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25 shows recognized with Tony nominations

May 04,2017
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NEW YORK - A year after falling head-over-heels for a musical about Alexander Hamilton, the Broadway community threw its arms wide open at the 2017 Tony Award nominations, handing out nods to 25 shows in a season notable for its breathtaking range.

“Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812,” an improbable pop-opera musical inspired by a Leo Tolstoy novel, got 12 nominations. A revival of the 53-year-old “Hello, Dolly!” about a brassy matchmaker earned 10. “Dear Evan Hansen,” a heartfelt show that begins with a misfit teen’s suicide got nine.

Musicals about a pair of cosmetic legends, another set on 9/11 and another based on an old Bill Murray movie were all honored.

“It’s a fantastic season. It’s a deep, great season with people really putting themselves out there - writers and directors and producers and actors. It’s a fantastic year to be a part of,” said Laura Linney, who is starring in “Lillian Hellman’s The Little Foxes” and earned her fourth nomination. “It’s a robust expression of humanity.”

On the new play side, nominations were given to works about working class angst (“Sweat”), Middle East peace negotiations (“Oslo”), a behind-the-scenes look at a controversial 1923 Yiddish play (“Indecent”), and a bold sequel to a Henrik Ibsen play (“A Doll’s House, Part 2”). There were also revivals of plays by giants Tennessee Williams (“The Glass Menagerie”) and Arthur Miller (“The Price”) and a much-cheered Broadway debut by a 65-year-old Pulitzer Prize winner (Paula Vogel).

“I’m just so glad I quit my day job,” joked Vogel, 65, who has taught generations of playwrights at Brown and Yale. “To finally make it here is pretty nice and to be in this company is an honor.”

“Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812” will compete for the best new musical Tony with “Come From Away,” “Dear Evan Hansen” and “Groundhog Day.”

Andy Karl earned his third Tony nomination as the star of the musical “Groundhog Day,” based on the much-loved 1993 movie about a jaded weatherman forced to live the same day over.

Karl earned Broadway respect for struggling through opening night with a torn anterior cruciate ligament. “We all get up and we go for it,” he said.

Ben Platt, a star of the “Pitch Perfect” films who recently made Time magazine’s most influential people in the world list, got a nod as the star of “Dear Evan Hansen,” which centers on a profoundly lonely 17-year-old who fabricates a prior friendship with a classmate who committed suicide.

Final Tony winners will be determined by some 850 industry insiders. Kevin Spacey will host the awards show June 11 from Radio City Music Hall.

Unlike last year when “Hamilton” vacuumed up 16 Tony nominations, this year’s nods were scattered, particularly after a glut of 13 new musicals debuted this season. AP