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Published: Wednesday, 5/5/2010

Star-struck stage

ASSOCIATED PRESS

NEW YORK - Star wattage will burn bright at the 2010 Tony Awards with Denzel Washington, Jude Law, Catherine Zeta-Jones, and Kelsey Grammer among those receiving nominations yesterday.

Washington and Law were cited for best actor performances in Fences and Hamlet, respectively. Zeta-Jones was nominated for best performance by a leading actress in a musical, A Little Night Music, and Grammer was nominated for lead actor in a musical, La Cage aux Folles.

"What a thrill to be nominated! The experience of doing this incredible show and working every night with such a talented group of people has truly been one of the most rewarding experiences of my career," Zeta-Jones said yesterday. "And now to be nominated for a Tony. In my dreams, I couldn't imagine a better way to make my Broadway debut."

Washington said that being on Broadway again - he last appeared in 2005 in Julius Caesar - was "like coming home again for me, and sharing a Tony nomination for Fences with so many wonderfully talented people associated with this play makes it seem like one big family reunion."

Fela! - nominated for best musical - and La Cage aux Folles - nominated for the best musical revival - each received 11 nominations, followed by Fences with 10 nods.

Nominated for best play were In the Next Room (or the vibrator play) by Sarah Ruhl; Next Fall by Geoffrey Nauffts; Red by John Logan, and Time Stands Still by Donald Margulies.

Best musical nominations went to Green Day's American Idiot; Memphis; Million Dollar Quartet, and Fela!

"I am very proud and humbled by this extraordinary recognition of our work today," said Michael Grandage, artistic director of Britain's Donmar Warehouse, who was nominated for directing Red. Logan's engrossing, often enthralling play about art, an artist, and the act of creation received seven Tony nominations.

Besides Washington and Law, the actor-play nominees include Alfred Molina, Red; Liev Schreiber, A View From the Bridge, and Christopher Walken, A Behanding in Spokane.

In the actress-play category, the nominees were Viola Davis, Fences; Valerie Harper, Looped; Linda Lavin, Collected Stories; Laura Linney, Time Stands Still, and Jan Maxwell, The Royal Family.

Harper said the nomination was "bittersweet" because Looped had closed. "That was sad and disappointing but boy does this sweeten the pot," she said. "And we have a 10-week commitment in Toronto. So there is an afterlife for the play, and that's exciting."

The performers competing with Zeta-Jones for the actress-musical prize were Kate Baldwin, Finian's Rainbow; Montego Glover, Memphis; Sherie Rene Scott, Everyday Rapture, and Christiane Noll, Ragtime.

Besides Grammer, the actor-musical nominees were Sean Hayes, Promises, Promises; Douglas Hodge, La Cage aux Folles; Chad Kimball, Memphis, and Sahr Ngujah, Fela!

Nominees for featured actress in a play: Maria Dizzia, In the Next Room (or the vibrator play; Rosemary Harris, The Royal Family; Jessica Hecht and Scarlett Johansson, A View From the Bridge, and Jan Maxwell, Lend Me a Tenor.

"It has been a dream come true to be a part of the Broadway community," Johansson said. "I am deeply honored to be nominated and so proud to have been a part of this extraordinary production."

Featured actor in a play nominees included David Alan Grier, Race; Stephen McKinley Henderson, Fences; Jon Michael Hill, Superior Donuts; Stephen Kunken, Enron, and Eddie Redmayne, Red.

Redmayne said that working in New York has been a great experience for a "newbie" British actor.

"From the beginning, I felt a sort of fear of being an impostor, of being a Brit bringing a New York play to New York," he said. "The way it's been embraced by people has been completely overwhelming."

Nominees for featured actor in a musical were Kevin Chamberlin, The Addams Family; Robin De Jesus, La Cage aux Folles; Christopher Fitzgerald, Finian's Rainbow; Levi Kreis, Million Dollar Quartet, and Bobby Steggert, Ragtime.

Nominees for featured actress in a musical were Barbara Cook, Sondheim on Sondheim; Katie Finneran, Promises, Promises; Angela Lansbury, A Little Night Music; Karine Plantadit, Come Fly Away, and Lillias White, Fela!

Twyla Tharp, who choreographed and conceived the dance musical Come Fly Away, set to Frank Sinatra songs, competes for best choreography with Rob Ashford, Promises, Promises; Lynne Page, La Cage aux Folles, and Bill T. Jones, Fela!

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



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