"Fela!." "La Cage aux Folles," lead Tony nominations

Tue May 4, 2010 4:02pm EDT
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By Christine Kearney

NEW YORK (Reuters) - "Fela!," a new dance musical that tells the story of Nigerian Afrobeat pioneer Fela Kuti, and a revival of the musical "La Cage aux Folles" led the nominations for Broadway's top theater honors, the Tony Awards, announced on Tuesday.

Both musicals picked up 11 nominations, followed by a revival of August Wilson's play "Fences," which picked up ten. "Fences" actors Denzel Washington and Viola Davis, who play a married couple struggling with changing U.S. race relations, were both nominated for their leading performances.

Washington said in a statement that returning to Broadway "is like coming home again for me" and sharing a Tony nomination "makes it seem like one big family reunion."

"La Cage aux Folles" stars Kelsey Grammer and British stage veteran Douglas Hodge were both nominated for their turns as a gay couple who deal with their son's impending marriage in the leading actor in a musical category, joined by Sahr Ngaujah from Fela!.

Other Hollywood stars nominated for the awards, which is limited to Broadway productions, included Jude Law for "Hamlet" and Christopher Walken in British playwright Martin McDonagh's quirky play "A Behanding in Spokane."

Catherine Zeta-Jones said she "couldn't imagine a better way to make my Broadway debut" after being nominated for best leading actress in a musical for "A Little Night Music." Actors Liev Schreiber and Scarlett Johansson were also nominated for a revival of the Arthur Miller play, "A View From the Bridge."

"Memphis," a new musical that looks at the roots of rock-and-roll, won eight nominations while musical revival "Ragtime," received seven.

After relocating from a run in London, "Red," a play about abstract artist Mark Rothko, picked up seven nominations, including a nod for best lead actor in a play to British actor Alfred Molina.   Continued...

<p>Actors Jeff Daniels (R) and Lea Michele announce the nominees for the American Theatre Wing's 2010 Tony Awards in New York, May 4, 2010. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid</p>