NEW YORK — With Broadway increasingly relying on stars, glitz and noise — often timed to hit just weeks before the
The most-nominated show when the 40-member committee announced its choices Tuesday was a less star-driven production, a musical that relied on traditional Broadway genre elements and opened back in November--"A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder." which received 10 nominations, including best musical. The most-nominated revival of a play, meanwhile, was the durable mainstay "The Glass Menagerie" with seven nominations, including best revival of a play--and which began its run all the way back in September and closed in February.
Splashy shows that opened in the pre-deadline stretch run, including "Cabaret," "Bullets Over Broadway" and
The selections point to a subtle truth: Even though productions have gotten bigger, stars brighter and marketing campaigns louder, the Tonys are just as likely to prefer the tried-and true. The main challenger to "Gentleman's Guide" — and only other show to land both best musical and lead-acting nominations — is the Carole King biography "Beautiful," a sweet, traditional musical starring the young Broadway workhorse Jessie Mueller
"This is not a big, glitzy show. This is a traditional and warm show," said "Beautiful" producer Paul Blake. "There is a positivity and humor to it that just makes people happy."
He added that he deliberately chose to open in January so "Beautiful" could build word-of-mouth "before all the spring juggernauts came in."
"Beautiful" also will compete against the Cotton Club-era revue "After Midnight" — each received seven nominations amid this year's love-for-many vibe — as well as Disney's
The Tonys, presented by the Broadway League and American Theatre Wing, are voted on by about 870 theater professionals. The 2014 prizes will be handed out at
An off-Broadway hit making its Broadway debut — but a revival in the Tonys' eyes — "Hedwig and the Angry Inch,"
But Harris was one of the exceptions among the glitterati.
Washington's lesser-known costars, on the other hand, picked up three nominations.
Play nominees were similarly low key. There were no surprises in the four revival nominees, as Martin McDonagh's "The Cripple of Inishmaan" joined "Raisin," "Menagerie" and "Twelfth Night."
And the four new play nominees — James Lapine's adaptation of Moss Hart's "Act One," Robert Schenkkan's "All the Way," Harvey Fierstein's" Casa Valentina" and Terrence McNally's "Mothers and Sons" — were joined not by downtown upstart Will Eno for his edgy, starry Broadway debut, "The Realistic Joneses," but the more traditional "Outside Mullingar," a quaint Irish countryside romance by John Patrick Shanley.
The Tonys of course don't always mind the big spectacle — last year's dominant force was "Kinky Boots" — but this year is hardly an anomaly, either. The big winner in 2012, for instance, was the intimate, out-of-nowhere
"Gentleman's Guide" is a similarly unexpected contender, having begun on the
On Tuesday, Tresnjak noted "Gentleman's" modest roots with writers Robert L. Freedman and Steven Lutvak.
"It's our first Broadway show, so we're a pretty humble bunch," said Tresnjak, the Southland theater veteran and former artistic director of the Old Globe's Shakespeare Festival, of the trio. "Part of [the] success of the show was that we had a three-stage process," he said, nodding to the earlier runs, adding that Freedman and Lutvak have been toiling on the show for 10 years.
Perhaps the most intriguing acting race, meanwhile, comes in lead actress in a musical, where Broadway's full range of talent is on display.
The slight favorite might be "Beautiful's" strongly reviewed Mueller — who has appeared in four shows since coming to Broadway just a little more than three years ago — but she will compete against a number of stage giants. There's the six-time nominee Sutton Foster ("Violet"), three-time nominee
Things are equally imposing on the leading actress in a play side, as
But for all these Broadway names, Tuesday's announcements were sometimes as notable for the names they left out. "Cabaret" landed just two nominations, as voters displayed resistance to the revival of a show with many of the same elements as one that opened in 1998.
Meanwhile, the pre-opening contenders "Bullets and "Rocky" — derived from the hit
They wouldn't be alone. The little-seen elder drama "Velocity of Autumn," with weak reviews and even weaker sales, announced Tuesday it would close Sunday — despite, in this year's spreading-it-around spirit, a Tony nomination for Parsons.
Times staff writer David Ng contributed to this report.