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'Fela!', 'La Cage aux Folles' lead Tony nominations

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While two very different musicals -- Fela! and La Cage aux Folles -- each score 11 Tony nominations on Tuesday, it was the number of big Hollywood names getting nods that we noticed. Like we get to see any current musicals around here, anyway.

Jeff Daniels and Lea Michele announced the contenders for the 64th annual awards, noting that the bio for Nigerian superstar Fela Anikulapo-Kuti and the revival of Jerry Herman's and Harvey Fierstein's oblique family yarn each were mentioned almost a dozen times. They were followed by the revival of August Wilson's Fences, with 10 nominations and the musical Memphis, with eight, the AP reports. 

Fela! is fighting for top musical against Memphis, Green Day's American Idiot and Million Dollar Quartet.

Best play nominations went to John Logan's look at artist Mark Rothko, Red; Time Stands Still, Donald Margulies' photojournalist tale; Geoffrey Nauffts' Next Fall; and Sarah Ruhl's In the Next Room (or the vibrator play), a comedy about, um, the obvious.

This is where the Hollywood folks come in. Among Red's seven nominations was Alfred Molina for actor-play as Rothko. He's competing against Fences' Denzel Washington, A View From the Bridge's Liev Schreiber; A Behanding in Spokane's Christopher Walken and Jude Law's Dane in Hamlet. Daniel Craig and Hugh Jackman also were shut out for the very popular A Steady Rain.

La Cage leads Kelsey Grammer and Douglas Hodge square off for the actor-musical prize against three others: Sean Hayes, Chad Kimball and Sahr Ngaujah.

On the actress side, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Angela Lansbury were nominated (in different categories) for their roles in A Little Night Music, a musical revival nominee against La Cage, Finian's Rainbow and Ragtime.

Zeta-Jones faces off against Finian's Rainbow's Kate Baldwin; Memphis' Montego Glover; Ragtime's Christiane Noll; and Sherie Rene Scott of Everyday Rapture. In the featured actress-musical category, Lansbury challenges Barbara Cook, Sondheim on Sondheim; Katie Finneran, Promises, Promises; Karine Plantadit, Come Fly Away, and Lillias White, Fela!

Other well-worn names were in the actress-play category with Laura Linney (Time Stands Still) and Linda Lavin (Collected Stories) competing against Viola Davis, Fences; Valerie Harper, Looped; and Jan Maxwell, The Royal Family. And let's not forget Scarlett Johansson's nod for A View From the Bridge for actress-play, and David Alan Grier's nod for featured actor in Race.

We can't possibly list all the nominees here, but head to www.tonywards.com for more. The winners will be announced June 13 from Radio City Music Hall.

[Photo: Jeff looks so excited to be there. AP]

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[Last modified: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 11:30am]

    

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