Tony Nominations: Biggest Surprises?

The Tony Award nominations, announced this morning, were only partly predictable: the Best Musical frontrunner, “The Book of Mormon,” scored the most noms, with 14; the Best Musical Revival frontrunner, “Anything Goes,” had 9. I think everybody was surprised by the number of nominations garnered by the long-closed Kander & Ebb musical, “The Scottsboro Boys“: 12. Does this mean the show will return to Broadway? Less surprising: “The Merchant of Venice” scored the most noms of any play (7), followed by Best Play contenders “Jerusalem” with 6 and “War Horse,” which scored 5. “War Horse” didn’t score more because it is utterly an ensemble piece, and the Tonys don’t have an award for Best Ensemble. (They should.) Handspring Puppet Company, which created the puppets for “War Horse,” was voted a special Tony. Among the actors, the biggest omission by far — the one true shock of the noms — was no Daniel “Harry Potter” Radcliffe for “How To Succeed In Business.” (The perennially low Tony broadcast ratings just dropped another 50 percent.) I thought he was terrific, but I guess the Tony committee wasn’t cowed by movie-star status. (Or impressed by how much money Radcliffe raises for theatre causes like Broadway Cares.) Other omissions: none of the supporting actresses from “Good People” (Joanna Lumley from “La Bete” got in instead). Another slight surprise: “Catch Me If You Can,” which is more loved by audiences than by critics, got a Best Musical nom, instead of “Priscilla Queen of the Desert.” But it’s entirely possible that “Priscilla” will win Tonys in both its categories (Tony Sheldon for lead actor, Tim Chappel for costume design) and that “Scottsboro Boys” will lose all 12 of its nominations. (Just like another Kander/Ebb show, “Steel Pier.”)

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