NEW YORK – The Tony Awards committee largely favored tried-and-true stage veterans over flashy visitors Tuesday when announcing this year's Tony nominations, with Hollywood stars such as Bette Midler, Jessica Chastain, Al Pacino, Katie Holmes and Scarlett Johansson never hearing their names called.
With the exception of Broadway debutant Tom Hanks, the acting categories were mostly filled by established theater creatures such as Laurie Metcalf, Amy Morton, Laura Osnes, Nathan Lane, left, Tracy Letts, David Hyde Pierce and Kristine Nielsen.
Hanks, who earned a best actor nod playing gutsy New York City newspaper columnist Mike McAlary in the late Nora Ephron's "Lucky Guy," joked that he was out of his league. "Olivier and Gielgud!" Hanks exclaimed.
The awards will be broadcast on CBS from Radio City Music Hall on June 9.
Stage veterans littered the play and musical categories, including the tight race to be crowned best musical. The leading contenders — "Kinky Boots" and "Matilda: The Musical" — are both stories that celebrate the little guy.
"Kinky Boots" is based on the 2005 British movie about a real-life shoe factory that struggles until it finds new life making fetish footwear. Cyndi Lauper's songs and a story by Harvey Fierstein — both nominated — have made it a crowd-pleaser. The show earned a leading 13 nominations.
Close behind with 12 nominations is "Matilda: The Musical," the witty, dark musical adaptation of the novel by Roald Dahl that is still running in London.
Both "Kinky Boots" and "Matilda" will duke it out for the best musical prize with the acrobatic "Bring It On: The Musical" and "A Christmas Story, The Musical," adapted from the beloved holiday movie.
The best play nominees are Richard Greenberg's "The Assembled Parties," Ephron's "Lucky Guy," Colm Toibin's "The Testament of Mary" and Christopher Durang's "Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike."
The best musical revival candidates are "Rodgers + Hammerstein's Cinderella," "Annie," "The Mystery of Edwin Drood" and "Pippin," which nabbed 10 nominations. The producers of "Rodgers + Hammerstein's Cinderella" saw both their Cinderella, Osnes, and her prince, Santino Fontana, nominated for leading roles in a musical.
"I'm floating on air!" said Osnes.
Osnes and Fontana are both Twin Cities-connected actors. Osnes, an Eagan High School graduate, sings and dances opposite Seattle native Fontana, who is a graduate of the inaugural class of the University of Minnesota/Guthrie Theater BFA program.
Associated Press, Rohan Preston