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'Book of Mormon' Tops Tony Nominations With 14

NEW YORK – Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s The Book of Mormon dominates the race for best musical in this year’s Tony Award nominations, which also include acting nods for Ellen Barkin, Bobby Cannavale, Edie Falco, Frances McDormand, Al Pacino and Vanessa Redgrave.

Announced Tuesday morning at Lincoln Center by past winners Anika Noni Rose and Matthew Broderick, the nominations for the 65th annual Tonys yielded a bounty for Mormon, including mentions for best musical, score, book, lead actors Josh Gad and Andrew Rannells, featured actor Rory O’Malley and featured actress Nikki M. James. Co-directors Parker and Casey Nicholaw were nominated, with Nicholaw also a contender for choreography.

Landing a total of 14 nominations, Mormon came in right behind record holders The Producers (2001) and Billy Elliot (2009), which each scored 15.

That haul makes the gleefully profane buddy comedy about two mismatched missionaries assigned to Uganda the show to beat for Broadway’s top honor this year. Traditionally, best musical is the only prize to have a significant impact at the box office, though all the nominated musicals stand to gain from nationwide exposure during the awards telecast.

Co-written by South Park creators Parker and Stone with Robert Lopez (Avenue Q), Mormon has been playing to capacity houses since it opened March 24 to rapturous reviews. Scott Rudin and South Park veteran Anne Garefino are lead producers.

The field for new plays is split among Nick Stafford’s adaptation of the Michael Morpurgo children’s novel, War Horse; Stephen Adly Guirgis’ black comedy about love and addiction, The Motherf**ker With the Hat, Jez Butterworth’s reflection on real and mythic England, Jerusalem, and David Lindsay-Abaire’s look at class conflict, Good People.

A National Theatre of Great Britain import, War Horse, scored 5 nominations for U.S. presenter Lincoln Center Theater, including direction of a play for Marianne Elliott and Tom Morris. The story about a 16-year-old boy’s brave quest to find his horse in World War I France is also the source material for Steven Spielberg’s upcoming film. Following its long-running success in London, the stage production has quickly become a hot ticket in New York due to its breathtaking use of life-size horse puppets. A special Tony will be presented to South Africa’s Handspring Puppet Company for its innovative work on the play.

Among the six nominations for The Motherf**ker With the Hat, Cannavale scored for lead actor, alongside featured actor nods for fellow cast members Elizabeth Rodriguez and Yul Vazquez and one for Anna D. Shapiro’s direction. Jerusalem also landed six nominations, among them lead actor for Mark Rylance, and featured for Mackenzie Crook. Good People’s  two nominations included a lead actress in a play spot for McDormand.

Up against Mormon for best musical are two screen-to-stage adaptations, Catch Me If You Can (four nominations), Sister Act (five nominations), along with The Scottsboro Boys, which was the major surprise of the announcement, emerging as the second most nominated show with 12 mentions.

One of the final shows from the legendary composing team of Kander & Ebb, completed before Fred Ebb’s death, Scottsboro tells a true story of Jim Crow-era racial injustice using the provocative format of a minstrel show. It closed last fall after a disappointing commercial run. The show’s nominations included direction of a musical and choreography for Susan Stroman, as well as lead actor Joshua Henry, featured actors Colman Domingo and Forrest McClendon, score, book and orchestrations. Back when it closed, producers had discussed bringing the show back in the run-up to Tony Awards. While that remains a financially challenging prospect, 12 nominations could provide an incentive.

The Whoopi Goldberg-produced Sister Act landed mentions for its score, book and lead actress Patina Miller, while Catch Me grabbed a lead actor slot for Norbert Leo Butz (in the Tom Hanks role) but Aaron Tveit (stepping into Leonardo DiCaprio’s shoes) failed to make the cut.

The main shut-out among new musicals was Priscilla Queen of the Desert, which landed a lead actor mention for Tony Sheldon, who has been with the show since its premiere in Australia, playing the role of transgender drag star Bernadette in Sydney, London and on Broadway.

Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice and Larry Kramer’s landmark drama about the AIDS crisis, The Normal Heart, dominate in the play revival category and show a strong presence in the acting races.

Pacino was recognized for his brooding turn as the aggrieved moneylender Shylock in Merchant, opposite fellow nominee Lily Rabe’s Portia, with Daniel Sullivan up for direction of a play. In his first acting role since Angels in America in 1994, Joe Mantello is in the running for lead actor in Heart, while Barkin and John Benjamin Hickey appear in the featured actor races. Co-directors Joel Grey and George C. Wolfe also were nominated.

With only two productions eligible in the musical revival category, the contest is between Anything Goes and How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.

Cole Porter musical Anything Goes was another exceptional performer in the nominations, scoring nine mentions, including her fifth Tony nomination for lead actress Sutton Foster and a double mention for Kathleen Marshall in the director and choreographer stakes. While How to Succeed yielded eight nominations, including nods for Rob Ashford for direction and choreography, and for featured actor John Larroquette, the big surprise was the snub for well-reviewed lead Daniel Radcliffe. 

Featured actress Falco scored the sole nomination for the revival of John Guare’s The House of Blue Leaves, leaving co-stars Ben Stiller and Jennifer Jason Leigh among many star names on Broadway to be cold-shouldered in this season’s Tonys. Redgrave’s lead actress nomination for Driving Miss Daisy also did not correspond to one for her co-star, James Earl Jones in the year’s most competitive field, lead actor in a play.

