NEW YORK — The season’s two top tuners — Livent’s “Ragtime” and Disney’s “The Lion King” — predictably dominated the Tony nominations, with “Ragtime” out in front with 13 nominations followed by “Lion King’s” 11. The shows, which face off across 42nd Street in their respective companies’ spanking-new theaters, will now go toe-to-toe in 10 categories, leading with best musical, book, score and director.
The Roundabout Theater Co.’s hit revival of “Cabaret” wasn’t far behind, nabbing 10 nominations, while the play categories were dominated by the Off Broadway transfer of Irish import “The Beauty Queen of Leenane,” with six noms (including one each for its cast of four), the English import revival of “The Chairs,” also with six, and the Roundabout’s revival of “A View From the Bridge” keeping up the U.S. team’s spirits with a quartet of top nominations. (The Roundabout is clearly on a roll: With “Cabaret,” “View” and “1776,” it nabbed 17 nominations.)
For best play, Martin McDonagh’s “Beauty Queen” shares the field with Yasmina Reza’s “Art,” David Henry Hwang’s “Golden Child” and John Leguizamo’s “Freak.” The most surprising omission from the category — and indeed the Tony nom list in its entirety — was David Mamet’s widely acclaimed “The Old Neighborhood.” The show may have been at a disadvantage since it opened last fall, while all the other best play entries were spring arrivals. Also overlooked in the category was David Hare’s “The Judas Kiss,” starring Liam Neeson as Oscar Wilde, which received no nominations.
“Neighborhood” looks to be the first casualty of the post-Tony-nom fallout: Carole Shorenstein Hays, one of the show’s producers, confirmed that the show, which has been losing box office altitude for months, would close after the performance Saturday. “The more endorsements you have, and the more attention lavished on you, the easier it is to cast the net for an audience,” said Shorenstein Hays.
Darkhorse candidate “Golden Child’s” nomination could be critical. It has been operating at about 22% of gross potential for the past few weeks. “I don’t expect that things are going to turn over overnight,” said producer Ben Mordecai, “but there is some support behind the show to buy the time to find an audience, and hopefully break even.”
Mordecai added that advance sales are increasing and that the low gross potential did not adequately reflect ticket sales. “We’re not that far away from breaking even. My view is that payoff from the Tony nominations tend to be in June, because people usually buy their tickets three weeks in advance.”
Along with “Ragtime” and “Lion King,” the nominees for best new musical were the closed “Side Show,” which took four noms, including a novel one for its two leading ladies, Alice Ripley and Emily Skinner; and “The Scarlet Pimpernel,” whose three noms include one for its well-reviewed leading man, Douglas Sills.
“When ‘Scarlet Pimpernel’ opened, critics said it was the biggest piece of shit ever to hit Broadway,” said the tuner’s producer, Pierre Cossette. “But it turns out people love the show, and they keep coming.” Cossette added that while a nomination is never bad news, “the boost comes if you win.”
Indeed, while last year’s Tony awards for “Titanic,” including best musical, turned that tuner’s uncertain fortunes around, the frontrunners here — “Ragtime” and “Lion King” — aren’t likely to be significantly affected, since both are already doing big business. “Side Show” closed in the winter, while “Pimpernel” is a distinct longshot to take home the top prize.
Aced out of the musical category was the Cole Porter show “High Society,” which received largely negative reviews and nabbed just a pair of nominations for supporting actors John McMartin and Anna Kendrick. A spokesman for the musical said “there are no plans to close” the show, but a source familiar with its finances said that unless the summer is especially kind, the show would be departing in month or so.
Ripley and Skinner vie with “Cabaret’s” Natasha Richardson, Betty Buckley in the folded “Triumph of Love” and Marin Mazzie in “Ragtime” for the actress in a musical award, while Sills competes with a pair of “Ragtime’s” stars — Peter Friedman and Brian Stokes Mitchell — and “Cabaret’s” Alan Cumming in the leading actor in a musical running.
