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Tony Award nominations announced this week

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By Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) — The musicals “An American in Paris” and “Fun Home” each received a leading 12 Tony Award nominations on Tuesday, showing two very different sides of this Broadway season.
One side is sunny — the dance-heavy stage adaptation of the 1951 musical film with George and Ira Gershwin songs — and the other moody — the dark show based on Alison Bechdel’s coming of age graphic novel about her closeted, suicidal dad.
“It’s nice to know if something’s good, there’s room for it,” said Max von Essen, who earned a nomination for featured actor in a musical in “American in Paris.” ‘’There’s room for a smaller, darker piece and there’s room for a big, show-stopping revival.”
Michael Cerveris got one of the dozen nods for “Fun Home” — as best leading actor in a musical — and hopes they will attract more people to see his critically acclaimed and poignant show.
“The real value of the Tonys — and I suppose any awards — is to draw attention to something that people otherwise might not seek out. So the fact that every aspect of the production has been acknowledged is the best kind of advertising,” he said.
The nominations ranged from 11-year-old Sydney Lucas in “Fun Home” to 82-year-old Chita Rivera, looking for her third Tony. Helen Mirren and Bradley Cooper each got nominations, but Hugh Jackman, Ewan McGregor, Jake Gyllenhaal, Kelsey Grammer and Matthew Morrison from “Glee” didn’t get nods.
Rivera, who is wowing crowds just with a raised eyebrow, has championed her show, the dark John Kander and Fred Ebb musical “The Visit,” since 2001. She called its arrival on Broadway “joyous” and said the experienced cast and creators are superb. “We think it’s a jewel,” she said.
The best new play category includes “Wolf Hall, Parts One & Two,” ‘’Hand to God,” ‘’Disgraced” and “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.” Larry David’s “Fish in the Dark” was snubbed entirely.
In addition to “An American in Paris” and “Fun Home,” the best new musical category includes “Something Rotten!” and “The Visit.” The Peter Pan-themed “Finding Neverland,” Harvey Weinstein’s first-ever venture into Broadway as a lead producer, didn’t get a single nomination.
The British did well, with transfers “Wolf Hall Parts One & Two,” ‘’The Audience”, “The Curious Case of the Dog in the Night-Time” and “Skylight” grabbing 24 nominations. Sting’s “The Last Ship” earned the rocker a nomination for best original score even though his show closed in January.
“I’m just thrilled. I had no expectations. I wasn’t even thinking about it. This morning when I got the news, I thought, ‘Yep. That’s wonderful,’” Sting said. “The whole experience for me has been joy from start to finish. This is just another iteration of joy.”
Another production — the revival of “The Elephant Man,” about a horribly deformed man who galvanized London society in the late 19th century — plans to go the other way and open in London this summer with all 13 American actors, including Cooper, Alessandro Nivola and Patricia Clarkson, who all earned nominations.
Clarkson called the play “one of the greatest experiences of my career” and was thrilled that it wasn’t over when it ended its run in New York. “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” she said. “We’re invading their shores, baby! Get ready!”
“The Elephant Man” will face competition in the best play revival category from “Skylight,” ‘’This is Our Youth” and “You Can’t Take It With You.” The revival of Edward Albee’s “A Delicate Balance,” with John Lithgow and Glenn Close, failed to muster a single nomination.
The musical revival category has three strong candidates: “The King and I,” ‘’On the Town” and “On the Twentieth Century.” (Vanessa Hudgens’ “Gigi” only got one, for actress Victoria Clark.)
Ruthie Ann Miles, who earned a supporting actress nomination for playing Lady Thiang in the lush Lincoln Center Theater revival of the classic 1951 Rodgers and Hammerstein musical “The King and I,” was happy she and her co-star Ken Watanabe were recognized.
“It has definitely been something that Asian-American actors have been wanting and passionately fighting for — to be recognized and also to have a more mainstream voice, to not be pegged into a very specific category,” she said.
The architect and set designer David Rockwell earned nominations for the intricate detailed work he put into the play “You Can’t Take It with You” and the huge train he created for “On the Twentieth Century.”
He added hundreds of mementos and photos on the walls on the play’s sets, while his interior train set had to give the impression of optimism, speed and opulence. “There was certainly more slamming of doors than any play I’ve ever worked on.”
Said Rockwell: “It’s an incredible privilege to do the work you love and then to have it acknowledged is just unbelievable.”
The Tonys will be handed out at Radio City Music Hall on June 7. For some, that might mean another restless night.
“I couldn’t sleep last night,” said Robert Fairchild, who earned a best actor nod for his turn in “An American in Paris.” ‘’Not that I expected it, but to even have a glimmer, a dream, just the possibility of this happening. But I never even thought this would be a possibility — it’s so surreal.”