Tony Awards 2012: Nominations led by ‘Once,’ ’Porgy and Bess’

May 2, 2012

The biggest contender in the 2012 Tony Awards is a modest musical about two Irish musicians in love. “Once,” the musical adapted from the 2007 award-winning film of the same name, is leading the Tony Award nominations pack, and has been recognized in 11 categories including best musical, best choreography, best orchestrations, and for its lead and featured performers, among others.

Its competitors are “Porgy and Bess,” the revival of the Gershwin musical, and “Nice Work If You Can Get It,” a new musical that also features Gershwin songs, at 10 nominations each.

The Tony nominations also brought accolades to Washington: Three nominated productions got their start in D.C., and one local theater was recognized with a regional Tony. Peter Marks reports:

The Kennedy Center’s production of “Follies” earned an impressive eight Tony nods, including one for best musical revival, in the nominations unveiled Tuesday morning in New York.

The announcements, by actors Jim Parsons and Kristin Chenoweth, also revealed that Shakespeare Theatre Company will receive the special Tony Award that is given each year to an outstanding regional theater company. The Pulitzer Prize-winning “Clybourne Park,” which had a crucial early run at Woolly Mammoth Theatre, received four nominations, including one for best new play. And a revival of Terrence McNally’s “Master Class,” which also began at the Kennedy Center, received a nomination for best play revival.

“I think it’s fantastic,” Michael M. Kaiser, the Kennedy Center’s president, said by phone from Los Angeles, where “Follies” has been reassembled and starts performances this week. “We don’t do our shows to bring them to New York, but we’re thrilled that this one went and we’re very proud of that. Washington’s theater community has a lot to celebrate.”

It was also a big year for musicals based on films. Wrote Maura Judkis:

Hit plays might be bombing on screen this year, but in recent years, hit movies have been fodder for some of Broadway’s biggest successes. This year was a banner year for screen-to-stage adaptations, with “Once” and “Newsies” among the most-nominated shows for this year’s Tony Awards, and “Bonnie &Clyde,” “Ghost,” and the beleaguered “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark” capturing a few nods, too.

Five shows based on films captured nominations this year, with two nominated for best musical, which makes it an exceptionally good year for Hollywood on Broadway. It’s partnership that has proven to be beneficial ever since 1966’s “Sweet Charity,” among the first movie-to-stage adaptations, with a book by Neil Simon based on Federico Fellini’s “Nights of Cabiria.”

“Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark” was snubbed in most categories, the most notable being Julie Taymor’s direction and Bono’s musical score. However, Michael Cavna notes that a different Spider-Man received a Tony nod:

Andrew Garfield, who dons Peter Parker's reboot suit in this summer’s big-screen “The Amazing Spider-Man,” received a featured-role acting nod for his work in the acclaimed revival of “Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman.” The play also scored top nods for Philip Seymour Hoffman, Linda Emond and director Mike Nichols when the 2012 Tony Award nominations were announced this morning.

Taymor, the ousted “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark” director who was ultimately ruled eligible for a Tony nomination, did not receive a nod. The Tony winner has been locked in legal squabbles with the producers of “Spider-Man,” which is the most expensive Broadway musical ever staged. “Spider-Man” features songs by U2’s Bono and the Edge.

“Turn Off the Dark” received only technical nominations — for sets and costumes.

You can see the full list of Tony nominations here. The awards will be held on June 10, hosted by Neil Patrick Harris.

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