Hell’s Kitchen, Stereophonic lead Tony Awards with 13 nominations each

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Two Broadway shows celebrating the origins of sonic creativity — the musical Hell’s Kitchen powered by Alicia Keys songs, and the play Stereophonic about a ’70s rock band at the edge of stardom — each earned a leading 13 Tony Award nominations Tuesday, a list that also saw a record number of women nominated for best director.

A total of 28 shows earned at least one Tony nomination, with the musical The Outsiders, an adaptation of the beloved S. E. Hinton novel and the Francis Ford Coppola film, earning 12 nominations. Included in that total was a nomination for Canadian choreographers Rick Kuperman and Jeff Kuperman.

A star-filled revival of Cabaret, starring Eddie Redmayne, earned nine nominations, while Appropriate, the searing play from Branden Jacobs-Jenkins about a family reunion in Arkansas where everyone has competing motivations and grievances, earned eight.

Canadian Rachel McAdams, making her Broadway debut in Mary Jane, earned a best actress in a play nomination, while Succession star Jeremy Strong got his first ever nomination, for a revival of An Enemy of the People, and Liev Schreiber of Ray Donovan fame nabbed one for leading Doubt. Jessica Lange in Mother Play, Sarah Paulson in Appropriate and Amy Ryan, who stepped in at the last minute for a revival of Doubt, also earned nominations in the best actress in a play category.

The Big Bang Theory star Jim Parsons earned a supporting nod for Mother Play, and Daniel Radcliffe on his fifth Broadway show, a revival of Stephen Sondheim’s Merrily We Roll Along, won his first nomination.

An older man and woman hold hands in a dance-like gesture on a stage.
This image shows Maryann Plunkett, left, and Dorian Harewood during a performance of The Notebook in New York. Both veteran actors earned Tony nominations for their work in the production based on the bestselling novel by Nicholas Sparks that inspired the iconic film. (Julieta Cervantes/Boneau/Bryan-Brown/AP)

“I have always felt like doing stage and particularly doing it here has been such a huge part of my career and sort of like finding out who I was as an actor outside of Harry Potter,” said Radcliffe, who called the nomination “one of the most special experiences of my professional career.”

Redmayne, a Tony winner in 2010 for Red, got a nod as best lead actor in a musical, as did Brian d’Arcy James for Days of Wine and Roses, Brody Grant in The Outsiders, Jonathan Groff in Merrily We Roll Along and 73-year-old Dorian Harewood in The Notebook, the adaptation of Nicholas Sparks romantic tearjerker. Harewood, in his first Broadway show in 46 years, landed his first Tony nomination.

Redmayne’s Cabaret co-star Gayle Rankin earned a nomination for best actress in a musical, as did Eden Espinosa in Lempicka, Maleah Joi Moon in Hell’s Kitchen, Kelli O’Hara in Days of Wine and Roses and 71-year-old Maryann Plunkett, who plays the elderly wife at the heart of The Notebook.

‘We are directors’

This year, three women were nominated for best play direction — Lila Neugebauer for Appropriate, Anne Kauffman for Mary Jane and Whitney White for Jaja’s African Hair Braiding. Four women were nominated in the musical category —Maria Friedman for Merrily We Roll Along, Leigh Silverman for Suffs, Jessica Stone for Water for Elephants and Danya Taymor for The Outsiders.

“The one thing I feel is it’s starting to feel less remarkable, which is great news,” Stone said after her nomination. “We are directors and not women directors. I’m noticing it more and more and that’s a wonderful thing to think about. It’s a wonderful place to be.”

Among the big names who helped produce Tony-nominated fare were Keys, Angelina Jolie for The Outsiders and Hillary Rodham Clinton and Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai for Suffs.

Will Butler, longtime member of Canadian band Arcade Fire before leaving in 2020, was nominated for best original score and best orchestrations for Stereophonic.

The best new musical crown will be a battle between Hell’s KitchenThe Outsiders; Illinoise, the dance-heavy, dialogue-less stage adaptation of Sufjan Stevens’s 2005 album Illinois; Suffs, based on the American suffragists of the early 20th century; and Water for Elephants, which combines Sara Green’s 2006 bestseller with circus elements.

LISTEN | Adapting Sufjan Stevens’s album Illinois for Broadway:

Q26:34Justin Peck: Adapting Sufjan Stevens’s album Illinois into a Broadway musical

Here Lies Love, with Broadway’s first all-Filipino cast, earned four nominations, including best original score for David Byrne and Fatboy Slim.

Academy Award winner and Tony Award nominee Ariana DeBose, who hosted both the 2023 and 2022 ceremonies, will be back this year and will produce and choreograph the opening number.

This season’s Broadway numbers — about $1.4 billion in grosses and 11.1 million tickets — is running slightly less than the 2022-23 season, off about four per cent in grosses and down one per cent in tickets.


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