“Lion King” director Julie Taymor received three nominations. She nabbed her second directing Tony nom in as many years (after last year’s “Juan Darien”), and also received nominations for her costumes and her contributions to the tuner’s score.
Her fellow musical directing nominees are “Ragtime’s” Frank Galati, “1776’s” Scott Ellis, and “Cabaret’s” Sam Mendes with Rob Marshall.
The current Broadway vogue for all things Anglo (and Irish) was most clearly shown in the play direction category, where Garry Hynes (“Beauty Queen”), Simon McBurney (“The Chairs”) and Matthew Warchus of “Art” are in contention with the single American, “A View From the Bridge’s” Michael Mayer. (Last year, too, three of the four nominees were Brits.)
Among play acting noms, the cast of “Beauty Queen,” nominated in its entirety, stands out. Marie Mullen was included in the leading actress category, while Anna Manahan was tapped in the supporting actress field. Brian F. O’Byrne and Tom Murphy were both included in the supporting actor category.
Along with Mullen, Jane Alexander of “Honour,” Allison Janney of “A View From the Bridge” and Geraldine McEwan of “The Chairs” vie for the best actress in a play nod, while Richard Briers (‘The Chairs”), Anthony LaPaglia (“Bridge”), John Leguizamo (“Freak”) and Alfred Molina of “Art” are in contention for best actor in a play.
The award for regional theater will go to the Denver Center Theater Co.
Nominations were announced at Sardi’s by Bernadette Peters, Tony host Rosie O’Donnell and Peter Gallagher. Awards, which are administered by the American Theater Wing, will be given out in a ceremony June 7 at Radio City Music Hall, telecast by PBS and CBS.
A complete list of nominations follows.
“Art” — author, Yasmina Reza; producers, David Pugh, Sean Connery, Joan Cullman
“Freak” — author, John Leguizamo; producers, Arielle Tepper, Bill Haber, Gregory Mosher
“Golden Child” — author, David Henry Hwang; producers, Benjamin Mordecai, Dori Berinstein, John Kao, John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, South Coast Repertory, Joseph Papp Public Theater/New York Shakespeare Festival, American Conservatory Theater
“The Beauty Queen of Leenane” — author, Martin McDonagh; producers, Atlantic Theater Co., Randall L. Wreghitt, Chase Mishkin, Steven M. Levy, Leonard Soloway, Julian Schlossberg, Norma Langworthy, Druid Theater Co./Royal Court Theater
“Ragtime” — producer, Livent (U.S.) Inc.
“Side Show” — producers, Emanual Azenberg, Joseph Nederlander, Herschel Waxman, Janice McKenna, Scott Nederlander
“The Lion King” — producer, Disney
“The Scarlet Pimpernel” — producers, Pierre Cossette, Bill Haber, Hall-mark Entertainment, Ted Forstmann, Kathleen Raitt
BOOK OF A MUSICAL
Terrence McNally, “Ragtime”
Bill Russell, “Side Show”
Roger Allers and Irene Mecchi, “The Lion King”
Nan Knighton, “The Scarlet Pimpernel”
“Ragtime” — music, Stephen Flaherty; lyrics, Lynn Ahrens
“Side Show” — music, Henry Krieger; lyrics, Bill Russell
“The Capeman” — music, Paul Simon; lyrics, Derek Walcott
“The Lion King” — music and lyrics, Elton John, Tim Rice, Lebo M, Mark Mancina, Jay Rifkin, Julie Tay-mor and Hans Zimmer
REVIVAL OF A PLAY
“A View From the Bridge” — producers, Roundabout Theater Co., Todd Haimes, Ellen Richard, Roger Berlind, James M. Nederlander, Nathaniel Kramer, Elizabeth Ireland McCann, Roy Gabay, Old Ivy Prods.
