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No juggernaut to sweep Tony Awards in June

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NEW YORK -- The musical A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder, a comedic romp in which a poor man eliminates the eight heirs ahead of him for a title, nabbed a leading 10 Tony Award nominations on Tuesday. Nominations were spread out for most other shows, reflecting the lack of a juggernaut this year.

Canadians nabbed some nominations: Richmond Hill, Ont.-raised Les Misérables star Ramin Karimloo for best actor in a leading role in a musical and Nick Cordero of Hamilton, Ont., for best actor in a featured role in a musical for Bullets Over Broadway.

Hedwig and the Angry Inch, a cult off-Broadway hit that this season stars Neil Patrick Harris, won eight nominations, while After Midnight, a musical celebrating Duke Ellington's years at the Cotton Club, got seven, tied with Beautiful: The Carole King Musical and Twelfth Night.

"I'm in shock," said Lena Hall, a Broadway vet who earned a best featured actress in a musical for her gender-bending part beside Harris in the rock show Hedwig.

The lesson she said of her nomination -- in addition to always jump at the chance to work with Harris -- is to "do what you believe in and do what you love."

The nominations also made waves for snubbing some big names, including Denzel Washington, Daniel Radcliffe, James Franco, Michelle Williams, Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, Rachel Weisz and Daniel Craig.

The musicals up for the big prize are: After Midnight, A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder, Aladdin and Beautiful: The Carole King Musical.

"It's good to be acknowledged," said Andy Karl, who plays Rocky and has transformed his body over three years into that of a fearsome boxer. "It's nice to know it was worth the time and effort." Of the lack of a best musical nomination, he said he was disappointed, adding: "That's how the Tony cookie crumbles."

A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder was nominated for best book by Robert L. Freedman, best original score for Freedman and Steven Lutvak, best costumes by Linda Cho, best direction by Darko Tresnjak, Jonathan Tunick's orchestrations, best featured actress in a musical for Lauren Worsham, best scenic design for Alexander Dodge and for its two lead actors: Jefferson Mays and Bryce Pinkham.

Disney's Aladdin, an adaptation of the 1992 animated movie featuring a rambunctious genie, earned five nominations, including one for James Monroe Iglehart, who plays the genie.

"I know it sounds cliché, but I'm so happy to be nominated. I get to sit down at the Tonys. I'm not in the back. I'm not watching it on television... There's a ticket with my name on it," Iglehart said. "And I don't have to pay for it!"

Five-time Tony Award winner Audra McDonald earned a leading actress in a play nomination for Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill. That's the one female acting category in which she hasn't already notched at least one win, meaning she is in a position to make history as the Tonys' first grand-slam performance winner.

Mark Rylance got two nods, as a leading actor in a play for Richard III and another as a featured role in Twelfth Night.

Tony winner Idina Menzel, the Frozen singer whose name John Travolta mangled at the Oscars, also got a nomination for her role in If/Then.

She will compete in June with Mary Bridget Davies in A Night with Janis Joplin, Sutton Foster in Violet, Jessie Mueller in Beautiful: The Carole King Musical and Kelli O'Hara of The Bridges of Madison County.

A new rule this year allows for a fifth nominee in the four major production categories -- best musical and play and best revivals for each -- if at least nine shows are eligible and the fifth-highest vote-getter finishes close enough to the fourth.

Some 870 Tony voters will decide the final awards, which will be handed out June 8 at Radio City Music Hall.

-- The Associated Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 30, 2014 D3

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