'Awakening' tops Tony nominations

Published May 16, 2007

Broadway's most erotically charged musical, Spring Awakening, emerged as the front runner Tuesday when nominations for the 61st annual Tony Awards were announced in New York.

The steamy descendant of a once-censored Frank Wedekind play about 19th century hormonally tormented German teens, the musical with the hot rock score by Duncan Shiek and playwright Steven Sater earned 11 nominations, including a box office-boosting best-musical nod.

"I'm pretty much on cloud nine right now. Or, you may say, cloud 11, " said director Michael Mayer, who received one of the nominations. "It's just so unbelievable. . . . A year ago, right now, I was working so hard to get the show where I wanted it to be. My deepest wish was we'd do well enough so we could extend (the run) a week or two."

Close behind with 10 nominations is Grey Gardens, a musical about Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis' eccentric aunt and cousin (based on the famous film documentary about Edith Bouvier Beale and her daughter Edie), and Tom Stoppard's Coast of Utopia trilogy, which also got 10 nods, the most for a play.

There were a host of predictable nominations and a few surprises. In her return to Broadway after a 24-year absence, four-time Tony winner Angela Lansbury got a best actress nod for Terrence McNally's scathingly reviewed play Deuce; her co-star, Marian Seldes, did not.

Eve Best was nominated for her Broadway debut in the revival of Eugene O'Neill's A Moon for the Misbegotten; her co-star Kevin Spacey was snubbed. Harold Prince, the director who has won a record 21 Tonys, wasn't nominated for LoveMusik, though actors Michael Cerveris, Donna Murphy and David Pittu were recognized for it.

LoveMusik, about the rocky romance of Lotte Lenya and Kurt Weill, also was left out of the race for best musical, as was Legally Blonde. Up against Spring Awakening and Grey Gardens are Curtains, a backstage murder-mystery that composer John Kander was working on with his longtime lyricist Fred Ebb before Ebb's death (Rupert Holmes helped finish the show), and Disney's Mary Poppins.

Stoppard's Utopia trilogy, now closed, is up against Peter Morgan's Frost/Nixon, about British TV host David Frost's interviews with Richard Nixon; Douglas Carter Beane's long-closed The Little Dog Laughed, and Radio Golf, the final play in the late August Wilson's 10-play cycle about African-American life in the United States in each decade of the 20th century.

Information from the Miami Herald, Associated Press and Playbill.com was used in this report.

Fast Facts:

The Tony Awards

Here is a list of major nominees:

Play: The Coast of Utopia, Frost/Nixon, The Little Dog Laughed, Radio Golf.

Musical: Curtains, Grey Gardens, Mary Poppins, Spring Awakening.

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.

For the complete list, go to www.tonyawards.com.