Shifting from their regular home at Radio City Music Hall this year, the Tony Awards will be presented Sunday June 12 at the Beacon Theatre uptown. The ceremony will be televised live on CBS. No host for the awards show has yet been announced, though Chris Rock, starring in The Motherf**ker With the Hat, has been the subject of recent speculation.

Read the full list after the jump.

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Best Play
Good People
Jerusalem
The Motherf**ker with the Hat
War Horse

Best Musical
The Book of Mormon
Catch Me If You Can
The Scottsboro Boys
Sister Act

Best Book of a Musical
Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson
The Book of Mormon
The Scottsboro Boys
Sister Act

Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics) Written for the Theatre
The Book of Mormon
The Scottsboro Boys
Sister Act
Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown

Best Revival of a Play
Arcadia
The Importance of Being Earnest
The Merchant of Venice
The Normal Heart

Best Revival of a Musical
Anything Goes
How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play
Brian Bedford, The Importance of Being Earnest
Bobby Cannavale, The Motherf**ker with the Hat
Joe Mantello, The Normal Heart
Al Pacino, The Merchant of Venice
Mark Rylance, Jerusalem

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play
Nina Arianda, Born Yesterday
Frances McDormand, Good People
Lily Rabe, The Merchant of Venice
Vanessa Redgrave, Driving Miss Daisy
Hannah Yelland, Brief Encounter

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical
Norbert Leo Butz, Catch Me If You Can
Josh Gad, The Book of Mormon
Joshua Henry, The Scottsboro Boys
Andrew Rannells, The Book of Mormon
Tony Sheldon, Priscilla Queen of the Desert

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical
Sutton Foster, Anything Goes
Beth Leavel, Baby It's You!
Patina Miller, Sister Act
Donna Murphy, The People in the Picture

Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play
Mackenzie Crook, Jerusalem
Billy Crudup, Arcadia
John Benjamin Hickey, The Normal Heart
Arian Moayed, Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo
Yul Vázquez, The Motherf**ker with the Hat

Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play
Ellen Barkin, The Normal Heart
Edie Falco, The House of Blue Leaves
Judith Light, Lombardi
Joanna Lumley, La Bête
Elizabeth Rodriguez, The Motherf**ker with the Hat

Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical
Colman Domingo, The Scottsboro Boys
Adam Godley, Anything Goes
John Larroquette, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying
Forrest McClendon, The Scottsboro Boys
Rory O'Malley, The Book of Mormon

 
Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical
Laura Benanti, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown
Tammy Blanchard, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying
Victoria Clark, Sister Act
Nikki M. James, The Book of Mormon
Patti LuPone, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown

Best Scenic Design of a Play
Todd Rosenthal, The Motherf**ker with the Hat
Rae Smith, War Horse
Ultz, Jerusalem
Mark Wendland, The Merchant of Venice

Best Scenic Design of a Musical
Beowulf Boritt, The Scottsboro Boys
Derek McLane, Anything Goes
Scott Pask, The Book of Mormon
Donyale Werle, Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson

Best Costume Design of a Play
Jess Goldstein, The Merchant of Venice
Desmond Heeley, The Importance of Being Earnest
Mark Thompson, La Bête
Catherine Zuber, Born Yesterday

Best Costume Design of a Musical
Tim Chappel & Lizzy Gardiner, Priscilla Queen of the Desert
Martin Pakledinaz, Anything Goes
Ann Roth, The Book of Mormon
Catherine Zuber, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying

Best Lighting Design of a Play
Paule Constable, War Horse
David Lander, Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo
Kenneth Posner, The Merchant of Venice
Mimi Jordan Sherin, Jerusalem

 

Best Lighting Design of a Musical

Ken Billington, The Scottsboro Boys
Howell Binkley, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying
Peter Kaczorowski, Anything Goes
Brian MacDevitt, The Book of Mormon

 

Best Sound Design of a Play

Acme Sound Partners & Cricket S. Myers, Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo

Simon Baker, Brief Encounter
Ian Dickinson for Autograph, Jerusalem
Christopher Shutt, War Horse

Best Sound Design of a Musical

Peter Hylenski, The Scottsboro Boys
Steve Canyon Kennedy, Catch Me If You Can
Brian Ronan, Anything Goes
Brian Ronan, The Book of Mormon

Best Direction of a Play

Marianne Elliott and Tom Morris, War Horse
Joel Grey & George C. Wolfe, The Normal Heart
Anna D. Shapiro, The Motherf**ker with the Hat
Daniel Sullivan, The Merchant of Venice

Best Direction of a Musical

Rob Ashford, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying
Kathleen Marshall, Anything Goes
Casey Nicholaw and Trey Parker, The Book of Mormon
Susan Stroman, The Scottsboro Boys

Best Choreography

Rob Ashford, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying
Kathleen Marshall, Anything Goes
Casey Nicholaw, The Book of Mormon
Susan Stroman, The Scottsboro Boys

Best Orchestrations

Doug Besterman, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying
Larry Hochman, The Scottsboro Boys
Larry Hochman and Stephen Oremus, The Book of Mormon
Marc Shaiman & Larry Blank, Catch Me If You Can

 

*     *     *

 
Recipients of Awards and Honors in Non-Competitive Categories

 
Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre

Athol Fugard

Philip J. Smith
 
Regional Theatre Tony Award

Lookingglass Theatre Company (Chicago, IL)
 
Isabelle Stevenson Award

Eve Ensler

 
Special Tony Award

Handspring Puppet Company

 
Tony Honor for Excellence in the Theatre

William Berloni

The Drama Book Shop

Sharon Jensen and Alliance for Inclusion in the Arts