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Tony Awards Offer a Crowded Field
Destined for multiple nominations, which will be announced Tuesday, are such box-office winners as "Billy Elliot," the revivals of "Hair and "West Side Story," and "God of Carnage." Broadway usually doesn't turn its back on success.
Among the actors likely to get serious consideration are names such as Jane Fonda, Daniel Radcliffe, Angela Lansbury, James Gandolfini, Kristin Scott Thomas, Geoffrey Rush, Marcia Gay Harden, Nathan Lane, Janet McTeer, Jeff Daniels, Hope Davis, Bill Irwin and John Goodman.
Let's start, though, with the musical nominations, which are among the most coveted, since they give the finalists valuable airtime on the three-hour CBS telecast on June 7 (8 p.m. EDT) from Radio City Music Hall.
"Billy Elliot" is a natural for a best-musical slot. Big British hit. Heartwarming story of a coal miner's son who dreams to dance. Marquee composer (Elton John). And three boys sharing the title role and the possibility of getting a joint triple nomination.
Its most likely competition: "Next to Normal," a serious-minded musical chronicling one woman's mental problems and their effect on her family. The other two spots most likely will be fought over by Dolly Parton's "9 to 5," based on the popular 1980 movie that co-starred Parton, Fonda and Lily Tomlin; DreamWorks' "Shrek," based on its hit animated movie; and even that 1980s homage, "Rock of Ages" (stranger things have happened).
The musical revival tussle will involve "Hair" and "West Side Story," with "Pal Joey" and "Guys and Dolls" filling the other two slots.
Critics were effusive in their praise of a parade of play revivals, which will make the four choices difficult. "The Norman Conquests," "Joe Turner's Come and Gone," "Waiting for Godot," "Exit the King," "The Seagull," "Mary Stuart," "Desire Under the Elms," "Equus" and "All My Sons" are among the possibilities.
New play choices are slimmer with Yasmina Reza's "God of Carnage" considered the favorite to win even before the nominations come out. The production parlayed good reviews and the savvy casting of Gandolfini, Harden, Daniels and Davis into the spring's hottest ticket. No other star-driven play, including "33 Variations" (which stars Fonda) or "Exit the King" (which headlines Rush and Susan Sarandon), approached its boffo business.
Some stars couldn't overcome lackluster notices. The widely panned "Impressionism," which features Jeremy Irons and Joan Allen, announced last week that it would close May 10 after an abbreviated run.
Among the other likely best-play candidates are "reasons to be pretty" by Neil LaBute, Horton Foote's "Dividing the Estate" and maybe even Richard Greenberg's "The American Plan," which played off-Broadway in 1990.
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