« The OutLaws Agency specializes in booking, publicizing 'Queer focused events' | Main | E! Online video | Country singer Chely Wright announces she's a lesbian »

'Fela,' 'La Cage,' August Wilson revival of 'Fences' lead Tony nominees

BY CHRISTINE DOLEN, [email protected]


An electric musical about Afrobeat music legend Fela Anikulapo Kuli and an enduringly popular show about a gay couple coping with a family crisis tied as front runners when nominations for the 64th annual Tony Awards were announced Tuesday.

Fela! , a show coauthored, directed and choreographed by Bill T. Jones, a previous Tony winner, and the second Broadway revival of La Cage aux Folles each captured 11 nominations. The revival of August Wilson's Pulitzer Prize-winning Fences earned 10.

Winners will be revealed during a June 13 ceremony at Manhattan's Radio City Music Hall, to be televised on CBS.

Numerous stars, including new-to-Broadway Catherine Zeta-Jones, heard their names read out when Jeff Daniels (starring in the soon-to-close God of Carnage) and Lea Michele (a Spring Awakening star who moved on to TV's white-hot Glee) ran down the list of nominees.

Zeta-Jones and co-star Angela Lansbury were recognized for their work in the revival of Stephen Sondheim's A Little Night Music. Fences stars Denzel Washington and Viola Davis got best actor/actress nominations. Jude Law got a best actor nod for playing the title role in the now-closed Hamlet, Christopher Walken for his work in Martin McDonagh's A Behanding in Spokane, and former Will & Grace star Sean Hayes for Promises, Promises.

Kelsey Grammer and costar Douglas Hodge were both nominated for La Cage aux Folles, Alfred Molina for his portrayal of artist Mark Rothko in Red, Valerie Harper for channeling Tallulah Bankhead in Looped, and Liev Schreiber and Scarlett Johansson for their performances in the limited-run revival of A View from the Bridge.

Some stars did get snubbed, most notably Hugh Jackman and Daniel Craig for their work in the fall box office success A Steady Rain, Kristin Chenoweth for Promises, Promises, and Nathan Lane and Bebe Neuwirth for their starring roles in the critically lambasted musical The Addams Family. The latter show managed just two nominations, one for Andrew Lippa's score, the other for Kevin Chamberlin's performance as Uncle Fester.

A couple of high-profile directors were also ignored by the Tony nominating committee: Spring Awakening director Michael Mayer, who just pulled off back-to-back openings of Green Day's American Idiot and double nominee Sherie Rene Scott's Everyday Rapture, and playwright David Mamet, who made his Broadway directing debut with his play Race.

Perhaps the oddest nominations were the best original score nods that went to Branford Marsalis for Fences and Adam Cork and Lucy Prebble for Enron. Trouble is, Fences and Enron are plays, not musicals. It's a category-filling way to acknowledge that three of the four best musical nominees -- Fela! , American Idiot and Million Dollar Quartet -- are built around preexisting songs.

Two South Florida-connected artists also figure into this year's Tonys. Composer-lyricist Jerry Herman, a University of Miami grad, wrote the score for La Cage aux Folles, which won the best musical Tony in 1984 and best musical revival Tony in 2005. And Katie Finneran, a nominee for best performance by a featured actress in a musical for her brief but vibrant turn in Promises, Promises, graduated from the arts program that evolved into Miami's New World School of the Arts.

Here are the nominees:


Best Musical: American Idiot, Fela! , Memphis, Million Dollar Quartet.

Best Revival: Finian's Rainbow, La Cage aux Folles, A Little Night Music, Ragtime.

Best Performance by a Leading Actor: Kelsey Grammer, La Cage aux Folles; Sean Hayes, Promises, Promises; Douglas Hodge, La Cage aux Folles; Chad Kimball, Memphis; Sahr Ngaujah, Fela! .

Best Performance by a Leading Actress: Kate Baldwin, Finian's Rainbow; Montego Glover, Memphis; Christiane Noll, Ragtime; Sherie Rene Scott, Everyday Rapture; Catherine Zeta-Jones, A Little Night Music.

Best Performance by a Featured Actor: Kevin Chamberlin, The Addams Family; Robin De Jesús, La Cage aux Folles; Christopher Fitzgerald, Finian's Rainbow; Levi Kreis, Million Dollar Quartet; Bobby Steggert, Ragtime.

Best Performance by a Featured Actress: Barbara Cook, Sondheim on Sondheim; Katie Finneran, Promises, Promises; Angela Lansbury, A Little Night Music; Karine Plantadit, Come Fly Away; Lillias White, Fela! .

