Well, it wouldn’t be Tony Tuesday without a few surprises, now would it? The nominations for the 61st annual Tony Awards were announced at about 8:40 a.m. this morning — Broadway vets and former Ally McBeal costars Jane Krakowski and Taye Diggs (pictured) did the honors — and there were more than a few gasps and whispers at the New York Public Library at Lincoln Center.
So what’s everyone talking about? Legally Blonde earns seven nominations — including Book, Score, Leading Actress (Laura Bell Bundy), Featured Actor (Christian Borle), and Featured Actress (Orfeh) — but no Best Musical nod. (That means they can’t perform on the June 10 telecast—a big disappointment for Blonde, to be sure. But you can bet the Mary Poppins people are whistling a happy tune this morning; they also got seven noms, and they’re one of the four Best Musical contenders, along with Curtains, Grey Gardens, and Spring Awakening.) Martin Short was shut out for his own show, Martin Short: Fame Becomes Me, but supporting player Brooks Ashmanskas was recognized. Spring Awakening — widely considered the Best Musical frontrunner — came away with 11 nods, but leading lady Lea Michele was left out. (Unfairly, if you ask me.)
Also passed over: The Apple Tree star and critics’ darling Kristin Chenoweth. In the extremely competitive Leading Actor in a Play category, The Vertical Hour’s Bill Nighy — who gave one of EW’s great performances of 2006 — was inexcusably overlooked; and Michael Sheen — snubbed by the Academy for The Queen — was snubbed by the Tonys for Frost/Nixon. (Another non-nominee, not so unexpectedly, was A Moon for the Misbegotten star Kevin Spacey.) The Brit import Coram Boy got six noms, but no Best Play. And the late August Wilson received his ninth Best Play nomination for Radio Golf.
The nominators sure spread things around this year: A total of 28 shows combined for 106 nominations. Spring Awakening was the most rewarded musical; Lincoln Center Theater’s mammoth Coast of Utopia trilogy was the most nominated play — they got 10, including two for featured actors Billy Crudup and Ethan Hawke.
So will Radio Golf upset Utopia and take the Best Play title? Can Frank Langella (Frost/Nixon) keep his momentum going, or is Talk Radiostar Liev Schreiber nipping at his heels? Can one-time winner VanessaRedgrave — who represents the only nomination for Joan Didion’s Year of Magical Thinking — beat out four-time winner Angela Lansbury (who represents Deuce’sonly nomination)? And will the Tony Awards actually hire a host thisyear? All this and more will be answered on June 10 at 8 p.m. on CBS.Let the campaigning begin!