is Once the little musical that could? Inspired by a grainy, low-budget film that became a cult hit, it is the unlikely recipient of a dozen Tony Award nominations, the most for any show in 2012. It will begin a national tour next year. • Starring Steve Kazee as the Guy, an Irish street singer-songwriter and vacuum cleaner repairman, and Cristin Milioti as the Girl, a quirky Czech immigrant who beguiles him, Once has already scored big wins in the Drama Desk Awards and other contests leading up to tonight's Tony telecast. Newsies, a dancey Disney show about a newspaper hawkers strike in 1899, is probably its chief competition for the best new musical award.
George and Ira Gershwin are big again on Broadway. Two shows by the brothers are up for numerous Tonys: the controversial revival of Porgy and Bess and Nice Work If You Can Get It, a 1920s-style concoction drawn from their songbook, both with 10 nominations.
In a barren season for original musicals, only two were nominated for best new score, the short-running Bonnie & Clyde by Frank Wildhorn, who had the dubious achievement of two flops in the span of a year (his ill-fated Wonderland was the other), and the Newsies songs of Alan Menken and Jack Feldman; the other nominees are for incidental music in a pair of plays. As for the most ballyhooed musical of all, Spider-Man Turn Off the Dark, it set records for longest preview and most injuries to the cast and managed to collect only a couple of nominations, for costume design (by the wonderful Eiko Ishioka, who died in January at 73) and scenic design. Oh, well, there's always the new Spider-Man movie.
On the nonmusical side of the ledger, the contest for best new play appears to be between Clybourne Park by Bruce Norris and Other Desert Cities by Jon Robert Baitz. In the play revival category, can anything stop the Death of a Salesman juggernaut? Philip Seymour Hoffman (Willy Loman), Linda Emond (Linda Loman), Andrew Garfield (Biff Loman) and director Mike Nichols are among the production's seven nominations.
Here are selected 2012 Tony nominees. For the complete list see tonyawards.com.
Play: Clybourne Park, Bruce Norris; Other Desert Cities, Jon Robin Baitz; Peter and the Starcatcher, Rick Elice; Venus in Fur, David Ives
Musical: Leap of Faith; Newsies; Nice Work If You Can Get It; Once
Revival of a play: Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman; Gore Vidal's The Best Man; Master Class; Wit
Revival of a musical: Evita; Follies; The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess; Jesus Christ Superstar
Book of a musical: Lysistrata Jones, Douglas Carter Beane; Newsies, Harvey Fierstein; Nice Work If You Can Get It, Joe DiPietro; Once, Enda Walsh
Original score (music and/or lyrics) written for the theater: Bonnie & Clyde, music: Frank Wildhorn; lyrics: Don Black; Newsies, music: Alan Menken; lyrics: Jack Feldman; One Man, Two Guvnors, music and lyrics: Grant Olding; Peter and the Starcatcher, music: Wayne Barker; lyrics: Rick Elice
Performance by an actor in a leading role in a play: James Corden, One Man, Two Guvnors; Philip Seymour Hoffman, Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman; James Earl Jones, Gore Vidal's The Best Man; Frank Langella, Man and Boy; John Lithgow, The Columnist
Performance by an actress in a leading role in a play: Nina Arianda, Venus in Fur; Tracie Bennett, End of the Rainbow; Stockard Channing, Other Desert Cities; Linda Lavin, The Lyons; Cynthia Nixon, Wit
Performance by an actor in a leading role in a musical: Danny Burstein, Follies; Jeremy Jordan, Newsies; Steve Kazee, Once; Norm Lewis, The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess; Ron Raines, Follies
Performance by an actress in a leading role in a musical: Jan Maxwell, Follies; Audra McDonald, The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess; Cristin Milioti, Once; Kelli O'Hara, Nice Work If You Can Get It; Laura Osnes, Bonnie & Clyde
Scenic design of a play: John Lee Beatty, Other Desert Cities; Daniel Ostling, Clybourne Park; Mark Thompson, One Man, Two Guvnors; Donyale Werle, Peter and the Starcatcher
Scenic design of a musical: Bob Crowley, Once; Rob Howell and Jon Driscoll, Ghost the Musical; Tobin Ost and Sven Ortel, Newsies; George Tsypin, Spider-Man Turn Off The Dark
Costume design of a play: William Ivey Long, Don't Dress for Dinner; Paul Tazewell, A Streetcar Named Desire; Mark Thompson, One Man, Two Guvnors; Paloma Young, Peter and the Starcatcher
Costume design of a musical: Gregg Barnes, Follies; ESosa, The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess; Eiko Ishioka, Spider-Man Turn Off The Dark; Martin Pakledinaz, Nice Work If You Can Get It