip to Bountifulâ€). Among the prominent actresses who didnâ€™t make the cut â€“ despite also giving critically acclaimed performances â€“ were Bette Midler (â€œIâ€™ll Eat You Lastâ€), Jessica Hecht (â€œThe Assembled Partiesâ€), and Fiona Shaw (â€œThe Testament of Maryâ€). Ms. Midlerâ€™s omission is particularly surprising because this is her first role on Broadway in roughly 40 years and she was roundly cheered by theater critics. Of the five women nominated, Ms. Morton is a slight surprise â€“ if only because her play closed in early March. Still, in the four productions of â€œWhoâ€™s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?â€ on Broadway since its debut in 1962, the actors playing he battling spouses George and Martha have always been nominated â€“ as they were again with the nominations of Ms. Morton and Tracy Letts. As for the front-runners, Ms. Metcalf, Ms. Nielsen, and Ms. Taylor are seen as particularly strong.
If Tony nominee Cyndi Lauper wins for best score for the musical â€œKinky Boots,â€ she would become the first woman to ever win solo in the category. Earlier winners Betty Comden, Lynn Ahrens, and Lisa Lambert shared Tonys for best score with their songwriting partners. This is Ms. Lauperâ€™s first Tony nomination â€“ indeed, â€œKinky Bootsâ€ is her first Broadway show â€“ and some producers are already predicting that she will edge out her toughest competition in the category, Tim Minchin, who wrote the score for â€œMatilda.â€ The other nominees are the scores for â€œChristmas Storyâ€ and â€œHands on a Hardbody.â€
Alec Baldwin Botch
The producers of the Broadway play â€œOrphansâ€ may have botched Alec Baldwinâ€™s chances at a Tony nomination. The producers had wanted Mr. Baldwin to be eligible for a best actor Tony, and his co-stars, Ben Foster and Tom Sturridge, to be eligible for featured actor nominations. But when the Tony administration committee met Friday to consider those requests, members balked: They viewed Mr. Baldwinâ€™s character â€“ the gangster Harold â€“ as a featured role, given time onstage and lines of dialogue. In the end, the committee decided to make all three actors eligible in the lead category. And on Tuesday, Mr. Sturridge received a best actor nomination for his portrayal as the young shut-in Phillip â€“ but Mr. Baldwin came up empty-handed.
Best Actor and Actress in a Musical
The winners in the lead acting categories for musicals are often hard to predict; the same is true this year, though the contests are relatively easy to define. The best actor race is likely to be between two men in drag: The British actor and Broadway newcome Bertie Carvel, as the sadistic headmistress Miss Trunchbull in â€œMatilda,â€ and the New York theater veteran Billy Porter as the drag queen Lola in â€œKinky Boots.â€ If thereâ€™s a dark horse in the field, itâ€™s Stark Sands, who plays the straight man Charlie in â€œKinky Boots.â€ Among the best actress nominees, the contest is between Patina Miller (the Leading Player in â€œPippinâ€) and Laura Osnes (the title role in â€œCinderellaâ€). The two women were nominees in the category before â€“ Ms. Miller for â€œSister Act,â€ Ms. Osnes for â€œBonnie and Clydeâ€ â€“ and both women were helped by a Tony committee ruling last week that the four young actresses rotating in the role of Matilda were not eligible. (The four will receive special Tony honors for their work in â€œMatilda.â€) But while the contests are likely to be just two-person races, the eventual winner seems like anyoneâ€™s guess right now.
More than in any recent year, the Tony Award for best play is up for grabs. The recent winners in the category â€“ â€œClybourne Park,â€ â€œWar Horse,â€ â€œRed,â€ â€œGod of Carnageâ€ and â€œAugust: Osage Countyâ€ â€“ were all favorites to varying degrees. This yearâ€™s nominees have admirers and detractors, and none can be called a front-runner at this point. The first nominee, Richard Greenbergâ€™s â€œThe Assembled Parties,â€ received many glowing reviews, but he has won for best play already, in 2003 for â€œTake Me Out.â€ The second, â€œLucky Guy,â€ drew critical praise for star Tom Hanks and director George C. Wolfe (both nominated) but mixed reviews for the writing; still, the author is Nora Ephron, a beloved figure in New York who worked on the play for a decade before her death last June. The third nominee, â€œThe Testament of Mary,â€ is a lovely piece of writing with moments approaching poetry, but reviews were mixed on the production and its lead actress, Fiona Shaw, who plays the mother of Christ (and who was not nominated). The final best play nominee, â€œVanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike,â€ earned strong reviews and has the added appeal of its playwright, Christopher Durang, a longtime fixture of New York theater who has never won a Tony. Still, his play is a comedy â€“ though with some powerfully moving monologues in the second act â€“ and the Tony for best play tends to go to a drama.
Fosseâ€™s â€œPippinâ€ vs. Paulusâ€™s â€œPippinâ€
In 1973 Bob Fosseâ€™s original â€œPippinâ€ received 11 Tony nominations and won 5, for best actor, director, choreography, lighting and sets; it lost best musical to the Stephen Sondheim-Hugh Wheeler show â€œLittle Night Music.â€ On Tuesday, Diane Paulusâ€™s new â€œPippinâ€ received 10 nominations, including for best musical revival, best actress (Patina Miller), best featured actress (Andrea Martin), best featured actor (Terrence Mann), best choreographer (Chet Walker), and best director for Ms. Paulus. Will her â€œPippinâ€ top Mr. Fosseâ€™s in the Tonys haul?
Tony Nominations by Production
â€œKinky Bootsâ€ â€“ 13
â€œMatilda: The Musicalâ€ â€“ 12
â€œPippinâ€ â€“ 10
â€œRodgers + Hammersteinâ€™s Cinderellaâ€ â€“ 9
â€œGolden Boyâ€ â€“ 8
â€œLucky Guyâ€ â€“ 6
â€œVanya and Sonia and Masha and Spikeâ€ â€“ 6
â€œThe Mystery of Edwin Droodâ€ â€“ 5
â€œThe Nanceâ€ â€“ 5
â€œWhoâ€™s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?â€ â€“ 5
â€œMotown: The Musicalâ€ â€“ 4
â€œThe Trip to Bountifulâ€ â€“ 4
â€œThe Assembled Partiesâ€ â€“ 3
â€œA Christmas Story, The Musicalâ€ â€“ 3
â€œHands on a Hardbodyâ€ â€“ 3
â€œThe Testament of Maryâ€- 3
â€œBring It On: The Musicalâ€ â€“ 2
â€œThe Heiressâ€ â€“ 2
â€œOrphans â€œ- 2
â€œAnnâ€ â€“ 1
â€œAnnieâ€ â€“ 1
â€œThe Big Knifeâ€ â€“ 1
â€œChaplinâ€ â€“ 1
â€œCyrano de Bergeracâ€ â€“ 1
â€œThe Other Placeâ€ â€“ 1
â€œScandalousâ€ â€“ 1