Tina Fey’s ‘Mean Girls,’ ‘SpongeBob’ lead Tony nods
New York – Two popular entertainment brands — Tina Fey’s high school morality tale “Mean Girls” and the goofy undersea cartoon “SpongeBob SquarePants” — lead the Tony Award nominations with 12 apiece. Another big property, a play based on the wizard Harry Potter, also cast a spell, earning 10 nods.
Fey, who adapted the story of her oft-quoted 2004 movie with her composer husband, Jeff Richmond, admitted they awaited Tuesday’s announcement with bated breath.
“We’re new to this whole Broadway thing and this whole musical thing, so it was hard to tell which way everything could swing,” Richmond said. “We’re delighted.”
A British revival of “Angels in America,” Tony Kushner’s monumental, two-part drama about AIDS, life and love during the 1980s, grabbed 11 nominations 25 years after it first appeared on Broadway.
Denise Gough, who plays Harper Pitt in “Angels in America,” was ‘just pleased that the British import landed so gratefully on Broadway. “We’re doing New York’s play! That is a total privilege,” she said. “Wouldn’t that be terrible if we came back and you were all like, what have you done with our play?”
The shimmering, grown-up musical “The Band’s Visit” also earned 11 nods, including Katrina Lenk earning her first Tony nomination. The musical is based on a 2007 Israeli film about an accidental clash of cultures when an Egyptian orchestra gets lost and ends up in the wrong Israeli town.
“I suppose it sounds cheesy if you say it, but it’s really an honor. It’s kind of hard to put into words. It’s a deep joy.” Next up for the actress: a nap. “Then I get to do the show again. I love doing it. I love this cast. I love being here. So the best way to celebrate is just to come back and do it.”
J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter” franchise extended its magical touch to Broadway, with the two-part stage play “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” featuring the bespectacled wizard earning 10 nominations, as did a revival of “My Fair Lady.”
The best new musical category is filled by “The Band’s Visit,” “Frozen,” “Mean Girls” and “SpongeBob SquarePants.” Those musicals that failed to make the cut were the Hal Prince revue “Prince of Broadway,” the Jimmy Buffett musical “Escape to Margaritaville” and “Summer,” about disco diva Donna Summer.
Taylor Louderman, a vet of such musicals as “Bring It On: The Musical” and “Kinky Boots,” earned her first nomination for playing a high school queen bee laid low in “Mean Girls.”
“I really haven’t sat back and thought about the young version of me and how she would be freaking out right now,” she said. “I’m from a small town where people don’t really get out and dream big. I just really thought I would never be here.”
She faces competition from Lenk; Lauren Ambrose of “My Fair Lady,” Hailey Kilgore of “Once On This Island,” LaChanze of “Summer: The Donna Summer Musical,” and Jessie Mueller of “Carousel.”
This is Tony-winner Mueller’s fourth nomination. She said it never gets old.
“It’s still exciting. It always feels different because every show means something different, and is very personal in its own way.” she said.
Best male acting nominations for a play include Denzel Washington, starring in a revival of Eugene O’Neill’s epic “The Iceman Cometh.” The 2010 Tony winner for “Fences” faces off against Andrew Garfield in “Angels in America,” Tom Hollander of “Travesties,” Jamie Parker of “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” and Mark Rylance in “Farinelli and The King.”
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