Tony Awards: 'Wolf Hall,' 'Fun Home,' Helen Mirren among nominees

Helen Mirren in 'The Audience' is nominated for a Tony Award

An epic tale of Tudor-era England and a modern story of an English boy with social challenges dominated the Tony Awards nominations for plays Tuesday, as “Wolf Hall Parts 1 and 2” and “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time” drew eight and six nominations, respectively.

Among new musicals, the sexual coming-of-age story “Fun Home,”  the meta-musical comedy “Something Rotten!” and Kander-Ebb's dark "The Visit" were among the notable nominees, along with the more traditional "An American in Paris."

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Meanwhile, “Finding Neverland,” the J.M. Barrie musical produced by movie mogul Harvey Weinstein and directed by Diane Paulus, was shut out, as were Larry David's Broadway effort “Fish in the Dark” and the hyphenate actor Jake Gyllenhaal, who had garnered accolades for his performance as a beekeeper in the new drama “Constellations.”

“Curious” and “Wolf" each scored nominations for best play, direction of a play and lead actor in a play, while “Wolf” added nominations for featured actor and actress.

“Hand to God,” a subversive religious-themed show featuring a young man and his satanic puppet, was thought divisive by some, but the production picked up nominations for best play and leading actor and leading actress on Tuesday.

“Fun Home” and “Something Rotten!” landed nominations for best musical, best direction of a musical and a host of acting categories.

Overall, the top nominees were ”Fun Home” and “An American in Paris” -- each scored 12 -- boosted by a number of music-themed nods. Both shows are strong contenders to win best musical, considered the Tonys' top prize and one of the few that can actually boost ticket sales. In recent years, shows such as "Once" and "A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder" both became hits thanks to Tony attention.

All four best-musical nominees also received nods for their book, and three of the four for their score; “Paris” was replaced by the shuttered “The Last Ship,” Sting’s melancholic ode to fading industrial small towns.

Best play could shape up as a race between “Wolf Hall” and "Curious," with the latter looking strong not only in top categories  but more technical ones such as lighting and scenic design. Alex Sharp, who is starring in his first major professional role, is a favorite to take leading actor in a play over such better-known names as Bradley Cooper and Bill Nighy.

The greatest degree of chaos came, as it often does, in featured categories, with a large number of veteran and upstart contenders. 

It was an all-out scrum in the featured actor in a play category, for instance, as among the nearly 25 eligible actors, Matthew Beard ("Skylight") and K. Todd Freeman ("Airline Highway") were  surprise choices; Richard McCabe ("The Audience") beat out about a half-dozen other British prime ministers for his role as Harold Wilson. Marc Kudisch was one of the few "Hand to God" actors not to receive a Tony nomination.

Perhaps the most competitive category will be leading actress in a musical, with veterans Kelli O’Hara (“The King and I”), Kristin Chenoweth (“On The Twentieth Century”) and Chita Rivera (”The Visit”) all landing nominations, along with Leanne Cope (“An American in Paris”) and Beth Malone (“Fun Home”). The choices leave Lisa Howard (“It Shoulda Been You”) and both conjoined twins from “Side Show” out of the equation.

The revival categories, robust in previous years, were thinner this year. The musical side saw only five eligible productions, and nominators went for the minimum of three choices instead of expanding to four. Nominees in the category were all throwbacks -- “On the Town,” “On the Twentieth Century” and “The King and I.” Nominators left out the critically lauded but commercially disappointing revival of 1997’s “Side Show” (whose new incarnation was incubated in part at the La Jolla Playhouse) and the Vanessa Hudgens-ized “Gigi.”

The play side went a little deeper, as the revival of two 1990s works -- David Hare’s “Skylight” and Kenneth Lonergan’s “This Is Our Youth” -- were joined by two theater staples, Bernard Pomerance’s “The Elephant Man” and George Kaufman's and Moss Hart’s “You Can’t Take it With You.” But another classic, Edward Albee’s “A Delicate Balance,” as well as the insidery hit “It’s Only a Play,” failed to make the cut.

Best actress in a play is considered the most starry of categories, with screen presences Helen Mirren, Carey Mulligan, Ruth Wilson and Elisabeth Moss all landing nominations, joined by “God’s” Geneva Carr.

Of the play revivals, the big winner was “The Elephant Man,” as its three principal actors -- Bradley Cooper, Patricia Clarkson and Allesandro Nivola -- all scored nominations, and the production scored a slot in best revival of a play, a category in which it will be a favorite to win.

The Tonys will be hosted by Chenoweth and Alan Cumming, organizers said Tuesday. The ceremony from Radio City Music Hall will be broadcast on CBS on June 7.

Copyright © 2016, Los Angeles Times

UPDATES

11:51 a.m.: This article has been updated with additional details and background.

8:04 a.m.: This article was updated with additional information on the revival categories.

6:38 a.m.: This article has been updated throughout with additional details and background.

6:20 a.m.: This article has been updated throughout with additional details and background.

This article was originally published at 5:58 a.m.

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