Spring Awakening, a bold musical whose setting is 19th-century Germany until the cast pulls out wireless microphones and and sings in unmistakable current-day sentiments, received 11 nominations today day for Broadway's highest honor, the Tony Award.
The musical Grey Gardens, which also premiered off-Broadway last spring, at Playwrights Horizons, before moving uptown, garnered 10 nominations. Based on a documentary film, it takes in the lives of Jackie Kennedy's oddball relatives Edith and Edie Beale, a mother and daughter whose high society existence in the Hamptons declined into ramshackle poverty. Both shows were nominated for best musical, along with the zany, old-fashioned Kander and Ebb mystery show, Curtains - about on-stage murders in Boston - and Disney's elegantly staged theatrical version of Mary Poppins.
In a Broadway season ripe with juicy shows and big-name stars, the straight-play category was led in nominations by Tom Stoppard's ambitious examination of Russia's young, elite intelligensia, The Coast of Utopia - a trilogy of plays at Lincoln Center, perhaps the most anticipated, talked-about (and expensive, at three separate tickets for the entire series) drama of the year. Utopia received 10 nominations, and was joined in the best-play category by the late August Wilson's Radio Golf, which opened at McCarter Theatre in Princeton and moved to Broadway a few weeks ago. It's the last of Wilson's 10-play cycle on black life in America over the last century and, like most of those plays, is set in Pittsburgh.
The funny, edgy comedy, The Little Dog Laughed, about an actor, his male-prostitute lover, the lover's girlfriend and a hilariously difficult agent, also is nominated as best play, along with the recently opened Frost/Nixon, a clever examination of the 1977 interviews of former president Richard Nixon by an unlikely choice at the time, TV host David Frost.
Spring Awakening was a sell-out when it opened last spring in downtown Manhattan at the Atlantic Theatre Company, the first musical in that company's two decades. It moved onto Broadway in December, with its remarkable young cast mostly intact, and was critically acclaimed. It has been only moderately successful, possibly because its theme - the sexual awakening of teenagers - is explicitly rendered although not graphic, and parents may be hard-pressed to take or send their teenagers to the show. That apprehension may be fading; at a recent visit to the musical, many teenagers and their parents were in the audience.
A major producer of Spring Awakening is the actor Tom Hulce. The musical is adapted by from the scandalous 1891 play of the same name by German dramatist Frank Wedekind, considered so obscene that it was not produced for 15 years. The original play is an acting-school favorite for scene studies but is rarely performed on stage; it was produced this season in Philadelphia at Center City's Adrienne Theatre, by the troupe EgoPo.
Twenty-three theater professionals chose the nominees for Tony's 25 catergories, and 785 voters will choose among them for the awards, which will be televised live on CBS on June 10, from Radio City Music Hall.
A complete list of nominations for the 61st annual Tony awards:
Play (and playwrights): The Coast of Utopia (Tom Stoppard), Frost/Nixon (Peter Morgan), The Little Dog Laughed (Douglas Carter Beane), Radio Golf (August Wilson).
Musical: Curtains, Grey Gardens, Mary Poppins, Spring Awakening.
Book-Musical: Curtains (Rupert Holmes and Peter Stone), Grey Gardens (Doug Wright), Legally Blonde The Musical (Heather Hach), Spring Awakening (Steven Sater).
Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics): Curtains (Music: John Kander, Lyrics: Fred Ebb, John Kander and Rupert Holmes), Grey Gardens (Music: Scott Frankel, Lyrics: Michael Korie), Legally Blonde The Musical (Music & Lyrics: Laurence O'Keefe and Nell Benjamin), Spring Awakening (Music: Duncan Sheik, Lyrics: Steven Sater).
Revival-Play: Inherit the Wind, Journey's End, Talk Radio, Translations.
Revival-Musical: The Apple Tree, A Chorus Line, Company, 110 in the Shade.
Special Theatrical Event: Jay Johnson: The Two and Only, Kiki & Herb Alive on Broadway.
