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2012 Tony Award nominations | reviews, news & interviews

2012 Tony Award nominations

2012 Tony Award nominations

Shortlist throws seven nods to Guvnors, blanks Paige/Grandage/Bean and more

James Corden: big noms for 'One Man, Two Guvnors'

Things didn’t go well for Eva Perons past and present at this morning’s announcement from New York of the nominations for Broadway’s 2012 Tony Awards, honouring the best of the 2011/12 theatre season, and Richard Bean will surely be wondering how it is that critics’ darling One Man, Two Guvnors failed to get a Best Play nod while nonetheless scooping up seven mentions in other categories – among the highest for a non-musical. 

But there will be general rejoicing in the onward Broadway march of both James Corden and his wild-eyed colleague Tom Edden, who have been nominated for virtually every New York theatre award going since Guvnors opened across the Atlantic last month. Edden’s acclaim in the process has somewhat sidelined fellow cast member Oliver Chris, an Olivier nominee for his delicious turn as the play’s resident posh twit who in New York has stood by as Edden’s star-making wobbly waiter sweeps all before him.

The musical races look to be dominated by two film-to-stage transfers, the comparatively small-scale Once and the latest from the Disney stable, Newsies

In fact, this year’s list of Tony hopefuls is notably short on Brits, though two-time winner of the director prize, Nicholas Hytner, is back in contention for Guvnors, and the play’s designer, Mark Thompson, could emerge victorious twice on the night for both his sets and costumes. Among Broadway’s current and recent Brits who were shut out were Elaine Paige (Follies), Hugh Dancy (Venus in Fur), and the Don’t Dress For Dinner leading man double-act of Ben Daniels and Adam James. Tracie Bennett did make it into the hotly contested actress category – the season’s most competitive – for playing Judy Garland in End of the Rainbow. (Bennett was a 2011 Olivier Awards nominee for the same performance.)

Absent among the offstage talent was director Michael Grandage and his brilliant Evita design team of Christopher Oram and Neil Austin. On the other hand, all three men won Tonys their last time out for the John Logan play Red, so it’s not as if they have in any way been slighted over time by the Broadway community. Argentine actress Elena Roger, ignored in New York for the same star turn as Eva Peron for which she was nominated for an Olivier in London, has rather more reason to feel aggrieved. (Also snubbed: Roger’s co-star Ricky Martin, as Che, a game performer who in my view was totally miscast in the part).

As it played out, the musical races look to be dominated by two film-to-stage transfers, the comparatively small-scale Once, which picked up 11 nominations, and the latest from the Disney stable, Newsies, which got eight. The musical revival categories are led by the two best stage musicals I’ve encountered either side of the Atlantic in many a month: The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess, with its scorching star performance from Audra McDonald, and the director Eric Schaeffer’s spellbinding take on Stephen Sondheim’s Follies, for which four of its exemplary cast were nominated but not co-star Bernadette Peters – or Paige.

Other items of note include the omission of Angela Lansbury, still going strong well into her 80s courtesy a delicious supporting turn in the revival of Gore Vidal’s The Best Man, and the fact that Leap of Faith, the very last musical of the season to open, got only one nomination – for Best Musical – and, weirdly, nothing else. (Surely if it was good enough to nab a slot at the top table, it might have featured elsewhere?)

As for the trouble-plagued Spider-Man Turn Off the Dark, which has been Broadway’s wild card ever since it began its accident-prone run? The most expensive show in Broadway history came away with two nominations: for the late Eiko Ishioka’s costumes and for George Tsypin’s sets.

There will be general rejoicing in the onward Broadway march of both James Corden and his wild-eyed colleague Tom Edden

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