The 2014 Tony Nominations: Love, Murder, and Mark Rylance

The quirky musical A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder came away the big winner when Tony nominations were announced this morning, racking up 10 nominations. 

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The quirky musical A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder came away the big winner when Tony nominations were announced this morning, racking up 10 nominations. The losers? Many big name stars making turns on the stage this year. Though Bryan Cranston and Chris O'Dowd got Leading Actor of a Play nominations—for All The Way and Of Mice and Men, respectively—and Neil Patrick Harris got one for his musical turn in Hedwig and the Angry InchDenzel Washington, Daniel Radcliffe, James Franco, Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, and Zachary Quinto were among those left out of the race. Quinto was the only cast member of the highly-regarded revival of The Glass Menagerie not to get a nomination. 

Perennial Tony favorite Mark Rylance, often declared the best theater actor of his generation, got nods in both the leading and featured categories for the Shakespearean roles he played in rep this year, the title role in Richard III and Olivia in Twelfth Night. In fact, the men of Twelfth Night took up three of the spots in the Featured Actor category. Audra McDonald may also be able to add another Tony to her collection in the only category she hasn't bested, Leading Actress of a Play for Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill. If she wins she will become the first person to win in all four acting categories.

Best Play
All the Way
Casa Valentina
Outside Mullingar 
Mothers and Sons
Act One

The nominators saw fit to expand this category to five nominees, which is odd considering the new plays weren't really the story of this Broadway season. It was a good morning for Tony veteran playwrights, as Harvey Fierstein (Casa Valentina), John Patrick Shanley (Outside Mullingar), and Terrence McNally (Mothers and Sons) all saw nominations.

Best Revival of a Play
Twelfth Night
The Glass Menagerie 
A Raisin in the Sun 
The Cripple of Inishmaan 

The late-breaking raves for Martin McDonagh's The Cripple of Inishmaan, coupled with the apparent ice-cold shoulder given to Waiting for Godot, gave shape to this quartet of nominees.  This is, somewhat improbably, the first time any production of The Glass Menagerie has been Tony nominated.

Best Lead Actor in a Play
Samuel Barnett - Twelfth Night
Bryan Cranston – All the Way
Chris O'Dowd - Of Mice and Men
Mark Rylance – Richard III
Tony Shalhoub – Act One

Denzel Washington, Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, and Daniel Radcliffe's snubs clear the way for a Bryan Cranston win. The Tonys love Mark Rylance, yes, but they can always throw him a trophy in Featured Actor. In the wake of all those powerhouse actors on the sidelines, it's gotta be a good morning for Samuel Barnett (previously of The History Boys fame), enjoying his second career Tony nominations.

Best Lead Actress in a Play
Tyne Daly – Mothers & Sons
LaTanya Richardson Jackson - A Raisin in the Sun
Cherry Jones – The Glass Menagerie
Audra McDonald – Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill
Estelle Parsons – The Velocity of Autumn

Jackson grabs a nod for the role that won Phylicia Rashad a Tony merely a decade ago. Audra McDonald stands a chance at winning her 73rd career Tony, though it's more likely that this comes down to Cherry Jones versus Estelle Parsons.

Featured Actor in a Play
Reed Birney – Casa Valentina
Paul Chahidi – Twelfth Night
Stephen Fry - Twelth Night
Mark Rylance – Twelfth Night
Brian J. Smith – The Glass Menagerie

They really liked Twelfth Night. A lot. Rylance stands the best chance at a win among these three, but if there's vote-splitting to be done, it could pave the way for Reed Birney.

Featured Actress in a Play 
Celia Keenan-Bolger – The Glass Menagerie
Anika Noni Rose – A Raisin in the Sun
Mare Winningham - Casa Valentina
Sarah Greene - The Cripple of Inishmaan
Sophie Okonedo - A Raisin in the Sun

A pair of Raisin in the Sun nominees here means, somewhat improbably, Denzel Washington is the only one of the play's four stars to miss out. It's tough to complain too much about a category that throws some love to Mare Winningham and which may well give a Tony statue to Celia Keenan-Bolger.

Best Musical
After Midnight
Beautiful: The Carole King Musical
A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder

Out of that great mass of possibilities emerge these four highly tour-able productions. The near total shut-out for The Bridges of Madison County in the major categories has to count as the morning's most stinging snub. 

Best Revival of a Musical
Hedwig and the Angry Inch
Les Miserables

With only four possibilities in this category — and Cabaret having the stigma of being a revival that didn't really change from its previous production — this trio was fairly academic.

Lead Actor in a Musical
Neil Patrick Harris – Hedwig and the Angry Inch
Andy Karl – Rocky
Ramin Karimloo - Les Miserables
Jefferson Mays – A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder
Bryce Pinkham – A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder

Expect Neil Patrick Harris to walk home with his first Tony Award this year, especially with the Gentleman's Guide, uh, gentleman splitting votes. The big snub in this category was Steven Pasquale, a victim of the general Bridges of Madison County massacre.

Lead Actress in a Musical
Mary Bridget Davies - A Night with Janis Joplin
Sutton Foster – Violet
Idina Menzel – If/Then
Jessie Meuller – Beautiful: The Carole King Musical
Kelli O’Hara – The Bridges of Madison County

Toootally did not see Mary Bridget Davies coming. Neither did Michelle Williams (Cabaret). What once seemed like a prime opportunity for Kelli O'Hara to win that ever-elusive first Tony now, after seeing how much the nominators loved Beautiful and didn't love Bridges as much, looks to be leaning in Jessie Meuller's direction.

Featured Actor in a Musical
Nick Cordero - Bullets Over Broadway
Danny Burstein – Cabaret
Joshua Henry – Violet
James Monroe Iglehart – Aladdin
Jared Specter - Beautiful: The Carole King Musical

Iglehart continues to barnstorm his way to a Tony victory. Nothing in these nominations would seem to threaten that.

Featured Actress in a Musical
Linda Emond -  Cabaret
Lena Hall - Hedwig and the Angry Inch
Anika Larsen - Beautiful
Adriane Lenox – After Midnight
Lauren Worsham - A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder

Kind of surprising that Lena Hall got recognized amid NPH's star turn in Hedwig. Even more surprising that neither Marin Mazzie nor Helene Yorke got nominated for Bullets Over Broadway.

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