May 16, 2006

“Drowsy” leads Tony nominations, big names snubbed

By Claudia Parsons

NEW YORK (Reuters) - "The Drowsy Chaperone," a parody of
1920s musicals, swept the board with 13 Tony Award nominations
on Tuesday while big names such as Julia Roberts and Disney
were shut out of Broadway's biggest honors.

Alan Bennett's "The History Boys" was confirmed as favorite
for best new play with seven nominations.

The nominations for the U.S. theater version of the Oscars
went largely as predicted by critics, though Oprah Winfrey's
"The Color Purple," based on the Alice Walker novel, made a
surprisingly strong showing with 11 nominations.

Its tally of 11 was more than the eight nominations for the
critically-acclaimed "Jersey Boys," a jukebox musical about
Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons, which is considered joint
favorite with "The Drowsy Chaperone" to win best musical.

"The Wedding Singer," a 1980s romp adapted from the Adam
Sandler movie, was the fourth nomination for best new musical,
and picked up a total of five nominations.

"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 biggest star of the season on Broadway, Oscar-winner
Julia Roberts, was not among those nominated as best actress in
a play. 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."

Among the biggest losers were two of the biggest investors
of the season -- Hollywood studio giants Disney and Warner
Bros, whose big-budget musicals "Tarzan" and "Lestat" were

"Tarzan," based on the Disney movie with music by Phil
Collins, picked up just one nomination, for best lighting
design, while the vampire musical "Lestat" with music by Elton
John won two nominations, for best costumes and best supporting
actress, Carolee Carmello.

"It shows the integrity of the Tony Award nomination
process," said New York Post drama writer Michael Riedel.

"They chose not to give a nomination to the biggest star in
the world (Roberts), and they really stuck it to the most
powerful producer on Broadway, Disney, by giving only one
nomination for lighting, which is really almost insulting."

A full list of nominees can be seen at

(Additional reporting by Martinne Geller)