Awards group narrow down lead actors

Sherie Rene Scott, Benjamin Walker and Joshua Henry were among the thesps singled out of ensemble casts to be considered eligible for lead thesping Tonys this season by the Tony Awards Administration Committee — and Noel Coward is in the running for a best play nom.

The committee meets four times per season to decide eligibility questions for the Broadway kudos. Latest meeting, the first of the 2010-11 season, handed down rulings on the first 12 productions of the season, ranging from “Brief Encounter” to Colin Quinn solo show “Long Story Short.”

Scott was named a contender for a lead actress in a tuner nom for her role in “Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown,” in which she plays the central character around whom the show’s multiple plots revolve. Walker and Henry were named lead actors for their headlining parts in “Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson” and “The Scottsboro Boys,” respectively.

Meanwhile, the late Coward is eligible as a playwright (with director Emma Rice credited as adapter) for the Roundabout Theater Company’s Broadway staging of play-with-music “Brief Encounter,” based on the 1945 pic for which Coward penned the screenplay. Romantic leads Tristan Sturrock and Hannah Yelland are possibilities for lead thesp noms.

The rest of the committee’s decisions revolved around thesps to be considered for feature performer noms despite being credited above the title. Joanna Lumley (“La Bete”), Judith Light (“Lombardi”) and Boyd Gaines (“Driving Miss Daisy”) all will be contenders in featured races.

Christina Ricci, the only new performer in the fall staging of “Time Stands Still” (which, in an earlier nonprofit production, was eligible for Tonys last year), will be considered for the featured actress in play category.

Committee is set to meet three more times prior to the announcement of the nominations in early May. Kudo ceremony is set for June 12 at the Beacon Theater.

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