NEW YORK – “Fela!” and “La Cage aux Folles” lead the race for Tony Award nominations, which were announced Tuesday morning in preparation for the June 13 awards show on CBS.

“Fela,” a biographical concert/extravaganza about activist and creator of Afrobeat, was nominated for best musical, while Bill T. Jones was picked both for his direction and choreography. Among the nominations for “La Cage,” a revival of the 1984 family-values drag musical, are nods for director Terry Johnson and lead actors Kelsey Grammer and Douglas Hodge.

In an atypical year, all four best plays — “Next Fall,” “Red,” “Time Stands Still” and “In the Next Room or the Vibrator Play” — are written by Americans. “Red,” a British production by an American playwright, leads with seven nominations. “Enron,” the multimedia British retelling of the financial scandal, was not nominated for best play, though, in an odd twist, its incidental music was included in the skimpy category for new scores.

The other best musicals are “American Idiot” (based on the Green Day punk-rock album), which has three nominations, “Memphis” (about a white DJ who loves soul music in the segregated South), which has eight, and “Million Dollar Quartet” (a jukebox recreation of dead rock ‘n’ roll stars), with three. Conspicuous best-musical omissions include Twyla Tharp’s dance-driven Sinatra show, “Come Fly Away,” and “Sondheim on Sondheim.” Tharp was nominated as choreographer .

In other surprises, Nathan Lane and Bebe Neuwirth were shut out for their star turns in “The Addams Family,” which received just two nominations but sold more than $1 million in tickets last week.

It was a season driven by movie stars. There is no mention of Hugh Jackman or Daniel Craig for “Steady Rain,” but the best-actor category acknowledges Denzel Washington (“Fences”) Liev Schreiber (“A View from the Bridge”), Jude Law (“Hamlet”), Alfred Molina (“Red”) and Christopher Walken “Behanded in Spokane”). David Alan Grier’s performance in “Race” is a surprise addition to the featured actor in a play category.

Catherine Zeta-Jones (“A Little Night Music”) is nominated as lead actress in a musical. Her costar Angela Lansbury is nominated for featured actress, along with fellow Broadway veteran Barbara Cook (“Sondheim on Sondheim”), Karine Plantadit (“Come Fly Away”), Lillias White (“Fela!”) and Katie Finneran (“Promises, Promises”).


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.