Best Direction: Christopher Ashley, Memphis; Marcia Milgrom Dodge, Ragtime; Terry Johnson, La Cage aux Folles; Bill T. Jones, Fela! .

Best Choreography: Rob Ashford, Promises, Promises; Bill T. Jones, Fela! ; Lynne Page, La Cage aux Folles; Twyla Tharp, Come Fly Away.

Best Book: Everyday Rapture, Dick Scanlan and Sherie Rene Scott; Fela! , Jim Lewis and Bill T. Jones; Memphis, Joe DiPietro; Million Dollar Quartet, Colin Escott and Floyd Mutrux.

Best Original Score: The Addams Family, Andrew Lippa; Enron, Adam Cork and Lucy Prebble; Fences, Branford Marsalis; Memphis, David Bryan and Joe DiPietro.

Best Scenic Design: Marina Draghici, Fela! ; Christine Jones, American Idiot; Derek McLane, Ragtime; Tim Shortall, La Cage aux Folles.

Best Costume Design: Marina Draghici, Fela! ; Santo Loquasto, Ragtime; Paul Tazewell, Memphis; Matthew Wright, La Cage aux Folles.

Best Lighting Design: Kevin Adams, American Idiot; Donald Holder, Ragtime; Nick Richings, La Cage aux Folles; Robert Wierzel, Fela! .

Best Sound Design: Jonathan Deans, La Cage aux Folles; Robert Kaplowitz, Fela! ; Dan Moses Schreier and Gareth Owen, A Little Night Music; Dan Moses Schreier, Sondheim on Sondheim.

Best Orchestrations: Jason Carr, La Cage aux Folles; Aaron Johnson, Fela! ; Jonathan Tunick, Promises, Promises; Daryl Waters & David Bryan, Memphis.


Best Play: Sarah Ruhl's In the Next Room or the Vibrator Play; Geoffrey Nauffts' Next Fall; John Logan's Red; Donald Margulies' Time Stands Still.

Best Revival: August Wilson's Fences; Ken Ludwig's Lend Me a Tenor; George S. Kaufman and Edna Ferber's The Royal Family; Arthur Miller's A View from the Bridge.

Best Performance by a Leading Actor: Jude Law, Hamlet; Alfred Molina, Red; Liev Schreiber, A View from the Bridge; Christopher Walken, A Behanding in Spokane; Denzel Washington, Fences.

Best Performance by a Leading Actress: Viola Davis, Fences; Valerie Harper, Looped; Linda Lavin, Collected Stories; Laura Linney, Time Stands Still; Jan Maxwell, The Royal Family.

Best Performance by a Featured Actor: David Alan Grier, Race; Stephen McKinley Henderson, Fences; Jon Michael Hill, Superior Donuts; Stephen Kunken, Enron; Eddie Redmayne, Red.

Best Performance by a Featured Actress: Maria Dizzia, In the Next Room (or the Vibrator Play); Rosemary Harris, The Royal Family; Jessica Hecht, A View from the Bridge; Scarlett Johansson, A View from the Bridge; Jan Maxwell, Lend Me a Tenor.

Best Scenic Design: John Lee Beatty, The Royal Family; Alexander Dodge, Present Laughter; Santo Loquasto, Fences; Christopher Oram, Red.

Best Costume Design: Martin Pakledinaz, Lend Me a Tenor; Constanza Romero, Fences; David Zinn, In the Next Room (or the Vibrator Play); Catherine Zuber, The Royal Family.

Best Lighting Design: Neil Austin, Hamlet; Neil Austin, Red; Mark Henderson, Enron; Brian MacDevitt, Fences.

Best Sound Design: Acme Sound Partners, Fences; Adam Cork, Enron; Adam Cork, Red; Scott Lehrer, A View from the Bridge.

Best Direction: Michael Grandage, Red; Sheryl Kaller, Next Fall; Kenny Leon, Fences; Gregory Mosher, A View from the Bridge.

Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement: Playwright Alan Ayckbourn and actress Marian Seldes.

Regional Theatre Tony Award: The Eugene O'Neill Theater Center, Waterford, Conn.

Isabelle Stevenson Award: David Hyde Pierce.

Tony Honor for Excellence in the Theatre: Alliance of Resident Theatres/New York, B.H. Barry, Tom Viola.

Christine Dolen is The Miami Herald's theater critic.

Caption: Kelsey Grammer, left, and Douglas Hodge are shown in a scene from the Broadway revival of "La Cage aux Folles," in New York. Boneau / AP Photo


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference 'Fela,' 'La Cage,' August Wilson revival of 'Fences' lead Tony nominees:


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

The comments to this entry are closed.