Star megawattage could shine in the 2010 Tony Award Nominations

By Michael Kuchwara, AP
Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Star megawattage could shine in the 2010 Tony noms

NEW YORK — The Broadway season now drawing to a close may not win the highest marks for quality, but in terms of star power, its megawattage was boffo at the box office.

And look for many of the most glittery names to be rewarded Tuesday with 2010 Tony nominations celebrating the best of the season.

Consider the race for actor-play, where the possible nominees range from Denzel Washington to Daniel Craig to Liev Schreiber to Christopher Walken to Jude Law to Alfred Molina to James Spader and more.

Actress-play seems a little less starry but still the list includes the possibility of such recognizable names as Laura Linney, Linda Lavin, Valerie Harper and Sienna Miller along with theater regulars such as Jan Maxwell and Laura Benanti.

And it didn’t matter if the play was new or a revival — stars drove their success. Washington and Viola Davis were a potent combination for the well-received revival of August Wilson’s “Fences.” Liev Schreiber and Scarlett Johansson scored for the equally lauded production of Arthur Miller’s “A View From the Bridge.”

And then there was last fall’s phenomenon: Craig and Hugh Jackman in “A Steady Rain,” Keith Huff’s police melodrama that ignited a frenzy, not only for tickets but at the stage door when the actors left the theater after the show.

The season was odd in that there was no one big musical hit on the order of a “Wicked” or “Jersey Boys.” And the more traditional musical — with a story and an original score — was something of an endangered species. Only “Memphis,” a 1950s interracial romance set against the backdrop of the rhythm ‘n’ blues explosion, and the much-maligned “Addams Family,” based on the macabre New Yorker cartoon characters, fit the bill.

But there were musical hybrids to fill the gap. Among the shows: the stage version of Green Day’s best-selling CD “American Idiot”; “Fela!” — the Afro-beat biography of Nigerian superstar Fela Anikulapo-Kuti; “Come Fly Away,” a marriage of Twyla Tharp dances and Sinatra classics; and “Sondheim on Sondheim,” a revue examining the master’s entire career.

Potential best-play nominees include “Red,” John Logan’s incisive look at an artist — Mark Rothko — at work; “Time Stands Still,” Donald Margulies’ examination of a photojournalist’s intense commitment to her craft; Martin McDonagh’s black comedy “A Behanding in Spokane”; and Geoffrey Nauffts’ “Next Fall,” the story of collisions between beliefs and nonbeliefs.

Winners will be announced June 13 during a ceremony televised by CBS from Radio City Music Hall.

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