Actor-Play: Boyd Gaines, Journey's End; Frank Langella, Frost/Nixon; Brian F. O'Byrne, The Coast of Utopia; Christopher Plummer, Inherit the Wind; Liev Schreiber, Talk Radio.
Actress-Play: Eve Best, A Moon for the Misbegotten; Swoosie Kurtz, Heartbreak House; Angela Lansbury, Deuce; Vanessa Redgrave, The Year of Magical Thinking; Julie White, The Little Dog Laughed.
Actor-Musical: Michael Cerveris, LoveMusik; Raul Esparza, Company; Jonathan Groff, Spring Awakening; Gavin Lee, Mary Poppins; David Hyde Pierce, Curtains.
Actress-Musical: Laura Bell Bundy, Legally Blonde The Musical; Christine Ebersole, Grey Gardens; Audra McDonald, 110 in the Shade; Debra Monk, Curtains; Donna Murphy, LoveMusik.
Featured Actor-Play: Anthony Chisholm, Radio Golf; Billy Crudup, The Coast of Utopia; Ethan Hawke, The Coast of Utopia; John Earl Jelks, Radio Golf; Stark Sands, Journey's End.
Featured Actress-Play: Jennifer Ehle, The Coast of Utopia; Xanthe Elbrick, Coram Boy; Dana Ivey, Butley; Jan Maxwell, Coram Boy; Martha Plimpton, The Coast of Utopia.
Featured Actor-Musical: Brooks Ashmanskas, Martin Short: Fame Becomes Me; Christian Borle, Legally Blonde The Musical; John Cullum, 110 in the Shade; John Gallagher Jr., Spring Awakening; David Pittu, LoveMusik.
Featured Actress-Musical: Charlotte d'Amboise, A Chorus Line; Rebecca Luker, Mary Poppins; Orfeh, Legally Blonde The Musical; Mary Louise Wilson, Grey Gardens; Karen Ziemba, Curtains.
Direction-Play: Michael Grandage, Frost/Nixon; David Grindley, Journey's End; Jack O'Brien, The Coast of Utopia; Melly Still, Coram Boy.
Direction-Musical: John Doyle, Company; Scott Ellis, Curtains; Michael Greif, Grey Gardens; Michael Mayer, Spring Awakening.
Choreography: Rob Ashford, Curtains; Matthew Bourne and Stephen Mear, Mary Poppins; Bill T. Jones, Spring Awakening; Jerry Mitchell, Legally Blonde The Musical.
Orchestrations: Bruce Coughlin, Grey Gardens; Duncan Sheik, Spring Awakening; Jonathan Tunick, LoveMusik; Jonathan Tunick, 110 in the Shade.
Scenic Design-Play: Bob Crowley and Scott Pask, The Coast of Utopia; Jonathan Fensom, Journey's End; David Gallo, Radio Golf; Ti Green and Melly Still, Coram Boy.
Scenic Design-Musical: Bob Crowley, Mary Poppins; Christine Jones, Spring Awakening; Anna Louizos, High Fidelity; Allen Moyer, Grey Gardens.
Costume Design-Play: Ti Green and Melly Still, Coram Boy; Jane Greenwood, Heartbreak House; Santo Loquasto, Inherit the Wind; Catherine Zuber, The Coast of Utopia.
Costume Design-Musical: Gregg Barnes, Legally Blonde The Musical; Bob Crowley, Mary Poppins; Susan Hilferty, Spring Awakening; William Ivey Long, Grey Gardens.
Lighting Design-Play: Paule Constable, Coram Boy; Brian MacDevitt, Inherit the Wind; Brian MacDevitt, Kenneth Posner and Natasha Katz, The Coast of Utopia; Jason Taylor, Journey's End.
Lighting Design-Musical: Kevin Adams, Spring Awakening; Christopher Akerlind, 110 in the Shade; Howard Harrison, Mary Poppins Peter Kaczorowski, Grey Gardens.