It's drag queens vs. schoolgirls at Broadway's Tony awards

Sun Jun 9, 2013 7:09pm EDT
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By Chris Michaud

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A precocious moppet with an edge will face off against a proud drag queen when the annual Tony awards, Broadway's highest honors, are bestowed on Sunday night.

"Kinky Boots," an adaptation of a British film about a struggling shoe factory reinventing itself by making boots for drag queens, topped the Tony nominations with 13.

But many Broadway experts see the British import "Matilda," which boasts ecstatic reviews and 12 nods, prevailing as best new musical.

"This is a two-way race," said Entertainment Weekly's Thom Geier about the awards.

The "Boots" team includes Broadway veterans Harvey Fierstein, director Jerry Mitchell and music by pop star Cyndi Lauper. Its story bears the hallmarks of acceptance and triumph, which would likely play well on tours of the heartland.

"Matilda," based on a story by Roald Dahl about a freakishly intelligent little girl's persecution by her crass family and a fearsome school headmistress, has collected the lion's share of early prizes including the Drama Desk.

But following the Tony nominations its box office receipts dropped slightly, while the take for "Kinky Boots" edged up., a website that tracks show business awards, polled 14 Broadway experts and found a near split for the top prize, with a slight edge going to "Matilda."   Continued...

Actress Debra Messing arrives at the American Theatre Wing's annual Tony Awards in New York June 9, 2013. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri