"The Book of Mormon" favored to sweep Tony Awards

Fri Jun 10, 2011 2:37pm EDT
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By Christine Kearney

NEW YORK (Reuters) - "The Book of Mormon," a satirical show about Mormons from the creators of the TV series "South Park," looks set to sweep the Tony Awards on Sunday, aiming to be the most acclaimed show since "The Producers" with 14 nominations.

The Tony Awards, which honors Broadway's best musicals and plays and can help propel winning shows to commercial success, will be handed out at New York's Beacon Theater in a live televised event hosted again by actor Neil Patrick Harris, the Emmy-winning star of TV comedy "How I Met Your Mother."

This year is expected to feature less Hollywood winners than last year, although nominees include Frances McDormand who adopted a thick Boston accent for the best play nominee, "Good People" and Al Pacino for his turn as Shylock in "The Merchant of Venice," nominated for best play revival along with favorite "The Normal Heart."

"The Book of Mormon," go into Sunday's awards with the highest number of nominations, followed by "The Scottsboro Boys" with 12. The short-lived musical is on a 1930s case in which nine black men were unjustly accused of attacking two white women on a train in Alabama.

Two musical revivals follow. "Anything Goes" has nine nominations, led by best actress nominee Sutton Foster, and "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying" had eight, though its star Daniel Radcliffe, of "Harry Potter" fame, missed out on an acting nomination.

"The Merchant of Venice" is up for seven awards, while the play "War Horse," by Nick Stafford is tipped to win best play.

But it is "The Book of Mormon," by "South Park" creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker, which is expected to win in several categories and aims to beat the record of the Mel Brooks musical comedy, "The Producers," which won 12 Tony Awards after it opened in 2001.

The show has been a smash hit, winning critical acclaim and sold-out houses with the story of Mormon missionaries in Africa, successfully skirting initial worries about racial and religious insensitivity.   Continued...

<p>Cast members of the play "Memphis" perform after they won Best Musical at the American Theatre Wing's 64th annual Tony Awards ceremony in New York, June 13, 2010. REUTERS/Gary Hershorn</p>