Wicked and Assassins top Tony tally; four nods for Taboo

BY admin

May 11 2004 11:00 PM ET

Wicked, a musical that provides a backstory for The Wizard of Oz from the witches' point of view (from the novel by out author Gregory Maguire), received 10 Tony award nominations on Monday to lead the chase for Broadway theater's highest honors. Stephen Sondheim's dark musical Assassins followed with seven nominations, and the Lincoln Center production of Shakespeare's Henry IV received six nominations for the awards, which will be announced on June 6. The nominations, cause for celebration by some of Broadway's leading figures, followed a scathing critique on Sunday by The New York Times' Daniel Okrent, public editor of the paper's enormously influential theater coverage, which can often make or break a show. Okrent branded the Tonys as "artistically meaningless, blatantly commercial, shamefully exclusionary, and culturally corrosive." Eligibility for the awards is restricted to only the biggest theaters, which are largely controlled by a trio of big-time theater chains, and Okrent decried the lack of attention paid to smaller, more inventive stage productions.

Nonetheless, happily receiving recognition were new musicals Avenue Q (gay-inclusive in both story and casting), Caroline, or Change (book by Tony Kushner), and the revival of Fiddler on the Roof, each with six nominations. The Boy from Oz (starring Hugh Jackman as gay singer-songwriter Peter Allen) and Wonderful Town each received five nominations. Other plays winning attention were Frozen, a drama about a serial killer, and revivals of A Raisin in the Sun and Jumpers--each garnering four nominations.

One surprise was the four nominations received by Taboo, a $10 million show produced by Rosie O'Donnell about the life of '80s pop star Boy George, which closed after only 100 performances. Boy George was nominated for best score and Euan Morton as best actor in a musical for his portrayal of Boy George. Other nominees for leading actor in a musical were Hugh Jackman (The Boy From Oz), Alfred Molina (Fiddler), Hunter Foster (Little Shop of Horrors), and John Tartaglia (Avenue Q). Wicked costars Kristin Chenoweth and Idina Menzel were both nominated for leading actress in a musical along with Tonya Pinkins (Caroline, or Change), Donna Murphy (Wonderful Town), and Stephanie D'Abruzzo (Avenue Q). Best actor in a play nominations went to Kevin Kline (Henry IV), Simon Russell Beale (Jumpers), Frank Langella (Match), Christopher Plummer (King Lear), and Jefferson Mays for his portrayal of German transvestite Charlotte van Mahlsdorf in Doug Wright's Pulitzer-winning I Am My Own Wife. Leading actresses recognized were Phylicia Rashad (Raisin in the Sun), Tovah Feldshuh (Golda's Balcony), Eileen Atkins (The Retreat From Moscow), Swoosie Kurtz (Frozen), and Anne Heche (Twentieth Century).

The Tonys will be handed out June 6. Here is a complete list of nominations for the 2004 Tony awards:

Best Play: Anna in the Tropics, Frozen, I Am My Own Wife, The Retreat From Moscow
Best Musical: Avenue Q; The Boy From Oz; Caroline, or Change; Wicked
Best Book of a Musical: Winnie Holzman, Wicked; Tony Kushner, Caroline, or Change; Book: Martin Sherman; Original Book: Nick Enright, The Boy From Oz; Jeff Whitty, Avenue Q
Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics) Written for the Theatre: Taboo, Boy George (Music); Avenue Q, Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx (Music); Wicked, Stephen Schwartz (Music); Caroline, or Change, Jeanine Tesori (Music) and Tony Kushner (Lyrics)
Best Revival of a Play: Henry IV, Jumpers, King Lear, A Raisin in the Sun
Best Revival of a Musical: Assassins, Big River, Fiddler on the Roof, Wonderful Town
Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Play: Simon Russell Beale, Jumpers; Kevin Kline, Henry IV; Frank Langella, Match; Jefferson Mays, I Am My Own Wife; Christopher Plummer, King Lear
Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play: Eileen Atkins, The Retreat From Moscow; Tovah Feldshuh, Golda's Balcony; Anne Heche, Twentieth Century; Swoosie Kurtz, Frozen; Phylicia Rashad, A Raisin in the Sun
Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical: Hunter Foster, Little Shop of Horrors; Hugh Jackman, The Boy From Oz; Alfred Molina, Fiddler on the Roof; Euan Morton, Taboo; John Tartaglia, Avenue Q
Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical: Kristin Chenoweth, Wicked; Stephanie D'Abruzzo, Avenue Q; Idina Menzel, Wicked; Donna Murphy, Wonderful Town; Tonya Pinkins, Caroline, or Change
Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Play: Tom Aldredge, Twentieth Century; Ben Chaplin, The Retreat From Moscow; Aidan Gillen, The Caretaker; Omar Metwally, Sixteen Wounded; Brian F. O'Byrne, Frozen
Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Play: Essie Davis, Jumpers; Sanaa Lathan, A Raisin in the Sun; Margo Martindale, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof; Audra McDonald, A Raisin in the Sun; Daphne Rubin-Vega, Anna in the Tropics
Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical: John Cariani, Fiddler on the Roof; Michael Cerveris, Assassins; Raul Esparza, Taboo; Michael McElroy, Big River; Denis O'Hare, Assassins
Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical: Beth Fowler, The Boy From Oz; Isabel Keating, The Boy From Oz; Anika Noni Rose, Caroline, or Change; Jennifer Westfeldt, Wonderful Town; Karen Ziemba, Never Gonna Dance
Best Scenic Design: Robert Brill, Assassins; Ralph Funicello, Henry IV; Eugene Lee, Wicked; Tom Pye, Fiddler on the Roof
Best Costume Design: Jess Goldstein, Henry IV; Susan Hilferty, Wicked; Mike Nicholls and Bobby Pearce, Taboo; Mark Thompson, Bombay Dreams
Best Lighting Design: Jules Fisher and Peggy Eisenhauer, Assassins; Brian MacDevitt, Fiddler on the Roof; Brian MacDevitt, Henry IV; Kenneth Posner, Wicked
Best Direction of a Play: Doug Hughes, Frozen; Moises Kaufman, I Am My Own Wife; David Leveaux, Jumpers; Jack O'Brien, Henry IV
Best Direction of a Musical: Joe Mantello, Assassins; Kathleen Marshall, Wonderful Town; Jason Moore, Avenue Q; George C. Wolfe, Caroline, or Change
Best Choreography: Wayne Cilento, Wicked; Kathleen Marshall, Wonderful Town; Jerry Mitchell, Never Gonna Dance; Anthony Van Laast and Farah Khan, Bombay Dreams
Best Orchestrations: Paul Bogaev, Bombay Dreams; William David Brohn, Wicked; Larry Hochman, Fiddler on the Roof; Michael Starobin, Assassins
Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre: James M. Nederlander
Regional Theatre Tony Award: Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park

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