Tony noms reflect a strong belief in ‘Mormon’

May 4, 2011

“The Book of Mormon” nabbed a leading 14 Tony Award nominations Tuesday, earning the profane musical one nod short of the record for most nominations and putting it in the driver’s seat when the awards are handed out next month.

The second-highest number of nominations went to “The Scottsboro Boys,” a searing tale of 1930s injustice framed as a minstrel show. Though it closed abruptly after playing just 49 performances and 29 previews, it received 12 nominations, including best musical, best book of a musical and best original score, as well as a leading actor and two featured actor nods. It marked the final collaboration of songwriters John Kander and Fred Ebb.

“Mormon” and “Scottsboro” face competition from “Catch Me if You Can” and “Sister Act.” The plays that were nominated include the heartwarming human-puppet hybrid “War Horse,” David Lindsay-Abaire’s “Good People,” Jez Butterworth’s “Jerusalem” and Stephen Adly Guirgis’s “The [Expletive] With the Hat.”

Among individual actors who earned nominations were Al Pacino, who played Shylock in “The Merchant of Venice,” Vanessa Redgrave in “Driving Miss Daisy,” Edie Falco in “The House of Blue Leaves” and Ellen Barkin in “The Normal Heart.”

A complete list of Tony nominees, with excerpts of reviews by Washington Post theater critic Peter Marks, follows:

Best Play: “Good People,” “Jerusalem,” “The [Expletive] With the Hat,” “War Horse.”

Peter Marks on “Jerusalem”: “[Jez] Butterworth’s rousing play at the Music Box Theatre is an extremely funny and, ultimately, surprisingly profound contemplation of a fading time in Western civilization when iconoclastic giants walked among us.”

Best Musical: “The Book of Mormon,” “Catch Me if You Can,” “The Scottsboro Boys,” “Sister Act.”

Peter Marks: The marvel of The Book of Mormon” k is that even as it profanes some serious articles of faith, its spirit is anything but mean. The ardently devout and comedically challenged are sure to disagree.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play: Brian Bedford, “The Importance of Being Earnest”; Bobby Cannavale, “The [Expletive] With the Hat”; Joe Mantello, “The Normal Heart”; Al Pacino, “The Merchant of Venice”; Mark Rylance, “Jerusalem.”

Peter Marks: Bobby Cannavale, playing the paranoid, misogynist, violence-prone Phil, an ex-con trying to break into the movies, brings a magnetic pull to the most repulsive of predators.

Best Performance by an Actress in 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.”

Peter Marks: McDormand is a flat-out marvel here, offering up a performance that is terrifying in its reasonableness and righteousness.

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.” m

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 Vazquez, “The [Expletive] 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 Bete”; Elizabeth Rodriguez, “The [Expletive] 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”; Patty LuPone, “Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown.”

Best Scenic Design of a Play: Todd Rosenthal, “The [Expletive] 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 Bete”; Catherine Zuber, “Born Yesterday.”

Best Costume Design of a Musical: Tim Chappel and 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 and 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” m; Joel Grey and George C. Wolfe, “The Normal Heart”; Anna D. Shapiro, “The [Expletive] 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 and Larry Blank, “Catch Me if You Can.”

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