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<i>Wicked</i> Receives 10 Tony Award Nominations - 2004-05-12


Nominations for America's most prestigious theatrical awards have been announced in New York City. The 58th annual Tony nominations reflect a surprisingly varied Broadway season.

As expected, Wicked, a revisionist musical version of the beloved film The Wizard of Oz, garnered 10 Tony nominations.

Wicked tells the story of the relationship between Glinda, the good witch and her archrival, the green-skinned Wicked Witch of the West.

The show received mixed reviews, but has been a consistent sellout, taking in more than $1 million each week. It also was one of the season's most expensive musical productions, costing $14 million.

Closely following Wicked is the adult-oriented puppet musical, Avenue Q, which earned seven Tony nominations. Four shows each picked up six nominations - Stephen Sondheim's dark, off-beat musical Assassins, Caroline, or Change, Fiddler on the Roof and the revival of Shakespeare's Henry the IV.

Hollywood film star Hugh Jackman, who will host the Tony Awards ceremony on June 6, was nominated for outstanding actor in a musical for his portrayal of flashy lounge singer Peter Allen in The Boy From Oz.

He will compete for the award with movie actor Alfred Molina in a revival of Fiddler on the Roof, Hunter Foster of Little Shop of Horrors, John Tartaglia, a puppeteer in Avenue Q and Euan Morton of the Boy George Musical Taboo. That production proved to be a flop, despite costing television personality Rosie O'Donnell $10 million of her own money in her first venture as a Broadway producer.

Two actors portraying two of William Shakespeare's best-known characters are competing against each other for the best actor award.

Kevin Kline won raves for his portrayal of Falstaff in Henry the IV, as did Christopher Plummer for playing the lead in King Lear. In what is shaping up to be the most competitive category this year, they are vying with newcomer Jefferson Mays in the award-winning play, I Am My Own Wife. Mr. Mays portrays more than 24 characters in the show about a German transvestite who survived both the Nazi and Communist regimes.

I Am My Own Wife, is also a strong contender for the best play award, although a late entry, Frozen, the story of a young girl's disappearance, has been critically acclaimed.

Among the nominations for best actress in a play were some Eileen Atkins in The Retreat from Moscow, Tovah Feldshuh for her portrayal of Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir in Golda's Balcony, Anne Heche in Twentieth Century, Swoozie Kurtz in Frozen and Phylicia Rashad in A Raisin in the Sun.

This year's nominations are marked by a few obvious oversights, among them musical rapper Sean Combs for his work in the revival of A Raisin in the Sun.

Andrew Lloyd Weber's much-ballyhooed London hit musical Bombay Dreams, which was adapted for American audiences, received only three nominations for best costume design, best choreography and best orchestrations.

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