May 16, 2006

“Drowsy Chaperone” leads Tony nominations with 13

By Claudia Parsons

NEW YORK (Reuters) - "The Drowsy Chaperone," an
affectionate parody of 1920s musicals, led the field with 13
Tony Award nominations on Tuesday while Alan Bennett's "The
History Boys" was confirmed as the favorite for best new play
with seven nominations.

"The Drowsy Chaperone" has already won several awards and
was the critics' favorite, along with "Jersey Boys," a jukebox
musical about Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons.

Oprah Winfrey's "The Color Purple," based on the Alice
Walker novel, made a surprisingly strong showing with 11
nominations, more than "Jersey Boys," which took eight. "The
Color Purple" got a lukewarm reception from critics but has
been a box office hit.

"The Wedding Singer," a 1980s romp adapted from the Adam
Sandler movie, was the fourth nomination for best new musical,
while "The Pajama Game" led the list of revivals with nine
nominations, including one for its star, Harry Connick Jr.

The revival of Clifford Odets' "Awake and Sing" gained
eight nominations, including best revival of a play and three
featured actor nominations for members of its ensemble cast --
Zoe Wanamaker, Mark Ruffalo and Pablo Schreiber.

The nominations went largely as predicted by critics. The
biggest star of the season on Broadway, Oscar-winner Julia
Roberts, was not among those nominated as best actress in a

Her Broadway debut was panned by critics but in a year with
few outstanding female performances there was speculation she
could make the grade, particularly if organizers had hoped to
tempt her to be a presenter at the ceremony on June 11.

The nominees for best actress in a play were "Sex and the
City" star Cynthia Nixon for her role in "Rabbit Hole," Kate
Burton and Lynn Redgrave in the period comedy "The Constant
Wife," Judy Kaye in "Souvenir," and Lisa Kron in "Well."

The nominations for best play were "The History Boys,"
Martin McDonagh's "The Lieutenant of Inishmore," which took
five nominations, "Rabbit Hole" and "Shining City," whose star
Oliver Platt was nominated for best actor.

Up for best actor along with Platt are Ralph Fiennes for
"Faith Healer," Richard Griffiths for "The History Boys,"
Zeljko Ivanek for "The Caine Mutiny Court Martial," and David
Wilmot for "The Lieutenant of Inishmore."

Howard Sherman, executive director of the American Theater
Wing which founded the Tony Awards, said there were always
omissions in any list of nominations like the Tonys.

"It's always a shame when good work can't be recognized.
But that unfortunately is the nature of an awards process," he
told Reuters.

A full list of nominees can be seen at

(Additional reporting by Martinne Geller)