“Ah, Wilderness!” — producers, Lincoln Center Theater, Andre Bishop, Bernard Gersten
“The Chairs” — producers, Bill Kenwright, Carole Shorenstein Hays, Scott Rudin, Stuart Thompson, Theatre de Complicite/Royal Court Theater
“The Diary of Anne Frank” — producers, David Stone, Amy Nederlander-Case, Jon B. Platt, Jujamcyn Theaters, Hal Luftig, Harriet Newman Leve, James D. Stern; adapted by Wendy Kesselman
REVIVAL OF A MUSICAL
“Cabaret” — producers, Roundabout Theater Co., Todd Haimes, Ellen Richard
“1776” — producers, Roundabout Theater Co., Todd Haimes, Ellen Richard, James M. Nederlander, Stewart F. Lane, Rodger Hess, Bill Haber, Robert Halmi Jr., Dodger Endemol Theatricals, Hallmark Entertainment
“The Sound of Music” — producers, Thomas Viertel, Steven Baruch, Richard Frankel, Jujamcyn Theaters, Rodgers and Hammerstein Organization, Charles Kel-man Prods., Simone Genatt Haft, Marc Routh, Jay Binder, Robert Halmi Jr.
ACTOR IN A PLAY
Richard Briers, “The Chairs”
Anthony LaPaglia, “A View From the Bridge”
John Leguizamo, “Freak,”
Alfred Molina, “Art”
ACTRESS IN A PLAY
Jane Alexander, “Honour”
Allison Janney, “A View From the Bridge”
Geraldine McEwan, “The Chairs”
Marie Mullen, “The Beauty Queen of Leenane”
ACTOR IN A MUSICAL
Alan Cumming, “Cabaret”
Peter Friedman, “Ragtime”
Brian Stokes Mitchell, “Ragtime”
Douglas Sills, “The Scarlet Pimpernel”
ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL
Betty Buckley, “Triumph of Love”
Marin Mazzie, “Ragtime”
Natasha Richardson, “Cabaret”
Alice Ripley and Emily Skinner, “Side Show”
FEATURED ACTOR IN A PLAY
Tom Murphy, “The Beauty Queen of Leenane”
Brian F. O’Byrne, “The Beauty Queen of Leenane”
Sam Trammell, “Ah, Wilderness!”
Max Wright, “Ivanov”
FEATURED ACTRESS IN A PLAY
Enid Graham, “Honour”
Linda Lavin, “The Diary of Anne Frank”
Anna Manahan, “The Beauty Queen of Leenane”
Julyana Soelistyo, “Golden Child”
FEATURED ACTOR IN A MUSICAL
Gregg Edelman, “1776”
John McMartin, “High Society”
Ron Rifkin, “Cabaret”
Samuel E. Wright, “The Lion King”
FEATURED ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL
Anna Kendrick, “High Society”
Tsidii Le Loka, “The Lion King”
Audra McDonald, “Ragtime”
Mary Louise Wilson, “Cabaret”
DIRECTOR OF A PLAY
Garry Hynes, “The Beauty Queen of Leenane”
Michael Mayer, “A View From the Bridge”
Simon McBurney, “The Chairs”
Matthew Warchus, “Art”
DIRECTOR OF A MUSICAL
Scott Ellis, “1776”
Frank Galati, “Ragtime”
Sam Mendes with Rob Marshall, “Cabaret”
Julie Taymor, “The Lion King”
Bob Crowley, “The Capeman”
Richard Hudson, “The Lion King”
Eugene Lee, “Ragtime”
Quay Brothers, “The Chairs”
William Ivey Long, “Cabaret”
Santo Loquasto, “Ragtime”
Martin Pakledinaz, “Golden Child”
Julie Taymor, “The Lion King”
Paul Anderson, “The Chairs”
Peggy Eisenhauer and Mike Baldassari, “Cabaret”
Jules Fisher and Peggy Eisenhaue, “Ragtime”
Donald Holder, “The Lion King”
Graciela Daniele, “Ragtime”
Garth Fagan, “The Lion King”
Forever Tango Dancers, “Forever Tango”
Rob Marshall, “Cabaret”
William David Brohn, “Ragtime”
Robert Elhai, David Metzger and Bruce Fowler, “The Lion King”
Michael Gibson, “Cabaret”
Stanley Silverman, “The Capeman”